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What do you mean by ‘anti-Americanism’?


9:06 am - August 22nd 2008

by Neil Robertson    


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You know times are tough for a global superpower when someone devotes a large amount of time and money producing a blog in solidarity with you.

America in the World is a new project from Conservative Home’s Tim Montgomerie which aims to act as a bulwark against anti-Americanism by dispelling myths, extolling the country’s virtues and arguing that a world without America as a dominant force is not a notion anyone should want to entertain.

If done right, the site serves a decent enough purpose, and the content certainly seems well-researched and attractively designed. But the sticking point was always going to be how they define anti-Americanism, and in this respect they threaten to alienate a significant number of people.

Here’s what annoyed me the most: On their page profiling the ‘varieties of anti-Americanism’, they list ‘liberal idealists’, ‘social justice activists’ and environmentalists alongside jihadists and anti-Semites.

Hardly the most pleasant company to keep, is it? Now, I’m not going to deny the existence of anti-Americanism on the left; no one who became politically active during the Bush era could’ve escaped the odd intemperate loon whose Bush-bashing was barely masking his/her contempt for the country he governs.

But the key distinction between the anti-Americanism exhibited on the left and that which is most violently spewed by Jihadists and Jew-haters is that caring about human rights, social justice and the environment does not make you anti-American, and nor does criticising an administration for its failures in these areas. It’s only when your criticisms involve such desperate flailing that they turn into attacks on the American people that you become a certified anti-American, but by then most people have stopped listening to your argument anyway.

By contrast, being anti-American is pretty much intrinsic to the ideologies of both the Jihadist and the anti-Semite. You’re not going to meet an Islamist who wishes to destroy the ‘great Satan’ before qualifying it with ‘well, I’m really just speaking metaphorically; I’ve always wanted to visit Disneyland.’ Equally, you won’t find someone who rails against the Great! Jewish! Conspiracy! who’ll then talk for hours about the vibrant culture of New York. Those ideologies are based on a hatred of America, whilst the ideologies of the environmentalist or the social justice advocate are anything but, and throwing these wildly dissimilar groups together in one basket, as Montgomerie & co do here, is as clumsy as it is politically dubious.

Anti-Americanism is real, it’s ugly and it’s often used as a front for thoroughly illiberal and undemocratic ideologies, but grouping some fairly benign left-wing positions in the same sewer as a bunch of hateful fanatics just seems like a right-wing ploy to inoculate the country from criticism by casting all those critics as potential ‘haters’. In so doing, they risk shunning people who might otherwise have been allies.

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About the author
Neil Robertson is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He was born in Barnsley in 1984, and through a mixture of good luck and circumstance he ended up passing through Cambridge, Sheffield and Coventry before finally landing in London, where he works in education. His writing often focuses on social policy or international relations, because that's what all the Cool Kids write about. He mostly blogs at: The Bleeding Heart Show.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Foreign affairs ,Humour ,Media ,United States

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Reader comments


To be fair I don’t think Tim or any of those involved in the site would deny the distinctions you make.

The page is just pointing the various groups who, on occassion not as a rule, indulge in the sort of peurile knee-jerk anti-americanism it’s trying to combat. That it’s far more commonly found among some groups than others isn’t in dispute.

2. EvilEuropean

Anti-Americanism is banded about so often that as a term it has no real meaning anymore. It has reached the point that ANY critisum of the USA is inherntly anti-American (but critisum of Europe, China, Russia and other nation on Earth with the exception of Israel is fully justified). It does represnt an intresting discourse though.

It’s a bullshit term designed debase debate along emotive lines about ‘loyalty’ (as if states act out of anything other than self interest).

I’ve known plenty of people on the left who hate, despise or loath Bush and his administration. Not one hates America. I don’t, I mean how could I? A great deal of the films, music, books, games, tv, etc I love is American! I have close friends who are American, and family who live there.

The term is bandied about by pro war lefty sycophants and idiot right-wingers to distract us from talking sensibly about policy and it’s outcomes. To even take the terms seriously is to concede defeat to their bullshit.

I’m glad to see they’re hosting the cretinous video “A World Without America”, and a new exciting sequel.

British Anti-Americanism is canard. Sure, it exists, but is it any more widespread or virulent than anti-Frenchism, anti-Germanism, anti-Irishism, anti-Iranianism, anti-Israeliism, anti-Chineseism, anti-Australianism, anti-Polishism, etc., etc.?

In fact, they’ve got a post proving on their own terms that whole thing is a mountain out of a molehill. Launching an enormous campaign on the back of the ravings of a few loudmouth idiots – what a waste of time.

And their arguments are such feeble cliches. America saved the world in WW2! (Yes it did, no question. But does it follow that it has to be given free reign to do as it pleases for ever more?) Other places have far worse human rights records than the US! (Has anyone, ever denied it?)

As this post hints, the reason people bang on about anti-Americanism is because it’s convenient way to annex the moral high-ground, depict their opponents as racists and bigots, and shout down points of view they’d rather not hear.

This just strikes me as the same as all the ploys to shut down debate in fandom – instead of engaging with someone’s entirely valid points, you call them a hater or a basher and hope that they go away.

The USA did not save it the UK did.

The tories love the USA they love a guy called charlie he supplies them some colombian stuff from the USA.

Where would they file Jeremy Clarkson’s anti-Americanism? Or does that not count for some reason?

And their arguments are such feeble cliches. America saved the world in WW2! (Yes it did, no question. But does it follow that it has to be given free reign to do as it pleases for ever more?)

The same could, of course, be argued for the Soviet Union but one would have to be seriously warped to use the positive results of their involvement in that war to justify their staggering atrocities at home and abroad.

Ben

Neil, I agree with most of this post. There is a range of views that are anti-American, some illegitimate, irrational and hateful and some not. We don’t aim to treat them as one. We actually have exactly the words ‘What do you mean by anti-Americanism?’ as one of the questions on our FAQ page at http://americaintheworld.typepad.com/aboutaitw/2008/08/some-frequently.html Here is the answer we give:

“In the simplest terms, we mean the belief that America has been and continues to be bad for the world. Anti-Americanism is a multi-faceted phenomenon. It can be expressed in racist terms about American people, in the view that America is a uniquely unpleasant society, or in the attitude that American power and influence play a mostly negative part in global affairs. Some of these anti-American positions are legitimate points of view – it is not racist to think America has done more harm than good. But we seek to show that such views are profoundly mistaken.

Q. Are you saying it is anti-American to oppose the policies of the current American government?
A. No. Of course it is possible to oppose the government of a country while believing that the country is nonetheless good for the world. But that is the point: do all of those who say they are anti-Bush rather than anti-American actually think America plays a positive role in global affairs? Do they welcome America’s influence or would they like it to be diminished? Again, the latter is a legitimate (and we believe false) position to hold, just as it is legitimate to think that the European Union or United Nations are bad for the world. But it is an anti-American position, just as those positions are anti-EU and anti-UN.”

Peter Cuthbertson,
Director, America In The World

11. Mike Killingworth

Surely the basic point is that the United States (which is what Peter means, America actually being two continents) will always put its own interests first – as will every other country in the world.

This leads to a consideration of how much power a single country ought to be able to project onto the rest of us. The historical record suggests that in the long run excessive power projection leads to internal decay, if not outright collapse (examples include the Roman, Spanish and British empires, of course). The received contemporary wisdom is that the USA is now at that “tipping point” and will be considerably less relatively powerful in fifty years’ time than it is to-day.

Whether that is a good thing or not depends not only on what the USA does or doesn’t do, but also on the behaviour of its competitors (principally China, and maybe India as well). The only thing that seems clear to me is that the USA is subjected to greater scrutiny than those countries are.

As others have suggested, I’m not sure that this site will really have legs. Perhaps Peter could explain what we can hope to find there that we won’t find elsewhere?

Peter, that doesn’t quite work – if I were anti-EU or anti-UN, it is clear what the alternatives are – more isolated nation states and war war not jaw jaw.

But is the US good for the world? Compared to what? 50 sovereign states? British colonies? The whole country being buried under ash from Yellowstone, or falling into the sea? Do I want America to have more influence in the world at the expense of Britain? No. Or at the expense of Russia? Yes.

FWIW I do think America is good for the world, mostly in ways that would still work with 50 sovereign states. I’m not so sure how to weigh up its military adventurism against, say, all its medical research. Do you have a briefing on that?

We have a warped picture of America because we only hear the complaints. Your site – at face value – seems just as warped.

Mike, one answer to that is that throughout this week we’ve been releasing data on our front page from a poll we commissioned through YouGov/PoliticsHome examining Britons’ attitudes to America, knowledge of America, views of Presidential candidates etc.

Our aim for the site is to be the key resource for the other side of the discussion and debate on anti-Americanism, not just on one or two issues but on all the major issues. That is our niche. We want to be one of the first places journalists, academics, students, bloggers and anyone else come to when they Google anti-Americanism. I want our briefings to cover all the major aspects of American society, history and foreign policy in a reasonable, fact-based way. Some briefings are unavoidably going to be more polemical than others, but without being slavish or uncritical of America, we believe presenting the facts is the key to refuting so much anti-Americanism.

Peter an anti eu stance and an anti eu stance says these organisations should be broken up. An anti american view would say that the USA should be broken up.

People who criticise the Bush government are not saying that at all they are just anti bush.

Where is there anyone arguing for the usa to be broken up if you find them you can call them anti american. If they just wan a different government they are not anti amercian.
I support the EU and the UN. We need international orgnasations decudated to peace and prosperity.

Peter euro skeptics want to destroy the EU. How does that compare to someone who just wants to change the government of the USA. The equialivalent of euro skeptic in the USA would be someone who desires to break up the USA and make all the states independent. It would be someone who does not even want their to be a president.
If Obama wins the next election would you say anyone who is against obama is anti american.
Someone against the soviet union wanted it broken up not just to see it’s leader replaced by someone else.

16. Geodesic Malarkey

The usage of the term anti-American by Peter Cuthbertson is remarkably similar to the usage of the term anti-Semitic; theoretically it is possible to criticise American or Israeli policy without being either anti-American or anti-Semitic. However in practice critics will always be found to be “anti” and thus their arguments can be dismissed as racist.

Plus the USA is not all of America. How can a Mexican who hates the USA be anti amercian when they are American.

Geodesic Malarkey I do even think it is that close. There are people who want to see israel destroyed as they see it as a state that should be there (I do not want to see israel destroyed) . But you can say they are anti israeli, if they want to destroy the nation.
There are very few people on the left who want to see the USA split up and destroyed so on what basis is wanting to see the government changed anti American or even anti usa. It is just anti right wing American. Will these people on the right say it is anti amercian to insult Obama.

Let us set up a ” campaign against the anti british websites” where all tories who insult the leader of the country are racist. That is the same logic. :

From now on anyone who insults the labour party leadership of the UK, is anti british and is a racist and is the same as Hitler and a bigot and should be ingored as just a narrow minded bigot. If you insult the leaderof the country you are racist as he represents all the people of this country so you should be put in the tower of london and tortured if you are against this country.

Surely rampant anti-Europeanism is far more of a problem in the UK than so-called anti-Americanism?

Yoko, I’ve already explained in detail what we do and do not mean by anti-American. It plainly doesn’t remotely match your definition. If you want to engage with what we say, please do so, but it’s a waste of a comment thread to post these demonstrably false accounts of what we say right below us saying the opposite.

As for the notion that anti-American can be nothing short of the view that the country should not exist and should be broken up, if that’s your standard it’s difficult to see how someone could meaningfully be anti- any country’s influence on the world. Certainly no one seems to think the only way to be anti-EU is to want it broken up entirely!

Peter,

I know one or two US Citizens who would prefer 50 sovereign states or something much closer to it, who are against almost everything the federal government does. Are they anti-American by your definition?

Peter that is not true if you do not want to destroy you are not agains it.

Peter ,

your website states:

“AmericaInTheWorld is launched and funded by supporters of America in London and around the world. AmericaInTheWorld receives no American government or corporate funding.”

http://americaintheworld.typepad.com/aboutaitw/

Does it receive funding from any other US sources such as private foundations, or quasi-Governmental foundations like the National Endowment for Democracy, etc?

“Anti-Americanism” is being wildly wielded much like “anti-Semitism” sometimes is, a blunderbuss to blast anything perceived as criticism. Those using it deserve as much sympathy as the pro-smoking lobby and their whining that they’re being picked on, the poor, stinking, loves.

There is a range of views that are anti-American, some illegitimate, irrational and hateful and some not. We don’t aim to treat them as one.

Your aim is hopelessly off then, then, because that’s exactly what you’re doing.

If you’re in earnest about this, you should use different words to describe what you admit are different phenomena.

It can be expressed in racist terms about American people

What? That’s absurd.

If you can be ‘racist’ against Americans, then why can’t you be ‘racist’ against Muslims? I’d love for Tim Montgomerie to answer that question.

I’d employ the same line that people on his website are liable to do so re: Muslims – so what if people hate America? Americans are welcome to change their nationality. Its not like you can’t do that.

It is perfectly acceptable to criticise Gordon Brown as a politician and as a person without being anti-British, firstly he isn’t the head of state and therefore isn’t the embodiment of British ideals (thankfully), secondly he’s Scottish and attempting to scam us all by supporting the English foorball team.

Sunny, it’s difficult enough to confuse political geography with geographically-based ethnicity, but there’s less of an excuse to confuse either with religion – unless you do it deliberately for some malign purpose.

It’s worth adding that very large numbers of US citizens are going to fall under this absurdly wide-ranging definition of “anti-Americanism”. When the US blogosphere gets wind of this, I’m guessing we’re going to hear a lot of folks demanding who the hell two British bloggers think they to condemn swathes of patriotic US citizens as “anti-American”.

And (sorry to repeat myself) but this from Peter Cuthbertson:

There is a range of views that are anti-American, some illegitimate, irrational and hateful and some not. We don’t aim to treat them as one.

really is absolutely risible and dishonest. Take a look at the front page. “Have you had enough of anti-Americanism?” it screams, beneath a picture of a man burning a US flag. How on earth is that a fair depiction of a “legitimate” political position? How on earth does it invite the “engagement” Peter insists they’re looking for?

This is a nasty smear-operation, a cynical attempt to close down debate, and nothing more.

thomas Nope he is the leader. the queen is just a flim flam nobody who steals a stackload of money of the people for doing nothing. She is the biggest welfare scrounger in the UK. Could youi imagibne her getting up in 6 in the morn ng to help the people. Nope.

Anf scottish people are brittish, you confuse england with britain. He does not support the english soccer team who would support that overpaid bunch of looooooers.

Brilliant, Larry – except of course that we don’t anywhere define as anti-American being pessimistic about Iraq etc. but perhaps there is no arguing with the kind of paranoia your post displays.

Can I make a general request that people actually argue with the site’s content rather than their own imagined version of it? I really don’t understand the point of posts saying “You obviously believe the exact opposite of what your site says – how can you justify that?!”.

Peter Cuthbertson
Director, America In The World

Ahem. Really, really ought to check this site more often…

Peter,

Many thanks for your response. I had actually seen the FAQ page you linked to before I wrote my post, and I’m afraid it doesn’t really resolve the issues I have with your site. On the FAQ page you admit that anyone can have a reasonable, policy-based criticism of a US administration without being tarred as an anti-American, yet your site then lists a raft of reasonable, policy-based criticisms of this and other administrations as varieties of anti-Americanism. Even worse, they’re sat alongside Jihadis and anti-Semites. I really don’t see how these two pages are compatible with each other.

I’m willing to accept that there might not have been a political motivation for the way that page was created, but what makes it appear so insidious is the degree of suspicion it places over people who hold those views you list as potential variants of anti-Americanism. If someone were to believe this site to be a scholarly information resource (as you apparently wish it to be), they might then automatically suspect those who happen to be ‘liberal idealists’, ‘social justice activists’ or environmentalists as being either latently or explicitly anti-American. That has terribly corrosive consequences for political discourse and is responsible in no small part for some of the negative reactions you’ve seen on this comment page.

(Just as an aside, when I criticise the US over its failures in foreign affairs or failing its poor or failing to take strong enough or swift enough action on the environment, the arguments I cite/link to are overwhelmingly from American writers.)

As I said in the post, I broadly agree with the endeavour if it’s done correctly, but if you really do want your site to become an informational resource against anti-Americanism, this rather important page needs some work. At present, it seems like you’ve presented a lot of sweeping, nuance-free generalisations and dressed them up as definitive variants of a political disease.

Tom Griffin – we’ve sought no funding and received no funding from US-based endowments or quangos.

Sunny Hundal – unless you’re willing to say that no hatred of a particular country’s people can be racist, that hatred of the French or Turks or Japanese is not racist, then hatred of Americans can surely be racist, too. It’s a fair point that at some level racism can only really exist towards broader racial groups, but hardly absurd to use the term in some other way.

Neil, I think the point about pricking people’s sensitivities is a fair one, but I’m not sure the piece is as ‘corrosive’ as you say it is when read with a cool head.

To take the example of anti-Semitism, which I pick precisely because almost no one would wish to be associated with it: it is a motivation for some anti-Americanism, as the piece points out. But no one would suggest that every anti-Semite is anti-American. Similarly for liberal idealists – it can lead in some cases to an overarching opposition to America and her role in the world, but no one would suggest all liberal idealists are anti-American. The point is not that liberal idealism (or anti-Semitism) is inherently or inevitably anti-American, but that it accounts for some anti-Americanism. I take your point seriously, though, and will look at making what I have just said more explicit. It may be that without a more detailed introduction, the title of the piece currently does too much – as you say – to imply that controversial but far from illegitimate or out-of-the-mainstream positions are themselves varieties of anti-Americanism.

unless you’re willing to say that no hatred of a particular country’s people can be racist, that hatred of the French or Turks or Japanese is not racist, then hatred of Americans can surely be racist, too

Peter, tell me, what’s the difference in the prejudice projected towards people from a particular country compared to prejudice directed towards people of a particular religion? (apart from th obvious that one is a country and the other a religion).

The editors of CH constantly say that ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘racism’ is used to shut down debate…. but seem to have no problems appropriating those terms for their own pet projects when needed.

Anyway, what’s the inherent problem with anti-Americanism or, say anti-French attitudes? People are not obliged to stay with the nationality of one country, right?

Lastly, do you acknoweldge that there are a lot of people who might have a problem with just American foreign policy? How will you separate them from the nutjobs? For example – you have a go at people on the left on your site without providing specific examples to back this up.

When the term “anti-Americanism” is used by certain politicians and journalists, they are trying to suggest that the person’s views are based on hostility to the USA. This is only true for a very small number of people: a much larger group of people have a set of rational views about a subject which then leads to criticism of US policies in these areas. Environmentalists believe that much more needs to be done to avoid climate change, for example, and therefore criticise the US failure to ratify the Kyoto treaty. There are many people who criticise the concept of preventive warfare because it is a radical doctrine the implications of which have not been thought through: they therefore criticise the USA for adopting this doctrine.

It is therefore incorrect, and deeply offensive, to suggest that there are different types of anti-Americanism and that groups such as these are anti-American of a different category. They have nothing in common with people who burn the Stars and Stripes or try to commit terrorist attacks in the USA. It is a sad commentary on political discourse today that people who have rational views are dismissed as “anti-American”.

Sunny, you seem inordinately concerned with a single sentence. We acknowledge in the FAQ that anti-Americanism is sometimes expressed in the form of racism among other forms, but I don’t think the point is repeated anywhere else on our dozens of pages of content. If you want to argue that it’s not possible to be racist towards people from any particular country, fair enough. It’s an interesting view, but hardly one so obvious and widely accepted that it discredits that sentence we use. Talk about how some are racist towards the French or the Welsh or the Turks is normal everyday language.

Anyway, what’s the inherent problem with anti-Americanism or, say anti-French attitudes?

That’s the point I was trying to make when distinguishing between illegitimate forms of anti-Americanism and legitimate positions we aim to show are mistaken. There is nothing inherently wrong with thinking a particular country is particularly unpleasant place to live or has been bad for the world. It’s more a question of values and what the data says. There’s nothing inherently (as opposed to empirically) wrong with thinking, for example, that America is more stingy and ungenerous than other countries when it comes to giving to the rest of the world. Such claims are entirely legitimate matters for debate, but we don’t think the facts bear them out, and seek to show this.

Yes, I accept some people are only anti-American because of American foreign policy, but I don’t accept your distinction between them and ‘nutjobs’. Plenty of people with objections to American society are perfectly sane (if, I think, often mistaken and ill-informed) and plenty of people with objections to American foreign policy and America’s role in the world are more than a little kooky. Again, though, the point is not that it’s illegitimate to criticise America’s foreign policy and role in the world – we say explicitly that some forms of anti-Americanism are legitimate positions that we think are wrong – but that it’s something to debate. We want to provide the other side of the argument and the evidence to back it up.

1. If there was no prussian army in the napoleonic wars napoleon would have won so we all should have supported the german nazis in WW2, as if it was not for the germans we would all be speaking french.
2. If it was not for the norman french in 1066, we would be still run by pre norman english people. So we should allways support france.
3. If there was no UK there would be no USA, so urgo USA people always have to support the USA.
4. If there was no Roman Empire there would be no London so we all have to bring back the Roman Empire, if you are from London
5. If there was no Angle people there would not be a England, so england should invade germany and bring back the angle people.
6. If there was no scotland, then there would be no New Scotland yard so english people should support scotland as they would not have a poloce service.
7. If theere was no scotland there be no united kingdom so english people have to support scotland all the time.
6. If it was not form the normans there wouild be no norman conquest so bring back french.
7. Dick Cheney won WW2 by himself.
8. President bush junior should be given medal for his brave soldier work in the wars against the holocaust, it is not his fault so many people in iraq died.
9. All other nations are rubbish. The USA is the best, and won ww2 by itself, the uk was invaded by hitler.
10. The redi indians deserved to die as they were all savages.

No paranoia Peter – but even if you don’t like my link, the point still stands: you’re accusing large numbers of US citizens of being “anti-American” in the sense of believing American influence worldwide has in recent years been largely negative. And you can expect to be asked by what right you’re doing that.

Nor am I not working from an imagined version of the site: you consider all sorts of different positions varying from legitimate critics of the US to genocidal jihadis, and you lump them altogether under the banner “anti-Americanism”, illustrated by a picture of a flag-burning maniac.

Sunny, you seem inordinately concerned with a single sentence.

Mmm, well it’s more that this is the premise for your project. Why is ‘anti-Americanism’ a problem? Why does that term even exist? If you merely wanted to debate misconceptions about American forreign policy, which is what most of this is based around, then you could do so without starting a new website and in places where the debate takes place.

What I’m saying is that the premise of the site is based around the idea that ‘anti-Americanism’ is akin to other forms of racism, and hence you want to run a project that will explicitly challenge such prejudice.

My response was two-fold: First, how does it differ from the times when CH etc dismiss ‘racism’ itself and ‘Islamophobia’ as shutting down debate, but are happy to throw around phrases such as ‘anti-Americanism’ as if its a disease afflicting some people.

Look, I appreciate your efforts to debate here and all, I’m just saying that while I don’t think the stance you’ve taken is that idiotic, it just mirrors other (worse) forms of prejudice that the likes of Tim Montgomerie are happy to dismiss in other circumstances.
Its the hypocrisy which gets to me.

Peter, I don’t understand how “Liberal Idealists”, as your site puts it, are anti-American. It says, “This criticism comes from those who believe that America is failing grievously to live up to its democratic ideals.”

Surely they are merely disappointed in the USA, rather than being ‘anti’ it.

I think a problem with the notion of ‘anti-Americanism’ is that it confuses the nation with its leaders – some ignorant Europeans are guilty of this, but also some ‘Americans’ are when they think critics of the policies of USA leaders indicate a criticism of the nation.

I am not being anti-American when I suggest that the answer to the question, “Does Bush have any right to lecture China on human rights?” is “yes, he does, but he shouldn’t be surprised when ‘China’ suggests he looks at that bit of wood in his own eye”.

By the way, I broadly agree with that civil liberties article, except that it appears to attempt to excuse the actions of the Bush regime by listing a number of good things that ‘the USA’ has done.

It could do with some changes:

‘water-boarding’, considered by many to be torture,

This is a bit like saying, “the Earth, considered by many to be round”.

Just as the Earth is round, waterboarding is torture.

While incidents such as Abu Ghraib are abhorrent, and rendition and torture in the war on terror raise serious questions

Rendition and torture are abhorrent (and illegal) too, and the serious questions are, “Why is ‘the USA’ betraying its own principles and its laws and international law and why aren’t the people acting in this way being brought to book?”

the United States has within its very system the means of ending abuses that do occur.

This begs the question, why doesn’t it? And why do they occur in the first place?

The answer is that there are some influential people over there, just as there are people over here, such as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who don’t quite understand / respect things like liberty and the rule of law. And the Abu Ghraib thing is also about normal people doing horrible things when authorities tell them do so.

I think the reason that “the US is talked of as a human rights abuser far more frequently than North Korea, Burma or Sudan” is because we don’t expect such abuses from a country that set a bar the likes of North Korea, Burma, and Sudan have consistently neglected to aspire to, let alone reach, and therefore we hear about these exceptional cases more often than we do about North Korea, Burma and Sudan. It is sadly natural that we hear more of the exception than the norm, but this does not excuse the exception (although I agree that some people should get a perspective).

This new Conservative pro American site is such a sack of shit. It is riddled with the usual Right wing talking points, and uses, “anti Americanism” in the same way the Right wing in America uses anti Americanism. IE, anybody who does not agree with Republican ,right wing politics is anti American.

I have many American friends on the left, who would all be regarded as Anti America according this bullshit site. Remember, much of what the world loves about America is hated by the American Right wing. Hollywood, is a great example. The Dixie Chicks were anti American according to the Right wing in America.

This is about shutting down debate not encouraging it. It is exactly like the way the Pro Israel brigade call anybody who criticises Israel, anti Semitic.

“This new Conservative pro American site is such a sack of shit”

Sally, I could not have put it better myself.

I was going to write a long comment on why “Anti-Americanism” is a flawed category and how you’re deliberately confusing the issues etc etc…but I really can’t be bothered.

Basically, Peter, your site is a joke for all the reasons that have been pointed out on this thread. It is not a serious political site. It is a right-wing smear job masquerading as a serious political site

As for the ” Soldier” video on YouTube, I found it absolutely hilarious. Clearly made with some bloke in a park in England and the Fox News Guide to History!

I’d find the whole thing hilarious if it wasn’t being taken so seriously by some people – including, it seems our future PM!

45. Chris Baldwin

Let’s face it, till we’ve reversed Thatcherism, foreign policy can go hang.

46. douglas clark

ukliberty,

May I quote this:

I think the reason that “the US is talked of as a human rights abuser far more frequently than North Korea, Burma or Sudan” is because we don’t expect such abuses from a country that set a bar the likes of North Korea, Burma, and Sudan have consistently neglected to aspire to, let alone reach, and therefore we hear about these exceptional cases more often than we do about North Korea, Burma and Sudan. It is sadly natural that we hear more of the exception than the norm, but this does not excuse the exception (although I agree that some people should get a perspective).

and add an addenda?

None of these bastards have been able to internationalise their human rights abuses. Only Team USA has been able to do that. Which puts them somewhat out in front in the gold medal table.

I wouldn’t describe myself as anti-American, but I’m anti republican, and when it comes to democrats, anti-protectionist.

A thought: perhaps being ‘america-sceptic’, as a counterpart to ‘eurosceptic’ would be a better way to put it?

I doubt very much Montgomerie would ‘see the distinction’ between the different forms of anti-Americanism. It look’s very much like a ‘right-wing’ ploy to me…

Maybe we should start a site aimed at ‘anti-Europeanism’ and declare that the ‘Conservative-idealists’ are simply hating on the French and Germans. Well, its true isn’t it?

50. douglas clark

Miller 2.0,

Perhaps usasceptic (pronounced – uhasakeptik) rather than america-sceptic? Simply ’cause I’ve been watching folk from the Bahamas’ who are continental america, at the Olympics. I have no idea what their politics are, right enough. Still and all, I’d assume that if we started saying German-sceptic when we meant euro-sceptic…

Oh, forget it. The minds of the British are a wonder to behold.

51. Duane Dupre

I find the poll “When it comes to practicalities British anti-Americanism fades away” a really desperate affair. So brilliantly bad in fact that I just wondered for a while if Chris Morris was behind it all.

I’m not sure how much it redounds to the credit of the American soldier that the majority of British people would prefer to be rescued by him from terrorists. I think that when we see the other countries in the list (Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Iran) this question could be rephrased as : “Would you prefer to be rescued by soldiers who spoke the same language as you or not?” Hardly surprising is it that people would go for the English speakers over the Iranians?

What you should have done was to ask our unfortunate Brit in distress if he would prefer to be rescued by a soldier from Britain, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and then America. I wonder how that would turn out? A majority would go for the Brits? Astonishing. Clear anti-US attitude.

Let’s say we choose soldiers from America, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the German SS, Tonton Macoute. Well who would you think would come top the list? Clear pro-US attitude.

The same goes for the holiday question. OK, so 1% of Brits want to go to Iran and 45% fancy the US. The fact that Iran is threatened with attack from the US may be skewing the poll here: this could be a factor but let’s not be political about it. I would presume it has something to do with public perceptions of Isfahan and Qom as likely travel destinations. Really meagre crumbs of comfort for you here I’m afraid.

This poll confirms for me the breathtaking, stupidity of the website. It is as see-through as a bride’s nightie I’m afraid. You will preach to the converted but for the rest of us your efforts will be consigned to the PR dustbin of history along with Karen Hughes Middle East “I’m a Mom” speeches, Christopher Hitchen’s attempted Channel 4 hagiography on George Bush and the attempts to transplant the dark arts of Richard Perle et al into British public discourse. All of which were pathetic failures because British people are not stupid and until you get your analysis right on what Anti-Americanism is and why it is there you’ll get nowhere with this kind of stuff.

Oh, by the way, what percentage of Americans think Barack Obama is Muslim according to polls results? Now, there’s a survey worth discussing.

52. douglas clark

Duane,

Thanks for that. It would be quite amusing if they ran a sister poll in the US of A where the UK was listed in the same way as the US was in this one. Then we could just have a group hug, or something.

What a completely ridiculous poll. If I was guaranteed rescue, I wouldn’t care who did it, would I? I’ve been rescued, after all.

If say, a passing one eyed Peruvian lesbian saxophonist came to my aid, would I just say ‘no, I’m waiting to be freed by the right stuff’. I wouldn’t, and neither I suspect would anyone else.

Personally, I’d prefer to holiday in the Maldives. Why isn’t that listed? And, if I had to work somewhere else, Australia or New Zealand or Jamaica would win over any of the listed options.

Quite a US centric little effort, isn’t it?

Pathetic spin.

53. Duane Dupre

Cheers Douglas

Some great points. I realised that you and others put this very well in comments on their site.

I actually quite enjoy looking at their site because this is a very rare chance to watch a desperate PR and spin campaign as a work in progress. The fact that they are Brits and public figures makes it easier to trace their connections with power and who is backing them.

Can’t wait for the next ‘briefing’. It’s informative in ways they can’t imagine.


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