The Roots of Anti-Americanism

Written by Sam Vaknin

The United States is one ofrepparttar last remaining land empires. That it is maderepparttar 126020 butt of opprobrium and odium is hardly surprising, or unprecedented. Empires - Rome,repparttar 126021 British,repparttar 126022 Ottomans - were always targeted byrepparttar 126023 disgruntled,repparttar 126024 disenfranchised andrepparttar 126025 dispossessed and by their self-appointed delegates,repparttar 126026 intelligentsia.

Yet, even by historical standards, America seems to be provoking blanket repulsion.

The Pew Research Center published last December a report titled "Whatrepparttar 126027 World Thinks in 2002". "The World", was reduced byrepparttar 126028 pollsters to 44 countries and 38,000 interviewees. Two other surveys published last year - byrepparttar 126029 German Marshall Fund andrepparttar 126030 Chicago Council on Foreign Relations - largely supported Pew's findings.

The most startling and unambiguous revelation wasrepparttar 126031 extent of anti-American groundswell everywhere: among America's NATO allies, in developing countries, Muslim nations and even in eastern Europe where Americans, only a decade ago, were lionized as much-adulated liberators.

"People aroundrepparttar 126032 world embrace things American and, atrepparttar 126033 same time, decry U.S. influence on their societies. Similarly, pluralities in most ofrepparttar 126034 nations surveyed complain about American unilateralism."- expoundsrepparttar 126035 Pew report.

Yet, even this "embrace of things American" is ambiguous.

Violently "independent", inanely litigious and quarrelsome, solipsistically provincial, and fatuously ignorant - this nation of video clips and sound bites,repparttar 126036 United States, is often perceived as trying to impose its narcissistic pseudo-culture upon a world exhausted by wars hot and cold and corrupted by vacuous materialism.

Recent accounting scandals, crumbling markets, political scams, technological setbacks, and rising social tensions have revealed how rotten and inherently contradictoryrepparttar 126037 US edifice is and how concerned are Americans with appearances rather than substance.

To religious fundamentalists, America isrepparttar 126038 Great Satan, a latter-day Sodom and Gomorrah, a cesspool of immorality and spiritual decay. To many European liberals,repparttar 126039 United states is a throwback to darker ages of religious zealotry, pernicious bigotry, virulent nationalism, andrepparttar 126040 capricious misrule ofrepparttar 126041 mighty.

According to most recent surveys by Gallup, MORI,repparttar 126042 Council for Secular Humanism,repparttar 126043 US Census Bureau, and others -repparttar 126044 vast majority of Americans are chauvinistic, moralizing, bible-thumping, cantankerous, and trigger-happy. About half of them believe that Satan exists - not as a metaphor, but physically.

America has a record defense spending per head, a vertiginous rate of incarceration, amongrepparttar 126045 highest numbers of legal executions and gun-related deaths. It is still engaged in atavistic debates about abortion,repparttar 126046 role of religion, and whether to teachrepparttar 126047 theory of evolution.

According to a series of special feature articles in The Economist, America is generally well-liked in Europe, but less so than before. It is utterly detested byrepparttar 126048 Moslem street, even in "progressive" Arab countries, such as Egypt and Jordan. Everyone - Europeans and Arabs, Asians and Africans - thinks that "the spread of American ideas and customs is a bad thing."

Admittedly, we typically devalue most that which we have formerly idealized and idolized.

Torepparttar 126049 liberal-minded,repparttar 126050 United States of America reifiedrepparttar 126051 most noble, lofty, and worthy values, ideals, and causes. It was a dream inrepparttar 126052 throes of becoming, a vision of liberty, peace, justice, prosperity, and progress. Its system, though far from flawless, was considered superior - both morally and functionally - to any ever conceived by Man.

Such unrealistic expectations inevitably and invariably lead to disenchantment, disillusionment, bitter disappointment, seething anger, and a sense of humiliation for having been thus deluded, or, rather, self-deceived. This backlash is further exacerbated byrepparttar 126053 haughty hectoring ofrepparttar 126054 ubiquitous American missionaries ofrepparttar 126055 "free-market-cum-democracy" church.

Americans everywhere aggressively preachrepparttar 126056 superior virtues of their homeland. Edward K. Thompson, managing editor of "Life" (1949-1961) warned against this propensity to feign omniscience and omnipotence: "Life (the magazine) must be curious, alert, erudite and moral, but it must achieve this without being holier-than-thou, a cynic, a know-it-all, or a Peeping Tom."

Thus, America's foreign policy - i.e., its presence and actions abroad - is, by far, its foremost vulnerability.

According torepparttar 126057 Pew study,repparttar 126058 image ofrepparttar 126059 Unites States as a benign world power slipped dramatically inrepparttar 126060 space of two years in Slovakia (down 14 percent), in Poland (-7), inrepparttar 126061 Czech Republic (-6) and even in fervently pro-Western Bulgaria (-4 percent). It rose exponentially in Ukraine (up 10 percent) and, most astoundingly, in Russia (+24 percent) - but from a very low base.

The crux may be thatrepparttar 126062 USA maintains one set of sanctimonious standards at home while egregiously and nonchalantly flouting them far and wide. Hencerepparttar 126063 fervid demonstrations against its military presence in places as disparate as South Korea, Japan,repparttar 126064 Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

In January 2000, Staff Sergeant Frank J. Ronghi sexually molested, forcibly sodomized ("indecent acts with a child") and then murdered an 11-years old girl inrepparttar 126065 basement of her drab building in Kosovo, when her father went to market to do some shopping. His is by no meansrepparttar 126066 most atrocious link in a long chain of brutalities inflicted by American soldiers overseas. In all these cases,repparttar 126067 perpetrators were removed fromrepparttar 126068 scene to face justice - or, more often, a travesty thereof - back home.

Americans - officials, scholars, peacemakers, non-government organizations - maintain a colonial state of mind. Backward natives come cheap, their lives dispensable, their systems of governance and economies inherently inferior. The white man's burden must not be encumbered byrepparttar 126069 vagaries of primitive indigenous jurisprudence. Hence America's fierce resistance to and indefatigable obstruction ofrepparttar 126070 International Criminal Court.

Opportunistic multilateralism notwithstanding,repparttar 126071 USA still owesrepparttar 126072 poorer nations ofrepparttar 126073 world close to $200 million - its arrears torepparttar 126074 UN peacekeeping operations, usually asked to mop up after an American invasion or bombing. It not only refuses to subject its soldiers torepparttar 126075 jurisdiction ofrepparttar 126076 World Criminal Court - but its facilities torepparttar 126077 inspectors ofrepparttar 126078 Chemical Weapons Convention, its military torepparttar 126079 sanctions ofrepparttar 126080 (anti) land mines treaty andrepparttar 126081 provisions ofrepparttar 126082 Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty, and its industry torepparttar 126083 environmental constraints ofrepparttar 126084 Kyoto Protocol,repparttar 126085 rulings ofrepparttar 126086 World Trade Organization, andrepparttar 126087 rigors of global intellectual property rights.

Just War

Written by Sam Vaknin

In an age of terrorism, guerilla and total warfarerepparttar medieval doctrine of Just War needs to be re-defined. Moreover, issues of legitimacy, efficacy and morality should not be confused. Legitimacy is conferred by institutions. Not all morally justified wars are, therefore, automatically legitimate. Frequentlyrepparttar 126019 efficient execution of a battle plan involves immoral or even illegal acts.

As international law evolves beyondrepparttar 126020 ancient percepts of sovereignty, it should incorporate new thinking about pre-emptive strikes, human rights violations as casus belli andrepparttar 126021 role and standing of international organizations, insurgents and liberation movements.

Yet, inevitably, what constitutes "justice" depends heavily onrepparttar 126022 cultural and societal contexts, narratives, mores, and values ofrepparttar 126023 disputants. Thus, one cannot answerrepparttar 126024 deceivingly simple question: "Is this war a just war?" - without first asking: "According to whom? In which context? By which criteria? Based on what values? In which period in history and where?"

Being members of Western Civilization, whether by choice or by default, our understanding of what constitutes a just war is crucially founded on our shifting perceptions ofrepparttar 126025 West.

Imagine a village of 220 inhabitants. It has one heavily armed police constable flanked by two lightly equipped assistants. The hamlet is beset by a bunch of ruffians who molest their own families and, at times, violently lash out at their neighbors. These delinquents mockrepparttar 126026 authorities and ignore their decisions and decrees.

Yet,repparttar 126027 village council -repparttar 126028 source of legitimacy - refuses to authorizerepparttar 126029 constable to apprehendrepparttar 126030 villains and dispose of them, by force of arms if need be. The elders see no imminent or present danger to their charges and are afraid of potential escalation whose evil outcomes could far outweigh anythingrepparttar 126031 felons can achieve.

Incensed by this laxity,repparttar 126032 constable - backed only by some ofrepparttar 126033 inhabitants - breaks intorepparttar 126034 home of one ofrepparttar 126035 more egregious thugs and expels or kills him. He claims to have acted preemptively and in self-defense, asrepparttar 126036 criminal, long in defiance ofrepparttar 126037 law, was planning to attack its representatives.

Wasrepparttar 126038 constable right in actingrepparttar 126039 way he did?

Onrepparttar 126040 one hand, he may have saved lives and prevented a conflagration whose consequences no one could predict. Onrepparttar 126041 other hand, by ignoringrepparttar 126042 edicts ofrepparttar 126043 village council andrepparttar 126044 expressed will of many ofrepparttar 126045 denizens, he has placed himself aboverepparttar 126046 law, as its absolute interpreter and enforcer.

What isrepparttar 126047 greater danger? Turning a blind eye torepparttar 126048 exploits of outlaws and outcasts, thus rendering them ever more daring and insolent - or acting unilaterally to counter such pariahs, thus underminingrepparttar 126049 communal legal foundation and, possibly, leading to a chaotic situation of "might is right"? In other words, when ethics and expedience conflict with legality - which should prevail?

Enterrepparttar 126050 medieval doctrine of "Just War" (justum bellum, or, more precisely jus ad bellum), propounded by Saint Augustine of Hippo (fifth century AD), Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) in his "Summa Theologicae", Francisco de Vitoria (1548-1617), Francisco Suarez (1548-1617), Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) in his influential tome "Jure Belli ac Pacis" ("On Rights of War and Peace", 1625), Samuel Pufendorf (1632-1704), Christian Wolff (1679-1754), and Emerich de Vattel (1714-1767).

Modern thinkers include Michael Walzer in "Just and Unjust Wars" (1977), Barrie Paskins and Michael Dockrill in "The Ethics of War" (1979), Richard Norman in "Ethics, Killing, and War" (1995), Thomas Nagel in "War and Massacre", and Elizabeth Anscombe in "War and Murder".

According torepparttar 126051 Catholic Church's rendition of this theory, set forth by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory ofrepparttar 126052 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in his Letter to President Bush on Iraq, dated September 13, 2002, going to war is justified if these conditions are met:

"The damage inflicted byrepparttar 126053 aggressor onrepparttar 126054 nation or community of nations [is] lasting, grave, and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success;repparttar 126055 use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver thanrepparttar 126056 evil to be eliminated."

A just war is, therefore, a last resort, all other peaceful conflict resolution options having been exhausted.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy sums uprepparttar 126057 doctrine thus:

"The principles ofrepparttar 126058 justice of war are commonly held to be:

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use