Millions and millions of people see American officials at peace [who] support, prop up extremely corrupt, crumbling regimes in the Middle East, regimes that have no sympathy for any democratic notion in their countries. They have no notion of support in any kind of human rights for their own people.
But they see Americans appeasing them. They see Americans supporting them -- and I'm talking about the American officials here, many administrations. This is not only restricted to the current administration. So they view this as an act of hostility towards the people of these countries.
Although anti-Americanism is genuinely widespread among Arab governments and peoples, however, there is something seriously misleading in this account. Arab and Muslim hatred of the United States is not just, or even mainly, a response to actual U.S. policies -- policies that, if anything, have been remarkably pro-Arab and pro-Muslim over the years. Rather, such animus is largely the product of self-interested manipulation by various groups within Arab society, groups that use anti-Americanism as a foil to distract public attention from other, far more serious problems within those societies.
Equally, what do anti-Americans mean when they say that they do not like U.S. policy? Why did Europeans or Arabs oppose the United States over a war with Iraq? Do they believe America attacked Iraq to steal oil and enslave Arabs and Muslims, or do they think that it simply misunderstood the best way to deal with a dictator who oppressed his people and endanngered the West? These are both arguments against the war in Iraq but the first is anti-American and the second is not.
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