I have to get this off my chest:
Several people, here, on the radio, on TV, in print, have been saying things like "yeah it's horrible, but the U.S. begat it -- the U.S. should change its policies," or "the U.S. has propped up despots who've killed so many and blah blah blah, maybe now they'll change."
These people are walking a fine line, rationalizing a horrible act.
They're also ignoring a lot of history.
The U.S. has done the following good deeds during the last 60 or so years:
- Entered and won WWII
- Lifted Europe and Japan from the ashes of WWII's ruins
- Saved South Korea
- Come to the financial aid of countless countries, during countless crises
- Destroyed the Soviet Union (a combination of the '80s arms race + the Soviet Union's attempt to grow more [so it could spend more on weapons] by liberalizing its economy)
- Exported prosperity by maintaining a huge current account deficit during so many years (this is the American people's doing, not just the govt's)
- Provided better returns on investment to foreigners than most other markets for so many years (also reflected in that current account deficit)
- Greatly advanced the sciences and technology (also the American people's doing, which they got to do because America is so free)
- Admitted millions of immigrants
- Sent peace-keepers where they're needed
- and much, much more
The evils,the ones that can so be labeled anyways, so often imputed to America are nothing compared to the above. And some of the evils America has in fact committed are often ignored (e.g., the destruction of Dresden, during 1945, a city with no military value, cost: 200,000+ lives).
Don't get me wrong, I'm no moral relativist, but the good America has done far, far, far surpases the bad, and, crucially, America usually, consistently surpasses its moral problems.
The U.S. has, from time to time, done some horrible things, often in the context of war (e.g., Dresden's destruction back in 1945) or in the context of the Cold War (e.g., propping up brutal dictatorships in South America).
The crucial difference between the U.S. (or the West) and the rest of the world is not that the U.S. is morally superior, but that the U.S. surpasses ALL difficulties and challenges in its way, even and especially ones involving moral issues.
- Slavery? The U.S. fought a very bloody civil war over it.
- Widespread corruption (back during Prohibition)? Surpassed.
- Pearl Harbour? Surpassed.
- Internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans during WWII? Reparations made.
- Civil rights problems? Surpassed.
- Blindly arming bloody tyrants during the Cold War? Cold War over, arming over.
The complaints that incense me the most are about how the U.S. has supported Israel [to the presumed detriment of the Arab world], how it maintains troops in Saudi Arabia, and so on. On the first score I must say that, though Woodrow Wilson's "[ethnic/religious/racial] right to self-determination" is a morally bankrupt and horrible concept noone would today re-integrate Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc... into a new Austrio-Hungrarian nation and noone in their right mind would now allow hostile Palestinians and Arabs to push Israel into the sea; also, the U.S. proved in 1978 that it is ready to support all Arab world nations that make peace with Israel and has said so many times since. On the second score: American troops are guests in Saudi Arabia -- they are there to defend it and its way of life! How can anyone use this to justify or rationalize Tuesday's massacre or any terrorist act against the U.S.?????
So those of you saying the sorts of things I quoted above: SHUT THE **** UP and think some more.
And those of you who cry over the demise of the Kyoto treaty, you probably have no idea how much dirtier America's rivers were 40 years ago, or just how bad the environment then was -- America has cleaned up more than any other significant part of the world, save, possibly, Japan, which had even bigger environmental problems then. So you too SHUT THE **** UP and think some more before expressing anger over that treaty.