Saturday, 23 August 2008

Leading us all over the edge of a cliff

. Tim Montgomerie's new site, America in the World has attracted a fair bit of attention and comment; not least from Neil Robertson on Liberal Conspiracy. The site seems to be Montgomerie's effort to see what he sees as a growing tide of 'anti-Americanism'. Robertson is right that the site is aesthetically decent and it's arguments are well-grounded but that doesn't make them any more correct.

In reply to the question posed by Robertson's title I am quite clear in what regard I am 'anti-American'. I am opposed to the governmental policy of the United States; furthermore I am opposed to the way that government and indeed previous ones have exercised their power on the world stage. This in no way means hostility to Americans as independent people or as individual citizens. As my title implies I believe the laughable 'leadership' of America as a nation on the world stage ideologically, economically and militarily is leading the self-styled West over the edge of a precipice.

Robertson rightly riles against the classification of 'liberal idealists' and 'social justice campaigners' alongside 'jihadists' and 'anti-Semites'. However, this should hardly be surprising. Montgomerie is prominent on Conservative Home which gives the site a rather vested interest in the first place. The right, unable to deal with the intellectual arguments in hand, always smears in this way; it is a similar story with any criticism of Israel except it usually throws in a bit of Holocaust-inspired emotional blackmail into the mix. The first response to Robertson's post said;

"To be fair I don’t think Tim or any of those involved in the site would deny the distinctions you make."

I doubt very much that would be the case and it is absolutely the case that the right would lump all things together. However, as we all know some of the most prescient and scathing attacks on American power and it's execution are made by individual Americans themselves eg, Michael Moore. A strong strain of anti-Americanism exists on the left as a hangover from the Cold War; a war in which America nor the West can hardly be said to have a 'morally clean slate' nor even the high-ground at all times.

Robertson is right to say that;

"the key distinction between the anti-Americanism exhibited on the left and that which is most violently spewed by Jihadists and Jew-haters is that caring about human rights, social justice and the environment does not make you anti-American, and nor does criticising an administration for its failures in these areas. It’s only when your criticisms involve such desperate flailing that they turn into attacks on the American people that you become a certified anti-American".

He says it 'seems' like a right-wing ploy "to inoculate the country from criticism by casting all those critics as potential ‘haters’". I am quite happy to go a little further and say that is exactly what it is; a new world order won't be built by relying on the failed policies of an ailing administration and a nation whose government has lost all sense of it's proper place in the world. Fostering co-operation between nations and the development of powerful cross-national institutions which can powerfully resolve problems is the way forward.

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