The world has fickle expectations of the United States

“American leadership seems to be required even in cases — such as Bosnia between 1992 and 1995 — where the British and their fellow Europeans had the means to resolve the crisis unaided. The US is cruelly unsuited to play the world’s policeman — Washington’s attention span is famously short, even in chronically troubled regions like Kashmir, the Balkans, the Middle East, or Korea — but it seems to have no choice. Meanwhile everyone else, but the Europeans especially, resent the United States when it fails to lead, but also when it leads too assertively.”
–Tony Judt, “Its Own Worst Enemy“, from the New York Review of Books, August 15, 2002

“In the post-September 11 world, even leaving aside Iraq and all the distortions, half-truths, and lies used to justify the invasion, even leaving aside the cataclysmic impact of the Abu Ghraib prison photos, I believe America would have attracted significant wrath simply in doing what had to be done in routing out the Taliban in Afghanistan, in reorienting its foreign policy to try and tackle international terror networks and breeding grounds. That is why I come back time and again in my mind to the tactical brilliance of Al Qaeda’s September 11 attacks: If America hadn’t responded, a green light would have been turned on, one that signaled that the country was too decadent to defend its vital interests. Yet in responding, the response itself was almost guaranteed to spotlight an empire bullying allies and enemies alike into cooperation and subordination, and, thus, to focus an inchoate rage against the world’s lone standing superpower. Damned if we did, damned if we didn’t.”
–Sasha Abramsky, “Waking up from the American Dream“, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2004

Posted by | Comments Off on The world has fickle expectations of the United States  | August 24, 2004
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