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What They Think of Us

What They Think of Us: International Perceptions of the United States since 9/11

Edited by David Farber
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 206
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    What They Think of Us
    Book Description:

    It has never been more important for Americans to understand why the world both hates and loves the United States. InWhat They Think of Us, a remarkable group of writers from the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Latin America describes the world's profoundly ambivalent attitudes toward the United States--before and since 9/11.

    While many people around the world continue to see the United States as a model despite the Iraq war and the war on terror, the U.S. response to 9/11 has undoubtedly intensified global anti-Americanism.What They Think of Usreveals that substantial goodwill toward America still exists, but that this sympathy is in peril--and that there is an immense gap between how Americans view their country and how it is viewed abroad.

    Drawing on broad research and personal experience while avoiding anecdotalism and polemics, the writers gathered here combine political, cultural, and historical analysis to explain how people in different parts of the world see the United States. They show that not all anti-Americanism can be blamed on U.S. foreign policy. America is disliked not just for what it does but also for what it is, and perceptions of both are profoundly shaped--and sometimes warped--by the domestic realities of the countries where anti-Americanism thrives. In addition to analyzing America's battered global reputation, these writers propose ways the United States and other countries can build better relations through greater understanding and respect.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2760-2
    Subjects: Political Science, History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. CONTRIBUTORS (pp. vii-x)
  4. PREFACE (pp. xi-xviii)
    David Farber
    Ibrahim Al-Marashi and Abdul Hadi al-Khalili

    FIRST, I (al-Khalili) was carjacked right in front of my home. That was terrifying enough. But then, on April 28, 2004, I was kidnapped. I was riding in a car owned by a friend. Suddenly, a late-model BMW swerved in front of us, blocking our way. Three armed men jumped out, called me by name, and demanded that I come with them. I was handcuffed and blindfolded. They moved me from one car to another and then I was imprisoned in a small house occupied, strangely enough, by a woman and her three children. The kidnappers demanded that my family...

  6. BEYOND THE STAINED GLASS WINDOW: Indonesian Perceptions of the United States and the War on Terror (pp. 27-48)
    Melani Budianta

    IN STEPHEN CRANE’S novelActive Service(1899), a war correspondent covering the Greco-Turkish War is frustrated by his inability to speak directly to a group of friendly Turkish soldiers. He complains that “talking through an interpreter to the minds of other men was as satisfactory as looking at landscape through a stained glass window.”¹ I fear that in my attempts to explain what Indonesians now think of the United States, I, too, am partially separated from American readers by the gaudy translucency of colorful, too resonant words—Islamic fundamentalists, war on terrorism, President Bush, September 11, democracy, human rights, Israel,...

    Nur Bilge Criss

    IN TURKEY, when people look at the American government’s so-called war of preemption in Iraq and the Bush administration’s errant confidence in its right to make the world over in its own image, power management becomes an issue of importance. At some emotional level, some members of the political and intellectual elite can vaguely relate to the temptation, the peril, and the grandiosity of the dream of a vast order crafted in one’s own image and controlled by one’s own interests. But the long-gone Ottoman imperial reach also reminds that an empire’s longevity depends not just on the power of...

  8. BEAUTIFUL IMPERIALIST OR WARMONGERING HEGEMON? Contemporary Chinese Views of the United States (pp. 74-94)
    Yufan Hao and Lin Su

    OVER the last few years, a new force has emerged within China: a semiautonomous, if still limited, public opinion. With the spread of the Internet, the rise of multiple media outlets in an emerging market economy, and the decreasing ability and, to a lesser extent, desire of the Chinese government to control people’s political beliefs, an increasingly independent and forceful public is growing in China. Not surprisingly, this emergent public is primarily concerned with internal dynamics. But people in China, especially the urban, better-educated population, are also looking outward. In particular, they are fascinated by the United States and they...

  9. FROM THE COLD WAR TO A LUKEWARM PEACE: Russian Views of September 11 and Beyond (pp. 95-124)
    Eric Shiraev and Olga Makhovskaya

    IN Russia, few world events in the past decade generated such a robust public reaction as the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, and the America-led war on terrorism that followed. At the beginning of this millennium, nearly free of political censorship, Russian society was still very young as a democracy but already mature enough to embrace a wide range of diverse opinions expressed unreservedly. Scores of Russians, from powerful politicians who made serious official statements, to pundits expressing themselves in flamboyant newspaper editorials, to passersby making remarks in live television interviews—all responded passionately to the unfolding events and...

  10. NUESTRO ONCE DE SEPTIEMBRE: The Kingdom of the Comma (pp. 125-152)
    Fernando Escalante-Gonzalbo and Mauricio Tenorio-Trillo

    ON THE MORNING of September 11, 2001, Mexican poet and historian of science Carlos López Beltrán woke up in Manhattan, not far from the Twin Towers. “Each one of those beings,” he recollected, “who opted out, accelerating death by throwing themselves into the air … could have been us.” Indeed, the victims “were us, alas with a tiny variation in the bifurcations of the past.” López Beltrán, like so many, felt the powerful pull of empathy for those who were lost. He felt, too, the odd coupling of solitude and solidarity that so many experienced in New York as they...

  11. THE TWILIGHT OF AMERICAN CULTURAL HEGEMONY: A Historical Perspective on Western Europe’s Distancing from America (pp. 153-176)
    Federico Romero

    FIRST, a flashback. In April 1999, the NATO alliance, keystone of Euro-American cooperation, celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the most momentous changes in its long history. It peacefully expanded eastward, into what had long been “enemy territory,” and it waged its first actual war, against Serbia’s Milošević regime. Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic (not to mention the many others that would come later) were then joining West Europeans in entrusting their security to a collective pact based upon a substantial delegation of power, responsibility, and leadership to a distant, strategically superior ally. Meanwhile, the alliance itself was fighting over...

  12. INDEX (pp. 177-187)