Tuesday, 6 May 2008


We reject without qualification the anti-Americanism now infecting so much left-liberal (and some conservative) thinking. This is not a case of seeing the US as a model society. We are aware of its problems and failings. But these are shared in some degree with all of the developed world. The United States of America is a great country and nation. It is the home of a strong democracy with a noble tradition behind it and lasting constitutional and social achievements to its name. Its peoples have produced a vibrant culture that is the pleasure, the source-book and the envy of millions. That US foreign policy has often opposed progressive movements and governments and supported regressive and authoritarian ones does not justify generalized prejudice against either the country or its people.
Article 6 of the Euston Manifesto, Opposing anti-Americanism.

In one sense it's right; the US is not the source of all the worlds ills and cold-war era lefties who think it is need their heads examined. But it is not true to say that it's problems and failings are shared to some degree with all of the developed world. It's enthusiasm for capital punishment, for detention without trial, for torture, for 'rendition' and it's contempt for the Geneva Convention are pretty much conspicuous by their absence in the rest of the developed world. It's one thing to oppose anti-Americanism; it's quite another to fail to judge it's government by the same moral criteria as we judge others less democratic.

US culture? Yes it's certainly vibrant, and no doubt the pleasure, the source-book and the envy of millions; count me among them. But I doubt if that's of any consolation whatever to someone being tortured in Guantanamo Bay right now.

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