Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hating America: International Pastime

Hating America: International Pastime

By Shane Borgess
Sunday, June 15th, 2008

There is a congressional report out commiserating over America’s fallen reputation in the world. I read it with the knowledge that this country’s reputation overseas has always depended upon the fickle motivations of people who are fed myopic interpretations of who America is and what it stands for. For a quick primer on how informed the common person is, you can start in America by taking a trip to the mall and asking a passerby a few questions about current political issues. You’re likely to get a blank stare. But since it is so important to Democrats why the world thinks so low of us, and what we can do to earn back their sympathy, the answers can be found inside a 48 page report titled “The Decline in America’s Reputation: Why?” by the subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The polling data was collected by both Zogby International and the Pew Research Center, and is informed with opinions from outspoken authors such as Michael Scheuer. The chairman of the subcommittee is Democrat Bill Delahunt. The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee is Democrat Howard L. Berman. Their conclusion is that the world hates us not because of the values we represent, but because we are arrogant and hypocritical. They offer us first the details of how widespread the hatred is:

* A 45-percentage point drop in favorability in Indonesia; 41 in Morocco; 40 in Turkey; and 27 in the United Kingdom;

* Among Muslims in Nigeria, favorable opinion fell 33 points, from 71 percent to 38 percent, within an eight-month period;

*A 26-point increase in Europe of the view that U.S. leadership in world affairs is undesirable;

*Unfavorability rose to 82 percent in Arab countries and 86 percent of Latin American elites now rate U.S. relations negatively; and

*83 percent of countries in 2002 had a plurality of citizens judging the United States favorably; by 2006 only 23 percent of countries had a plurality saying that U.S. influence is positive.

“The primary finding from the Subcommittee’s series of hearings is that the decline in our standing does not appear to be caused by a rejection of such values as democracy, human rights, tolerance, and freedom of speech. Nor is it a reaction to such facets of American life as a high standard of living, mass culture, and economic opportunity, or to the American people— or even to U.S. military power, so long as it is exercised within the framework of international norms and institutions. All of these were well established and well known prior to 2002 when America’s image was at its highest.”

Apparently our reputation will improve as soon as we hand over our security to the United Nations. Here are the eight reasons given for our demise as pulled from the polls:

1. It’s true: U.S. approval ratings have fallen to record lows in nearly every region of the world. Generally positive ratings from the 1950’s to 2000 have moved to generally negative ratings since 2002. Approval ratings are highest in non-Muslim Africa and lowest in Latin America and in Muslim countries.

2. It’s the policies: Opposition to specific U.S. policies, rather than to American values or people, has driven this decline. The key policies are: The invasion and occupation of Iraq; support for repressive governments worldwide; a perceived lack of evenhandedness on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute; and torture and abuse of prisoners in violation of treaty obligations.

3. It’s the perception of hypocrisy: Disappointment and bitterness arise from the perception that the proclaimed American values of democracy, human rights, tolerance, and the rule of law have been selectively ignored by successive administrations when American security or economic considerations are in play.

4. It’s the unilateralism: A recent pattern of ignoring international consensus, particularly in the application of military power, has led to a great deal of anger and fear of attack. This in turn is transforming disagreement with U.S. policies into a broadening and deepening anti-Americanism, a trend noted by the Government Accountability Office.

5. It’s the historical memory: U.S. domination remains a potent image for long periods—and that image is used to discredit current U.S. policies.

6. It’s the lack of contact: Contact with America and Americans reduces anti-Americanism, but not opposition to specific policies. Visitors to America—particularly students—and even their families and friends, have more positive views about America than non-visitors by 10 percentage points.

7. It’s the visas: Interaction with the U.S. immigration and the visa process is a significant source of frustration with America. Particularly among Muslim applicants, the experience with customs and border officials creates a perception that they are not welcome. This perception spreads across their communities through their “horror stories” about travel to the United States.

8. It’s the perceived war on Islam: The combination of all of the previous findings has created a growing belief in the Muslim world that the United States is using the “war on terror” as a cover for its attempts to destroy Islam.
This world would be a depraved dungeon of cruelty and barbarism were it not for America and it’s generosity in both blood and treasure spent. Slurs of hypocrisy ring hollow coming from those who equivocate for the oppression of their own nations and kingdoms. America is not the world’s policemen, nor is it the world’s counselor. Every decision we make must be in America’s interest. To endure the Middle East’s enmity even as they indoctrinate another generation of rabid religionists who see providence in the murder of sinners, apostates and unbelievers ought to be a badge of honor, and only reinforce our moral standing. And there is no solace in the support of Africa, a continent groveling for aid even as the land teems with resources and potential. Such support bought will sour as the spicket dries up. All that is important in this shrinking world is not what the European, Middle Easterner, African, Asian or South American thinks of this nation, but what we expect from ourselves, and what priorities and principles we live by. We are a decent, generous people who have paid dearly for the insolent support we now receive. Before 9/11 we might have offered humility. Today we can see that it profits a nation nothing to appear weak and driven by appeasement. These are times we must make our own way, and the decent disposition of Americans will ensure that we will always hold ourselves to a standard higher than any other nation.

Please read Rep. Dana Rohrabacker’s response to this report here. It is at the bottom of the report.

Member of the Chicago Sun Times Group. Article published June 16, 2008.


  1. Thank you Shane Borgess for another fine article. Once again, you bring your distinctive mix of unassailable facts, insightful analysis and sincere passion to everything you write. You are a true patriot.

  2. It seems that the uneducated Muslim World and Latin America hates us. Then why do they all want to come and live here and not in their own lands. If America and Americans are so evil, wouldn't they want to stay far away from us, have nothing to do with our nation?

    When I have traveled I have heard from people in other nations how they dislike or even hate our President, or our foreign policy. But they never say that they dislike or hate Americans. Actually most foreigners (including the French), like Americans. Why is that? Is it our tourist dollars or something more?

  3. So they hate our guts, let'em! Hatred tends to destroy the hater from within. That's a good outcome in this case.

    So we don't support 'democracy'? What, we should support al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen takeover of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.? Why in Hell should we do that? We have a President who can not comprehend the difference between form and substance. Afghanistgan & Iraq are not ready for democratic self government, nor is Arabia at large. No, I do not consider monarchies & satrapies to be beneficial, only that mobocracies can be worse.

    Global war on Islam? The lack thereof is a Gd'd tragedy of monumental proportions!!! Islam is an absolute evil, which must be combated if civilization is to be preserved. We ain't doing it, lets get started!!!

    Asian, African & European hatred for America speaks volumes about the haters, none of them good. It is they, not us who are at fault.

  4. The contempt that we sense, and some of our own propagate, has been manifest in not just the poor of the world as we are told.
    Take a peek at the profiles of Lenin, Dzershinski, Carlos the Jackel, Gueverra, Mohammed Atta and the American terrorists, Ayres and Bodine. None of these people stood in line for the next meal. And even by American standards, they came from a bit higher than their middle class.
    These people chose to marginalize themselves from thier societies when they were confronted with a real world they couldn't handle.
    Today, the US is faced with a population of very common folk that considers middle class below them. One of the greatest tests to America will stem from our own terminally unique.
    They may not actually hate their country, but they surely disguise their love of it. All the self-satisfaction, but none of the passion.