Why the world hates America By Michael Medved Wednesday, August 23, 2006 The disease of America Hatred now has reached pandemic proportions in many corners of the globe, spreading far beyond the predictably hopeless fever swamps of Islamic militants, French intellectuals, or Latin American demagogues. In fact, many citizens within the USA itself energetically embrace the basic assumptions of America Hatred, perceiving their country as an unequivocally negative force on the world scene. John Tirman, director of MITâs prestigious Center for International Studies, recently wrote a book called â100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World.â When questioned on my radio show, he refused to dismiss the notion that humanity might have been better off if Europeans had never settled North America in the first place â in other words, if the USA as we know it had never come into existence. The most direct way to counter such disgraceful fatuity is with reference to a key element in a classic American contribution to world cinema: Frank Capraâs âItâs a Wonderful Life.â George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) learns to appreciate his own worth after getting a glimpse of the direction his community of Bedford Falls might have taken had he not been around to serve and save it. By the same token, America bashers might try a thought experiment in which they imagine a world in which the USA never existed and played no current role. Would Belgium and Canada have somehow pooled their mighty military machines and succeeded in rescuing humanity from Naziism â and Communism? If not for the United States, which nation might have inspired the world to pursue self-government and human rights? Remember, the famous French Revolution proved so feckless in this regard that the frog-eaters anointed an all-powerful Emperor (Napoleon) less than twenty years after they guillotined their king. In terms of commercial activity and living standards, the United States remains the indefatigable engine that drives the world economy, with productivity and ingenuity as indispensable to sustaining global prosperity as American agricultural bounty is essential to feeding all of humanity. The irrational nature of America Hatred comes into clearest focus with the realization that this destructive passion flourishes most spectacularly among those who have benefited most conspicuously from the existence of the U.S. Youâll find such festering resentment in Western Europe in general (France in particular), Islamic nations especially dependent on American aid, support and trade (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, for example), among pampered, privileged stars in the entertainment industry, and on elite university campuses in the United States and around the world. If, then, the most outspoken advocates of America Hatred have seldom suffered personally at the hands of the nation they loathe, how can we understand their implacable hostility? Three factors help to explain this impassioned abhorrence which, like most consuming hatreds, does its most serious damage to the haters themselves --- I. ENVY When the society often described as âthe worldâs most hated nationâ also turns out to be the country most fervently desired as a destination for immigrants from everywhere, then itâs blindingly obvious that envy plays the leading role in generating hostility to the United States. In the same way that the most successful kid in school will generate considerable resentment, or the most prominent and prosperous citizen of a town will provoke hostility from some of his less fortunate neighbors, the US draws anger and condemnation precisely because of its overwhelming power and influence. America hatred has clearly intensified in the last fifteen years, though itâs hard to make the case that our country has suddenly begun playing a more destructive role in the world since the conclusion of the Cold War. What changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union is the disappearance of any credible rival to the last remaining superpower, so that the US, as the unequivocally dominant power on the planet, draws more anger and suspicion than it did during the long struggle with global Communism. Moreover, the envy that spurs anti-Americanism often stems from a resentment of US power, rather than jealousy of the wealth and freedoms Americans so obviously enjoy. For instance, the citizens of the Netherlands boast living standards that compare favorably with those of many Americans, and have built a vibrant democracy with abundant civil liberties. Nevertheless, when voters go to the polls in Amsterdam or Utrecht they make decisions with no significant consequences beyond the boundaries of Holland; American elections, by contrast, help determine the future of all of civilization and resonate in the remotest corners of the planet. After the Bush re-election in 2004, several journalists in Europe suggested that residents of nations allied with America should get the chance to vote in US elections because of the impact of those campaigns on every nationâs future âa sure indication of the seething envy for the centrality and influence of the USA that contributes unmistakably to America Hatred. Among America-haters within the USA, their jealousy is directed at presently powerful major institutions (the military, the corporations, the Republican Party, conservative religious groups) and the âgreat unwashedâ who support them. Their alienation from long-standing traditions, current trends, and the majority of their fellow citizens make them feel like exiles in their own country â and to resent the nation which, for the most part, continues to ignore their increasingly hysterical criticisms.