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Some lawmakers are shocked, shocked that there is anti-American sentiments in some countries!
October 10, 2001 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Some lawmakers are shocked, shocked that there is anti-American sentiments in some countries! "Why is it that from the streets of Jakarta in Indonesia to Pakistan to scores of other countries, the white venom of hate is oozing in a singularly ugly and sickening fashion?" Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., said Wednesday at a hearing on public diplomacy. Those are "two nations that we have helped enormously since they gained independence." The answer, he said, is bad P.R. What's your answer?
posted by Rastafari (24 comments total)

 
bad foreign policy?
posted by rebeccablood at 4:44 PM on October 10, 2001


Uninformed people coupled with misguided ideas.
posted by geoff. at 4:59 PM on October 10, 2001


cultural, economic, and military imperialism?
posted by panopticon at 5:02 PM on October 10, 2001


Where to begin? Deliberate anti-American propaganda, differing social values, self-interested American foreign policy, perceived American arrogance, envy of our (America's) success, Machiavellian opportunism from all sides. All of the above. Both America and much of the rest of the world (including the often self-righteous European "international community") suffers from a self-congratulatory, deliberate blindness to their own faults.

America sometimes acts like a know-it-all teenager, expecting everybody to do it our way. After all, we're America, darn it.

The international community sometimes acts, collectively, like a spoiled brat; expecting America to selflessly intervene whenever they say so, then criticizing us when we don't do it they way that they wanted us to. It's a generation gap, with both sides playing part adolescent and part adult.

The blame here is not either/or.
posted by gd779 at 5:03 PM on October 10, 2001


so they just now pulled their heads out of their...
sandboxes?
posted by themikeb at 5:18 PM on October 10, 2001


Screw them. We bailed out I don't know how many countries and our guys lost lives doing this. They don't like us? then don't buy our shit or take our money or make lost cost goodies for our nation to buy....there are other places in the world where people will be glad to get work generated by our nation and its system.
posted by Postroad at 5:40 PM on October 10, 2001


Put it this way: No matter what America does in foreign policy, there are going to be anti-American protesters. It's inveitable when you've got your hands in so many honeypots. But the answer is not isolationism: After all, Israelis after WW2 and ethnic minorities in Central Africa a few years ago were upset when America *didn't* intervene (although you don't here them chanting for Japan, Australia and France to come end their predicaments; it's always America).

There are those who hate America for our products, although most of this hate is from those who want to keep an anachronistic way of life and have power. The US isn't forcing people in Indonesia to buy Reebok's and drink Coke. The people drink the Coke because it's much better than the garbage sodas a lot of countries produce. If we were forcing people to accept our way of life, a la British Gunboat Diplomacy in 1800's China, the complaints would be understandable. But they're not.

These people dislike us, for the most part, because our our way of life. And it many sound too simple, but these people dont' value diversity. They don't value democracy. They don't value secularization. And they definitely dont' want their youth to value these things. For everything you hear about America being untolerant, remember that much of the world is run by a meme which is equivalent to a Sri Lankan, Ethiopian or Afghani Jerry Falwell.
posted by Kevs at 5:47 PM on October 10, 2001


Rep. Lantos must not be familiar w/the U.S. backing of the security forces that killed 100,000 people in Indonesia in the '60s in the name of suppressing Communism (see official U.S. gov report here.) Or the tacit support we gave to the brutal repression of the independence movement in East Timor.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:05 PM on October 10, 2001


Kevs, you're completely off in your last paragraph. People around the world do most assuredly value democracy and freedom, and they see America as a direct threat to that freedom. Whether that has to do directly with the CIA influencing their elections in the past, or in the US support for the corrupt regimes they live under. Those regimes allow Anti-American protest, but worry about it, because when people start questioning things, that's when regimes fall.

Also, it's important to remember that while many of the people in these countries really want to be protesting against the leadership of their own countries, they can't do that because they'll be locked up or worse. America then becomes a surrogate for their anger. At the same time, the idea of America, a place where just about everyone lives in peace, can own their own business without too much government intervention, and can elect their leaders is tremendously appealing. But when people see that America is directly or indirectly contributing to their regime's ability to stay in power in the name of Global Stability, it angers them. While I do not believe America is the direct cause of much suffering the world, and has indeed tried to alleviate suffering when the potential for destabalization is low, America is lurking in the background behind many of the repressive regimes in the world, making sure stability wins out over justice. This helps us and our economy, but don't you think people who don't benefit from it have a legitimate grievance?

Most of the time when you see people in foreign countries protesting in the street, it's because they care about their country, they're unhappy, and they're looking for a change. Some of their criticism is justified, some of it isn't.

They're just like you and me, have the same human desires for peace, stability, freedom, and a nice comfortable life. This is what 99% of people in the world want, and what they deserve.
posted by cell divide at 6:20 PM on October 10, 2001


My country, Malaysia? One word: Zoolander.
posted by timyang at 6:39 PM on October 10, 2001


If someone has to ask why politically-conscious people in Indonesia of all places don't like the USA, then they need a history lesson. I mean, come on...
posted by tranquileye at 7:34 PM on October 10, 2001


tranquileye....

The Soviet government theatened to "destroy us" 38 years ago, but I don't see Americans in the streets protesting aid to Russia. If someone has to ask why our government's actions and situation are different now than they were decades in the past, they need a sociology lesson. I mean, come on...
posted by Kevs at 7:37 PM on October 10, 2001


These are our elected lawmakers. How can it be possible that not a one of them seems to have a clue about the history of the anti-communist driven foreign policy that was used by this country since before the end of WWII? Did they sleep through history class? Or is this yet another failure of the education system in this country?
posted by bjgeiger at 7:50 PM on October 10, 2001


And why exactly is it *white* venom?
posted by ilsa at 10:20 PM on October 10, 2001


Rep. Lantos must not be familiar w/ the U.S. backing of the security forces that killed 100,000 people in Indonesia in the '60s in the name of suppressing Communism (see official U.S. gov report here.) Or the tacit support we gave to the brutal repression of the independence movement in East Timor.

Right, so they hate us for opposing murderous communists 40 years ago and hate us for not opposing murderous rebels now.

See: Damned if you do, damned if you don`t.
posted by chiheisen at 12:03 AM on October 11, 2001


You have to admit, you guys are dicks, sometimes.
posted by houndyboy at 12:35 AM on October 11, 2001


The reason these people are protesting against America is that they sympathize with the innocent people your military is killing in Afganistan.
posted by dydecker at 12:42 AM on October 11, 2001


Right, so they hate us for opposing murderous communists 40 years ago and hate us for not opposing murderous rebels now.

murdering 'murderous' communists, how proud you must be!
posted by asok at 12:55 AM on October 11, 2001


What's your answer?

Ignorance due to their comparatively backwards cultures, combined with a terminal addiction to massive daily doses of religion-based intolerance?
posted by aaron at 6:53 AM on October 11, 2001



It's because we're all so god-damned free, right?

That's what I heard on TV, anyway.
posted by Jart at 7:12 AM on October 11, 2001


Ignorance due to their comparatively backwards cultures, combined with a terminal addiction to massive daily doses of religion-based intolerance?

Are you referring to average Americans here, or Indonesians?

FACT: the US of A is one of the most powerful empires history has known, with a military-industrial complex that affects and directs major decisions around the world. Does anybody honestly think America got there by BEING FAIR?

What is so comparatively forward-thinking about a nation that, as the Onion put it, "longs to care about pointless shit again"? (paraphrase)

I'll probably get lotsa flame for this, but I just get sick of the arrogant bilge spouted by folk who think that most Americans are somehow less stupid than the rest of us.
posted by Anchovy at 7:59 AM on October 11, 2001


"How is it that the country that invented Hollywood and Madison Avenue has such trouble promoting a positive image of itself overseas?"

Maybe, Rep. Hyde, Hollywood and Madison Avenue shouldn't be the role models you detail when lamenting the poor PR campaign America is unfolding.

I can see it now..."New from America, a subsidiary of Popeil, Inc., it's the Pocket Democracy. It slices, it dices, it subjugates. Easy cleanup...get one today!!"

You have to admit, you guys are dicks, sometimes.

Why, I oughta....
posted by byort at 8:34 AM on October 11, 2001


well, i often get the impression that people take personal offence at my general comments on, say, the suitability of foreign policy, which i find perplexing.
however, Anchovy, do not expect to get much in the way of considered responses to your remarks above.
those ideas, which i support in the main, need some development. 'diplomatic' language can help, and shows a level of refinement/sensitivity that the 'flamers' seem incapable of.
i previously have received this response to an entreaty to attempt empathy with a point of view other than the *fanatical pro-americanism* which seems popular in this neck of the woods:

'the rest of the world can go fuck itself'

which is your point entirely, as i interperate it.
posted by asok at 8:35 AM on October 11, 2001


Ah, Indonesia... the good old days when the US helped a murderous goon (Suharto) topple the popular leader of the Independence struggle (Sukarno) and massacre at least 100,000 members of the Communist party (the largest and most popular CP outside the USSR at the time) plus "sympathizers"- while the US press praised said slaughter. Then one of the most corrupt regimes in the known universe led by that precious ally Suharto, installed itself on their necks with military and political support from the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, France etc. If Landos had said "we have helped enormously the Suharto family amass incredible fortune" his statement would be accurate.

Ungrateful Indonesians indeed.
posted by talos at 8:58 AM on October 11, 2001


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