Friday, September 22, 2006

Anti-Americanism at the United Nations

Paul Richter at today's Los Angeles Times has a concise analysis of the unity in Third World anti-Americanism at the United Nations this week:

The outpouring of anti-American rhetoric at the United Nations this week is demonstrating how anger at the United States is uniting the developing world in a way not seen since the 1980s, U.S. officials and analysts say.

Leaders such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Sudan's Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are divided by background and political philosophies, but they spoke as one at the General Assembly regarding perceived U.S. bullying and misdeeds.

Chavez denounced the "imperialist empire," Ahmadinejad railed against U.S. officials' pretensions to be the "rulers of the world," and Bashir complained about powerful intruders trampling his country's sovereignty."

There's a new sense of the oppressed versus the oppressor," said a senior U.S. official, who asked to remain unnamed. "What they have in common is their hatred of the U.S., and it's created this solidarity across Third World lines." That solidarity hasn't been seen in the developing world since leftist liberation movements faded after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he said.
The current round of U.S.-bashing is just a new episode in an old theme. Richter notes in the article that this week's U.N. speeches were reminiscent of the Non-Aligned Movement's attacks on American policy during the 1980s.

There's a deeper cause of what's happening, though. As noted by Fareed Zakaria in a 2004 Foreign Policy essay,

In this post-ideological age, anti-Americanism fills the void left by defunct belief systems. It has become a powerful trend in international politics today—and perhaps the most dangerous. U.S. hegemony has its problems, but a world that reacts instinctively against the United States will be less peaceful, less cooperative, less prosperous, less open, and less stable....

Anti-Americanism’s ascendance also owes something to the geometry of power. The United States is more powerful than any country in history, and concentrated power usually means trouble. Other countries have a habit of ganging up to balance the reigning superpower. Throughout history, countries have united to defeat hegemonic powers—from the Hapsburgs to Napoleon to Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler.
today's lead editorial at the Wall Street Journal suggests the today's anti-American campaign also reflects a show of unity among the world's rogue states in backing the Iranian push toward nuclear capability, an effort that the U.N. has had little success in thwarting.

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