Sunday, May 01, 2005

VDH on Anti-Americanism

In his latest column for National Review Online, Victor Davis Hanson makes a crucial point about anti-Americanism: it is as much a reflection on those who hold such views as it is on America. There are many instances, in fact, where we should consider being disliked to be a badge of honor:

It is the wage of the superpower to be envied. Others weaker vie for its influence and attention — often when successful embarrassed by the necessary obsequiousness, when ignored equally shamed at the resulting public impotence. The Cold War is gone and former friends and neutrals no longer constrain their anti-American rhetoric in fear of a cutthroat and nuclear Soviet Union. Americans are caricatured as cocky and insular — as their popular culture sweeps the globe.

All that being said, the disdain that European utopians, Arab dictatorships, the United Nations, and Mexico exhibit toward the United States is not — as the Kerry campaign alleged in the last election — cause for tears, but often reason to be proud, since much of the invective arises from the growing American insistence on principles abroad.

America should not gratuitously welcome such dislike; but we should not apologize for it either. Sometimes the caliber of a nation is found not in why it is liked, but rather in why it is not. By January 1, 1941, I suppose a majority on the planet — the Soviet Union, all of Eastern Europe, France, Italy, Spain, and even many elsewhere in occupied Europe, most of Latin America, Japan and its Asian empire, the entire Arab world, many in India — would have professed a marked preference for Hitler's Germany over Churchill's England.

Please read it all:

On Being Disliked


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