Tuesday, May 10, 2005
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Anti-Americanism - Reply
It goes without saying that I had no idea what I was getting into posing a preposterous series of questions, each of which could merit a treatise in response. As for those who suggest that I get a life, well, ahem . . . shall we just say that when I copied the replies into a word document, it was more than 50 pages long (after I shrunk the font down to 9 points).
But I don't want to worm out of this, so here goes. I'll go as far as I can tonight before I collapse. As those who have been reading DA know, my day job makes me one of those bats of the blogosphere.
The gist of the replies on anti-Americanism seemed to be that most if not all of it is endemic to being a superpower, and that it should not stand in the way of the U.S. doing what it wants or believes to be in its interest. A number of commentators dismiss anti-Americanism as a kind of petty jealousness.
I actually agree with most of this. There are many different forms of anti-Americanism, ranging from the haughty reproaches of France to the terrorist violence of al Qaeda. These are very separate problems that wouldn't be lumpted together except for the fact that I have 9 more questions to somehow get through.
That said, I think the U.S.'s lone superpower status does make it somewhat of a lightening rod irrespective of what our policies are, and that much of the ill-feeling is driven by envy, by individual resentments that have little to do with the U.S. or with U.S. policies, and by internal political dynamics in particular countries.
But none of that lessens my concern about the impact of anti-Americanism on U.S. policies. One of the commentators put it like this:
"Is anti-Americanism a problem? Yes, and the majority of the responses here misunderestimate how much a bad feeling from abroad can actually diminish our ability to get results from our policies abroad. Nearly every government has to respond to its own version of the street, whether elected or not. And when the street is increasingly anti-American, doing the right thing can mean losing power, something few folks are willing to do.
So resistance to U.S. policies, or even just subtle slowness and delay and passive non-cooperativeness, can make for some pretty damn frustrating efforts to get our interests met.
It is not a popularity contest, where the U.S. is too cool to get caught up in who is the most-loved. Its about realizing U.S. interests abroad and whether we have to spend greater or lesser efforts to get what we want. From the anti-Americans out there, we need to push harder, pressure more, cajole and browbeat andd "express concern."
That makes it tougher -- and you can sit back and say thats what our diplomats are paid to do, but would you want your baseball team forced to play double-headers every day, against different teams? Being right and being right over the long term makes being hated in the short-term acceptable, but not easier.
And if we approach anti-Americanism with a "we're right, too bad" attitude and without some strategery for reducing that drain on our efforts, we are only hurting ourselves in the long run. My worry is not that we should do what the Euros and others say, its that we should listen with an effort towards changing minds, not just countering rhetoric."
This is precisely what troubles me about anti-Americanism. Having served as a U.S. diplomat at the UN, I have witnessed first-hand how much time gets wasted trying to overcome the threshold of skepticism, mistrust and sometimes bitterness toward the U.S.
Yes, a certain degree of this is unavoidable. But beyond that base level, there's plenty we can do to avoid compounding the inherent difficulties we face.
This does not mean bending our policies or subordinating our interests to please the rest of the world.Better diplomacy, a greater willingness to listen, putting resources behind the foreign policy commitments that are most visible and important to the rest of the world, more energetic efforts to persuade others rather than trying to impose our policies by fiat would all help chip away at the negative attitudes.
On the flip side, pro-US attitudes are multipliers of our own force. We see this in the form of the help Eastern European countries have given us in Iraq and at the UN. They like us, they support us, they make it look as though our policies have some resonance, and they make it less politically costly for other countries to come over to our side as well.
As long as we convince ourselves that anti-Americanism doesn't matter, we overlook the low-hanging fruit of countries that can and should be solid supporters of the U.S. - traditional allies that share our values and have everything to gain from a close relationship with us. By allowing friction to rise and not taking relatively simple steps to try to avoid and smooth it, we make our own lives more difficult.posted by on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM
Waiting for the world to form a consensus
I find it impossible to justify that cost;
“All that is necessary for the triumph of
I'm one of those "conservatives" --- I'm certainly not a Burkean conservative, I'm more of a suspicious libertarian, but let that pass --- I'm one of those conservatives who came to a distrust of the UN rather late. I was very much pleased by the UN's action in 1991 on the Kuwait invasion, because I felt like it was finally doing what it was promised to do.
Then we had the Balkans, Somalia, Ethiopia/Eritrea, the Sudan, the UN's inability to act toward the good in Korea, during Tien an Min, ... followed by the increasingly clear fact that Saddam Hussein and Iraq managed to so thoroughly corrupt the whole process that he came damn near to buying his way out of the requirements of the treaties he signed.
On the other side, as I mentioned, I watched Reagan be reviled --- but the Iron Curtain fall. (I lived in Germany during that time, and I had friends and family who were on the other side of that border. People who didn't live through the raising and razing of the Wall don't remember what a relief that was.) I've watched Bush(43) be reviled --- but seen fifty millions be liberated from fascism of the worst sort, and great indications that a lot more is coming.
Specifically with Bolton, he apparently had a lot to do with eliminating the "zionism is racism" resolution, and with Libya's sudden opening and elimination of their own WMD programs.
So, do you suppose you could explain to me what these things we wanted to get done might have been? Right now, the cost/benefit ratio looks pretty much in Reagan's, Bush's, and Bolton's favor.posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
You may be looking at the wrong order of magnitude of cost to the US in anti-Americanism. Overcoming skepticism at the UN is one thing; sending back embassy personnel and restricting trade or sniping at the border is another. You may be looking for a level of happiness that isn't worth the cost it would take to maintain.
Especially when you really think the benefit is worth it--and know that if you're right, others will follow.posted by: Chap on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
'I've watched Bush(43) be reviled --- but seen fifty millions be liberated from fascism of the worst sort, '
'o, do you suppose you could explain to me what these things we wanted to get done might have been?'
Well, for starters, we might have been able to share some of the huge cost of the war (Gulf War I was pretty cheap). , of the casualties. We might have been able to stem the tide of anti-Americanism (it is unisputed, even the CIA chief acknowledges that new terror networks sprang up as a result of the Iraq invasion). Even in Easr Europe and Ireland, very friendly to the US, large majorities opposed the US action in Iraq. We might have been able to get India to send an entire division to Iraq, as they were considering. We know that 90% of people in democratic Turkey opposed us. And so on ..
Also, if we're embarked on a grand plan to build the ME (and that is the only rationale left for the war), then that definitely requires help. Maybe not military, but financial help from other G-8 countries. Part of the reason that Syria left Lebanon so easily was that a broad international coalition (the US, France, Egypt, the UN, Saudi Arabia) all pressured it. Certainly few think that we can go it alone in all cases without bankrupting ourselves.
posted by: malcolm on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Certainly we're never going to make North Korea happy, nor should we. But if our policies make a lot of people in traditional allies like Ireland unhappy, then that should be a matter of concern. It may be worth it to make Ireland happy not because Ireland is important in and of itself but because it represents a group of people who are and should be our friends. Similarly, if politicians who support the US are damaged in democratic elections, then we should be concerned. After all, we would never ask a democratic leader to go against the will of his people, right ?
No one is infallible. Any plan (business or otherwise) should always have fallbacks, scenario analysis and the like, rather than relying on faith only (useful, but not a complete substitute).posted by: Malcolm on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Well, for starters, we might have been able to share some of the huge cost of the war (Gulf War I was pretty cheap). , of the casualties.
Whatever it is that you're on, could I have some?
In the face of multiple billions of dollars in bribes, do you really imagine that we could have gotten the bribed to end the gravy train and chip in to the war that would eventually reveal their perfidy?
Also, if you don't think Bush was reviled and being reviled before and during the Afghanistan Campaign, you're either a prodigal four year old who didn't actually watch politics then, or afflicted with a conveniently short memory.
See, this is the thing that I find so amazing about even the most reasonable of the anti-Bush people: one ends up seeing statements made that simply can't be supported without ignoring mere inconvenient facts.
"We could have gotten more support in the Gulf War" --- but ignore the Oil-for-Food bribes, and the direct connections to the political class in Russia, France, and (amazingly!) even Canada. Not to mention the bribery of the UN apparat, some of which wasn't even covert --- the UN had no reason to see the sanctions end when they were getting a cut of every Oil for Food dollar over the counter, as well as the personal payments that were happening under the counter.
"Bush lied about WMD" --- but forget the explicit regime-change goal supported by the Clinton Administration, or that the source of the intelligence failures were Clinton appointees ... as if the notion that Saddam had WMD suddenly appeared in 2002.
Honestly, doesn't this eventually get to be just embarrassing?posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I emphasize again that anti-Americanism is not one thing. It has many different causes which are expressed both in different and similar ways at once, and those change over time.
Furthermore American policy does cause some of it - overthrowing what is an unacceptable status quo for us is guaranteed to rouse opposition from, and anti-Americanism in, those for whom such change is uncomfortable. Which is not to say that we shouldn't do overthrow such status quos, but that there most definitely are some varieties of anti-Americanism which we cannot even assuage, let alone eliminate.
But we can and should avoid giving needless offense, and do such placation as is (a) feasible and (b) worth the price in terms of our interests.
Suzanne, keep in mind that overcoming initial inertia and opposition to what is needful, particularly domestic political inertia and opposition, is more important than placating foreigners. The latter comes after we've started moving.
And we started moving with Iraq's elections.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
You indicated on DA that:
“I think most progressives tend to think there are fairly low-cost ways of mitigating a portion of anti-Americanism, and that doing so would make it a lot easier to achieve policy goals.”
IMO, nothing short of abandoning our position on Israel and following the lead of the French would have real effect on reducing the anti-American sentiment across the ME & Europe.
My (probably duplicate) $.02. Good point about the anti-Americanism possibly removing easy opportunities to advance our interests. If true, it's a serious, strategic concern. As I said before, I wasn't able to click through on the "rise in anti-Americanism" link, but I've been of the opinion that things like the war for liberation of Iraq do more to lessen rather than increase the overall pool of anti-Americanism. I could be wrong about that. (This optimism stems from the idea that doing obviously good things like saving the Iraqis from Saddam simply cannot be overshadowed by overheated, nearly-baseless anti-Americanism. The notion that the good we do will be self-evident in time may be hopelessly idealistic.)posted by: john jay on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
But if our policies make a lot of people in traditional allies like Ireland unhappy, then that should be a matter of concern.
Hold it. Ireland, for all the cultural friendliness between our countries, is a neutral, not an ally. Ireland is NOT a member of NATO, it's exempt from the military aspects of the EU, and I am unaware of ANY military operation where Irish troops have fought alongside American forces. Ever.
Why are you referring to them as an ally, much less a 'traditional' one?
Charlie is right- whatever you're on, it's affecting your memory.posted by: rosignol on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
There's something somewhat condescening about the idea that American popularity qua popularity changes the policy of other nations. For popularity to matter, countries must be acting against their own national interests because of their public's hatred of America.posted by: wml on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Let me put it this way. The vast majority of countries in the world opposed the Iraq invasion. Not just the politicans, the people. Politicians in Easr Europe took the decision to support the US over the will of their people. You can contine to believe that this was all because of a few oil for food bribes or you can face reality. The US was willing to grant $30 Billion to Turkey for troop transit, and still the Parliament refused to grant it. $30 billion sounds like a lot of money to me.
But yes, it must have been oil for food that caused the large majority of Irish to oppose the war. And the Turkish parliament to turn us down. Yup, thats it.
See, this is what I find so amazing about some of the unreasonable pro-Bush types (including you). They make statements that bear no relations to the facts at all (such as the implicit assertion that Bush was reviled equally before Iraq) and go off on tangents (probably because their basic case is so untenable).
Incidentally, I did not even mention the UN. I simply mentioned the possibility of some international support. I have no particular liking for the UN (and yes, I think Oil For Food is disgraceful). But people like Charlie conveniently forget that the WMD inspections actually worked. They also forget that Oil For Food (despite the bribery) did work in its major goal of providing food to the Iraqi people. For people like Charlie, its all Oil For Food, there is no other conceivable reason why anyone could be anti-American.
But if you like, substitute practically any NATO country from Western Europe, and most from Eastern Europe if you like. The majority of people in almost all of these countries opposed the war in Iraq. Several governments supported us, but the people opposed us Even in Britain, it was evenly split at best. Do these meet your nitpicky definitions of ally ?
Ah, insults. The last refuge of the nitpicking incompetent. If a country as friendly as Ireland strongly opposes US actions, then that may be a barometer for public sentiment in other countries. You may or may not care about this sentiment, but certainly nitpicking about whether Ireland is an ally in the military sense is not exactly a good way to prove your point. Besides, I pointed out the case of NATO 'allies' above. Do try more misdirection such as the debate over what an ally is -- that'll show us who's on something.
Talk about silly nitpicks. Its obvious that I was not referring to military actions. I picked Ireland simply because its a close friend.This is a country that has traditionally sent huge number of immigrants to the US and is a major contributor to American culture (especially in Boston). This is a country that should be, and is, very friendly to the US.
But if you want to continue saying that the US should be concerned that public opinion in a traditionally neutral country is opposed to the use of force, please, make your case.
But please, explain what other kinds of allies there are, and what Ireland could contribute to advancing US interests that makes appeasing Irish public opinion worth the effort. I'm willing to consider the possibility that I missed something, or erred somewhere in my analysis- but be aware that you are the one with the burden of proof.
In another context, Malcolm, the difference between "friend" and "ally" might be a quibble. But the very topic under discussion here is the extent to which warm fuzzies conduce to material aid. Can you really come up with no better examples than (1) a country which has always been friendly but has never lifted a finger to help us (sending us our original urban underclass doesn't count), and (2) a group of countries which have been real and effective allies despite the domestic unpopularity of the war they helped us win?posted by: Paul Zrimsek on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I'm afraid Paul and rosignol have you on this one, malcolm, and I have to say you walked right into it. In a debate about anti-Americanism and the advancement of American interests, you deliberately picked as an example a country that is "friendly" to the US but has never contributed anything to the advancement of America's global interests. Which begs the question: what good does it do America to have countries "like" us if they never actually do anything that supports us? Are you really suggesting that we should sacrifice some of our own interests and appease the Irish simply so we can walk around with the warm fuzzy feeling you get when someone likes you?posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Tn some cases, the fairly "low-cost" policies used in coalition-building turn out to have very high costs. For example, during Gulf War I, we built the coalition that everyone points to as the grand example of multi-lateral collective security. In order to sign on Syria, a major Arab partner, GWI acquiesced to the Ta'if Accord and a de facto Syrian occupation of Lebanon. 15 years later, it was much easier to pressure the Syrians out, not just because of 1559 and the French (who deserve much credit I should add), but because we were not obligated to repay the Syrians for totally pro forma participation in a coalition to which they added absolutely zero value.posted by: Patrick on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Suzanne, I find your response to the points raised by the folks on this board to be essentially useless. I don't think any commenter denied that Anti-Americanism Is Bad, nor did they deny that Anti-Americanism Can Make It Harder To Get Things Done, which was basically the gist of your reply. Agreed -- anti-Americanism is bad and it can make it harder to get things done. Next let's debate whether puppies are cute.
The rest of your response was a useless platitude that We Should Do More to reduce anti-Americanism, and you backed that up with the further platitude that We Should Do Diplomacy Better. I don't think any commenter would disagree with the notion that when our government does something, it should try to do it well. But I suspect that most people in senior positions in government are hard-working and good at their jobs. So I assume you're not suggesting we need to eliminate lunchbreaks and threaten floggings at the State Department unless people start "doing more diplomacy."
So given that, what's your point? You natter on and on in vague generalities about Things We Can Do to reduce anti-Americanism but the devil is in the details. What did you have in mind? Tell me about some of that "low-hanging fruit" we're missing. Get more specific about the "plenty we can do." Tell me why those things are going to make a difference.
The point most commenters raised on your previous post was that a very significant element of anti-Americanism, indeed the majority of it, is unavoidable simply due to America's power and status in the world. Which suggests that -- absent sacrificing American power and interests -- we're not going to be able to reduce anti-Americanism in the world by a significant amount regardless of how much diplomacy we do or how much "concern" we express.
Do you disagree? Well then, let's hear it. That would be a reply worth reading, and a debate worth having.posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Very good point. I too was quite surprised by Suzanne's view that other countries can be "force multipliers" for the US. I think a number of joint operations over the last few years, including Gulf War I and the actions in the Balkans, demonstrated quite clearly that the participation of other nations provides little or no benefit (and in many cases detracts from the effort), yet comes at an extremely high price.
For example, only the British can reasonably contribute alongside America on the battlefield -- other nations tend to get in the way, interfere with and delay operations, and create PR nightmares (increased anti-Americanism) in the inevitable friendly fire accidents. And moneywise, if it isn't Japan, another country's funding contribution is probably NPV negative after you account for all the concessions and favors they'll demand in return.posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I'm not sure if it rises to the level of outright contradiction, but it's at least ironic that an argument which urges Americans to swallow their resentments and make nice with foreign opinion should also rely so heavily on the assumption that anti-Americanism abroad will have its influence no matter what. If we in America can be expected to suck it up, wear the mask, deal with it-- why can't they?posted by: Paul Zrimsek on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I think there is a lot to be said for doing diplomacy better.
I'm a Canadian who has lived in the United States for several different stretches. My brother was born in Denver. We visit often and have many friends there.
I was very upset when ambassador Paul Celucci threatened to punish Canada for refusing to go along with the Iraq war. I really couldn't understand where he was coming from. (Nowhere it turns out, as the threat was empty). It was like we were some vassel which had failed to pay enough tribute.
It is especially irritating since the feeling in Canada at the time, and now, was that the Bush Administration was lying. The case for war wasn't made. In fact, I would say, the administration barely tried.
I guess I don't like being bullied. Something, maybe, I learned in the US.
In the grand scheme of things, not a big deal. Canada, as always, just wants things to be calm. We have our own crooked and incompetent politicians to worry about.
However, there has been a hardening toward the US here that has made it harder for politicians who want to co-operate with the US across a wide variety of sensible fronts (from immigration, to boarder controls, closer integration, BMD, etc...) to do so.
Canada and the US have many common interests. There are many North American problems which can only be solved through our two countries co-operating. The Bush Administration has made this co-operation more difficult to achieve. Even among people who travel to the US often and know the country well many -- ridiculously I would add -- regard with suspicion any Canadian politican who dares co-operate with the Bush Administration.
This is true in many countries. Nobody wants to be seen as close to the Bush Administration. Even if the Bush Administration is pursuing something sensible.
It strikes me as less than competent when an administration's macho posturing makes it harder for its foriegn friends to co-operate with it.
And in a broader sense, it makes me think, if you guys are so worried about anti-americanism spreading, why do you so often treat the world like we're a bunch of assholes?
The US rightly lashes out at Canadian figures, no matter how minor, who verbally attack and downgrade the US. Why would you expect other countries to act differently?
No two countries could be culturally more similiar, nor have more interests in common, than Canada and the US.
Of course, if all you understand is hard power why bother ...posted by: Jonny on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I'm surprised at not seeing this link or it's arguments here:
I think your post is a perfect example of why anti-Americanism is probably an unavoidable problem. You freely admit that the feeling in Canada was that the government of the United States was lying and that it was made up of a bunch of liars and bullies. You are then apparently honestly surprised and offended that Americans would respond to that attitude by thinking that Canadians are a bunch of assholes.
You honestly feel that Canada should have perfect freedom to ignore the wishes of the US and yet you feel genuinely annoyed and bullied when the US says Canada may feel some consequences as a result, like not getting US cooperation on the things Canada wants.
You openly admit that Canada refuses to cooperate with the US on sensible policies -- yet you apparently honestly believe that this is America's problem to fix.
This is the kind of unavoidable resentment, anger and abdication of responsibility that I think must inevitably develop in a one-superpower world. Regardless of US actions or inactions, every weaker country (and they're *all* weaker) will inevitably feel threatened, bullied, or disparaged by the US any time the US doesn't do what they want. And every weaker country (and they're *all* weaker) will feel that the main responsibility for solving any problem lies with the superpower, with the US. So to the extent there are problems in the world that aren't being solved, they'll inevitably blame the US for it.
I will compliment you though for the honesty of your post, which essentially concedes that other countries feel they should be able to disparage the US, hold negative feelings toward it, and refuse to cooperate with it -- but that they expect to be able to do so with no consequences and with the expectation that the US will take the high ground.posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I agree with there are some pychological affects of the one-superpower world that are probably unavoidable. Canadians act as badly and sometimes seem as willing to indulge in crass 'anti-Americanism' as the citizens of Britian, Spain, France or any of the other countries who seemed so bothered by the style with which the Bush Administration pushed its invasion of Iraq.
I don't see pointing this out as brave, or even particularly honest, it's rather obvious. People can be dumb.
I think there is a question of style at play here. Clinton didn't engender nearly as much, nor as emotional, opposition.
What I was trying to highlight was what I thought was avoidable. It is, I guess, a style point.
Ambassador Celluci threatening to punish Canada acted as a tipping point. This is bad style. This is white socks before labour day.
Again, like every country, including the US, Canada has its Chomsky fringe who distrust the US on principle, merely for being powerful.
What was different about Celucci was how deeply his statement penetrated mass opinion. It made it acceptable to mock president Bush in ways it wasn't before. It gave some legitimacy, however briefly, to the views of hard-core nationalists who are always looking to weaken the relationship between the US and Canada. And it emboldened those who would exploit such anger for their own ends. (Like the Quebec seperatists)
I mention it because I think Canada's experience was typical. It didn't have to happen.
All we did was disagree. Post Sept 11th, are disagreements no longer allowed? They didn't seem to be.
That, at least, was how it seemed from up here.
Canada was not the only country to complain of high-handed ambassadoral treatment during the build up to the Iraqi invasion. Did the Bush Administration think this would work? I think they did. But it didn't. They screwed up.
That is why I started my post by pointing out diplomacy could have been handled better.
Looking back I doubt that Canada would have participated in the invasion of Iraq. My point was that a portion of hostility which arose belongs with the Bush administration.
I'm sorry if it bothers you, but Canadians reacted badly to what they percieved as being bullied.
Better Canadian leadership would have been helpful. Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister at the time, could have done more to calm emotions. In fact, he did very little, finding it politically expedient to do nothing. He lost a lot of respect.
Remember, the Bush administration wanted our support for the invasion of Iraq. And when it wasn't forthcoming, they decided to threaten us. We weren't the only country this happened to. How do you expect countries to react?
That's all I'm saying. Canada is far from perfect, as I noted our government could have handled things better as well. But we didn't send our Ambassador out to threaten punishment.
I also wrote the Bush Administration's macho posturing has made it harder to follow sensible policies where the US is involved, not it makes it impossible. Harder than it should have to be.
Canada is far from the only country finding this. Perhaps the next administration should learn there are better ways to achieve its goals.posted by: John on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
As Grandma used to say....
"sometimes you are damned if you do and damned if you don't"
This is a concise description of foreign perceptions of the US.
Simplistic, sure. Accurate, yes.posted by: Tom E on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I should make something clear.
I never wrote Canadians or anyone else should feel they shouldn't have to face consequences vis-a-vis the US. Actions have consequences, always have always will. What I meant was the Bush Aministration misjudged the consequences its bullying would elicit.
And not only in Canada.
The aftershocks of this have made it harder for the US to accomplish its goals, as electorates are understandably wary of an administrion which acts in such a high-handed manner. This is also sucks for Canadian policy makers, for example. It's makes it harder for them to work with the US, not only to forward our goals but for yours. Harder but not impossible.
Basically my point was, why did the Bush Administration make things harder than they had to be?posted by: John on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Many of us feel that Prime Minister Cretien received a share of the oil for food bribes through his French son-in-law, just as French President Chirac did. I.e., that Canada's policy on Iraq was bought by Saddam Hussein just as France's was. This makes us unsympathetic concerning Canadian feelings.
Take bribes from our enemies to side against us, and we'll treat you that way.
If you don't like it, elect governments which don't take bribes.
And read your own headlines. Today.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
This post analogous to arguing that football teams combat bribed refs by not playing as well so the other teams don't feel the need to buy bad calls.posted by: aaron on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
By all means, please provide me a Google link to Ambassador Cellucci's statement that Canada would be "punished." Not media paraphrases of what he said in Toronto, John -- an actual quote. I have a feeling the "bad style" and "white socks before Labor Day" was entirely in the minds of Canadians (who already thought the American government were a bunch of liars and bullies anyway, remember?).
As I said before, as resentment, anger, and abdication of responsibility grows among the weaker nations in a one-superpower world, these nations will more and more actively seek pretexts -- those white socks before Labor Day, if you will -- for anti-Americanism, regardless of US behavior, actions or inactions. It's a shame, but it's also unavoidable, and the US might as well get used to it. Beyond that, the US should not view it as a reason not to pursue US interests.posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I should add, John, that this statement of yours is at the heart of inevitable anti-Americanism in a one-superpower world:
"Canada is far from perfect, as I noted our government could have handled things better as well. But we didn't send our Ambassador out to threaten punishment."
In what way could Canada possibly punish the United States? Given that we're not going to go to war -- mainly because neither side has any interest but which Canada would surely lose if we did -- the only things Canada could do is pursue economic punishments or refuse to support the United States on the world stage. Economic measures would hurt Canada vastly more than they would hurt the United States, so that's off the table, and as for refusing to support the United States on the world stage...
Oh, wait. You did do that.
Well, regardless, there's very little that Canada could ever do to the US that wouldn't hurt Canada even more. And at some level Canada knows it, resents it, and is angered by it. And so the anti-Americanism slowly, unavoidably festers.posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
"Hold it. Ireland, for all the cultural friendliness between our countries, is a neutral, not an ally. Ireland is NOT a member of NATO, it's exempt from the military aspects of the EU, and I am unaware of ANY military operation where Irish troops have fought alongside American forces. Ever."
Rossignol, although Ireland is a non-member they do have a military relationship with the NATO alliance. Unlike Switzerland they are not neutral. see below:
by the Representative of the Republic of Ireland
PARP Ministerial Guidance
As this document will remain in effect for some time ahead it should reflect the future needs of those EU countries which are not members of the Alliance. In our PARP assessment we were very clear about our intentions on that aspect of the PARP and those intentions were acknowledged by the nineteen.posted by: manoppello on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Citizen's of nations having constitutional succession crisis because the ruling government refuses to recognize a parlimentary vote of no confidence are hardly in a position to whine about the politics of American foreign policy.
The phrase that comes to the mind of politically aware Americans about a nation having such a crisis is "Bannana Republic."posted by: Trent Telenko on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Oh, come on, manoppello- Switzerland, Sweden, and Russia are members of the PfP. Surely you can do better than that.posted by: rosignol on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Regarding Ambassador's Celluci's comments- here is the CBC story about it-
and here is a link to the relevant speech-
I am forced to conclude that Candians find the truth offensive, even when it's buried in a large pile of niceness.posted by: rosignol on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Except it wasn't a vote of non-confidence. A vote of non-confidence is like a pregnancy test, it's very specific in its outcome. The government still stands. The conservatives are saying the opposite. But of course they would. That's their job. Personally, I hope the Martin government falls. But, attempting to wiggle around parlimentary procedure is a sign of a Banana Republic? No it's not. It's politics as usual.
Political parties in the US also try and fanangle the rules to their benefit, don't they?What political system is free of corruption?
This thread is like the pot taking potshots at the kettle's solarium from inside a greeenhouse.
I wasn't trying to stick up for Chretien's government. I was pointing out one aspect of the dynamic which was self-inflicted. That some of the bad feelings could have been avoided. I think what we have seen is a by-product of the Bush administration's standard operating procedure.
Debate that. We can debate Canadian politics if that would be preferable, but I don't see how that gets us any closer to the issue here.
Simply put, things would have gone better if the diplomacy was handled better.
I fully agree that the US's position causes it to attract much undeserved resentment. I find the knee-jerk ant-americanism one finds deplorable. I don't think it is inevitable though. Firstly, governments, like the Canadian, should be more responsible about the relationship. We can still disagree.
But the Bush Administration hasn't been doing itself any favours. Their actions have made it harder for politicians to behave responsibly.
The US is essential to the present international system, which some seem to resent. They are idiots. Politicians sometimes seek to exploit this resentment. (Most notably in Germany recently). They should remember that this system has brought us all, at least to the west, prosperity for the last fifty years.
Canada, for example, owes much of its success to proximity to such a large and dynamic economy. We are lucky. Obviously a few dozen Canadians don't think so. They are idiots.
I would add, though, that the impression in Canada, Mexico, the UK, Spain, Australia, Italy, and elsewhere, that the Bush Administration is full of 'bullies and liars' is based on experience. This impression didn't spring fully formed from a vacuum.
Obviously some on this thread don't agree. How am I mistaken? I have been wrong before, show me how I am wrong on this.
There are many reasons why governments have found it more difficult to deal with the Bush Administration than it ought to be. Ought to be. Not is. The Bush Administration's macho posturing is one reason. Not the only one.
The world will never be perfect, there will always be idiots.
But, keep up the style of talk witnessed above and we'll stop sending you Comedians. Or Divas.
I can see I came to the wrong place to discuss an issue I think is important.
Here's a question.
From what country does the US buy a large percentage of it's oil? What country is in the process of negotiating a deal to sell more of its oil to China? Including building a dedicated pipeline to the pacific coast.posted by: John on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
The border will be closed for months if the next big terrorist attack in the U.S. is based out of Canada, and there is a fair chance it will be.
I repeat that your former Prime Minister was bribed by our enemies to side against us. Canada will be treated like it deserves. That's reality, not bullying. You guys have a major strike against you, and we're at war.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
I apologize that we're not an echo chamber for your beliefs that the US government is a bunch of bullies, liars and macho posturers. I'm also sorry that we're not an echo chamber for your beliefs that power relationships do not play the primary role in the attitudes countries hold toward one another, but rather that countries are like really big children in a really big kindergarten and the biggest child is a big bully and a meanie and if he'd only stop being such a macho, bullying liar all the other little kids would like him.
You might want to try dKos for that kind of thing, or, based on Suzanne's posts, Democracy Arsenal might also be a good place to go.
For clarity John, and with less snark, I believe that the reason anti-Americanism grew in relation to the Iraq war is the following:
The citizens of other countries didn't want the US to invade Iraq, but the US did anyway.
This meant that 1) the US did something that they didn't like, which generated anger; and 2) they had no power to stop the US from doing what it did, which generated resentment and fear.
You can dress it up any way you like but this is the heart of the matter. All your babbling about macho posturing and white socks before Labor Day as the cause of anti-Americanism is just that -- babbling. A contrived rationalization for anti-Americanism which is intended to disguise the reality -- that people hate the US because it does things they don't want it to do, and there's nothing they can do about it.posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
A terrorist attack coming out of Canada is among every Canadians worst nightmare. That's one reason the present Liberal government has been upping border security and cracking down internally.
But you seem to relish an attack happening. Why?
As for the bribes. Prove it. Saddam bribed Jean Chretien? Sure, it could have happened. Why not? But I doubt it.
You believe countries and electorates disagreed with the Bush Administration over Iraq only because Saddam had paid off some national leaders? Come on.
It's all a big conspiracy.posted by: John on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Here's a question in response to the question you posed:
What is the definition of a fungible commodity?posted by: DRB on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Canada's only border is with the U.S., and we're not the source of the threat. I'm talking about lax immigration control and tracking of dangerous people inside Canada. Canada is more than a little pregnant in this regard. Letting known dangerous people in and ignoring them afterwards is a prescription for disaster.
It is much, much easier for terrorists to enter the U.S. from Mexico, but it seems safer and easier for them to operate in Canada in terms of setup, attack planning and attack preparation. IMO, if and when the next mass fatality terrorist attack occurs in the U.S., the shooters & material will have come from Mexico towards the end while the workup will have been done in Canada.
Saddam didn't bribe Cretien directly. I said the money went to Cretien's French son-in-law, just as Saddam's bribes to Chirac went to Chirac's relatives, not Chirac. And by money I mean "oil allocations" and sweet-heart contracts.
At a time when Canada needed to build up all the goodwill it could in the U.S., against a possible day when Canadian negligence might be found to have killed hundrefs or thousands of Americans, your former Prime Minister went out of his way to inflame American opinion.
This will be remembered. Pay-back is not bullying. You and your people tolerate political corruption, and defend its consequences. I sure hope you guys aren't mugged by reality, because that will happen only over several zeros of American bodies.
We won't be in a forgiving mood when that happens.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
Point of Information:
Anti-Americanism in Canada has different connotations than it does elsewhere due to geographic proximity and Canada's having an efficient and heretofore remarkably honest government plus exceptional public order and physical safety for its citizens, especially in contrast to Mexico.
Both are capable of serving as bases for terrorist attacks on the U.S., but Canada is more likely to do so precisely because of its orderliness and safety. That permitted (and fostered) the creation of a foreign-born Muslim community within which terrorists are more likely to operate, plus the safety, security and privacy which terorrists need. This particular point is of major importance. Mexico does not have a Muslim community of any significance. Canada does.
Terrorist bases in Mexico run major risks of discovery due to Mexico's endemic random violence and chaos, plus the suspicions of Mexican organized crime and their corrupt police friends, as possible rival narcotics traffickers and/or sources of bribe/extortion money.
And Canada offers better and more secure communication than Mexico in country, to and from the U.S., and to and from overseas.
I.e., Canada has many advantages over Mexico as a long-term terrorist base from which to plot attacks on the U.S. That does not necessarily mean such attacks are more likely to be staged out of Canada (short-term covert movements of anything across the U.S. border are more secure coming from Mexico), but they are IMO more likely to have been planned in Canada than in Mexico.
Canada's problem here is that American expectations of its government's behavior concerning terrorism against the U.S. are higher than of Mexico's government, because Canada has a real government and Mexico doesn't.
If Mexico's so-called government fails to even notice terrorist bases, we are likely to excuse that on the grounds that (a) Mexico doesn't really have a government and (b) such as it does is thoroughly corrupt and incompetent.
But if evidence appears that a major successful terrorist attack on the U.S. originated in, or was planned in, Canada, prior anti-American statements and acts by the Canadian government will foster at least an American public suspicion that Canadian anti-Americanism was related to the attack's success.
At which point even stupid politically correct negligence by Canadian officials will seem sinister.
I repeat that I am talking about American public perceptions of Canadian culpability, not whether there is any realistic blame.
So YOO-HOO! CANUCKS! GET A CLUE! Anti-Americanism by you guys isn't safe at the moment! You're too far from God and too close to the United States! (paraphrasing President Porofiro Diaz of Mexico)posted by: Tom Holsinger on 05.10.05 at 09:40 PM [permalink]
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