Sunday, February 26, 2006


There was a pretty good editorial cartoon in the Washington Post recently in which a guy is sitting at a bar reading a newspaper. He says to the guy next to him, "It says here that Canada just elected a leader who's friendly to the US and they aren't mad at us anymore." The other guy, looking bored, responds, "Canada was mad at us?"

That reminds me, thinking of national bouts of anger, how mad the US got at Canada and France when they refused to help invade Iraq. The backlash was incredible, not just from the US government, but also from individual US citizens, who in some cases even refused to sell goods to citizens of the upstart nations. What drives that sort of anger? Do those people (some of whom, based on polls, must have changed their minds about the decision to invade Iraq), feel at all contrite about how they treated their allies? Or is lack of loyalty to the imperial power their real complaint?

But getting back to people being angry at the US, it doesn't seem unrealistic to say that most of the world is pretty pissed off at Americans these days. It isn't just the Bush White House that's the focus of ire. After all the disgusting things he did, Americans elected him in 2004. It's pretty hard to forgive that. Given all the dead or tortured Iraqi civilians, the lies about WMD, the undermining of the United Nations, the bullying of other countries, the heavy-handed trade practices---all of which was known before the 2004 elections---it's really hard not to conclude that the majority of Americans are bad people. That's where world opinion seems to be at.

So if mild-mannered, polite-to-a-fault Canadians are mad at the US, what of the Arab world, or Central America, or the Far East? Okay, I have read a few too many sci-fi novels in which the US is at war with the UN. But trust once lost is hard to regain. When nations don't trust the US, there are repercussions in terms of who they elect, what policies they support, and what countries they want to ally with. This doesn't seem to have any good result, especially for Americans.


1 comment:

Bro' Larry said...

Believe me, it's even scarier inside the U.S. My favorite comment was a button someone wore that said "Oh well, I wasn't using my civil liberties anyway."