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"Why Do They Hate Us?":
In today's Washington Post, my former classmate Mohsin Hamid has an interesting essay on Pakistani attitudes about the United States. Mohsin will be doing an online Q&A about the essay tomorrow.
Little Loca (mail):
Isn't it obvious? It's cuz we all pro-Israel and anti-Muslim up in dis country or whateverz.
7.22.2007 3:48pm
John Hardin (mail) (www):
Thank you for that link.

The most telling quote:
The residue of U.S. foreign policy coats much of the world. It is the other part of the answer to the question, "Why do they hate us?" Simply because America has -- often for what seemed good reasons at the time -- intervened to shape the destinies of other countries and then, as a nation, walked away.
I fear we're on the road to doing the same damned thing in Iraq...
7.22.2007 4:16pm
jimbino (mail):
They hate us because of our meddling in affairs the world over. Muslims also hate us because of what they consider our libertine ways. Americans are abysmally ignorant of foreign language, culture and politics and likely to remain so.

We really deserve to lose this one, but if we don't, we could help secure our future by requiring Amerikan kids to learn a foreign language and spend junior year abroad. In addition, we should finance a year in high school here for any kid abroad who masters English.
7.22.2007 5:08pm
PersonFromPorlock:
You'd foist American teens on foreigners? Then they'd really hate us!
7.22.2007 5:19pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
Hamid's answer: They hate us because we are not more imperialist in imposing our values on Third World countries.
7.22.2007 5:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
Well, George Bush says they hate us for our freedoms.
So he decided to take away those freedoms and hope that they won't hate us anymore. Voila!
7.22.2007 6:08pm
jasmindad:
Hamid is not convincing, at least in the Pakistan example. He claims that the US "offered billions of dollars in economic aid and sophisticated weapons to Pakistan's dictator, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq. In exchange, Zia supported the mujaheddin, the Afghan guerrillas waging a modern-day holy war against the Soviet occupation. With the help of the CIA, jihadist training camps sprung up in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Soon Kalashnikov assault rifles from those camps began to flood the streets of Lahore, setting in motion a crime wave that put an end to my days of pedaling unsupervised through the streets." In this narrative, poor little Pakistan (and its leaders) were pushed into a policy that turned bad for Pakistan. In fact, however, what Pakistani elite saw as their interests and what Americans saw as theirs coincided. Pakistan and Afghanistan, both before the Soviet involvement and during, had had border issues, and Afghanistan and India had warm relations in response to their separate problems with Pakistan. When Soviet-supported communists took over Afghanistan, Pakistan's relationship with Afghanistan went down even further. US' interest in bleeding the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and Pakistan's interest in establishing a friendly regime in Kabul came together. Pakistan's ISI virtually created the Taliban. Pakistani leadership boasted about how the new regime give Pakistan "strategic depth." It is not as if a reluctant Pakistan was being exploited for American aims, but that their perceived interests coincided.

Pakistan's descent into another round of military dictatorship during the Afghan troubles, this time in an Islamist incarnation under Zia, was their own making. The US can only be held responsible to the degree that it didn't make a fuss about it. But neither did China, and the Paksitanis don't hate the Chinese. Pakistani elite, including very likely Hamid's family, didn't do the hard work to fight for democracy in Pakistan in the years following independence. They were more or less happy with the Westernized military taking over the state institutions as long as their own lives and fortunes were safe and comfortable, and they allowed themselves to be sold on a policy that placed anti-Indianism ahead of building democracy. When real populism in the form of economic betterment is not an option, the temptation is strong to resort to religious populism, for any regime's security. The military increasingly turned to Islamist rhetoric and policies as a way of keeping power. All this would have happened independent of whatever the US did or didn't do in the 80's in Pakistan in dealing with Afghanistan. The situation that Hamid describes, one of increasing taking over of civic life by Islamic extremists, is simply the logical culmination of the policies that Pakistani elite chose in the aftermath of Partition.

Yes, a liberal Pakistani such as Hamid can blame the US for not pressing Pakistan hard on democracy and human rights, but if the US had indeed done that, the same elite would then be advancing US interference in the sovereignty of their country as the reason they hate the US.
7.22.2007 6:28pm
neurodoc:
So Pakistanis have good cause to hate us because the assistance we gave those fighting to expel the Soviet invaders from neighboring Afghanistan was largely funneled through Pakistan, and there were some unanticipated and regrettable consequences for Pakistan? Did then 9-year-old Mohsin or his parents oppose that assistance to the Afghanis, a good portion of whom are the ethnic kin of Pakistanis, at the time, or was it only later that they came to do so, just as we in this country regret some of the consequences?

Was Pakistan a peaceful and peace-loving, enlightened, uncorrupt country prior to American involvement in their neighbor's affairs? It may not have been the black hole that it is now, but it is not my impression based on the reporting of V.S. Naipul and others that it was truly a light unto the world in its prior 30+ years as an independent country. IIRC, the part of Pakistan to the east of India found rule by the western parts not so benign and went through great hardship to break away and become Bangladesh.

Was Pakistan mistreated by the US? Gee, I thought we distinctly tilted toward them at an earlier time and away from the "non-aligned" India that Russia favored. That tilt wasn't great enough to win their lasting appreciation?

Peaceful, peace-loving Pakistan has gone to war with its neighbor on the other side, India, three times since 1948, IIRC. And unable to reconcile itself to Indian control of Kashmir (Pakistan probably does have the better case), Pakistan has long kept the waters roiling by providing safe haven, training sites, and considerable material support to its own jihadis intent upon that bit of dar-al-Islam.

Corruption in Pakistan? Gambling at Rick's Place?

The Pakistani Intelligence Service, a great group of guys.

OK, I gotta run, so must cut this short. I could go on at much greater length if I had the time. I find Mohsin Hamid only slightly more persuasive than Indian novelist and America-hater Amita Roy, and I find her absolutely unpersuasive with her case against us.
7.22.2007 6:44pm
guest:
Why do they hate us? "It's the ideology, stupid!"

They hate us because the Koran dictates world domination by Islam, with death, subjugation (and tax) or conversion as the only options for non-believers.
7.22.2007 7:40pm
frankcross (mail):

Why do they hate us? "It's the ideology, stupid!"

They hate us because the Koran dictates world domination by Islam, with death, subjugation (and tax) or conversion as the only options for non-believers.


guest may have explained some of the hate, but in an indirect, ironic sort of way.

Our unfavorables are nearly as high in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands as they are in Islamic countries.
7.22.2007 8:07pm
Adam J:
Jasmindad, you said "Yes, a liberal Pakistani such as Hamid can blame the US for not pressing Pakistan hard on democracy and human rights, but if the US had indeed done that, the same elite would then be advancing US interference in the sovereignty of their country as the reason they hate the US."

Sure, that might be true, but just how threatening would this hatred be compared to what we have now? Their argument just wouldn't have a whole lot of legitimacy to it, it's just self promotion; "we're mad because you're undermining our little dictatorship by trying to institute democracy?" Do you really think that'd have the same fallout as backing Zia? Pakistan might not have been the model of democracy, but it seemed like it was moving in the right direction before we meddled, by backing Zia and the Taliban for the sake of a proxy war with USSR.

Neurodoc, I'm not sure what your point is. You said; "Pakistan has long kept the waters roiling by providing safe haven, training sites, and considerable material support to its own jihadis intent upon that bit of dar-al-Islam." You do realize this isn't rebutting anything, the whole point is that the safe havens, etc. are blowback from our meddling in the Middle East. You make it sound like we were supporting their interests back then, but we were "distinctly tilted toward" an ugly regime by Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq. That little regime oppressed alot of people, and our involvement might have effectively stalled any progressive movement towards democracy. Plus, Reagan basically enabled this dictator to help get the whole islamo-facist movement rolling (and yet he's still a republican hero, go figure). How is that supporting their interests when we believe a democracy is the best government for protecting the interests of the people? And how was this completely "unanticipated", we knew exactly what Zia was about and it certainly wasn't democracy.
7.22.2007 8:29pm
Randy R. (mail):
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we overthrew their democratically elected in Iran in the 1950s and replaced him with the Shah, all for the sake of the oil companies.

Then, with more backing of our CIA, the Iranian secret police wrecked terror upon the people of Iran, and they finally overthrew him in favor of clerics, who have ever since talked about the US as the Great Satan.
7.22.2007 8:37pm
wm13:
Randy R., I seriously doubt that 40 year old Pakistanis hate us because of something we did in Iran before they were born. That's just silly. But no sillier than Hamid. Would he and his Pakistani friends like us better if we hadn't done anything about the Soviet takeover of Afghanistan? Of course not, they'd blame us for that.

The plain fact is, people like Hamid are just children: they've never had real jobs or real responsibility, and so they just whine about how awful the people in authority (i.e., Americans) are. Trying to become popular with them would be like a parent trying to become popular with the local teenagers.
7.22.2007 8:53pm
Pete Freans (mail):
Mr Hamid's piece about the U.S. reminds me of a woman speaking about who her ideal mate would be: confident, but not too confident; humble but not too humble; masculine but knows how cuddle...

I will answer the above question with a question: Who hates us? Who exactly are we talking about? Religious fanatics? Then attempting to answer Mr. Hamid's question sufficiently is futile. Who cares why fanatics hate us? They are blinded by their perverted interpretation of the Koran anyway so any extention of an olive branch would be met with a swift slash of the saif. Will our withdrawl from the world makes them hate us less? Maybe. It would also make the world more dangerous, so what would we have accomplished by being apologetic of our power?

Assuming we are speaking of religious zealots, it is absolutely absurd to contend that the US is revered in the Middle East because it champions civil liberties. They hate us because of our civil liberties, they hate us because of the Rev. Martin Luther King, they hate because of our libertarian ideals, and they hate because we believe all men and women are created equal. Finally, they especially hate us because of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, blue jeans, and T-shirts.
7.22.2007 9:06pm
jasmindad:
Adam J asks:
> Jasmindad, you said "Yes, a liberal Pakistani
> such as Hamid can blame the US for not
pressing
> Pakistan hard on democracy and human rights,
but
> if the US had indeed done that, the same elite
> would then be advancing US interference in the
> sovereignty of their country as the reason
they
> hate the US."
>
> Sure, that might be true, but just how
> threatening would this hatred be compared to
> what we have now? Their argument just wouldn't
> have a whole lot of legitimacy to it, it's just
> self promotion; "we're mad because you're
> undermining our little dictatorship by trying
to
> institute democracy?" Do you really think
that'd
> have the same fallout as backing Zia? Pakistan
> might not have been the model of democracy,
but
> it seemed like it was moving in the right
> direction before we meddled, by backing Zia
and
> the Taliban for the sake of a proxy war with
> USSR.

There is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion
in the above (and that reminds me, in Hamid's
explanation). Hamid -- correctly -- fingers US
action in roping Pakistan into an alliance to
dislodge the communist regime in Afghanistan as
increasing violence and the Jihadi culture in
Pakistan. He also implies that that the US
supported the Zia dictatorship for its own
interests vis a vis Afghanistan. As I explained,
it is equally correct to say that Pakistan roped
the US into funding its activities in Afghanistan
because of the Pakistani establishment's
strategic needs. I'm not denying that all this
was bad for Pakistan at many levels -- violence,
jihadization of the military and intelligence
agencies, undercutting democracy and liberal
values, etc. I'm denying two things: one, that
it was an imperialist US arm-twisting of a
reisting but weak Pakistan; two, that this
history is the cause of why Pakistani's "hate"
the US, something that Hamid seems to imply.

The relative moderates in Pakistan, such as
Hamid, who don't like the Jihadis may "hate" the
US, but they pose no danger to the US. The real
danger is the Jihadis and their hatred. Their
beef with the US is not our support of Zia and
the Taliban two decades ago. They hate us now
for all the same reasons that the jihadis the
world over hate the US.

We need to distinguish between three things:
Islamism/Jihadism, the military and its penchant
for intervention/dictatorship, and party
politicians who want to play democracy. The
Islamists/Jihadists loved Zia, the military
dictator twenty five years ago, because he
instituted various Sharia ordinances that they
wanted, created and supported Taliban, etc. The
Jihadis served for him as a club over the
democratic parties. The same bunch today fight
Musharraf, since he is at least some of the time
fighting the extreme Jihadi elements. They
"hate" the US, but they are not democrats, and
their hatred has nothing to do with the
supposedly had things we did in supporting them
and the Taliban long ago.

The democrats have no reason now -- or had twenty
hears ago -- to like either of the two dictators.
This bunch may be mad at the US for not pushing
Musharraf out, but as I said the only danger from
them to the US is occasional opeds in Washington
Post and NYT. The military and allied
establishments are not a danger to the US
either, unless the elements in that
establishment that are in sympathy with the
Jihadists take power.

All this is by way of saying that Hamid's
explanation for why the Pakistanis hate us
misdescribes the problem. Even if it were 100%
true, which, as I explained, is not, that the US
imposed pro-Jihadi policies and a dictator over
them 25 years ago for its own interests, that is
not an explanation of the "hate" -- the dangerous
version of it -- that Hamid is supposedly
explaining. The people who hate us are the
people whom we supported then.

If Hamid instead were to explain the problem in
Pakistan in terms of blowback, that would be be
be more correct, but then the title of the piece
cannot be about why they hate us, but about
blowback.
7.22.2007 9:41pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
Do they hate the US so much that they wouldn't visit or live here if given the chance?
7.22.2007 9:45pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
If you look closely at the polls that show that Euros don't like the US, the reasons are rather interesting.

Basically, they're mad because we don't do things that they want done.

They keep telling us how the EU is an economic power, but when it comes to actually doing anything, they're weak.

Come on Europe. Pick a problem, any problem, and solve it. When we see how it's done, we'll happily let you.

What? You only want to tell us how to do things or to pay the bills? No thanks.
7.22.2007 9:51pm
Gaius Marius:
I'm wondering if Hamid would like some cheese with his whine.
7.22.2007 10:16pm
neurodoc:
Adam J, you say you are "not sure what (my) point is." Well, if you read what I actually wrote rather than your own bowlderized version thereof, it should have been plenty clear. (When "selectively" quoting someone, the honest thing to do is to use ellipses to indicate where you have edited it.) Really, how hard do you find it to understand:

Peaceful, peace-loving Pakistan has gone to war with its neighbor on the other side, India, three times since 1948, IIRC. And unable to reconcile itself to Indian control of Kashmir (Pakistan probably does have the better case), Pakistan has long kept the waters roiling by providing safe haven, training sites, and considerable material support to its own jihadis intent upon that bit of dar-al-Islam."
what is italicized is what Adam J cut from the original, unexpurgated text

Yes, Pakistan has supplied jihadis far and wide around the globe. But I was only alluding to those who have waged more or less continuous guerrilla warfare against neighboring India (Indian Kashmir) from bases in Pakistan without much, if any, hinderance by the Pakistani government. (Or do you believe their government's patently disingenuous denials of all responsibility?)

And did we mention AQ Khan's theft of nuclear technology on behalf of Pakistan, making possible the first "Islamic" nuclear weapons? (But you will probably say that every body does it, or tries to do it, so we ought not think less of Pakistan for doing it.)

As yet another reason for Pakistanis to hate the United States, though surely not its people, Hamid failed to mention that Pakistan receives more foreign aid from the US than all but two countries (Israel and Egypt). But why should they be grateful for that?

Of course there is only so much Hamid could cover in an essay like this one. Perhaps the next time out, he will extend his "why Pakistanis hate you" to take in the UK. In return for giving jobs to all those impoverished Pakistanis they allowed in over the past half century, that country is being "thanked" today with terrorist outrages by the offspring of those immigrants, with doctors and other highly educated doing the dastardly deeds after trips back to Pakistan for training in terrorism.

And wasn't that a cute lead in about Hamid's apprehensions when visiting Dallas for the first time recently, those so much like the apprehensions an American journalist might have if visiting Pakistan's lawless tribal areas. What crap, especially coming from this individual with his considerable experience of the US, if not Dallas before now. Let's objectify this and ask how much higher a premium an insurance underwriter should ask for an insurance policy on the life of an American journalist going to spend time in Pakistan than one on the life of a Muslim writer like Hamid sojourning in Dallas or anywhere else in the US. (Daniel Pearl?)

jasmindad did an excellent job of it above, but there is so much that can be said about how exemplary country Pakistan and its people are.
7.22.2007 10:25pm
SP:
Jimbino, assuming your answer is not a parody, I don't think a teen in Pakistan is particularly angry that his American counterparts can't find Sumatra on a map.
7.22.2007 10:45pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
Andy Freeman:

Euros and liberals are whiny bitches. That's all they can do.
7.22.2007 11:00pm
neurodoc:
jimbino:
They hate us because of our meddling in affairs the world over. Muslims also hate us because of what they consider our libertine ways. Americans are abysmally ignorant of foreign language, culture and politics and likely to remain so.

We really deserve to lose this one, but if we don't, we could help secure our future by requiring Amerikan kids to learn a foreign language and spend junior year abroad. In addition, we should finance a year in high school here for any kid abroad who masters English.

Those unfamiliar with jimbino's politics may think "Amerikan" in the second paragraph was a typo. More likely, "American" in the first paragraph was the typo. jimbino isn't orthographically challenged, he prefers "Amerika" as an expression of his views.

I don't count myself, nor most Americans, together with jimbino in his "we really deserve to lose this one." He should act on his principles and join up with those he believes "really deserve to win this one." No doubt he could find them in Pakistan, even if he had to go to the tribal lands (wonderful Waziristan).

And as for his advice that "we should finance a year in high school here for any kid abroad who masters English," hadn't most or all of the 9/11 perps mastered English? So before they off'ed themselves and the 3,000 or so innocents they took with them, we should have given them a free year of schooling here in the US?! Or would he deny those scholarships to potential jihadis?

I am a bit surprised that jimbino didn't manage to work in some anti-semitism here along with the anti-Americanism, but I don't doubt he will serve up some in future posts.
7.22.2007 11:01pm
Truth Seeker:
The article was good, but (some of) the comments here are even more informative.

As for jimbino and randy, you guys would look a lot more clever and witty on the Kos web site. But at least you didn't try to drag gay marriage into the discussion this time (for obvious reasons).
7.22.2007 11:14pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Randy R: "Well, George Bush says they hate us for our freedoms. So he decided to take away those freedoms and hope that they won't hate us anymore. Voila!"

What specific freedom did Bush take away?
7.22.2007 11:19pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
The answer is Bush didn't take away a single freedom unless you're a member of a Islamic terrorist cell. Then you're freedoms are strictly curtailed, and I'd be screaming bloody murder if my name were Ahmed.
7.22.2007 11:23pm
Randy R. (mail):
Elliot: "What specific freedom did Bush take away?"

In a word, Jose Padilla, who hasn't been shown to be a member of any terrorist cell. But also habeas corpus. and the right to jury trial once declared an 'enemy combatant', and also revocation of Geneva Conventions, just for starters.

"I seriously doubt that 40 year old Pakistanis hate us because of something we did in Iran before they were born."

Perhaps. But the question was why do they hate us, and I proffered a possible explanation. It might be right, or wrong, or something in between. But in that part of the world, civilizations go back thousands of years. What happened 40 years ago is practically yesterday, and still an open wound to them. Heck, they still hold grudges that are hundreds of years old. Why would you assume that something that happened relatively recently has nothing to do with why they hate us?

Truth Seeker: "But at least you didn't try to drag gay marriage into the discussion this time ."

And your point is....?

Basically, everyone here seems to agree that the Pakistanis have absolutely no reason to hate us, and that if they do, it's for no reason at all, except that they are stupid, ignorant, childish and ungrateful.

And you still wonder why they don't love us like brothers....
7.23.2007 12:30am
TCO:
Boo fucking hoo. Tell him to go back to his country and kill redcoats, indians and buffaloes the way a real man would. Until he and his ilk take control of their own polises, they won't have crap except from better men than they.
7.23.2007 12:40am
Randy R. (mail):
But really, the most ignorant post here is clearly from Andy Freeman:

"Basically, they're mad because we don't do things that they want done.
They keep telling us how the EU is an economic power, but when it comes to actually doing anything, they're weak." And yet the dollar continues its' slide against the Euro. The dollar is the most objective means we have to evaluate the strength of our economy against another. They are anything but weak.

"Come on Europe. Pick a problem, any problem, and solve it. When we see how it's done, we'll happily let you." Well, health care for one. Most european countries are quite happy with their health care. It's not optimal, of course, but neither is the US. They are much further ahead of us on energy independence and alternative uses of energy than the US as well. So that's two.

"You only want to tell us how to do things or to pay the bills? No thanks." We don't pay their health care bills, or their energy bills. We don't pay any of their bills, in fact. We have a few military bases in Europe, as we do around the world, but that's about it. Unless you can give us an example of European bills that we pay.
7.23.2007 12:41am
guest:

"guest may have explained some of the hate, but in an indirect, ironic sort of way.

Our unfavorables are nearly as high in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands as they are in Islamic countries."



Professor Cross, your comparison of the unfavorable opinion of the US by European countries to the "hate" of America that pervades the Muslim world seems...a bit disingenuous.

Looking down on America for our relative brashness and unsophisticated ways is one thing. A religious ideology which has led to repeated suicide attacks on Americans and inspires protests calling for beheadings and world domination is quite another plane of hatred.
7.23.2007 12:56am
Tony Tutins (mail):
I haven't been that fond of Pakistan myself, ever since Pakistan attacked what is now Bangladesh. As George Harrison sang: But it sure looks like a mess; I've never known such distress. Furthermore, plenty of Pakistanis love the US; none of the Pakistanis I went to undergrad with ever moved back.
7.23.2007 1:11am
neurodoc:
Professor Kerr, do you have anything to say about this essay by your former classmate Hamid other than that you found it "interesting"? How much "credit" do you think Princeton deserves for producing this result? Is it likely that he would have been a great deal less enlightened in his thinking had he remained in Pakistan rather than returned to the United States and attended Princeton? (Yes, this may be seen as baiting, because I really would like for you to go beyond "interesting.")
7.23.2007 1:38am
Ricardo (mail):
The relative moderates in Pakistan, such as
Hamid, who don't like the Jihadis may "hate" the
US, but they pose no danger to the US


Pakistan may be a dictatorship but it is far from totalitarian. The government, at the end of the day, has to be concerned with what people think of it. For Americans, there is plenty of reason to care about what those Pakistanis who are neither pro-Jihadi nor especially pro-American think of us. The more anti-American mainstream opinion in Pakistan becomes, the harder it will become for the police and military to crack down on terrorists -- including those who operate out of middle-class neighborhoods in Karachi. A real global war on terror requires cooperation from many different people in many different countries. When that cooperation is grudging and reluctant at best, another 9/11 becomes that much more likely.
7.23.2007 2:00am
Harry Eagar (mail):
I had to laugh -- in a disgusted sort of way -- at Hamid's claim that Pakistanis only became violent when we bad Americanos gave them guns.

I've seen the films of 50,000 Pakistanis filling a soccer stadium and cheering fanatically as Bangladeshi intellectuals were clubbed to death.

They don't need guns.
7.23.2007 2:40am
Adam J:
Neurodoc, careful, he might have to pick a side.

By the way, sorry you didn't agree with my quoting, I wasn't trying to take anything out of context- that was just the part I took issue with. I understand what you are saying, that Pakistani were no angels to begin with. However, I think (perhaps naively I admit) that the India-Pakistan grudge is a completely different animal based on nationalism than the jihad secular issues they have now. I think that nationalism problems was fading however when we decided to back Zia, and we probably had a chance to jump in and help them develop a democracy. Instead we chose to back some jihadist nutbag because it helped us in our proxy war.
And by doing so, we destroyed any moral high ground we might have had to justify our meddling. So the jihadists are able to sell us as self-interested meddlers- giving them a target for their pain, and since the people are subject to the whims of dictators, there is alot of pain (and religon being a pancea for pain, that is what they turn to).
7.23.2007 2:55am
Adam J:
um, take out jihad secular and put in jihad sectarian (doh!)
7.23.2007 2:57am
OrinKerr:
Neurodoc,

I found Mohsin's article interesting for a few reasons. First, I know him pretty well, having gone to school with him for seven years, and I trust that he is accurately conveying perspectives of individuals in Pakistan. Whether we agree or disagree with the views he is offering, he is offering them in good faith and telling us what a lot of people think. Second, his article is pretty balanced: if you read the article, he clearly loves America and believes strongly in its values. Given that, Mohsin struck me as a pretty credible messenger to give us insight into a perspective we don't often hear.

What I really find remarkable is the hostility in the thread among the commenters, including from you. It's obviously fair to say that the Pakistani attitudes aren't justified, and that the U.S. is getting more blame that it deserves in his narrative. But a lot of commenters respond to the message by lashing out in a very angry way. I'd be interested in hearing thoughtful and reasoned explanations of why, although I'm not very optimistic that you are able to give me such an explanation.
7.23.2007 3:08am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we overthrew their democratically elected [Prime Minister] in Iran in the 1950s and replaced him with the Shah, all for the sake of the oil companies."

Your statement is misleading if not downright counter factual.
In 1953 the Prime Minister of Iran, Mossadegh, tried to convince the Shah (in power since 1941) to leave the country and the Shah refused. Then (acting under his constitutional authority) the Shah dismissed the PM. Mossadegh refused to leave office, and the Shah left Iran instead. That's the first coup. With the help of the CIA and the Iranian military the Shah returned and had Mossadegh arrested—the counter coup. Thus there was no change in the constitution or the democratic form of government. From this viewpoint it's not correct to say that the CIA staged a coup to install a dictatorship to replace a democracy. Of course the Shah did ultimately become an autocrat in 1975 when he replaced Iran's multiparty system with his Rastakhiz party, but that's 22 years later.
7.23.2007 3:38am
Just a Nut (mail):
Mohsin's comment near the end of his piece is quite telling:

People abroad admire Americans not because they back foreign dictators but because they believe that all men and all women are created equal. That concept cannot stop at the borders of the United States. It is a concept far greater than any one nation, no matter how great that nation is. For America to be true to itself, its people must broaden their belief in equality to include the men and women of the world.


It is good rhetoric. The above tear jerker, even if in the form of a wish, is not really true. Islam precludes such equality and prescribes death to the unbelievers. Most other religions also disagree with the notion of equality with somewhat less vigor. The closest match maybe with communism, which pursued the notion of some are vastly more equal than others. Rest of the world actually does not buy into such goals.

Indeed, 'Islamic' countries have cleaned out non-muslims from their lands with regularity. What is Pakistan today, with barely 1% Hindus and about 3% Christians, had close to 35 to 40% non-muslims just sixty odd years back. The minority population plummeted within a span of about three to five years. The cause was the 'Action Day' called for by the Muslim league that led to extensive blood letting and eventual partition of the subcontinent and the creation of Pakistan.

Anyway, this may not be quite the right forum to discuss Mohsin's take on the US in view of the low esteem and attention the Declaration of Independence receives here. As an example of such low level of attention to the Declaration, I cite the extensive discussion of the Dredd Scott case as a harbinger of substantive due process in adjudicating property rights over people.

In this forum, the Second Amendment receives the most favorable treatment- with high marks for the equality promoting technology of Smith and Wesson. Thus, explosion in crime due to availability of cheap guns, another of Mohsin's complaints, is unlikely to be noticed here as a negative development.

Regardless, the conflict between the Declaration and the subsequent case law interpreting the Constitution (during most of the history of this Republic) has vexed and confounded many- ranging from the Framers to the authors of the Federalist Papers to Dr. Martin Luther King all the way to this nutty author. Women are confounded by the express language in the Declaration itself because it ignores them as even a potential equal of men- maybe their superiority is far too obvious to be mentioned.

So, Mohsin should grow up. It is not just the Pakistanis or other foreigners who are mystified- American citizens are no less mystified by developments underming liberties at home- notwithstanding their allegiance to and affection for the US.
7.23.2007 5:44am
Elliot123 (mail):
Moshin's article shows an unfortunate reluctance on the part of many Pakistanis and Arabs to accept responsiblity for the shortcomings of their own societies. Look at the chain of events that Moshin attributes to the US. Nowhere in that long chain of actions by Pakistanis does he acknowledge that Pakistanis have created their own society. The US is responsible for the fact that he can't go to a dance club and get a drink in Lahore?

More unfortunate is the fact that Moshin is exactly the type of person who could be very instrumental in changing Pakistani society, yet he sees the problems as being created from the outside rather from the inside. I wonder who he expects to fix things for him? The US?
7.23.2007 11:30am
srg:
A. Zarkov:

Your sources, please.
7.23.2007 11:42am
A.C.:
Something that seldom gets discussed is the effect of left-leaning education on people around the world, including in the US. You all recognize the type, I'm sure -- the focus on economics above all else, the equation of capitalism with imperialism, and the obsession with policies and attitudes that even people in the US gave up long ago because of a recognition that they don't work. The attitudes fostered by this kind of education close out any consideration of ideas, and especially of ideals. Anything that looks like an ideal is dismissed as subterfuge meant to disguise the real agenda.

And, of course, these attitudes assume that change is not possible unless capitalism is abandoned or squelched in some way. Reality is more complicated. Countries with oil have managed to get much better royalties than they did in the early 20th Century, when colonialism was still the norm and even independent non-Western countries didn't have much bargaining power. And yet people still say that foreign policy is all about "taking" resources. It's a lot more expensive to get things through foreign policy than to buy them on the open market, so this argument is not all that persuasive.

It certainly isn't complete, and so we have to go back to the realm of ideas. What was the Cold War really about? I submit that there was a lot more to it than a squabble over stuff. The next question is, are current global problems just blow-back from the Cold War, as a focus on Pakistan and Afghanistan might suggest, or are there new ideas and new problems in the mix?
7.23.2007 11:53am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Neurodoc, better at sneering than reading, wonders whether the article shows that Pakistanis have "good cause" to resent the U.S.

Since when did populations base their prejudices on "good cause"? Did Southerners have "good cause" to enslave black people and then repress them for 120 years after the Civil War?

It's disappointing, tho predictable, that when someone thoughtful tries to talk to us about ourselves, so many of us stick our fingers in our ears and chant "Euros and liberals are whiny bitches."

(Which, by the way, is the remark of a deeply detestable person -- it's appalling how much people are willing to reveal about how hateful they are. The internet has a Lord of the Flies quality sometimes.)
7.23.2007 12:37pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
I seem to have upset Randy R.

> And yet the dollar continues its' slide against the Euro. The dollar is the most objective means we have to evaluate the strength of our economy against another. They are anything but weak.

And yet, they can't do much of anything outside their borders. (That's unfair - the French occasionally terrorize some of their former colonies.)

Disagree? Feel free to list three of the Euro successes outside their borders. (Cricket against Australia or India doesn't count.)

Better yet - solve the Sudan.

> Unless you can give us an example of European bills that we pay.

I'm referring, of course (keep up with the context), to the Euro habit of screaming "someone should do something" and then Monday morning quarterbacking about the US response to some international problem.

Occasionally, they'll even suggest that they be given a say in what the US does. Suggested mechanisms have included a vote in US elections, UN authority, and so on.

There are no shortage of international problems and yet the Euros do nothing.
7.23.2007 12:40pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Mr. Freeman: the Europeans can't do much of anything without having the U.S. on board, unless they are willing to go head to head with us, which would have unforeseeable but rather negative-looking consequences.

The U.S. is indispensable, not b/c the Euros can't do anything themselves, but because the U.S is such a huge player that Europe can't really make any kind of strategy if the U.S. isn't going to be going along with it.
7.23.2007 12:44pm
WHOI Jacket:
But if the EU is such an economic powerhouse, then why can't they do it independently? The US has shown that we can make a strategy that Brussels feels no strong need to contribute to.
7.23.2007 1:41pm
WHOI Jacket:
Also, do other groups/countries/etc ever have to ask "Why do they hate us?" Does no one fear the American street?
7.23.2007 1:43pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
If you look closely at the polls that show that Euros don't like the US, the reasons are rather interesting.


It's even more interesting when you look at how countries like Germany and France which supposedly have a strong anti-US government sentiment just replaced governments which campaigned on standing up to the United States with leaders who promised to work on improving relations with the United States.
7.23.2007 1:55pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Mr. Freeman: the Europeans can't do much of anything without having the U.S. on board, unless they are willing to go head to head with us, which would have unforeseeable but rather negative-looking consequences.


Baloney, Kosovo was right on their freaking doorstep. If they had wanted to send in their own forces to stop the genocide the United States wouldn't have lifted a finger to stop them. It wasn't fear of US opposition, it was because they were too weak to do without US support.
7.23.2007 1:58pm
DustyR (mail) (www):
[OrinKerr 7.23.2007 2:08am]

I found it interesting, too, though for a somewhat different reason, Orin. The complaints, if you will, are not the common ones that the news media and other dwell on when discussing "why they hate us". The ones Hamid mentions are buried in overarching events and take place over a long period of time and, as such, will be hard to connect to the overarching event. This, I think, fits into a observation by Belmont Club a long while back about the news media's lack of providing our receiving continuity of information on events no matter how. That's difficult no matter who is providing it or how and when we receive it, which is why I struck the phrase above.

Offhand, I don't think Hamid perspective holds up well as legitimate and am sorry I don't have the time to provide my perspective. I do want to point, generally, to two bases for what I would note.

One, an action on the part of another, often have consequences not intended. That doesn't necessarily mean the actor is at fault. I don't know that the consequences Hamid links to the US giving Pakistan money to support opposition to the Soviets in Afghanistan should be laid at our feet. I can understand that perception becoming ingrained by those actually affected by it, and in that sense it is a fact, but that isn't a good or the sole basis for analyizing it or accepting it.

The other is relying on perceptions and that relates to the above. Hamid went to Dallas and found, not what he had learned, but something very different. It's easy to have the perception that something is the case merely because it is 'common knowledge'. I'd like to know how rigorously Hamid put the consequences of our giving aid to Pakistan for opposing the Soviets in Afghanistan through an "Is this common knowledge accurate?" test.

I have never heard of these quick social changes Hamid cites, much less that they might have been the result of the policy, so I remain skeptical, but I'd certainly like more of Hamid's analysis. Is there a chance you can get him to guest post here?
7.23.2007 2:17pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
It's obviously fair to say that the Pakistani attitudes aren't justified, and that the U.S. is getting more blame that it deserves in his narrative. But a lot of commenters respond to the message by lashing out in a very angry way.

Are they Pakistani attitudes or merely Hamid's attitudes? Because Hamid describes the post-Bangladesh-war Pakistan of his youth as a peaceful Garden of Eden, before the American snake came in bearing Kalashnikovs for everyone, resulting in Pakistanis, apparently unable to resist a bargain, becoming addicted to cheap heroin. Moreover, he finds the US somehow responsible for the worldwide wave of Muslim fundamentalism that took place in the 1980s and early 90s, which, although affecting Pakistan, also manifested itself in such unexpected ways as women wearing the burqa in Kuala Terengganu. I'd say he has some causation problems linking US actions to what he doesn't like about Pakistan.
7.23.2007 2:19pm
Orielbean (mail):
For those who quote the amount of foreign aid that we give to Pakistan, answer this question - where does that money actually go? To another dictator, or to the Pakistani people? If we were interested in helping "the people" vs a regime with a less-religious flavor, then we'd open businesses there or buy more of thier imports, etc.

We started propping up the dictator who was anti-Soviet, but didn't realize the blowback created by his hardline Islamic supporters. Now we are propping up the dictator who is ostensibly anti-Jihad Muslim, but we are missing the bigger picture that the Pakistani people still suffer and enjoy no great benefit from the huge amount of cash we shovel in there.

From Operation Ajax to Iraqi Freedom - we consistently have concerned ourselves only with the leaders at the top of the chain, and continually ignore or pretend to ignore the impact on the vast majority of people affected when we pay the top guy to shore up his regime or try to capture/kill him or ask him to make speeches about democracy. The Marshall Plan worked because it created jobs and dealt directly with the population to improve their actual problems. We need a new game plan, as it doesn't work in Central / South America, Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle-East part of Asia, or Southeast Asia.

Trickle-down Democracy is officially a failure. I'm pragmatic about our attempts to spread democracy - I agree that change is needed in the world, and leaving people alone to their failed system or ignorance is just as bad as dropping a bomb on their heads. I'm not an anti-war person.

However, if we just keep missing the history lesson and fight like fools, then we'll never be able to convince the public when the fighting would actually be relevant, useful, constructive in a long-term sense. We cry "wolf" or "terror" or "fire" too many times, and the real danger gets ignored when its warning sign appears.

The angry teen in the article is a symptom of the blowback, nothing more. The scumbags who stole from Saddam's Oil for Food program have create the "blood for oil" blowback we are currently hearing about the Iraq War - the worst among us are all the people outside can see. We don't hear about brave Marines protecting the population, just the rape-crazy, murderous thugs that signed up for blood.

Hamid's cry is clear because our foreign aid doesn't listen to him, to the middle class - we don't listen to the business owners and professionals that make up the brain and backbone of a properly-functioning first-world country. Propping up Musharraf creates a short-term solution without looking to the long term effect of supporting a military dictatorship with cash, training, and verbal support.

Oh, and for those who look for revolution and overthrowing anti-democracy forces - remember that rebellion is usually fomented by the middle class - the people like Hamid. He may be whining, but if we want to have actual functional democracy in Pakistan, we would find a way to enable him and not just write him off as a complainer. We are not enabling anybody but the dictatorship today. If you don't want people standing there making a fuss with their hand out for cash, then stop paying the other guy.
7.23.2007 2:45pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Baloney, Kosovo was right on their freaking doorstep. If they had wanted to send in their own forces to stop the genocide the United States wouldn't have lifted a finger to stop them. It wasn't fear of US opposition, it was because they were too weak to do without US support.

Thorley Winston is right about this -- we were quite pusillanimous ourselves, recall -- but it's a little like their Somalia or Rwanda, a genuine failure that does not exemplify the rule.

As for WHOI, what can Europe do about, say, the Palestinian problem, without the U.S. on board? If Mom tells the kids "no dessert unless you eat your broccoli" and then Dad slips the kids their dessert on the side, that's not an effective policy, is it?
7.23.2007 3:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
It's funny that Kosovo is brought up. The right wing in the US was adamantly against any action in Kosovo, and Clinton went in without their support. Ditto for Somalia.

So actually, the right wing was right in line with Europe on this issue.

As for Iraq, everyone (except Britain) was against the invasion because they didn't see an exit strategy, or the necessity to invade. And they were of course right. So on that issue, Europe had the right idea, and we had the wrong one.

One of the great successes of modern history is the EU. Until just about 50 years ago, Europe was divided by centuries-old animosities, and was wrecked with wars among the various European states. Now, all of Europe, right up to the Russian border, is united, if not by a common currency, then at least by NATO, and common market. Other countries are hoping to join this club, like Turkey. The chances of any of these countries having any further armed conflict with each other is practically nil. That's quite an amazing accomplishment.

Additionally, it has created the one of the largest markets in the world, larger than the US, with a growth rate that meets or exceeds that of the US. In terms of wealth, it is one of the top regions, whether you measure it on a per capita basis or in absolute terms. Furthermore, the standard of living, in some cases, actually exceed the US.

Another success? Public transportation. The beat us in railroad transport and intracity transport as well. We could do much better to emulate them.

Still waiting to hear about the European bills that we pay....
7.23.2007 3:31pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Still waiting to hear about the European bills that we pay....

Interest on our national debt?
7.23.2007 3:38pm
Randy R. (mail):
Back to the original question.

No, I have never come across anyone around the world who hates us for our freedoms, or our blue jeans. This baloney comes from watching too much Fox News and Bush speeches, but it has nothing to do with reality.

They may resent the imposition of American culture in the form of movies and music, but that's only because our popular culture is so *popular* that it drowns out native culture. In other words, a certain elite resents the fact that everyone else loves American culture.

Not everyone in Pakistan hates us, and I am quite familiar with OPEN, which is an organization of Pakistanis living the N. America. They love America, and have close ties with people back at home, so I know that there is a strong pro-America culture there to some degree. What that degree is, however, I have no idea.

But it may be possible that they hate us for meddling in their country, especially after 9/11, or our support for Israel, or our meddling in other countries in the region. I'm not saying this justifies their hatred, but it can help explain and understand it. And understanding it is the first step to correcting it.

But just throwing insults at Europe and the Middle East and whatnot for not welcoming us with open arms and obeying our every command, or finding glib and simplistic 'feel-good' answers, does nothing to help understand or solve the problem.

But that's quite typical of the Bush Administration. They don't care about actually solving a problem so much as making a good sound bite on Fox.
7.23.2007 3:38pm
Randy R. (mail):
Actually, thanks to the huge deficits that Bush and the Repulicans have rung up, China is our largest debtor nation by far. We pay far more in interest on our debt to the Chinese that any other nation or debtor.

And we should be very thankful to the Chinese. If they didn't buy up all that debt, our interest rates would be much higher.
7.23.2007 3:40pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Professor Kerr, I don't see how you can say that this was mere reportage. The essay is clearly the writer's own take.

He doesn't seem to know very much about either Pakistan or the United States.

His anti-Americanism is little different from the anti-Americanism of would-be intellectual elites the world around. Dan Diner's essay "America in the Eyes of the Germans" identified most of the components of visceral anti-Americanism.
7.23.2007 3:41pm
Randy R. (mail):
Zarkov:"From this viewpoint it's not correct to say that the CIA staged a coup to install a dictatorship to replace a democracy. Of course the Shah did ultimately become an autocrat in 1975 when he replaced Iran's multiparty system with his Rastakhiz party, but that's 22 years later."

If your version of the facts is correct, then I stand corrected. Nonetheless, we helped the Shah become an autocrat, and stood aside while he tortured and imprisoned his own people. This is not the way to make friends in the long run, but an excellent way to create enemies. Which is exactly what happened.
7.23.2007 3:45pm
Charles Lindbergh:
Someone said:


Our unfavorables are nearly as high in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands as they are in Islamic countries.


Yup, we should never have interfered with "internal European affairs" in the 1940s, or in 197-18, for that matter. We could have let the Dutch and French work out their own affairs with the Germans.
7.23.2007 3:58pm
chris c:
Randy R, the bills referred to above are prob referring to US underwriting of European defense. Not just in Europe, but worldwide - eg, shipping lanes policed by the US Navy. also, Randy, you're wrong about Kosovo - some GOPers opposed it, others fervently backed it (McCain, the Weekly Standard folks - and recall Dole's championing of the Bosnians in 1996 and before)

as for the article, I think the writer takes a strangely passive view of Pakistanis. it's not as if US aid to Afghanistan flowed through pakistan in spite of the wishes of at least a good number of people in Pakistan.

Powerful countries make enemies. what distinguishes us is we seem to care about this fact. provided the majority of Americans are generally ok with our foreign policy, and willing to live with its implications (good and bad)the fact that this or that country gets pissed off about it is really not a big deal. if it wasn't them it would be someone else.
7.23.2007 4:34pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Yup, we should never have interfered with "internal European affairs" in the 1940s

My goodness, it really is Charles Lindbergh!
7.23.2007 5:03pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
provided the majority of Americans are generally ok with our foreign policy, and willing to live with its implications (good and bad) the fact that this or that country gets pissed off about it is really not a big deal. if it wasn't them it would be someone else.

The attitude criticized by Hamid, in a nutshell. Nicely done!
7.23.2007 5:04pm
Smokey:
Charles Lindbergh:

You are exactly right. Woodrow Wilson was almost as inept as Norman Mineta [had to find a good example]. Wilson pushed long and hard for the League of Nations. Then, when the Euro powers finally accepted his proposal, Wilson pulled the carpet out from under them.

By backing a particular dog in that fight [and the side we backed, England and France, just happened to owe us much more $$$$$ than the other dog -- gotta protect your investments], the U.S. lost its high moral standing as the world's neutral arbiter.

Germany never forgot that the U.S. backed the Versailles Armistice, which required her to pay six billion gold marks -- much more money than Germany could possibly pay [which led directly to the Weimar Republic's hyper-inflation, and gave Hitler his opportunity]. It was simply revenge pushed by France, which was just as guity of going to war as anyone else.

Germany had more territory outside of her own borders at the war's end than when the war began, and did not at first view the Armistice as anything other than a cessation of hostilities followed by a return to her pre-war borders. A generation later, Germany tried to get even by declaring war on the U.S., on 12/11/41.

It all could have been avoided. We had our hands full with Japan beginning on 12/07/41, and we weren't looking for extra enemies. Except for Wilson's bumbling, Europeans would have sorted things out by themselves like they always have. And the losers would have much less reason to hate the meddling U.S.

George Washington was right. We should keep the hell out of foreign entanglements.
7.23.2007 5:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chris: "Randy R, the bills referred to above are prob referring to US underwriting of European defense. Not just in Europe, but worldwide - eg, shipping lanes policed by the US Navy. also, Randy, you're wrong about Kosovo - some GOPers opposed it, others fervently backed it (McCain, the Weekly Standard folks - and recall Dole's championing of the Bosnians in 1996 and before)."

As I said, we do support some military installations in Europe, even now. Those are left over from the Cold War, and there were as much to protect us as it was to protect Europe. And we are still members of NATO.

Regarding shipping lanes and whatnot -- sure we have naval protection. And as the largest country in the world doing international trade, that helps us more than it helps any other country. And of course we want Europe to be safe, as it is one of our largest trading partners.

However, the original author said that we pay Europe's bills, implying that we make payments to them for their welfare, or other internal costs. We do not. Most of our foreign aid goes to underdeveloped countries, and that is a pittance compared to what the European countries give them.

"the fact that this or that country gets pissed off about it is really not a big deal."

I believe Dick Cheney would disagree with you regarding Iran.
7.23.2007 5:44pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
No, I have never come across anyone around the world who hates us for our freedoms, or our blue jeans. This baloney comes from watching too much Fox News and Bush speeches, but it has nothing to do with reality.
Perhaps you ought to try less "coming across" people and more research. For instance, go look up why the Muslim Brotherhood was founded.
7.23.2007 5:55pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
srg:

You can look at the Wikipedia entry for the Shah of Iran. As it points out historians disagree on whether the 1953 coup against Mossadegh should be regarded as a coup or a counter-coup. In particular did the Shah have the constitutional authority to dismiss the Prime Minister? But in any case, the removal of Mossadegh whether legal or not, still left Iran as a constitutional monarchy. The CIA did not cause a change the form of government in Iran in 1953.
7.23.2007 6:10pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
To get back to the original question, why do they hate us?

If by 'us' he means me and other atheists, it's because we don't buy into his silly, superstitious religion and its evil, raping, murdering, thieving Prophet.

If by 'us' he means the 3 billion or so religious believers who are not 'People of the Book,' same, same.

If by 'us' he means Christians and Jews, it's because -- now that both have the power to refuse it -- they have rejected 'protected status' under his silly, superstitious religion.

They don't just hate us. They hate everybody.

It is a tragedy for Pakistan and a benefit for us that the non-haters have left that country for ours. I can understand why Mohsin dislikes living in a failed state. I would, too.
7.23.2007 6:11pm
chris c:
Anderson, do you really think it would be possible for a powerful nation to conduct its foreign affairs in a such a fashion that it didn't piss off somebody?

or a small one, for that matter. take Pakistan - their continuing support of various nasty groups really pisses off a lot of Indians. and Afghans have been griping about Pakistani meddling in their country for decades.

again, I'm not saying the US has always done the right thing. of course it hasn't. but as a rule, if country A is irked at us for doing X, country B would be angry if we switched gears and did Y. to use Hamid's example, had we not supported the Afghan rebels, no doubt today there would be Afghans angry about that, and Pakistanis as well.
7.23.2007 6:15pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Chris, the issue isn't whether we can avoid pissing off others, but whether we are COMPLETELY INDIFFERENT to our having done so.

Your succinct statement was that if Americans themselves are happy with their chosen policy, the rest of the world can get over it or die pissed ... no matter how much that policy rocks those people's lives.

You are doubtless correct that many Americans do think this way, and I appreciate your stating the position so that its obnoxious nature is highlighted. Put more subtly, it might seem less offensive.

Regarding Afghanistan, we intervened heavily there until the Soviets left, and then ceased to think or care about the region, with no sense of responsibility or prudence. [Insert here description of the Buchanans from The Great Gatsby.] That turned out not to be so clever, on September 11, 2001.
7.23.2007 7:05pm
neurodoc:
Professor Kerr, I do appreciate your willingness to discuss this. Unfortunately, I have to leave for the airport shortly, so can't go much beyond what I said before, and endorsements of what some others have said, e.g., Elliot123 at 10:30AM today, "Moshin's article shows an unfortunate reluctance on the part of many Pakistanis and Arabs to accept responsibility for the shortcomings of their own societies." A few quick, scattered added thoughts, though:

The opening conceit (his apprehensions as a Muslim contemplating a visit to Dallas versus those of an American visitor contemplating one to the tribal areas of Pakistan) set my teeth on edge for starters. At best, it is too "cute" by half, if not frankly disingenuous given his background and experience of the US, if not Dallas. (Was he headed there as part of a book tour?) Some places here are not particularly safe for foreigners or Americans, but less safe than for an American reporter, like Daniel Pearl, visiting Pakistan?

Then, while Hamid may have valid points to make about the "blowback" from the aid we gave the Afghani mujahadeen fighting the Soviets, he neglects so much context, including choices made by the Pakistanis themselves. To hear him tell it, had the US only minded its own business, whatever he thinks that is/was, then so innocent (yes, sneering here) Pakistanis would be doing just fine these days. He choses to ignore so much that Pakistanis and Islam are accountable for.

(BTW, if you were his classmate for 7 years, did he go on to law school?)

I wouldn't want to take any credit away from Saudi Arabia which has done so much to promote Wahhabism (sp?) around the world, funding all those wonderful madrassas (sp?) (see that account of them in The New Yorker) in Pakistan and elsewhere. But Pakistan in its own right, and for many different reasons (Bangladesh, Kashmir, nuclear weaponization, training of terrorists, social primitiveness) not related to anything the US did), is one of the greatest modern pathologies.
7.23.2007 7:33pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Randy R: "Still waiting to hear about the European bills that we pay...."

Liberation of France, Belgium, Nethelands, Italy... Marshall Plan...Debt forgiveness...Defense of Europe as Europe rebuilt itself. Europe is one of America's greatest success stories.
7.23.2007 7:57pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
And then in the Q&A, when challenged, Mohsin waffles, takes half of it back.

So, in addition to being ill-informed, vituperative and splenetic, he's confused.

I'm glad you posted it, though. It was informative.
7.23.2007 9:30pm
Andy Freeman (mail):
The grand European success is that they've stopped killing one another. (They "forget" that it was the US that made that possible.) They've turned inward and made their trains run on time.

However, we're still waiting for them to do anything outside their borders. They keep telling the US that we should do something for the good of others, but despite the supposed economic strength, they do nothing.

Rwanda, Sudan, Bosnia, etc - there's no shortage of opportunities. We get that the US is incompetent, but what have the Euros done besides Monday morning quarterbacking?

They want us to do as they want, with our money - that's the bill that they want us to pay. If they're so rich, why can't they do those things themselves? Or, is it that those things aren't important enough to spend their money on, that they're only worth American money?
7.24.2007 3:36am
Pete Freans (mail):
What I really find remarkable is the hostility in the thread among the commenters

Let me be brief: that's a fair critique and my earlier post may have contributed to the rhetoric, but it wasn't my intention to berate the messenger; his solid intellectual background is unquestionable.

In fairness to Mr. Hamid, he's very clear in explaining that he doesn't belong to that school of thought which blames the US for all of the world's ills. His article unfortunately suggests, in part, just that: because of US foreign policy/superiority, "they" hate us.

Once again, I will argue that the US must be engaged in world affairs because history has shown an unwillingness by other nations to be proactive in preventing political tyranny. At this moment in history, the U.S. is the world's superpower. It is my argument that we shouldn't apologize for our economic &military power; rather it is our absolute duty to protect our interests and advance them.

Of course that begs the question, how is the best way to do that? In sum, Mr. Hamid and I disagree how that should done.
7.24.2007 8:50am
chris c:
Anderson, look at this from another vantage point.

take France. France pissed off lots of Americans back in 2002 and 2003 with its stance on Iraq, and certainly angered the US govt. But the majority of French citizens were on board with their country's moves. Presumably those citizens knew their govt's position would irk Americans but decided that this was a cost worth paying.

From a French viewpoint, that is it - end of story. The fact that Americans got angry is, from a French perspective, perhaps regrettable, and may make future dealings more difficult, but in and of itself that anger is no reason to change your policy.

btw I'm not saying 'we do what we want and screw the world.' a decent respect for the opinions of mankind (just respect, not obeisance). . . and stupid or immoral policies are not redeemed just b/c most citizens back them.

But making the anger of foreigners a litmus test for the wisdom of your country's foreign policy is self defeating, which I would guess is why no govt in history that I know of has done so.
7.24.2007 10:49am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
One reason, and I think a valid one, to regard the rest of the world's pissed-offedness with indifference is that it is inescapable.
Other countries have differing interests. Whatever we do for one country which is considered by them to be nice and good and all that is going to, by definition, disadvantage some one or other countries whose interests are somewhat at odds.
Even lack of action will disadvantage somebody.
So the choice is who's mad at us this week, not whether anybody is.
John Keegan, relating post WW II European attitudes suggested that Britain relaxed after its gargantuan efforts 1914-1945 into quite justified self-congratulation and reminiscing. France and Benelux became anti-US out of repressed shame at the actions of their leaders and intellectuals--who might have done something, even if victory would still have depended on others--more forthright.
IOW, it's got nothing to do with the US being a bad guy.

Speaking of Iran and the coup that wasn't reminds me of a book by an old State hand, involved in the Darlan deal, sneaking around North Africa with a couple of generals and hoping the submarine would be there as scheduled.
He talked about the Guatemala issue. Not true, he says, that we installed a brutal dictatorship. We intercepted a boatload of weapons bound for some rebel group or other, and sponsored a plebiscite. After which the generals, who had not gotten sufficient votes, took over.
I mentioned this to a woman who was, last time I looked, in the Latin American Working Group. Her response was that the CIA must have gotten to the encyclopedia as well as the State Department.
7.24.2007 1:51pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
But making the anger of foreigners a litmus test for the wisdom of your country's foreign policy is self defeating, which I would guess is why no govt in history that I know of has done so.

Sure, but it should be a *factor*. Foreign policy is in part about relations with other countries, and doing things that will *needlessly* anger other countries is a bad idea.

We have know-nothings who seem to delight in angering other countries, "because we can," and a fair number of them seem to hold high office.

But I cannot begin to fathom why the columnist's points about inadvertent blowback aren't treated with any respect. It's a real problem that he's identified, and we have plenty of reason to think that our current leaders are especially bad at paying any attention to the consequences of their actions. (See, e.g., Condi Rice, passim.)
7.24.2007 2:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Anderson. The problem with blowback is two-fold. The first is that most actions will have some blowback. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that nobody ever anticipates blowback. Not true. They may not get it right, they may underestimate it, they may overestimate it. Blowback is an effect which is simultaneously not sought and inevitable. Nobody expects to have actions entirely free from blowback.
The other fold of the problem is that anything someone doesn't like can be, with a modest exercise in linking this to that to this other thing and referring to something the other party can be expected to know nothing about, be claimed as "blowback".
At some point, the folks in the area have agency.

A problem with hauling out blowback as a criticism is that it expects that the locals will act as self-destructive idiots who can't help themselves rather than making informed and productive choices among alternatives. That smacks of racism--to channel Jesse Jackson but with more solid ground.
7.24.2007 2:50pm
Elliot123 (mail):
I'm struck by the insulting and demeaning attitude towards the Pakistanis that Hamid reveals. He gives Pakistanis no credit for being mature and responsible actors managing their own affairs. His description is of a nation of children who are too incompetent to manage their own affairs and determine if they want dance clubs, booze, or herion.

I say the Pakistanis are competent, capable, and responsible for the domestic state of their own nation. Hamid disagrees.

Then we have the expectation that Americans are supposed to be swayed by the idea that Pakistanis can't manage their own lives and blame everyone else for their plight. This is insulting to Americans, and I reject it.
7.24.2007 7:21pm