Lover of Purple, on Nov 7 2003, 02:34 PM, said:
It's a good thing we aren't as bad as the world (and this poll) makes us out to be. If we where, we would already have nuked half of the planet out of existance. Sheesh!!!
But the poll doesn't ask quesitons about "the greatest nuclear threat". It simply asks about "the greatest threat", period.
And I'm as pro-USA as the next guy (and a lot more than most in my country), but what it comes down to for me is this. The USA has always been the country every other country wanted to be. And for the most part (if you don't count the various supportings of various dictators back and forth everywhere from Vietnam to Iraq to Korea to Indonesia to Central America to wherever else and back), the US has kept to itself. That in and of itself is threatening to some. When you're confident enough in your direction that you don't pay attention to whatever anyone else says, that in and of itself is sufficient to threaten sometimes.
It's hard to pinpoint where the exact moment of transition into this age of anti-Americanism began. I'd say after Desert Storm but fears of American dominance pre-dated that. I'd say the Cold War, but it goes back even further. Even before World War II. I'd go so far as to say 1917. Before that, fears were of what America might become one day. But now? America is what Britain once was-- the global state, the ruling power, the military strongman, the diplomatic gunboat.
What's caused this new shift back to anxiety, though, has --as far as I can tell-- been the post-9/11 atmosphere of fear in the US. When the US gets jittery about everyone else, well, then everyone else gets jittery about the US. And they have every right to--- there is not a country on this planet that can hope to compete with the US when it comes right down to it. In any meaningful way. That in and of itself is enough of a threat.
But the recent regime-change in Iraq and invasion of Afghanistan haven't been handled as tactfully as they could've been. And what was once a nameless anxiety, a silent fear of what *could* happen, has now become what could happen *tomorrow* for some countries. The appearance to most countries is that the USA --and specifically, the Bush Administration-- fumbled and made excuses to beat the crap out of Saddam's regime. Yes, it was a good idea. But it was handled poorly. (See also: Zack's post in reply to me in that other Iraq thread, Kevin's joint about Saddam's attempted negotiation.) And that's enough to push the theoretical into the practically possible.
And I think that's where this threatened feeling comes from. In a long, roundabout way.