The Guardian has turned itself into a hub of unrestrained anti-Americanism

The anti-Americanism of liberals comes down to a clash of world views that fundamentally rejects the values on which American society is founded. Yet this opposition is increasingly disproportionate

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Anti-American mural on the former US embassy in Tehran
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Tom Wilson
On 17 January 2012 10:34

It had been suggested by some that with George Bush gone from office the levels of anti-Americanism witnessed in Britain and across Europe would subside. Yet no such transformation of attitude has occurred.

For as The Independent columnist, YasmineAlabai-Brown once remarked on Question Time, Obama, with whom she claimed to have fallen a little in love with, had now ‘shown himself to be the ugly American’. That comment came in relation to the killing of Bin Laden but what it betrays is not simply a total lack of moral clarity but also the hope that existed among Britain’s liberal establishment that Obama would somehow be an ‘un-American’ president. They will tell you how they have been sorely disappointed.

When it came to marking the ten year anniversary of 9/11, The Guardian’s Comment is Free spared our American allies nothing. By all accounts this was not a time for showing solidarity with the US while she commemorated her loss; instead she was lambasted for her foreign policy since, as if this was some kind of retrospective cause for the atrocities al-Qaeda perpetrated on that day.

It seemed as if every critic of America, from George Galloway to Inayat Bunglawala, was given the chance to vent in memoriam. The BBC’s Pakistan correspondent, Mohammed Hanif even wrote that the drones of the US military act with the same ‘logic’ as a suicide bomber.

Similar sentiments were wheeled out when it came to discussing American withdrawal from Iraq. Guardian commentators talked of the war to remove the Hussein regime as if it were nothing more than a display of brute force that had backfired and mused, almost gleefully, that this could now make way for Chinese supremacy.

Quite why Western ‘liberals’ would hail the ascendancy of a country with an authoritarian government, a shocking human rights record and a dubious portfolio of neo-colonial activities in Africa is unclear, to say the least. Though, true to form, in his Guardian article on withdrawal from Iraq, Galloway indulged his renowned love of tyrants and quoted directly from Chairman Mao.

More recently Guardianistas have turned their attention to Iran. Naturally, American policy, designed to thwart Iranian nuclear ambitions, has come in for heavy criticism and The Guardian has made no secret of who they blame: America’s Israel lobby.

They would have us believe that Israel is about to push the US into another war on its behalf and both Seamus Milne and Simon Jenkins have written extensively on the Israel connection. Indeed, while Jenkins blamed the alleged power that the Israel lobby supposedly has over the White House, Henry Porter went further still and claimed that American ‘politicians live in fear of offending the Jewish vote’; a quite ridiculous statement when it is remembered that barely two percent of Americans are Jewish.

Yet this only demonstrates the extent of an anti-American/anti-Israel worldview that appears chillingly reminiscent of Islamist talk of the Great Satan/Little Satan dichotomy.

While talk of American war crimes and imperialism has become part of the scenery in The Guardian’s discussion of international relations, it is not only in the realm of foreign affairs that this hostility is so unmissably clear. Everything from Thanksgiving Day celebrations to the American criminal justice system are taken as opportunity for condemnation. But of all domestic issues nothing provokes denunciation quite like American religion and American business.

While the theocracies of the Middle East are dismissed and apologised for, American evangelicals are at once mocked and demonised. Naturally, supporters of the Wall Street occupiers have also been given ample space from which to expound on their hatred of the free market. Time and again, Guardian writers have depicted American society as utterly uncompassionate and deeply fractured by social inequality and racial discrimination.

It should be obvious that such hostility cannot derive from America’s actions on the world stage alone. Although even if it were the case that American intervention was the sole cause of this phenomenon we would still be left with the question of how Westerners could be so furiously hostile to the overthrow of dictatorships and attempts to establish democracy in their wake.

It is as if the opposition is to the very notion that the US should extend its influence in the world and that the American version of society should be allowed to spread. Better that Iraqis should indefinitely live and die under a Baathist regime than for America to be strong and risk that Iraqis might one day embrace, and be lost in, the crass commercialism and meaningless individualism of America. Never mind the threat that such regimes might pose to our own security.

Indeed, it was America’s revolution that concerned itself with the liberty of the individual and even property rights; it was the European revolutions, such as those of France and Russia that promoted engineering the improvement of the collective and idealised material equality.

Quite simply the modern-day, anti-Americanism of ‘liberals’ as exemplified in The Guardian comes down to a clash of world views that fundamentally rejects the values on which American society is founded. Yet this relentless intellectual opposition has increasingly been taking on a disproportionate and alarmingly ugly tone

Tom Wilson is a political analyst and a doctoral student at University College London.

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