Check out Glenn Greenwald's brilliant essay on anti-Americanism in Europe
(thanks to Instapundit
). In a comment (slightly modified here), I added the following:
One of your detractors claims that anti-Americanism is nothing but what "occurs that right-minded people hold those with whom they most closely identify -- for example, with respect to the European democracies, America -- to a higher standard and expectation of conduct than those with whom they share no such identification -- China and Iran, for example."
This higher standard argument fails because it twitches the subject. First, we are told that Europeans are interested in reason, in solidarity, and in human rights. Now we are told that they are against the strongest nation, that they are focusing on the only nation where they can make a difference, that they are holding America up to higher standards.
That would be fine if doing so did not subvert the human standards argument in the first place
. Why should you make a fuss about a prisoner who is forced to crawl with a leash around his neck and not for someone whose arm was amputated by Saddam's henchmen, whose eyes were torn out by Iran's mullahs, or who was forced to drink the water from his toilet (a hole in the ground) in Stalin's gulag?
As for the argument that that they are focusing on the only nation where they can make a difference, who is really in need of all the energy, mental and physical, that they are directing against Uncle Sam? The murderer whose execution did not occur until after 24 years on death row or the businessman who was shot in the back of the head two days after his trial?
In any case, if you were honest, you would see that the emotions (anger, revulsion, fury, disgust) that "activists", both stateside and abroad, feel when learning of an American "sin" simply don't come up when learning of a (far worse) sin in (Saddam's) Iraq, China, or North Korea. (There, it's more like, "Oh yeah, we are against that too, by the way", and, if you press them a couple of times, they often get impatient with your "obsession".)
If what the activists claim were true — that their concern is genuine and general for all humanity — you would expect the feelings to be (at least somewhat) the same, even if later there were a (supposedly necessary) intellectual
choice to make when directing those emotions into a program against a specific target.
What good does all this so-called human rights posturing against Uncle Sam's alleged (and minor) sins do for the Kurdish widower, for the Sudanese orphan, for the Chinese widow forced to pay the bullet that blew out her husband's brains (and that, not 24 years after the trial as with Tookie, but the day following a trial in which the defense lawyer was hardly allowed to speak)?
The answer is it doesn't do them any good at all, and those individuals' persecutors, whether the torturers in question or the country's leaders, are in no way the type to "learn" anything from Uncle Sam serving as a "example" (although their representatives at the UN would argue so — and that in never-ending speeches).
There aren't 36 different explanations for focusing on America's molehills while ignoring, downplaying, and explaining away the mountains in China, North Korea, and (Saddam's) Iraq. It is anti-Americanism, pure and simple…