Our reader Robert Cooley: A retort to James Yerian's letter

One thing must be realized: there can be no cause without an effect, and likewise there can be no effect without a cause. That is to say that the anti-Americanism that has spread so far across the world cannot have arisen out of thin air. America has a long history of intervention in foreign nations in order to protect their interests, often at the expense of democracy.

The anti-American feeling that was so prevalent in the USSR arose from events in the first two years following the revolution. Russia, for the sake of its people who no longer wished to fight the bloody World War I, withdrew itself from the war necessitating US involvement in the War. After the close of the war the US, Britain & France (still seething from the publication of the secret treaties that showed their true aims in the war), and counter-revolutionary forces in Russia aligned themselves to destroy the Bolshevik government. This was a government that hadn't been given enough time to develop and already foreign powers were ready to cut its throat because it was a threat to the systems that these nations had in place.

The same situation has existed ever since then. Mention is made that the blame for the state of Vietnam and N. Korea rests with the USSR. Even after 50 years and 30 years, respectively, Americans are unwilling to accept that the events in Korea and Vietnam were part of a process of finding themselves. The interesting fact here is that Russia's role in both of these revolutions was minimal, while the US laid into both of these countries with the aim of spreading democracy (that same democracy of Ngo Dinh Diem that so many students and peasants felt crack upon their head).

Another point that is made is that the world depends upon US dollars. Would this dependency exist without that concept that all foreign nations dread: the flight of capital? When US companies invest X-amount of dollars into Chilean mining and extract resources worth three, four, or five times that much, does that not have an earth-shattering effect on a nation's economy? That was exactly the situation when Salvador Allende Gossens won elections in Chile, and was then ratified by the Chilean legislature because the right-wing Chilean party refused to accept defeat. It is interesting to note that this is another case of US intervention, as Allende's government was overturned in a well-documented CIA-sponsored coup. This is the situation in developing nations all over the world. US corporations extract billions of dollars every year and Americans wonder why Africans, Latin and South Americans, Arabs, Persians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Afghanis despise our country.

Next we come to these "hate-filled lies." The concept of hegemony has existed for thousands of years and there is little doubt that the US now enjoys world hegemony. It, therefore, is not the situation that "Bush is trying to dominate the world." Bush already dominates the world. I am not sure what is meant by "the emergence of 'the state,'" but as we can see, states exist, so they must have emerged at some point. I am sure that it must be difficult for most Americans to see "the crushing of democracy," but let me give one example. The US says that it is promoting democracy around the world. What more undemocratic means are there than economic, political, and even armed aggression. The US is promoting democracy with the barrel of a gun, and this is how it maintains it in other nations as well. Can a democratic society possibly exist where the threat exists of foreign intervention should the people elect a leader that is not suitable for US tastes?

We have been asked for one good thing about the leader of Iraq, Saddam Hussein. The one good thing lies in the very fact that he is the leader of Iraq. Should the people of Iraq grow weary of him, there is no army in the world that would be able to stop them from creating a new government along their specifications. This is one point on which the US press has been extremely biased. The American media represents the view that the Iraqi people want Saddam Hussein out of power. There is no mention, however, of the large groups of people who support Hussein's government, mainly because it is not a government set up by the United States.

One of the most startling comments that is made is that the United States fought a defensive war against North Korea. A nation like Korea, which has been subject to foreign rule almost continuously for several centuries, cannot possibly pose a threat to the US. In fact, North Korea's leader Kim Il Sung developed the idea of "juche" (largely after the conflict) that can only be explained as self-reliance. Juche is an idea that not only involves breaking free from foreign control, but also remaining out of the affairs of other nations. While North Korea is not my favorite example of socialism at work, it still has the same right, that the US so rigidly declares, to choose its own government.

As for the United States being more up front about its mistakes than any other country, there are still thousands of Japanese families that are waiting for reparations (possibly of the type that Canada issued years before the US made any effort). It is not truly possible to know whether the US is up front or not as White House documents are considered confidential, the NSA maintains a secret budget and still remains a very secretive organization, and the Freedom of Information Act is still subject to censorship. These institutions are there to represent and protect the interests of the American public, so should they not be subject to criticism by that same public?

When it is said that "Russia is like a kid in the candy store with its criticism," does this not reflect the situation of the US media on the subject of China. Americans love to discuss China's human rights record, yet even though they have over five times the number of people they still have fewer people in their jails. We also hear a lot about Tibet, an area that not many people know a lot about (and would probably be disgusted to hear of some of their rituals). "China should leave Tibet because the indigenous people do not want them there." There are only a few hundred true Hawaiians left in Hawaii, and the common sentiment among them is that the US has occupied them without their consent. It is the same in Northern Alaska, where the indigenous groups are steadily dying out because of the attraction of urban centers and the overexploitation of resources. In fact, the entire US rests on a piece of land that was taken from indigenous groups that would love to have it back.

Lastly I would like to point out the bias in the statement "It [the world] will forget what the US did for it, and for Russia's sake will forget what that country did to it." From a person so strongly advocating an objective view, the statement that the US has done much for the world, but Russia has done much to it reeks of bias. True, it was subtly done, in much the same way that the American press shows bias, but it is nonetheless an extremely hypocritical statement. It may be that most foreign governments support the existence of the US, but I believe one would be hard pressed to find the same sentiment among the world population, especially since a third of it exists in China and India, two nations that have experienced the effects of foreign influence upon the economy and government. I do not advocate criticism solely towards the United States. I believe that all nations could benefit from criticism, for it is through criticism that we expose our weaknesses so that we may repair them. But if any nation were to be criticized for the horrific rate of poverty in the world, it would be that same nation that produces so little, yet consumes so much; that nation that promotes internal democracy, yet externally supports anti-democratic governments; that same country that has more troops in foreign lands than any other: the United States of America.

Robert Cooley Washington, USA