Rise of Anti-Americanism

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Scott Van-Newhouse
Book Review: Andrew Kohut
America Against The World

Rise of Anti-Americanism

There are many conversations and explanations on why America has encountered an anti-American backlash in recent years. In reading Andrew Kohut’s America Against The World, I found it particularly useful to debunk the misconceptions that current foreign policy makers and news personnel both –explain as the reason why America is being viewed in such a negative light. Kohut’s book is a collection of statistics, graphs, and opinion polls from the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project and U.S. Gallop Poll Studies; he gives the reader a crash course in where Anti-Americanism came from, and why it has come to the fore front of politics recently. The rise of anti-Americanism in Kohut’s book seem to derive from American self interest in all global matters, American interference in State matters, and of course poor diplomacy. He explains the basic need as to why the general public should be aware and concerned about the rise of anti-Americanism, why it is growing and what this means in regard to policy changes at home and aboard.

Currently the world does not focus on Washington being the center of bad policy choices, but on the American people themselves for their lack of attention and concern for others in the world. While many in America are still waking up to the complexity of a more aggressive anti-American sentiment in the world; with constant threats of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and on it’s establishments abroad, Andrew Kohut writes about the need for an end to the long standing idea of “American exceptionalism”. (American exceptionalism- is the idea that the U.S and the American people hold a special place in the world, by offering opportunity and hope for humanity, derived from a unique balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom; also can mean moral superiority.) With these core principles espoused by America’s past, American exceptionalism today is seen by many surveyed in the Pew Attitude Polls, more as a bullying affect on other countries. If the U.S. would examine its foreign policy over the last 30 years, it would find itself morally bankrupt, on account of the American interest and self determination to dominate the world. The U.S. having a great military power and being among the richest nations in the world has led many to believe the growing definition of American exceptionalism to mean American superiority in all contexts. This has led many to conclude: American exceptionalism is now fashionable for American nationalism and, in turn, an intellectual basis for claims that the nation has embarked, intentionally or not, on the creation of an American empire (9).

The statement Kohut presents of an “American Empire” correlates in what many policy analyst have described as an aggressive direction of American foreign policy from the Bush administration on global interest. Andrew Kohut goes on to describe the Bush White House where anti-American sentiment was fueled to the highest point in U.S. history with the invasion of Iraq. Kohut uses the Iraq invasion as an illustration of the American “go it alone” attitude no matter what other world leaders think. President Bush had received a surplus of world wide sympathy and support following September 11, 2001. The French daily paper Le Monde declared that: "in this tragic moment…we are all Americans" (15). This pro-American interlude did not last. By the time the United States invaded Iraq with out the global communities support in 2003, both the American foreign policy stance and the American people were increasingly unpopular, even among longtime allies.

With this shift in international public opinion it is critically important to gage why America and Americans have fallen so low on every world wide attitude poll conducted since the invasion of Iraq to...
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