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And By “American,” We Mean “Us”

August 18th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Ygz makes a sound point about the folly of categorizing foreign actors as “pro-American” or “anti-American” when, for the most part, they’re following their own interests—and whether those interests coincide or conflict with ours is secondary. Actually, I’ve always thought the especially ingenious bit—which I suppose I tacitly endorse with that “ours” in the last sentence—was the way the tiny coterie of people who make potentially incendiary foreign policy decisions have managed to get themselves equated with “America.”  How many ordinary citizens had any particularly strong view, ex ante, about the desirability of ousting Mohammed Mossadeq, say? But to criticize that set of policy choices is “anti-American,” somehow, rather than “anti- the choices of the particular group of people in power at the time.”

Tags: Language and Literature · War



2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jonathan Goff // Aug 18, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Good point. I just wish there were a pithy short way of saying that I could use the next time someone calls me anti-american…


  • 2 Chuck // Aug 18, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    When John McCain purports to speak for “every American” with his ill-informed and bellicose stance on Russian-Georgian conflict, I throw up a little in my mouth.

    Similar examples are legion–too many to count. Disgusting.