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Response to Gabriel Grosso

Reader comment on item: [Symposium:] Why Does the World Hate America?
in response to reader comment: Learning from Europe's mistakes

Submitted by Susan Bradford (United States), Jan 29, 2003 at 10:43

I would like to respond to Gabriel Grosso's comments.

It is certainly true that America's openness to other cultures and lax immigration laws have resulted in diversity in American society but have similarly allowed those with anti-American sentiments, those who hate the U.S. and all it stands for to voice (as is their democratic right) and act on their hate within the U.S.

As Stephen Berman rightly suggests, the U.S. cannot legitimately go around deporting extremists and others who do not have the best interests of the U.S. at heart. However, in war time, normal rules and laws do not always apply... Consider our treatment of al Qaeda prisoners at Quantanomo Bay, for example.

Many have proclaimed this the American century -- certainly, the U.S. enjoys unparalleled in economic and military strength and wide appreciate of its culture and values overseas. However, the U.S. must be wise and judicious in its exercise of power and should not take it for granted or misuse it. While we neednt allow other countries to control our actions, we certainly should take their concerns into consideration -- exercise better "soft skills," in other words.

Going back to Gabriel Grosso's comments...Gibbons wrote in his classic tome, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.....that the decline was brought about by many factors, including, overextension of the empire, decline of morals, arrogance of its leadership, mismanagement of economy, etc...but the final straw that broke the Empire's back was the hordes that invaded and destroyed it from within.

Similarly, President Abraham Lincoln noted in 1838 when he was in his 20's that given its geographical advantages, the U.S. was largely immune from attack. The destruction of America, he said, would likely come from within:

"At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the Ocean and crush us with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio (River), or make a track on the Blue Ridge (Mountain), in a trail of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Something to think about....


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