Why Do They Hate Us So Much?

The vitriolic hatred of the United States in some parts of the Arab world has left many Americans bewildered. 'If they hate us so bitterly,' the thinking goes, 'we must have wronged them. Otherwise they would not be so intent on harming us. We must have given them good reasons for that.'

We would do well to remember, however, that this is not the first time America is the object of such hatred. Not even fifteen years ago, we were maligned in much the same way by the Soviets and their allies who treated us daily to hefty doses of seemingly boundless malevolence.

Then, as now, many Americans felt uneasy in the face of such rancor. There were those who thought we must have done something to deserve it. Today we know that it was a hatred of the depraved. In the aftermath of their collapse, we could finally get a full picture of our critics' wantonness — millions murdered and tortured by tyrannical regimes steeped in poverty, corruption and mismanagement. And all the while perpetrating these monumental crimes, they kept denouncing America.

Fifteen years after our victory over communism, we once again find ourselves on the receiving end of virulent animosity. Once more America is said to be an evil power, the Great Satan that just must be slain. This time our censors are not the Soviet style Marxists but Islamic fundamentalists (and others). And although they ostensibly come from a different part of the ideological spectrum, their rage and hatred are uncannily similar.

The parallels do not end there, however. The two are alike in another crucial respect — their inability to spawn healthy societies. Whenever Islamic fundamentalism has become the ruling ideology, misery and suffering invariably followed. Like the former communist regimes, their fundamentalist counterparts are drenched in oppression, corruption, economic mismanagement, destitution and social breakdown. It is telling that in the last 50 years there has not been a single thriving fundamentalist state even though many of them have benefited from a substantial cash inflow derived from oil.

Clearly there is something wrong with an ideology that has consistently produced such disastrous results. The events of the 20th century have shown that like communism Islamic fundamentalism is a failed dogma.

That the ever—more apparent crisis of Islamic fundamentalism has been closely linked with escalating hatred of America should come as no surprise. This is the typical reaction of those who preside over failing regimes. The reasons for their animus are not difficult to fathom, since the peal of America's success sounds a death knell in their ears. The glaring contrast between our freedom and prosperity and the oppression and destitution of their systems throws into sharp relief the depth and extent of their failures. Sooner or later the disparity will become too glaring to be tolerated. When that point is reached, the anger and indignation of those they oppress will become greater than their fear. And this prospect frightens them.

In a desperate effort to mask their failures, the keepers of fundamentalist regimes resort to absurd lies and propaganda. This is why they malign America with such spleen and why they paint her in evil colours. As their position grows more untenable, their rancour grows shriller.

As a rule, the closer failing regimes inch toward their collapse, the more venomous their rhetoric. This was certainly the case with the eastern block communists in the years leading up to their downfall when their anti—Americanism reached deafening intensity. No one was more vilified than Ronald Reagan — that great personification of American strength and resolve. Claiming he was a hateful, spiteful war—monger, they portrayed him in demonic terms. Their hysteria was well grounded, since his uncompromising policies were instrumental in their damnation.

Today we face an analogous situation in regard to Islamic fundamentalists. In them we confront an enemy whose ideology has produced broken and unjust societies. To divert attention from their own failings, they vent their frustration at the country which contrasts ever so brightly with the depravity of their own ways. The frantic shrillness of their rhetoric indicates that they are on their last legs. As the Soviets did with Reagan, their vilification of Bush has reached a frenzied pitch, because they feel that his resolve will hasten their downfall.

We must not be taken aback by that bitter hatred, because it is a hatred of the corrupt as they totter on the brink of collapse. If we remain steadfast, we will defeat the evil of Islamic fundamentalism in the same way we defeated the evil of communism. We owe it to history and to the people who suffer under its yoke. We can be certain that beneath the propaganda and artificially—inflamed rhetoric, those people desperately look to us for liberation. For them, as for all the oppressed people of the world, America is still the great beacon of hope.

Once we give them the gift of liberty and launch them on the road to democracy, they will become our allies. For encouragement we need to look no further than the countries of the former Soviet block. Barely fifteen years ago our bitter adversaries, today they are among some of our staunchest allies in the cause of freedom.

Vasko Kohlmayer defected from Communist Czechoslovakia at the age of 19. He lives in London and works in the publishing industry. He can be contacted at vasko_kohlmayer@msn.com.

The vitriolic hatred of the United States in some parts of the Arab world has left many Americans bewildered. 'If they hate us so bitterly,' the thinking goes, 'we must have wronged them. Otherwise they would not be so intent on harming us. We must have given them good reasons for that.'

We would do well to remember, however, that this is not the first time America is the object of such hatred. Not even fifteen years ago, we were maligned in much the same way by the Soviets and their allies who treated us daily to hefty doses of seemingly boundless malevolence.

Then, as now, many Americans felt uneasy in the face of such rancor. There were those who thought we must have done something to deserve it. Today we know that it was a hatred of the depraved. In the aftermath of their collapse, we could finally get a full picture of our critics' wantonness — millions murdered and tortured by tyrannical regimes steeped in poverty, corruption and mismanagement. And all the while perpetrating these monumental crimes, they kept denouncing America.

Fifteen years after our victory over communism, we once again find ourselves on the receiving end of virulent animosity. Once more America is said to be an evil power, the Great Satan that just must be slain. This time our censors are not the Soviet style Marxists but Islamic fundamentalists (and others). And although they ostensibly come from a different part of the ideological spectrum, their rage and hatred are uncannily similar.

The parallels do not end there, however. The two are alike in another crucial respect — their inability to spawn healthy societies. Whenever Islamic fundamentalism has become the ruling ideology, misery and suffering invariably followed. Like the former communist regimes, their fundamentalist counterparts are drenched in oppression, corruption, economic mismanagement, destitution and social breakdown. It is telling that in the last 50 years there has not been a single thriving fundamentalist state even though many of them have benefited from a substantial cash inflow derived from oil.

Clearly there is something wrong with an ideology that has consistently produced such disastrous results. The events of the 20th century have shown that like communism Islamic fundamentalism is a failed dogma.

That the ever—more apparent crisis of Islamic fundamentalism has been closely linked with escalating hatred of America should come as no surprise. This is the typical reaction of those who preside over failing regimes. The reasons for their animus are not difficult to fathom, since the peal of America's success sounds a death knell in their ears. The glaring contrast between our freedom and prosperity and the oppression and destitution of their systems throws into sharp relief the depth and extent of their failures. Sooner or later the disparity will become too glaring to be tolerated. When that point is reached, the anger and indignation of those they oppress will become greater than their fear. And this prospect frightens them.

In a desperate effort to mask their failures, the keepers of fundamentalist regimes resort to absurd lies and propaganda. This is why they malign America with such spleen and why they paint her in evil colours. As their position grows more untenable, their rancour grows shriller.

As a rule, the closer failing regimes inch toward their collapse, the more venomous their rhetoric. This was certainly the case with the eastern block communists in the years leading up to their downfall when their anti—Americanism reached deafening intensity. No one was more vilified than Ronald Reagan — that great personification of American strength and resolve. Claiming he was a hateful, spiteful war—monger, they portrayed him in demonic terms. Their hysteria was well grounded, since his uncompromising policies were instrumental in their damnation.

Today we face an analogous situation in regard to Islamic fundamentalists. In them we confront an enemy whose ideology has produced broken and unjust societies. To divert attention from their own failings, they vent their frustration at the country which contrasts ever so brightly with the depravity of their own ways. The frantic shrillness of their rhetoric indicates that they are on their last legs. As the Soviets did with Reagan, their vilification of Bush has reached a frenzied pitch, because they feel that his resolve will hasten their downfall.

We must not be taken aback by that bitter hatred, because it is a hatred of the corrupt as they totter on the brink of collapse. If we remain steadfast, we will defeat the evil of Islamic fundamentalism in the same way we defeated the evil of communism. We owe it to history and to the people who suffer under its yoke. We can be certain that beneath the propaganda and artificially—inflamed rhetoric, those people desperately look to us for liberation. For them, as for all the oppressed people of the world, America is still the great beacon of hope.

Once we give them the gift of liberty and launch them on the road to democracy, they will become our allies. For encouragement we need to look no further than the countries of the former Soviet block. Barely fifteen years ago our bitter adversaries, today they are among some of our staunchest allies in the cause of freedom.

Vasko Kohlmayer defected from Communist Czechoslovakia at the age of 19. He lives in London and works in the publishing industry. He can be contacted at vasko_kohlmayer@msn.com.