Why the US Government Is Hated
All Over the World
By Fred Reed
-- -- Something is wrong with the United States. I think
most of us have noticed it. There is a mortal rot in the
country, made manifest by many little rots that are hard to
integrate mentally yet are, I think, somehow related. The change
is grave, accelerating, probably irreversible, and fascinating.
Things are not as they were.
The United States is the most hated country on the planet,
followed by, to the extent that there is a distinction, Israel.
So far as I know, there are no other contenders. You can say
“Who cares?” as many will say, or “Screw’em if they can’t take a
joke,” or “I’d ratherh be feared than loved.” All very droll.
Still, it is an interesting datum. No country ever lives up to
its own PR, but there was a time when America was widely
admired. Now, almost universally, it is seen as a rogue state.
This carries a price. The US consulate in Guadalajara is part
fortress, part prison, with barriers and cameras and bars and
rentacops, and they take away a woman’s lipstick if she is going
to enter. Maybe a country that fears lipstick needs to think.
The French consulate around the corner is wide open, like all
others that I know of. The French, Chinese, Japanese and so on
(1) The US government now lives in its own, strange, insulated
(2) The United States is the most militarily aggressive country
on the planet, followed closely by Israel. I am aware of no
Some of this combativeness is obvious – attacking Iraq for no
good reason, occupying Afghanistan, threatening Syria and Iran,
attacking Lebanon by proxy, bombing Somalia, putting troops in
the Philippines to hunt Moslems. The US is also looking for
trouble with Venezuela, threatening North Korea, moving to
“contain” China (Doesn’t a container need to be bigger than its
contents?), embargoing Cuba, pushing into Central Asia,
increasing the military budget, and pushing NATO ever closer to
Russia. (How stupid can you get? Very. Stay tuned.) And the
Pentagon now has Africom, African Command. Africa is now
(3) Powerful domestic hostilities grip the United States. Maybe
you have to be outside of it really to see it. I live in Mexico.
You can go for…well, five years and counting, without hearing
angry talk about this or that group. In America, women hate men
and men are getting sick of American women. Blacks hate whites
hate Hispanics. “Affirmative action” engenders intense hostility
that doesn’t go away. It isn’t the normal friction found in any
country. It is serious antagonism quashed by federal force.
And the black-white-brown thing has very real potential for
getting nasty. This we don’t talk about.
(4) A curious state of fear prevails in America, but it is a
governmental creation, a calculated manipulative Disneyland.
Perhaps soon we will have Terror Mouse.
Recently I was in Washington. Everywhere there were the
artificialities of fear. The steel pop-up barriers in the roads,
the stop’em-bombs steel poles on sidewalks, the endless warnings
to report suspicious behavior on loudspeakers in the subway. The
searches of everything, the metal-detecting doorways even on
buildings of county governments, of schools. (Schools, for
Chrissakes. What is wrong here?) And of course the confiscation
of shampoo at the airport. This is nuts.
(5) The bullying of people entering the US. Any country has the
right to determine who enters. Fine. If you don’t want them to
enter, don’t give them visas. If you issue a visa, try to be
Violeta had a visa, issued by the consulate, both times when we
went to the US. Still she got bullied by the border Nazis. It
was ugly. I am obviously not a Mexican, but I get the same
hostile questioning as to where I am going, why I was in Mexico,
and so on. It is none of their business where I go in my
country. Or shouldn’t be, but there are no limitations on
governmental powers now. A friend, married to a Mexicana, again
with a visa, got separated from her, and both got abusive
questioning. She came out crying.
America was not like this. Now it is.
Compare this with the real world. I land in Beijing – evil
commie Beijing, right? Maybe twenty seconds to see whether my
visa was valid, clonk of stamp, thank you, no baggage search,
into a taxi. Vi and I land in Paris, en route to Italy. Glance
at passport, yep, it’s a passport, no stamp, no nothing, on we
go. Italy didn’t even look at our passports. Grown-ups.
I am not ashamed of the United States. It is a hell of a
country. Been there, done that, loved it. In two weeks in DC
with Violeta, although she is clearly not American, she was
everywhere, always, treated with perfect courtesy and
friendliness, whether on Cap Hill or Farmville, Virginia.
Americans really are good folk. The government isn’t. It’s the
gravest problem we face, both internationally and domestically.
(6) The Constitution really is going away, or has gone. It never
did work as well as it should have, but few things human ever
do. Habeas corpus is dead, right to an attorney, congressional
right to declare war – it’s not even worth listing the list. Joe
iPod in the burbs doesn’t care because it doesn’t affect him,
yet. Git them Hay-rabs, ain’t no draft, plenty sushi. Urg.
(7) The increasing, detailed, intrusive regulation of life, the
national desire for control, control, control. Everything is the
business of some form of government. Want to paint your
shutters? The condo association won’t let you. Let dogs in your
bar? Never. Decide who to sell your house to? Racial matter. Own
a dog? Shot card, pooper-scooper, leash, gotta be spayed, etc.
Have a bar for men only, women only, whites or blacks only? Here
come the federal marshals. What isn’t controlled by government
is controlled by the crypto-vindictive mob rule of political
correctness. This wasn’t always in the American character.
Add the continuing presence of police in the schools, the arrest
in handcuffs of children of seven, the expulsions for drawing a
picture of a soldier with a gun. Something very twisted is going
How much of the public knows what is happening, or even knows
that something is happening? I don’t know. But I don’t think
that it’s going to go away. In ten years it will be an entirely
different place with the same name. Almost is now.
Fred Reed is author of Nekkid in Austin: Drop Your Inner
Child Down a Well and the just-published A Brass Pole in
Bangkok: A Thing I Aspire to Be. Visit his blog.
Copyright © 2007 Fred Reed
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