Originally Posted by Dayuhan
I've often noted that even people who truly dislike the United States routinely comment that individual Americans seem to be very nice people. They sometimes seem to find this a bit disconcerting, as if the world would be a more consistent place for them if we were all A-holes.
In many ways, this is the crux of the problem for the US. What we often chalk up broadly as "anti-Americanism" is in fact much more "anti-American Foreign Policy and how we seek to pursue the same."
As noted here, we create an environment at home where individuals can excel, as noted by the many Nobel prizes awarded to Americans; yet when our government seeks to determine what our national interests are abroad, and how to best secure those interests, we make decisions, implement policies, and pursue actions that far too often deny for others who live in those places the very things we demand for ourselves at home.
The US must come to grips with this dichotomy. If a handful of AQ operatives were working across the US Midwest conducting UW, just as they are currently across the Magreb in Africa, would we pursue the same policies and rules of engagement in Kansas, Oklahoma and Nebraska that we are in countries such as Mali, Algeria and Libya?
If a governor in North Dakota, a new oil-rich state, suddenly grabbed vast powers from the other branches of government and the people he is supposed to serve and vested those powers in his self, would we rationalize that the oil from that state is too important to risk a disruption of losing that particular leader and our relationship with him? Would we then act to help him expand the capacity of the state police and national guard so that they could more effectively protect the government from the illegal violent acts coming from that populace? After all, as Bill reminds us, a government as the right to defend itself. Equally the US has a right to pursue its interests.
The US is not an evil country or even very oppressive as major global powers in history go. In fact, history will likely find us to be this oddly conflicted giant, who sought great control, power and influence on one hand, but was so torn by guilt that it paid full retail prices for what it could have taken by force, and ultimately went broke as it enriched and protected those it had imposed itself upon abroad. I'm not sure history will know what to do with that, as it is indeed "American exceptionalism" at work. I suspect the Chinese already scratch their heads in wonder as they shape their own long-range plans, always keen to avoid the mistakes of others.