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Why people abhor USA ?

Tarek Heggy
tarekheggy@gmail.com
2013 / 1 / 27


i) Over the years I have been a frequent traveler to the United States,
visiting roughly half the number of states some forty times since 1985.
However, my visits were focused mainly on six cities: New York, Washington
D.C., Boston, Houston, Dallas and San Francisco. In my capacity as C.E.O.
of one of the largest oil multinationals (for a full decade till 30th
June, 1996), I dealt with some of the leading figures in the oil industry
in Texas. I have participated in brainstorming sessions at major political
and economic research centres in Washington and New York, and was a
visiting lecturer at some twenty universities, including Princeton,
Columbia, UCLA and Berkley. I have been received at the State Department,
the National Security Council and by the Congressional Committee for
Religious Freedoms. American editions of a number of my books were
published in Portland, Oregon.

A question I am often asked by my American interlocuters is why so many
people around the world hate the United States. There is no easy answer to
this question, which contains an inherent paradox: to whit, despite their
protestations hatred for America, the vast majority of young people living
in the most virulently anti-American societies dream of emigrating to the
United States and becoming American citizens. Minutes into a conversation
with these America-bashers one realizes how much they admire the ‘American
dream’, the freedoms enjoyed by American citizens, their equal rights and
obligations under the Constitution and the law and the value placed on
every individual citizen. This self-contradictory attitude comes to mind
whenever I hear people from different walks of life in many parts of the
world, representing different political, economic, social, educational and
cultural trends, voicing hatred for the United States. Listening to their
tirades, I remind myself of two things. The first is that a ‘normal’ if
ugly aspect of human nature is the resentment felt by the less fortunate
towards those who are more privileged, wealthy and successful than
themselves. The second is what can be termed the residual ‘leftist hatred’
for America. As the author of three books on Marxism, I can claim to be
better placed than many to understand the nature, source and aims of this
leftist hatred.

Hard as it is to ignore or dismiss the reasons cited to justify the hatred
harboured by many towards the United States, they have never succeeded in
making me share their feelings. It is impossible not to see America’s
superior performance in many fields or to ignore the aspects that make all
who profess hatred for the United States dream of becoming American
citizens. It is also difficult for a man familiar with modern management
techniques not to admire the work ethic, business climate, ingenuity and
preeminence of American economic entities, not to mention the
contributions of American universities to science and human progress.
Still, there is no getting away from the fact that the United States is
the object of a great deal of animosity for much of the human race. Over
the last decade, I believe I have pinpointed the underlying reason for
this animosity. The more I study the phenomenon the greater my conviction
that I have put my finger on its root cause. I believe no one has answered
the question of why there is so much hatred towards the United States as
clearly as I hope I will succeed in doing in this article.

II)As I have shown in Part i, much of the world hates the US but loves
the values it represents. The reason for the preponderance of the ‘hate’
element in what is clearly a love-hate relationship can be attributed to
the failure of America’s leadership to consider the values of American
society an integral and complemental part of American interests. Since its
emergence as the largest superpower in the world following Japan’s
surrender in 1945, the United States, whose foreign policy is designed to
serve American interests, has not realized that the values of American
society must be among, indeed must top, the list of American interests.
The following factors helped widen the gap between ‘American values’ and
‘American interests’: (1) The pragmatism of the American mindset. (2) The
relative lack in the American mindset of a historical and cultural
sensibility, for obvious historical and geographical reasons. (3) The
money-driven ethos of American culture.

But as Voltaire said, foolishness is still foolishness even if repeated by
a thousand thousand people! The foolishness of American politics and
politicians is represented in that no one stood and cried out: “Our values
are our most important interests!” The dichotomy between the values of
American society on the one hand and its interests as perceived by its
politicians on the other is not only the reason for the hatred in which it
is held by much of the world. It also poses a grave threat to Americas
vital interests – in the narrow sense of the word that to this day is the
only definition understood by its politicians.

How to explain to any sensible person the close relations successive US
administrations maintained with the rulers of Latin America’s banana
republics? How to explain their shameful silence on flagrant violations of
human rights, women’s rights and minority rights in countries allied with
the US? How to justify that they turned a blind eye to the shocking
corruption of some of their partners around the world? How to reconcile
American values with the tactical alliance they forged for over thirty
years with Osama bin Laden in their confrontation with the Soviet Union in
Afghanistan? Can it be said that American values are compatible with
Washington’s aid to theocratic regimes that flouted all the values of the
age in their bid for power in countries like Tunisia and Egypt?

In short, how to explain to billions around the world why America is
content to see non-Americans live in conditions it would never condone for
its own citizens? That is the real – and completely justifiable – reason
for the hatred so many people around the world harbor for America. The
strange thing is that political circles in America do not see the yawning
gap between what is acceptable outside its own borders and what is totally
unacceptable for its own people. They do not realize how this breeds
intense hatred for the United States. They do not understand that American
values must be the cornerstone of American interests and policies and that
leaving these values off the list of America’s vital interests is a
disastrous mistake that will impact negatively on American interests and
exact a heavy price from American society.




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