September 13, 2005
The United States: a good and honorable countryBy Magdi Khalil
Recently, United State policy has become the subject of a continuous debate, usually ending with a heated discussion about the grave lapses of said policy. There is no doubt that Americans do make mistakes, and they are usually the first ones to acknowledge and criticize their own shortcomings. However, the Arab outlook differs from the American one, as Arabs tend to judge others from a cultural and religious perspective. An article written by Fran Heather in the American edition of Newsweek issued in January 20, 2004, recorded the impressions of an American woman about the Egyptian people and the enthusiastic greeting she received when she put on the Arab head covering!
One wonders, if such is the criteria that Arabs use to accept or reject others, would they be able to understand the way the American nation views itself, as a nation appointed with a holy universal mission?
Many of the forefathers who founded the United States are believed to have been evangelists who reached this virgin land to spread the Christian message; they crossed mountain chains to spread the Word across the continent and then their vision expanded to encompass the whole world. Thus, the American nation has grown filled with moral, human and religious zeal.
On the other hand, the pilgrims and early settlers who came to the New World were fleeing from religious persecution in Europe. And in setting up the young nation, one of their principal tenets was that of separation of Church and State. So, based on Christian principles, they established a nation that embraces democracy, human rights, and freedom of religion. They laid down the foundation for the newborn nation with this basic moral rule: 'Honesty is the best course of action to achieve success'. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word 'honesty' has several significant meanings and synonyms: justice, virtue, integrity, honor, fairness, openness, frankness and objectivity.
This ethical and admirable rule served as a foundation for the growing nation, which dedicated itself to serving just and worthy causes.
If we take a brief look at what the United States has accomplished during the last century we can confirm that, to a great extent, it has acted as an honorable super power.
1. A Nation With No Colonial Ambitions
To quote David Humphrey, a disciple of George Washington:
2. A Nation with a Noble Humanitarian Vision
The United States managed to free many states from the clutches of communists, and with a few exceptions, rid the world of communism. In recent years it freed the state of Kuwait, handing it back to its own people and rulers. The same applies to Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. The United States had no designs on the riches of these countries. Indeed, if the United States was after the Kuwaiti oil, it would have not left it untouched as it did, furthermore it would have accepted Saddam Hussein's tempting offer of oil privileges in return for non—interference in Kuwait.
It is noteworthy that the United States has worked to free Christian, Muslim and Buddhist nations without discrimination.
Lately, the United States' self—appointed mission is to put an end to terror — another worthy endeavor, and one that it will, hopefully, accomplish, so peace may reign.
Theodore Roosevelt used to say that history has been flowing in a steady line beginning with a barbarian state, heading towards a civilized state, and in between the two ends is an intermediary state of autocracy. In 1900, Roosevelt divided the world into two categories, one that is enjoying civilization and another that is still suffering from barbarism and autocracy. Will the United States' coming mission succeed in ridding the Middle East from barbarism and autocracy?
3. A Nation working for Human Sustenance and Welfare
He requested the American Congress to commit $10 billion for the fight against AIDS in Africa, saying:
The size of American aid, academic grants, and humanitarian assistance is astonishing. The United States chose to pay billions of dollars to support the peace process between Egypt and Israel, a choice that is truly beyond imagination. American aid is not exclusively offered by the US government, but also by public and private institutions and individuals, such as Bill Gates, who donated millions of dollars to help AIDS victims, Ted Turner who donated billions of dollars to help the under—privileged throughout the world, and hundreds of American institutions such as the Ford Foundation, Fulbright Program and the Carnegie Corporation. There are hundreds of institutions all around the United States which receive small donations from individuals and use them to support humanitarian missions across the globe, to fight disease and poverty and to assist the orphans and homeless. Unlike the Arab world, these donations are neither abused nor used to support terrorism.
4. A Religious and Tolerant Nation
5. A Nation that Helped to Liberate and Rebuild Other Countries
The US took a bold decision to interfere and change the course of events when Europe fell victim to the Nazis and Fascists and stood on the brink of total destruction. Sadly, when confronted with a similar situation in the Middle East, Europe is hesitating, reluctant to give its support to the US endeavor to restore balance to this troubled region.
6. A Nation that Takes Credit for the Establishment of International Organizations
7. A Super Power With Relatively Few Mistakes
The purpose of this article is to offer an alternative account of America's true image, and to counteract the distorted and ugly image reflected in the Arab media, plagued as it is by irrationality and subjectivity.