Should We Be Worried About the Rising Tide of Anti-Americanism?





Mr. Markowitz is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University and sits on the Editorial Board of Political Affairs, which is a journal of Marxist opinion affiliated with the Communist Party, USA. He is a writer for the History News Service.

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As the war against Iraq grinds on, recent polls show that large majorities of people throughout the world now have a much lower opinion of the United States and its foreign policies than was reflected in polls of previous years.

Remarkably, this is true both in countries whose governments support President Bush's war policy, such as Britain, Italy and Spain, and in those whose governments oppose the war, such as Germany, France and Russia.

This sharp increase in animosity toward the United States may remind some of attitudes abroad toward U.S. foreign policy at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s. The Soviet Union and its allies then propagated the view that the United States was advancing a policy of imperialist intervention to control everything from Guatemalan bananas and Cuban sugar to Middle Eastern oil. Familiar as these charges may sound, there are more differences than similarities between the present "anti-Americanism" and the hostility to the United States during the Cold War era.

Most Europeans in the Cold War era were not against American policies of increasing trade, encouraging the development of the European common market and paying the lion's share for NATO, the multilateral alliance to defend Europe. In the poor countries of the Third World, many condemned the U.S. policy of supporting right-wing dictatorships in the name of halting communism, but also saw the United States as a defender of the United Nations, which groups across the political spectrum supported as the most important international organization in history.

Moreover, even traditional left-wing critics of U.S. policy, both in the developed countries and in the Third World, distinguished sharply between the U.S. government and the American people. They viewed U.S. policy as imperialist, but identified American culture and the American people with egalitarian and democratic values.

Today, that distinction is increasingly blurred as allies and former enemies have come to regard the United States much as European nations saw imperial Germany in the decades before World War I -- a state brandishing great military power and proclaiming that its might made right: "Gott Mit Uns," or "God is on our side," as the slogan on the belts of the German army read.

That view of Germany and Germans as warmakers led Europeans and Americans to loathe not only German imperialism but the German culture of Goethe and Beethoven. Leaders in Britain, France and Russia feared Prussian militarism and forgot about German achievements in the arts and sciences. Eventually, they composed their differences and formed an alliance that halted German expansion.

While no one would compare President Bush literally to Kaiser Wilhelm, the German emperor during World War I, he has managed to bring France, Russia and Germany, three historic enemies, together against his Iraq war policy. In the international press and the global court of public opinion, the America of Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr., is being replaced with stereotypes of trigger-happy cowboys cheerfully supporting the death penalty at home and their God-given right to rain death and destruction, regardless of the views of the United Nations or their NATO allies.

In the high Cold War period of the 1950s, French intellectuals sometimes called American anti-communism (displayed in such movies as "My Son John" and "Big Jim McLain") "primal anti-Communism" -- the tendency of American leaders and media to substitute screaming, name-calling and the demonizing of enemies for rational arguments in defense of capitalism and liberal democracy. Thanks to the policies of the Bush administration and the statements of Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, tens of millions of people around the world who formerly looked at the United States positively are denouncing American policy and the American people as arrogant and hypocritical, a nation of self-aggrandizers on a path of military interventionism that has only begun.

Whatever happens in the Iraq war, this trend in global public opinion, if it is not reversed, will be disastrous for both American policy and the American people.


This piece was distributed for non-exclusive use by the History News Service, an informal syndicate of professional historians who seek to improve the public's understanding of current events by setting these events in their historical contexts. The article may be republished as long as both the author and the History News Service are clearly credited.


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Ron Palmer - 7/19/2004

Just some responses.

De Klerk absolutely was a terrorist, if by terrorist we mean someone who utilizes fear and state force arbitrarily over a civilian population.

Heads of State & government are by their nature terroristic. Remember: the nature of the State is to vere towards totalitarianism.

SA did not invade anyone and were not threatening to invade anyone? Apperently you've not heard of Namibia?

South Africa "invaded" Namibia: then South West Africa as part of the World War 1 campaign against the Germans. Remember: South West Africa (Namibia) was a colony of Germany until 1915. The inavsion was part of the war effort against the Germans. During the 1970s & 1980s there were South Africans stationed at the border of Namibia & Angola for the defense of South Africa.

Apparently you've not heard of South African troops in Botswana?

This is typical Western ignorance. First it was not Botswana but Bophuthatswana: a black nominally independent homeland which I thought Westerers did not recognize. Though it is plain that you have confused the two. Botswana was the homeland the British built for the Tswana & granted independece in 1966. Bophutahtswana was the homeland the National Party government of South Africa built for the Tswana located in the north. Next: is was not South African troops, but simply a few members of the erstwhile AWB: a fringe paramilitary extra parliamentary political party which was heavily infiltrated by the De Klerk government.

Read Gavin Cawthra's "Brutal Force: The Apartheid War Machine," inter alia and then tell me that South Africa posed no threats to its neighbors.

No more so than it does now. Remember: it was the post Apartheid government in 1998 that invaded Lesotho.

Then on top of that look at the iuses of the ilitary, police, and security forces in South Africa especially in the period after 1976 and tell me about the benign nature of de Klerk's security state.

Which is begning to pale in comparison to Bush's security state in the United States of America.

You forget that unlike most of the left I understand the sad necessity of the use of force, even if I am loath to use it often.



This is the same tripe that lead to bombs falling on innocent civilians in Yugoslavia based on an erronerous pretext which was intigated by a specious document which Milosevic (of Montenegrin origin as a matter of fact) could never have accepted. Furthermroe: There was never any genocide on the scale as was reported in the biased mainstream press.

He - Reagan - claimed that the NP gov't was "reformist"

The National Party under P W Botha was indeed reformist. They enacted electoral reforms for the nation's (or rather the State's) Coloured & Indian communites though at the price of adopting an executive presidency which I see has still not been abolished or reversed. The Botha governmnet abolished petty Apartheid which had formerly segregated the cities.

i support this war now, reluctantly, because the ends will justify it

The ends do not justify the means.

because Saddam is evil and the world should weep no tears for the loss of him and his cronies,

So too is Robert Mugabe: when will we be expecting the bombs to fall & the U S to invade?

because I still believe that for all of the flaws of the United States, which I acknowledge and recognize, we still will try to offewr a better way in Iraq.

Have you seen the news lately? No weapons of mass destruction -generally accepted as a big lie for a quick & convenient pretext for the invasion at this point. / Abu Garhaib torture prison abuse scandal. / Iraqi insurgents / uprisings / political assasinations etc.

The war against Iraq has been exposed for the land grab & power play that it was.


Ron Palmer - 6/14/2004

The fact of the matter is that Bophuthatswana -as well as the other formerly nominally independent homelands- were all reincorporated into South Africa in 1994 prior to the election & after the adoption of a new Constitution.


Ron Palmer - 6/14/2004

Furthermore: While South Africa may have "invaded" Namibia - then South West Afrcia- in 1915 as part of the World War 1 campaign against the Germans, remember that Namibia was in fact granted a mandate by the League of Nations to be administered by South Africa in 1919. Remember: Namibia: the then South West Africa was never considred an independent country as it was formerly a German colony from 1885 until 1915. Then from 1915 until 1990 it was under the League of Nations mandate to be administrated by neighbouring South Africa. It was not until 1990 upon Nabibian independence from South Africa when Namibia was first considered indpendent. As for Bophuthatswana - not to be confused with the less populated / more peaceful / larger & northern Botswana- it too was not considered indpendent by the world except for South Africa. The White South African based fringe paramilitary group which "invaded" it in 1994 did so on the request of Prresident Mangope of Bophuthatswana in order to prevent a violent takeover on the part of an ANC alligned group.


Ron Palmer - 6/11/2004

Correction.

< The victims of terrorism simply do not share nor care for the supposed political differences & nuances of why on man's terrorism is "holy war" (or Jihad) & somehow exempt from CONDEMNATION while another man's terrorism is pure vile "evil" & can never be rationalized. >.

Approbation should have read condemnation.


Ron Palmer - 6/11/2004

Just some responses.



At first, but he eventually got on board & opposed Apartheid & instituted sanctions. Even the movie: Mandela & De Klerk of 1997 noted that the Botha government felt betrayed by Reagan's sudden turn around & started supporting the sanctions.

< To give him credit for the sanctions is to bastardize >

Well his turn around was the death knell for the Apartheid regime which shortly negotiated themselves out of power. Remember: if Reagan continued to oppose sanctions: the Apartheid regime would have likely held on a bit longer.

Furthermore: Many Zulus also opposed sanctions. Remember: the Zulus are the largest ethnic group in South Africa, but are virtually shut out of national government. When will full political liberation come to the Zulu nation? Never minding also for the Boer nation (an amalgam of Dutch, French, German, Belgian, Scandinavian, Scot, with some Indian, Malay & Khoi aborption) / the Tswana (West Sotho) nation / the Venda nation / the Coloured (Dutch, European, Khoi, Indian, Malay, Mozambican origins) peoples / the Griqua (part Boer & Khoi nation etc.

I have always found it rather odd how when a few disgruntled communists (who some were working for British intelligence orginizations) wanted to take over the entire artificially British created South African State: it was (euphemistically) called "liberation", but when the other nations -who were also victims of British imperialism & Capitalism- strive for true liberation they are called "spoilers" (for who?) or "demagogues". Mandela was a demagogue too, but few address that & simply fall for the Mandela Myth hook line & sinker.

< Reagan considered mandela to be a communist and a terrorist. >

Well the fact of the matter is that he was. Why do you think he was imprisoned? Mandela himself does not even hide his terrorist past neither do most of his followers. Though they always deflect from their terrorism by asserting that the government was terroristic while never addressing that the reality of the State in general is terroristic & repetitive as we have seen with the reconstitution of Apartheidesque laws such as the Communal Land Rights Acts which was reported as having aspects "worse than Apartheid". Mandela was part of a pro British (his former oppressors) communist & terrorist group which planned to violently overthrow the democratically elected government. As flawed as their democracy was. The terrorist group he was part of had already engaged in a campaign of sabotage & planned killing civilians at the height of rush hour.

What is the differnce between Tim McVeigh / Osma bin Laden & Nelson Mandela? They all used violence to acheive the goal of "liberation" from oppression. It is only the perpetuation of myths which differentiate between various terrorists which assert that some terrorists are more "just" than others thus rationalizing their terror.

Mandela is rightly commended for his masterful transition to a multi racial soceity as President. But let's not forget that he was indeed once a terrorist. He is simply one of the many people in history who has gone from terrorist to Statesman. Arafat & Ghadaffi being other similar examples. Some will even say George Washington & Cromwell as well.

< The US Congress did finally pass an anti-apartheid act, but it came rather late in the game >

Governments routinely pass things "late in the game". Unless of course they are passing legislation which curtails the rights of the citizens. IE: the PATRIOT Act. & the convenient legislation passed in the wake of the Murruh Federal Building Bombing.

Odd how you consider De Klerk a "terrorist" (he was just doing what was mandated of him), but do not admit that Mandela was a terrorist. Well even Mandela himself admits that he was a terrorist. But he always justifies it with Tim McVeigh sounding apologia & excuse rhetoric.

The victims of terrorism simply do not share not care for the supposed political differences & nuances of why on man's terrorism is "holy war" (or Jihad) & somehow exempt form approbation while another man's terrorism is pure vile "evil" & can never be rationalized.

Remember: heads of State are terrorists themselves just by virtue of their job description & requirements. People tend to be conditioned into believing that the State is benign even when it is acting in a terroristic fashion.


Phil Lennon - 4/14/2003

If Fashionable European Anti-Americanism Becomes Popular World Wide Should America Care?

Anti Americanism has been a favorite European past time for at least one hundred years. The reasons for this vary from period-to-period but the affect has always been the same. As we all know, the latest catalyst, which probably is the most serious, is the Iraqi war. However, does this mean that the United States is doing the wrong thing?

The United States did support Iraq in the early 80's in an effort to keep a buffer against Iranian Islamic Fundamentalism. In so doing the United States knowingly supplied Iraq with battle field weapons such as Soviet T-55's (via Egypt), helicopters, land mines, etc... along with allowing them to receive certain biological samples that could be weaponised, and looking the other way as they used chemical weapons against dissident Kurds in the North.

The United States also was aware that Iraq was conducting an Arabisation campaign in the North in an effort to water down Kurdish Nationalism. In some circles, such activities are considered a form of genocide.

In 1989 the United States broke all ties with the Baghdad government upon the invasion and subsequent annexation of Kuwait.

After a war against Iraq to oust them from Kuwait the United States led coalition stopped short of a complete invasion of Iraq. The reasons have been argued for sometime, but the effect is obvious. The United States and the United Nations spent 12 years enforcing a United Nations sanctioned embargo against Iraq. This was done in an attempt to deny the Iraqi government the ability to make war on, and intimidate its neighbors. In an effort to penalize the government but not the Iraqi people the United Nations created the Oil for Food Program. This program allowed the sale of some Iraqi oil so that they could purchase food and medicine for the Iraqi people. Somehow, despite this program, the Iraqi people received little food and medicine. However, the Iraqi regime continued on, the only difference was it had to tighten its hold on the population. Worse yet, it continued to threaten and intimidate its neighbors.

Finally, we need to keep in mind that while the United States has been a participant in arming Iraq under the Hussien regime it has not been the sole participant, in fact one can argue that the United States has been a very minor participant. Long before the United States became friendly with Saddam Hussien and his regime, the Soviet Union was trading with Iraq. This, relationship started soon after the Bath party took power. In so doing, Iraq began purchasing Soviet weapons systems. Thus, the Iraqi army was almost entirely organized along the lines of a Warsaw Pact military organization and it's armaments of choice were Soviet made.

France also had business relationships with Iraq, the most infamous being the nuclear power plant that was designed and being constructed by French contractors. It seems that the republic of France was concerned that Iraq was in need of inexpensive electricity. Unfortunately, that power plant was permanently destroyed in a 1985 Israeli air raid. It seems that the Israelis were a bit paranoid of their, oil rich, neighbor obtaining inexpensive electricity.

Germany has helped the Hussien regime build vast and sophisticated bunker complexes. Modernize Scud missile systems and an array of lesser known weapons systems.

Most of these activities took place before the United Nations sanctions and the Gulf War of 1991. Meaning, that like the United States, Western and Eastern Europe have had similar policies where Iraq is concerned.

The real question is one of current policy. Does the United States intend to occupy Iraq and begin to invade its neighbors one-by-one for the next five or six years, the maximum length of the Bush administration. Or does the United States intend to create a democratic Arab state in the middle of three of the world's largest Muslim states. All three of which are ruled by dictators, one of which can be considered a surrogates of the United States, one a surrogate of the former Soviet Union and still closely aligned with modern Russia. The last being considered more of a rogue state then anything else.

The true answer to the question above remains to be seen. However, we can speculate. The best way to speculate is to weigh motives and current activities.

Russia is in great economic trouble. In the past Iraq has been one of her most lucrative trading partners. Currently Russia is constructing a nuclear power plant in Iran to help the oil rich nation produce inexpensive electricity. That power plant is scheduled to go on line sometime in 2003.

France and Germany have also been very good trading partners with Iraq. Both have ties with the Hussien regime that go back further then United States resulting in lucrative business contracts. Even before the Eight year war between Iran and Iraq.

Like the United States none of these countries stopped trade with Iraq while the Hussien regime was performing any of the atrocities mentioned above.

The United States is by far the world's largest oil consumer. Cheap Iraqi oil would be an economic boon. However, a drawn out war, similar to what we fought in Vietnam would be exceedingly expensive. Most experts agree that an American occupation of Iraq would quickly turn into a gorilla war. An unconventional war, by even gorilla war standards, that may be fought around the world.

The three European powers mentioned above were prepared to continue United Nations sanctions against Iraq. These sanctions were seemingly ineffective, and were largely viewed as being anti-Iraqi people, rather then anti-Hussien regime. These sentiments were in no small way due to the fact that infant mortality and child malnutrition rates in Iraq climbed to sickening levels. These three powers also planned to continue the weapons inspections that were only back in place after a seven year hiatus, due to pressure from the United States and Britain. Inspections that failed to turn up any evidence of weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that every Western intelligence agency had evidence showing the existence of such weapons.

Perhaps, with the above mentioned examples, the question should not be "Is the United States doing the right thing?" perhaps it should be "Has the policy that the United States and the rest of the United Nations been following been the right thing?".

It seems that now that the Hussien regime has been removed from power and the United States and Great Britain have for the large part accomplished this with few civilian casualties, the United Nations in particular France, Germany and Russia owe the United States and Britain at least twelve years to see if they are sincere. After all, they did the same for Saddam Hussien even after numerous atrocities. At least now, Iraqi civilians will be able to feed themselves and their children.


Phil Lennon - 4/14/2003

If Fashionable European Anti-Americanism Becomes Popular World Wide Should America Care?

Anti Americanism has been a favorite European past time for at least one hundred years. The reasons for this vary from period-to-period but the affect has always been the same. As we all know, the latest catalyst, which probably is the most serious, is the Iraqi war. However, does this mean that the United States is doing the wrong thing?

The United States did support Iraq in the early 80's in an effort to keep a buffer against Iranian Islamic Fundamentalism. In so doing the United States knowingly supplied Iraq with battle field weapons such as Soviet T-55's (via Egypt), helicopters, land mines, etc... along with allowing them to receive certain biological samples that could be weaponised, and looking the other way as they used chemical weapons against dissident Kurds in the North.

The United States also was aware that Iraq was conducting an Arabisation campaign in the North in an effort to water down Kurdish Nationalism. In some circles, such activities are considered a form of genocide.

In 1989 the United States broke all ties with the Baghdad government upon the invasion and subsequent annexation of Kuwait.

After a war against Iraq to oust them from Kuwait the United States led coalition stopped short of a complete invasion of Iraq. The reasons have been argued for sometime, but the effect is obvious. The United States and the United Nations spent 12 years enforcing a United Nations sanctioned embargo against Iraq. This was done in an attempt to deny the Iraqi government the ability to make war on, and intimidate its neighbors. In an effort to penalize the government but not the Iraqi people the United Nations created the Oil for Food Program. This program allowed the sale of some Iraqi oil so that they could purchase food and medicine for the Iraqi people. Somehow, despite this program, the Iraqi people received little food and medicine. However, the Iraqi regime continued on, the only difference was it had to tighten its hold on the population. Worse yet, it continued to threaten and intimidate its neighbors.

Finally, we need to keep in mind that while the United States has been a participant in arming Iraq under the Hussien regime it has not been the sole participant, in fact one can argue that the United States has been a very minor participant. Long before the United States became friendly with Saddam Hussien and his regime, the Soviet Union was trading with Iraq. This, relationship started soon after the Bath party took power. In so doing, Iraq began purchasing Soviet weapons systems. Thus, the Iraqi army was almost entirely organized along the lines of a Warsaw Pact military organization and it's armaments of choice were Soviet made.

France also had business relationships with Iraq, the most infamous being the nuclear power plant that was designed and being constructed by French contractors. It seems that the republic of France was concerned that Iraq was in need of inexpensive electricity. Unfortunately, that power plant was permanently destroyed in a 1985 Israeli air raid. It seems that the Israelis were a bit paranoid of their, oil rich, neighbor obtaining inexpensive electricity.

Germany has helped the Hussien regime build vast and sophisticated bunker complexes. Modernize Scud missile systems and an array of lesser known weapons systems.

Most of these activities took place before the United Nations sanctions and the Gulf War of 1991. Meaning, that like the United States, Western and Eastern Europe have had similar policies where Iraq is concerned.

The real question is one of current policy. Does the United States intend to occupy Iraq and begin to invade its neighbors one-by-one for the next five or six years, the maximum length of the Bush administration. Or does the United States intend to create a democratic Arab state in the middle of three of the world's largest Muslim states. All three of which are ruled by dictators, one of which can be considered a surrogates of the United States, one a surrogate of the former Soviet Union and still closely aligned with modern Russia. The last being considered more of a rogue state then anything else.

The true answer to the question above remains to be seen. However, we can speculate. The best way to speculate is to weigh motives and current activities.

Russia is in great economic trouble. In the past Iraq has been one of her most lucrative trading partners. Currently Russia is constructing a nuclear power plant in Iran to help the oil rich nation produce inexpensive electricity. That power plant is scheduled to go on line sometime in 2003.

France and Germany have also been very good trading partners with Iraq. Both have ties with the Hussien regime that go back further then United States resulting in lucrative business contracts. Even before the Eight year war between Iran and Iraq.

Like the United States none of these countries stopped trade with Iraq while the Hussien regime was performing any of the atrocities mentioned above.

The United States is by far the world's largest oil consumer. Cheap Iraqi oil would be an economic boon. However, a drawn out war, similar to what we fought in Vietnam would be exceedingly expensive. Most experts agree that an American occupation of Iraq would quickly turn into a gorilla war. An unconventional war, by even gorilla war standards, that may be fought around the world.

The three European powers mentioned above were prepared to continue United Nations sanctions against Iraq. These sanctions were seemingly ineffective, and were largely viewed as being anti-Iraqi people, rather then anti-Hussien regime. These sentiments were in no small way due to the fact that infant mortality and child malnutrition rates in Iraq climbed to sickening levels. These three powers also planned to continue the weapons inspections that were only back in place after a seven year hiatus, due to pressure from the United States and Britain. Inspections that failed to turn up any evidence of weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that every Western intelligence agency had evidence showing the existence of such weapons.

Perhaps, with the above mentioned examples, the question should not be "Is the United States doing the right thing?" perhaps it should be "Has the policy that the United States and the rest of the United Nations been following been the right thing?".

It seems that now that the Hussien regime has been removed from power and the United States and Great Britain have for the large part accomplished this with few civilian casualties, the United Nations in particular France, Germany and Russia owe the United States and Britain at least twelve years to see if they are sincere. After all, they did the same for Saddam Hussien even after numerous atrocities. At least now, Iraqi civilians will be able to feed themselves and their children.


Phil Cavalier - 4/13/2003

These posts did get sidetracted. On April 7, Markowitz begins with, "As the war grinds on, etc." A week later the Iraqi's are defeated by a coalition force of concerned countries. This action was taken after months of inaction by the UN.

As for comparisions to prior periods, i.e. pre world war 1, there was no UN and the United States had not been attacked at that time. And in recent years the US has been cutting back on its military, unlike Germany which was building up it military.

But on 9/11 thousands of Americans and others around the world died because of the hatred of some of the people whose opinion we should be concerned about. If they loved us more before 9/11, it did not help us much. On that day, American's and others took nosedives out of 50, 60, 70 story windows, my relative led 8 fireman into a collapsing building and only 2 came out, friends and co-workers I knew perished in the attack. For months our police, fireman, port authority, etc. attended daily funerals.

What to do? Bush and co. got support from the the Congress, and then went to the UN to get a resolution to protect this country and our offspring from more horrible, and devastating attachs. Although many weeks were spent discussing the Iraq situation in the UN, no one was willing to be a leader and demand that the UN resolutions be adhered too.

The countries Markowitz sited had all reduced their military so they could follow more socialistic activities. The US had no choice but to rely on itself for self protection. But fortunately many other nations realized our position and joined us.

Markowitz does not identify the questionnaire used, but as was pointed out by Bill Heuisler, his negative comments against the US were highly suspect and sounded more like his own philosphoy rather than the results of some opinion poll.

Perhaps the most daming evidence of Markowitz's article is that world opinion from those he sites, France, Germany and Russia, as well as in asia, the middle east and europe is now applauding the United States for it humanitarian position. They are also acknowledging the need for the US to protect itself.

There are still those who see scary shadows as they look into the future, but such people have never provided the leadership that can make this a better world to live in.


Derek Catsam - 4/12/2003

The missiles were destroyed. Just because the fissible material was removed does not mean the weapons themselves, the delivery systems, were not destroyed -- an atomic weapon needs plutonium of course, but what YOU said was that the Nuclear weapons were turned over to the US. No such thing happened. You can slither all you want -- it still stands that what you said was wrong on its face.
De Klerk absolutely was a terrorist, if by terrorist we mean someone who utilizes fear and state force arbitrarily over a civilian population, as the Third Force operatives clearly did and as the documentation shows that De Klerk knew and in many cases signed off on. SA did not invade anyone and were not threatening to invade anyone? Apperently you've not heard of Namibia? Apparently you've not heard of South African troops in Botswana? Read Gavin Cawthra's "Brutal Force: The Apartheid War Machine," inter alia and then tell me that South Africa posed no threats to its neighbors. Then on top of that look at the iuses of the ilitary, police, and security forces in South Africa especially in the period after 1976 and tell me about the benign nature of de Klerk's security state.
Yes, I do think we are appeasing in, say, the Sudan depending on how we define appeasement. You forget that unlike most of the left I understand the sad necessity of the use of force, even if I am loath to use it often. Great nations by necessity must appease because we cannot be everywhere. But if it were viable, when the Iraq situation is resolved, I would aim the US military to the Southwest and address the atrocities in the Sudan, which matches and surpasses anything Saddam. And that is sayimng something for me, as I do not think that foreign militaries, which have cocked up Africa for a century, have any business engaging in neoimperialist ventures. But talk about evil regimes that support the worst forms of barbarity and terrorism -- including terrorism aimed directly at the US. That is one of the flaws of the anti-war argument. They keep bringing up other examples of where we are not acting as if they are making some stinging point. They are cunningly trying to make the perfect the enemy of the good. In short, appeasement is not necessarily the wrong thing.

As for Reagan, I'm afraid you needs to actually make an argument rather than simply claim that I am wrong, misleading and whatever else. Reagan opposed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, then undercut it by imposing more lenient presidential sanctions rather than enacting Congress' will, bolstered the morally vacant and enabling doctrine of Constructive Engagement, refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the ANC, and said utterly stupid things in support of Pretoria like this gem in August 1985 -- the same month that Botha declared the State of Emergency! -- He claimed that the NP gov't was "reformist" and that "they have eliminated the type of segregation that we once had in our own country, the type of thing where hotels and restaurants and places of entertainment and so forth were segregated. this has all been eliminated." Oh really? Tell this to the families of the Cradock Four whose funeral was being held on the day Botha called the State of Emergency. Chester Crocker was even appalled at Reagan's utter cluelessness on Africa and especially South Africa, and he was Reagan's Undersecretary of State for goodness' sake! Reagan did not bolster Pretoria? he intervened in 1982 to support South Africa's application for a $1.1 billion loan from the IMF under the argument that, as Donmald Regan put it, the US should "not introduce political considerations in the IMF," leading Congressman William H. Gray to argue that the Reagan administration had "already politicized the IMF by opposing loans to Nicaragua, Vietnam and Grenada and by insisting on a loan to El Salvador in spite of opposition from western Europe and the IMF Staff."

Sure, Markowitz and some of the HNN posters are being fools. Some are making cogent antiwar comments. Some are blindly self-righteous. Others are expressing their sentiments well and are making good points. I STILL don't trust those on either side who express their option as the only one with such moral certitude. i support this war now, reluctantly, because the ends will justify it, because Saddam is evil and the world should weep no tears for the loss of him and his cronies, and because I still believe that for all of the flaws of the United States, which I acknowledge and recognize, we still will try to offewr a better way in Iraq. But i do not necessarily think that this administration will do the best or most effective job of what needs to be done in the weeks and months and years ahead.
In any case, as a New hampshire native living in Minnesota, I need to go and brave the madding Gopher crowds to root for UNH against what the folks up here solipsistically call "The U" (which is located, by the way, in what they call "The Cities") in the NCAA hockey championships. I expect to make some enemies tonight . . .
Cheers --
dc


Bill Heuisler - 4/12/2003

Derek,
This is getting silly.
My statement, "Name one time appeasement has ever stopped aggression or terrorism in modern history."
Was answered by, "Beyond minor quibbles with using the loaded word "appeasement," I'd be curious what you'd say about the South African example, where the Reagan administration clearly appeased (to be kind; some of us would say "bolstered") the apartheid regime (which was both aggressive and terroristic)."
Wrong. Misleading. Off subject. Possibly a minor misdemeanor.

Not intervening in other countries isn't "appeasement" and you damn well know it or we could be accused of appeasing China, Cuba, Ireland, Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt etc, etc. Is that your position? If so, we'll have another discussion some other time.

De Klerk was not a terrorist. S.A. did not invade anyone, nor were they threatening to invade anyone. And please don't lecture me on the evils of apartheid - something on which we can agree. Also, nuclear arsenals don't get "destroyed" as you so quaintly assure. Weapon-grade plutonium and complex components needed for it's production could not be destroyed without wasting millions of dollars and irradiating a huge swath of land. The fissionable material and centrifuge complex were removed.

But remember? Markowitz and a well-seasoned guy named Max prefer appeasement to retribution because World Opinion is precious beyond comparison - precious beyond blood and sovereignty. They think the Arabs are a stupid, sullen lot who prefer a dictator Al-Tikriti over freedom Al-America and who can't think beyond the latest Guardian editorial. Max and Norm also believe man is eminently perfectable and the reason all men aren't peachy-perfect is the United States. Your opinion please?
Bill


Derek Catsam - 4/12/2003

Bill --
Once again, Reagan opposed sanctions against South Africa. To give him credit for the sanctions is to bastardize history. let's leave that to bellisles, shall we? Reagan considered mandela to be a communist and a terrorist. The US Congress did finally pass an anti-apartheid act, but it came rather late in the game, and if anything American businesses, often pushed by protesting university students (imagine that!) were a far greater engine of change than the United States as an entity or government. Clinton and Albright had little to do with anything? Er, this is simply terrain you clearly do not know. Princeton Lymon was ambassador to South Africa under Clinton during the negotiations, and the negotiated settlement took place after 1992. To say that Clinton had nothing to with it is absurd. Albright had little to do with it because Lymon (by the way -- I will say, Lymon was a Bush appointee, and in the 1980s he was ambassador to Nigeria) As for the nukes being "turned over to the US," well, it is factually untrue. The South African government/National Party dismantled its weapons in 1993, when De Klerk made public that since the 1970s South Africa had been developing a nuclear weapons program. De klerlk announced the end of the program and that the weapons had been destroyed. At this point the CLINTON administration put pressure on Pretoria to sign the nonproliferation treaty.
You say i am trying to have it both ways. I am not certain what you mean. You said that Mandela is president, I made clear that he is not. I said that the US never got South Africa's nukes. We did not. Apartheid ended, and as Alister Sparks, Patti Waldmeir, Princeton Lymon, and innumerable other observers, participants and writers (including little old me) have shown, the tranmsition is largely attributable to the South Africans themselves. Did we have NOTHING to do with it? No, of course not. but we do not deserve the lion'e share,. even a cub's share, of the credit. And certainly reagan, who buttressed apartheid for his eight years in office, deserves zero credit, as he opposed -- vetoed, can't get much more oppositional than that -- the one affirmative step the US government took.


NY Guy - 4/12/2003

Max looks like you reached the end of your spin sheet. Having nothing to say you repeat the departing party line. The good news is your gone. We appreciate your rights of free speech. It makes us appreciate America more.

Bye, Bye.


Libertarian Larry - 4/12/2003

I guess the Spanish have fallen for the Anti-American Left propaganda generated by the biased American media, Academia, and politicians.
If we are so ignorant, why do we lead the world in most all measures of prosperity and acheivement? Maybe the Spanish ought to try our "ignorance".
If we are so violent, why didn't we nuke Afganistan, Iraq, Syria, N. Korea... after 9/11? That would certainly have set us off. Why did we pay diplomatic games for years to win the cold war? Why have we held back and had the most humain wars in Afganistan and Iraq that the world has EVER seen?
If we are so imperialist, why did we leave Europe after WWII? Japan? Philippines? N. African? Why didn't we stay in Korea? Win Vietnam? We have NO colonies. However, if the Spanish look at themselves, I'm sure they will see a long hideous history of brutal colonization. Maybe they need to claim "everyone else does it?"
Right-wing... now that's funny. This country have become more and more socialist since FDR, Social Security, Medicaid, Welfare, Gov. Housing, Gov. Mass Transit, Gov. Schools, they are working on health care. I would say that Spain is so far left, that the old Soviet Union looked right-wing to them.
Materialistic Patriots? I would call it Capitalistic, but many deny it. Even "Free Markets" is not PC. Patriots? Well not as many as there should be. Many anti-war protestors claim to be "Patriotic" while acting the opposite.
I guess it's not new that the Spanish are so provential when it comes to their ideas of the US. They don't have a free press, and what they get from the US press & their own is our anti-American celebrities, politicians, and colleges. They don't even have a clue what the Constitution is all about.
Our Constitution is very unique in the world, you ought to try one. It assumes ALL power is in the hands of the citizens, then some very limited power is given up to create government. The PEOPLE are trusted to have the power of the gun, do the Spanish people have the power to own guns (without government interference)? Also US citizens are supposed to be responsible for their own actions, if they fail to provide for themselves, they can only blame themselves.
Sounds like the Spanish people need an education in the Facts of the US.


maxvintage - 4/12/2003

You, Bin Laden, the palestinians, the isreali's, you all believe your shows of force are righteous and self-justifying. There is no reasoning with a fanatic--they cannot be reasoned with. You have the corpses to reinforce your righteousness, they are, I suppose, a great comfort to you.


Bill Heuisler - 4/11/2003

Hey Max,
Must be nice to just turn everything off when things get tough.
Your discovery that we don't agree must've been quite a shock.

A tip: you'll find a lot of people don't agree with you in the real world of truth or consequence. Pacifists depend on others to protect their prerogative and the proletariat gets testy when terrorists blow them up and some bleeding-heart wants to dicker.

But you started this with your questions. Will you answer mine, or has Professor Markowitz become indefensible?
Bill Heuisler


maxvintage - 4/11/2003

We disagree, we have little in common. Enjoy your ragged corpses


Bill Heuisler - 4/11/2003

Derek,
Even though this is your territory, you can't have it both ways. Either Malan became Mandela, apartheid was scrapped and the nukes wound up in the US. Or...Mbeki is President, apartheid is scrapped and the nukes are gone...but the US had nothing to do with anything. Apologies to Mr. Mbeki, but aren't you indulging in a little negative editorializing?

First you allege, "The nuclear weapons were never "turned over to the US." Then you end the thought with, "...that proved the driving force." Driving force to what? Where are those nukes? Who made it all happen? Dislike Reagan & HW Bush if you wish, but
the record is there and President Clinton and his Madeline had precious little to do with the transformation of South Africa. Take DeBeers, add a pinch of Israeli help and recognize whose word those last ruling Africaners trusted.

As to the ANC, I prefer not to argue - no time. Suffice to say they have mellowed from the bad old days or most white South Africans would be gone from, or six feet under, the country.
Bill


Derek Catsam - 4/11/2003

Bill --
A few quibbles.
First, when did we ever give any ultimatums to South Africa? Certainly we never gave even the vaguest hint of military threats. The Reagan administration, through Constructive Engagement, Chester Crocker's vacuous chimera, is about as close to appeasement as it gets, and only overriding Reagan's veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act managed even to give the US a place at the table. And when it came to the negotiated settlement, we were very much there solely as medoiators and were not pushing our weight at all -- see Princeton Lymon, Ambassador to South Africa 1992-1994 in "Partner to History."
As for your three points:
1)Mandela WAS in power, of course. Now Thabo Mbeki is.
2)The nuclear weapons were never "turned over to the US." The Botha and especially de Klerk regimes realized how destabilizing nuclear weaponry could be, but it was really internal considerations -- especially not wanting to have blacks have access to such weapons, that proved the driving force. They obviously did not want to piss the US off, of course, but there were a whole lot of political concerns going on at the time, not all of which had much of anything to do with the US per se.
3) "The ANC is not too close to the seat of power?" What on earth are you talking about? The ANC IS the power in South Africa and has been since May 1994. The ANC just missed getting 2/3rds of the last national election tally, something that would have allowed them to amend the constitution (and which, to my mind would have been a bad thing). I'm not sure how much closer to "the seat of power" one can get than dominance.

We may not have "appeased" apartheid South Africa. But we sure as hell coddled them for several decades.


Bill Heuisler - 4/11/2003

Max,
Note how far we've wandered from my original objection to Markowitz, his myopia and his hatred. Did he mention 9/11? Is he more worried about world opinion than murder? Just how much provocation is needed? Do we need to lose a city to a suitcase nuke before unleashing our military? Calmly answer please.

Terrorists are not reasonable people to deal with, and the downtrodden Arab street is only attracted to romantic calls for jihad that somehow can rationalize their despot-ridden plight.
Calling for diplomacy in the face of fanaticism and impregnable ignorance seems a little too reasonable after dozens of attacks on US targets culminating in 9/11 and three thousand dead.

"...displays of american military might..." is not my answer. Not displays. Only righteous power impresses those without it.
It is becoming obvious that Iraq is - and has been - a haven and training ground for Al Queda and other terrorist groups that have killed Americans. We must kill terrorists and take their money and aura. Did the killers of Sadat succeed him? Will Somalis still die for the Mahdi? Of course not. The Arab street has never been enamored of ragged corpses.
Bill Heuisler


Bill Heuisler - 4/11/2003

Derek,
Ultimatums are not appeasement. Quibble about the time-line and the persons involved, but the progression of South Africa from men like Swart and Malan to men like Mandela was not accidental and could be classified as an unsung triumph of statesmanship.
The Afrikaner possession of nuclear weapons made everyone tread lightly and consider awful scenarios, but notice three things:
1) Mandela is in power and relatively temperate to whites.
2) The nuclear weapons have been quietly turned over to the US.
3) The ANC is not too close to the seat of power.

There were groups who wanted to resist to the death. A few died.
But, in the final analysis, the use of British and American military was a futile death-spasm only the most frenzied BB member could contemplate. They blinked. No appeasment there.
Bill


Derek Catsam - 4/11/2003

Bill, you wrote:
"Name one time appeasement has ever stopped aggression or terrorism in modern history."
Beyond minor quibbles with using the loaded word "appeasement," I'd be curious what you'd say about the South African example, where the Reagan administration clearly appeased (to be kind; some of us would say "bolstered") the apartheid regime (which was both aggressive and terroristic).

dc


maxvintage - 4/11/2003

I'm very calm, actually. just sitting here thinking.

Bill, I never, at any point, advocated appeasement, and neither did Markowitz. I worte this once before--mysense is, someone like Bin Laden could not be appeased anyway. He's a fanatic and his hostility to the US is not susceptible to compromise. I wold like to see him dead. But there are many people who are angry, rightly or wrongly, at the US, but do not directly take part in terrorims. These people are in effect the "swing votes:" they could go in the direction of supporting Bin laden and his ilk, or they could go in the direction we in the US want, which is towards secular liberal (in the classic sense!) statism. if we win these people over, we isolate Bin Laden types, make it harder for them to operate, harder to hide. As I said, I want him dead. This is not appeasement, it is a matter of convincing the fence sitters to fall our way.

I, and I think Markowitz, are simply arguing that a military response of the kind we have seen in Iraq is unlikely to make the world safer. If "appeasement" fails, the lesson I see in israel is that so too does the iron fist. Israel has not made itself more safe, and the palestianians, despite being stateless, poor, and under constant military control, have not stopped. whatever your feelings about the palestinians may be, let us consider simply that this policy has not worked for Israel. Neither have the russians silenced the chechens, nor could they subdue Afghanistan

Now I suppose it's possible that displays of american military might will make terrorists stop. This, it seems to me, is your argument. It may deter states like Syria from suppporting terrorism so overtly, and that's a good thing. But the lesson I see is that terrorism, being essentially stateless, is not detered by the confinement of states.

It's in some ways pointless to debate ths, as Bush has for now carried the day politically. We will see what results, when the feeling of triumph subsides and the hard work begins


Bill Heuisler - 4/11/2003

Max,
Markowitz is a Marxist; hell he's a Communist. I called him a Marxist theorist. What does that description have to do with you?
Such sensitivity - gathering arrows not aimed at you - must be tough to maintain in rough-and tumble political discussion.
Relax. There's no animus here. I don't care if you're a Martian as long as your ideas are interesting and incisive.

Better ways to stop terrorism? Name one time appeasement has ever stopped aggression or terrorism in modern history. This is a history site, you obviously are knowledgable in history.
Name one time and we'll discuss alternatives to blunt force.

If a Pahlavi equivalent emerges I will not protest. Protesters are a self-absorbed throwback to the Sixties - they tend to irritate cops and pump up polls for the opposite position. John McCain and John Kyl would hear from me and hundreds of others. Our young Marines did not fight and die for some Peacock Throne.
This will not happen, but you seem upset. Have a beer. Relax.
Bill Heuisler


maxvintage - 4/10/2003

No, I don't misunderstand you. I'm not a marxist, and it's hard for me to see why you are lobbing that tired old grenade at my post

Let me try to explain again. The argument is there are better ways to stop terrorism than blunt, invading force. isreal has been using blunt force against the palestinians for some time now, and the violence does not lessen. As i said, i love my country, and i don't wnat to see it turn into Isreal, a garrison state under constant attack and engaging in constant terrorist violence. i would like to find a better way. Apparently that makes me a marxist. Sigh...


It's been great to see the statue of Saddam tumbling. I hope a democratic Iraq results

My question was, if it doesn't, and we end up installing a regime like that of the late shah of iran, which ends up ruling by virtue of a secret police and a tight military control, will you be protesting the failure of democracy in Iraq?



Phil Cavalier - 4/10/2003

Question: What do you as a foreigner think of America?
Answer: 99.9% Said they wanted to know how to get their brothers, sisters, mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, and other relatives into the grand old United States.


BillHeuisler - 4/9/2003

Mr, Max,
Your missing my point has become a woeful art form.
Are you indulging in cynical contrariety or have you lost touch with reality? My better nature will assume the latter.

In your attempt to defend the indefensible you write:
"...he differs with you on how best to counter that threat."
Threat? The US has been attacked by Muslim terrorists for the past twenty years. Thousands of Americans have died. Attacks on the Marine Barracks in Beirut and destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 were not "threats", but atrocities.

Your Marxist theorist worries about world opinion of America.
We mourn our innocent dead and try to stop the evil. Got it?

Then you shifted defense to Saddam in near-symetric dissonance with those who proclaim Baghdad airport free of Americans:
You wrote, "...absolutely zero evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 911 attacks." Such transparent certainty! And it's not true. But is a rallying cry for those who see no evil anywhere but Washington DC. This argument has become moot; we fight Islamic terrorism everywhere, but I will try once more.

A Talmudic and Roman Catholic core argument for the belief in God is the "Uncaused Cause" - a circumstantial thought-process alleging God due to the intricacies of life and the absence of another explanation. A man of your vintage is surely aware there is "absolutely zero evidence" of a connection between God and the Human Condition. But believe the opposite? Or Agnosticism? No. Millions believe. But you must resist; you cannot consider logical apostasy or your odd belief-system will collapse.
As events undo your rigid desiderata, you have my sympathy.
Bill Heuisler


Garry Perkins - 4/9/2003

I dream of having European public opinion return to the good ole 1950s and 1960s. For every French intelectual who despised US foreign policy (as well as US food, music, workers, ...), there were 100 regular French men and women who adored us. The problem is that the radical intellectual scene has come to dominate French and to a lesser extent, European public opinion. Jerks with PhDs will always hate America. We value money and television over education. We lack the kind of refined class hated that Europeans mistake for civilization. American foreign policy is almost irrelevant. It is just another agruing point for those elitests who detest everything we stand for. We used to have the hearts and minds of the beer-drinking masses, and that is still the group who matters. High-class coffee-sipping swine with government jobs are evil, whether they are European, American, or Middle-Eastern. We want to offend them. Our real problem is that regular Europeans have turned against us. This issue will not go away with some foreign policy changes. It may never go away. Perhaps Europe has changed so much that the US may need to reconsider its current relationships. Maybe the US should start looking to the Pacific for alliances, instead of dwelling on the old world that is increasingly irrelavent. "Primal anti-Communism" is still in vogue in all the regions surrounding actual imperialist nations such as the PRC and Vietnam. If we spent the same energy protecting democracies such as Taiwan as we do protecting fascists such as Kuwait, we would be loved in non-Communist Asia. Of course, Euro-centric professors such as Markowitz would never conceive of such as thing.


John Moser - 4/9/2003

Precisely. Foreigners will choose to believe whatever they want about the United States. If we chose NOT to invade Iraq no doubt the world would find some way to spin the decision in such a way as to confirm all their worst prejudices about Americans (too selfish and materialistic to care about the plight of the Iraqi people, perhaps?). Better then to act with our own interests in mind, rather than seek the permission of others.


Esteban Yáñez - 4/9/2003

People here in Spain have had the same image of the USA since a long time ago, a great number of Spanish people see Americans as ignorant, violent, imperialist, right-wing, materialistic patriots or fundamentalists. It's not a new thing.


Phil Cavalier - 4/9/2003

Question: If you had a choice of going to a top college in your country or going to a decent college in the US, which would you chose.
Anser: 99.9% said they prefer an American college, and the chance to live in the great old USA.


Phil Cavalier - 4/9/2003

Question: What do you as a foreign student think of America?
Answer: 99.9% answered, How can I get into one of the prestigious American colleges?


Phil Cavalier - 4/9/2003

Question: What do you as a foreigner think of America?
Answer: 99.9% answered, "How can I get a green card."


maxvintage - 4/8/2003

Well no Bill, I don't think he forgot. i think he differs with you on how best to counter that threat. He thinks that unilaterally offending the rest of the world is likely to engender MORE hostility, not less. There is, of course, the fact that there has been found absolutely zero evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 911 attacks.

I agree with him, because I love my country and regret seeing it turn towards what looks like a path of aggressive militarism. I suppose the test will be our conduct in iraq--will we let geniune democracy flourigh. If we don't--if we end up installing another Shah of Iran--will you be protesting, Bill?


Bill Heuisler - 4/8/2003

A historian's ranking of events can be awkwardly instructive.

Notice how Professor Markowitz's pretense of solicitude fails to hide his feelings. The facade of concern for the US continues throughout his piece until the second-to-last paragraph where he exhibits his true - and very ugly - opinion of his country. Venom glistens as he lovingly describes world opinion as,
"...denouncing American policy and the American people as arrogant and hypocritical, a nation of self-aggrandizers on a path of military interventionism that has only begun."

He details "Gott mit uns", Guatemalan bananas, Cold War, Goethe and Beethoven in excrutiating metaphor, but somehow neglects the many Muslim attacks on his beloved country and one of the most horrific and pregnant events in our history - the 9/11 attack.

Maybe the history professor just forgot. You think?
Bill Heuisler

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