Anti-americanism: Big ideas that change the world

‘For 60 years… the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy’

I don’t like leading on or giving too much space to quotes and this has been said many times before. It’s an observation that’s informed great literature, like Graham Greene’s The Quiet American, but it still strikes a strike a chord with many. Many who are used to being regarded as anti-American or having simply failed, through gross naïvety perhaps, to realise how evil communism was and how any method for its destruction was justified.

Yet this is US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and it’s a sign of just how dumb downed we really are that I only found this via Eric the Unread. Leaning towards the nuttier side of Christianity and billed as a Soviet specialist, Rice could easily have turned out to believe that radical Islam (and with that terrorism) could be eradicated in the same way many Americans erroneously believe Communism was.

For the duration of the cold war, US foreign policy was to value political stability above all else. Any regime that could claim to be keeping out communists was actively supported, a policy that stretched beyond merely propping up dictators to training armies that employed death squads. Now Rice says: ‘For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East – and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people.’ And with that effective acknowledge that much of what went before was wrong, the world is offered an opportunity for real change (and Reagan must be spinning in his grave).

It seems 9/11 has taught America that democracy, affluence and real political stability abroad, bolster its own security and much more. Still, Greene’s novel remains required reading for anyone open to full and frank exploration of the big idea that informed US foreign policy for sixty years. Now you can read it without being anti-American.

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