Restrained praise is in order for the BBC’s Radio 4 series on anti-Americanism called “Death to America.” The brainchild of senior Washington correspondent Justin Webb, the three-part program examined the hatreds toward America that are bubbling over in France, Venezuela, Egypt and beyond. “A pattern was emerging and has never seriously been altered,” Webb said of his experience of anti-Americanism in Europe. “A pattern of willingness to condemn America for the tiniest indiscretion—or to magnify those indiscretions—while leaving the murderers, dictators, and thieves who run other nations oddly untouched.”
It was this realization, he said, that launched him into the series, which aired three consecutive weeks last month. Any regular consumer of the BBC, if he’s honest, must admit that Webb’s simple insight is rarely if ever heard across the BBC’s media colossus. It took gumption for Webb to approach his superiors about the program concept, and a refreshing measure of fairness for the BBC's top brass to sign off on it. [...]
Hallah Mustafa, member of Egypt’s ruling party—and an outspoken maverick and reformer—made it clear that many Arab leaders use anti-Americanism to beat off challenges to their regimes. They deliberately and routinely misrepresent the United States on their state-run media. “I think America is a force for good,” she said, “for freedom, for liberty, for human rights principles.” Does anyone ever remember hearing that viewpoint from an Arab leader expressed so clearly on the BBC—or on any other Western media outlet?
None of this is to suggest that anti-Americanism, fanned into flames by the Iraq war, isn’t a serious problem in many parts of the world. Tod Lindberg of the Hoover Institution co-chaired a 2005 Working Group on Anti-Americanism which found declining European support for U.S. efforts to fight terrorism. A poll of the European Union (the entity named by presidential candidate Barak Obama as one of America’s most important allies) found that 53 percent view the United States as a threat to world peace—the same percentage that regard North Korea and Iran as a threat.
As always, Loconte continues to provide great articles on topics that are often undercovered. Required reading.