While disappointing to many that last week’s Turkish suicide bomber was not a Muslim, just a crazy Marxist, there seems to be something of a pattern. Despite its near-constant bleating that the U.S. is a force for good and sparkle pony of democracy and all, it just seems others never seem to agree. In fact, the U.S. holds the undisputed top place among all nations in number of attacks on our diplomatic institutions worldwide.
Indeed, in her farewell address to the State Department, Hillary Clinton said “I am more convinced than ever in the strength and staying power of America’s global leadership and our capacity to be a force for good around the world.” Every president since Lincoln has said something similar.
Unfortunately, as pretty as that sounds, it does not seem to be believed by anyone but the speakers. The Pew Global Attitudes Project shows us that after a wave of positivity for Obama in 2009 because he was not George Bush (the same wave got him a Nobel Peace prize in 2009, which must really piss the Nobel folks off now that they have sobered up), opinions of America have declined; in Europe, where we are not currently bombing and drone assassinating, America’s stock fell 15 percent. In Muslim countries, the fall was 19 percent (figure minus those Muslims killed by the U.S. between 2009-2012 of course.)
On the other side of the mirror, some clever crowd-sourcing over at Wikipedia tells the tale.
The U.S. leads the world in attacks on our embassies and consulates with a recorded 32. The only other nation even in double digits is France, with 10. And those numbers are actually misleading, given some of the whoppers the U.S. has experienced, say Tet in Vietnam in 1968, the embassy takeover in Tehran in 1979, the massive Nairobi bombing of 1998 and of course Benghazi 2012. The list also excludes the near-constant attacks against the U.S. mission in Iraq 2003-2011 and in Afghanistan, considering those parts of the wars and not “attacks” per se.
It is hard to reconcile the image the U.S. holds of itself with the reality of how the very symbols of that same country are treated abroad. It is almost… almost… as if foreigners don’t see us as we see ourselves, almost as if our leaders knavishly sell us a vision of the United States that is removed from reality. Nah, couldn’t be.