9.07.2006

No Longer On Top



From The Times (UK):
Not 'All Americans' Now

. . . The rest of the world has always had a complex set of attitudes towards America — a mixture of envy, admiration, disdain, gratitude, exasperation, hope and, sometimes, fear. But that day, that week, America evoked only the sort of strenuous affection that causes a complete stranger to go out and stick bills on lampposts.

But that instantaneous solidarity with a stricken superpower was not, as it turned out, anything like a good predictor of the history that would unfold over the next half a decade.

As it prepares to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks, America stands reviled in the world as never before. It is a remarkable turnabout. In the same amount of time that elapsed between the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and the Treaty of Versailles, in as many months as passed between Germany’s invasion of Poland and D-Day, the US has gone from innocent victim of unimaginable villainy to principal perpetrator of global suffering.

So complete has been this transformation in global sentiment that it is inconceivable now, should America be attacked again, today, that the tragedy would elicit the same response. There would be horror and sympathy in good measure, certainly, from most decent people. But there would also be much Schadenfreude, and even from the sympathetic a grim, unsmiling sense that America had reaped what it had sown.

The facts — the historical events — that have brought about this changed perception of America are not in dispute. They can be tracked chronologically, almost from the moment the twin towers came down . . .
From The Economist
America's longest war

A nation once joined together in shock and vulnerability is now riven by failure and recrimination . . .

The administration capitalised on the more vengeful mood to produce a wide-ranging response. On September 11th Mr Bush concluded that America was at war. That day, too, he stated that he would make no distinction between terrorists and those who harboured them. This rapidly became the “Bush doctrine”. America would not wait for the next attack: it would take the war to the enemy. That did not mean al-Qaeda alone. Any state sponsoring terrorists or supplying them with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would be dealt with, even before the threat was fully developed. And America would not simply treat symptoms. It would tackle the causes of Islamic terrorism . . .

Might isn't right

The American left, in particular, has reverted to its pre-September 11th, and perhaps even pre-Clinton, suspicion of American power. A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in November 2005 found that only 59% of Democrats still supported the decision to invade Afghanistan, compared with 94% of Republicans. A survey by the Century Foundation asked left-wingers and conservatives to rate their two main foreign-policy goals. Conservatives put destroying al-Qaeda at the top of their list; leftists put it at number ten . . .

The concentration on national security reflects a second big change: America's new but continuing sense of vulnerability. This has deepened over the years. The war in Iraq has proved how difficult it is for America to use its military might to change the world. The fiasco of failing to find any WMD in Iraq underlined the weakness of its intelligence services. The response to Hurricane Katrina showed dramatically what several congressional reports had already pointed out: that the administration had done little to prepare for another catastrophic attack.

Lastly, September 11th has turned the Bush presidency into a big deal. Before the aircraft struck, Mr Bush looked like a small-bore president—divisive, to be sure, but divisive about little things. On the morning of September 11th Mr Bush was reading “My Pet Goat” to a class of second-graders. His speech-writer, Michael Gerson, was working on a speech on “Communities of Character”. America is now as divided as possible about Mr Bush. His supporters regard him as a “transformative” figure like Ronald Reagan. His critics view him as a catastrophe—possibly the worst president in American history, according to Sean Wilentz, a Princeton historian. But, thanks to September 11th, nobody can dismiss him as a mere footnote.
The neoconservatives have accomplished three of their goals: to destroy Afghanistan, which is now one big poppy field; to destroy Iraq, which is now one big killing field; and to destroy the United States, which is now one big leeching field.

Remember that the goal of globalization is the eradication of countries as such so their are no impediments to "free trade." Remember also that our government has mastered the art of Orwellian doublespeak. We still deploy a missile system called "Peacemaker."

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