Two FacesOf.Americanism..

Ali Shihabi



Americanism and Anti Americanism have been talked a lot about, even through media like The American Enterprise online and The CNN. The first published in June 2004 an essay by Jean-Francois Revel entitled Anti-Globalism = Anti-Americanism. The seconds correspondent announced two years ago Anti Americanism in Europe deepens. 

The problem is that Anti Americanism is trumpeted, or Americanism is praised, even without telling us what Amricanism is.  Are the people of USA and Americanism the same? If not, what is the difference? If yes, can we put an equation between them and the different policies of the different US administrations? These questions are no longer only American, as we are living in a globalizing world. Hence, Ill try to  consider some aspects of these questions in the context of globalization.

Well, to begin with, Mr. Revel defends logic against illusion. He is right in criticizing the Marxist Anti-globalizers. Yet, the problem starts with him the moment he puts an equation between globalism and globalization. I think that he unconsciously disguises globalism as globalisation, to move to putting an equation between globalisation and Americanism. This is obvious from the very beginning, when he defines globalisation as it simply means freedom of movement for goods and people.

This is globalism, not globalisation. We are living in an era of globalisation, and we see goods move freely everywhere on earth, but never we see an iota of such freedom for people, especially for the ones of the undeveloped countries. Mr. Revel simply confuses globalism with globalisation to later confuse Americanism with them. So, he makes identical what cannot be identicalized. These three words are three idioms in politics that demand three different definitions.

Globalisation is the process that will produce globalism as an output. No process occurs, or an output can be got without an input. USA is an ingredient in the input, a major one of course.The input as a whole is the worldwide different social structures: economic, political and cultural, plus natural resources. That is to say that the input is all the people on earth, with their wishes, hope and disappointments; with their action and inaction pro and against the process and output.

This never means that all nations are active alike in producing globalism. It depends on the degree of their national development, and how much the people sense that globalisation is beneficiary to them. Yet, globalisation is an urgent need to the most developed countries: the more the country is developed, the more urgent the need to globalize and be globalized. This fact is engendered in the contradiction between the developed productive forces and the national states. This fact implies that the people of the semi-developed and backward countries feel that they are, and they are really, forced to globalize. If globalization does not  benefit them, they will react. Herein lies the essence of anti-Americanism that I am going to clarify.

Time is a continuity, periodized by actions that lead to deep changes in social life. After each of these changes, social relations step forward. The downfall of the Soviet Union marked such a periodization. The most developed countries, USA, Western Europe and Japan, are the chief direct globalizers. The way Japan is globalizing is not clear yet, most propable she will follow the Western Europe model. US and WE, irrespective of the reasons, followed two different ways. WE walked along the road of integration with the less developed bordering countries. To that end,WE invented the EU. This integration was beneficiary to the WE nations and welcome by all the East European nations, because it had been to their interest. And this is why Turkey is fighting with teeth and nails to join the EU.

Contrariwise, under the administration of George W. Bush, the unbridled US is trying to globalize the world in away profitable to US alone. This is why the great majority of the world is against Americanism, in fact those people are Anti-Bushism, not anti USA or the Americans.

During the preparations for the military action against Iraq, the CNN agitated the whole American nation against the rest of the world, through headings like Anti-Americanism in Europe deepens, Feb. 14, 2003. It wrote verbatim:

The CNN Senior International Correspondent Walter Rodgers reports on what is being seen as a new, deeper breed of anti-Americanism:

This anti-Americanism is believed to be much worse than what has gone before. Analysts warn that a whole   generation of America-haters is being created.

In the 20 th century -- in the fight against Nazism and later the Cold War against communism -- a European-American political alliance emerged that many thought would last forever. That assumption looks somewhat less certain now.

Such agitation is detrimental to the world as a whole, US included, especially from the standpoint of globalisation. Cui bono of this agitation ( America-haters ) if the same correspondent W. Rodgers says in the same report from England: 

In recent debates in the UK Parliament, the anti-American undercurrent often means the vilification not of Iraq President Saddam Hussein -- but of U.S. President George W. Bush.

"The mass of British public opinion is deeply sceptical if not completely hostile to this war, believe it's been fought in the interests of the Americans and nothing else," Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn recently told the House of Commons.

 Another MP from Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labour Party, Dennis Skinner, puts this blunt question to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon after he announces more British planes will be sent to the Gulf: " Will he confirm that this is all in aid to satisfy the whims of this tinpot American president?"

The facts Rodgers mentions show unambiguously that, at least, the Britons are not against Americanism when she denotes the American people or the American mode of living. Not only the Britons, but all the Europeans, more or less, share the Americans the same mode and values. But when Americanism is the way President Bush is globalizing, the very globalisation Mr. Revel supports, soon a few Americans will be stigmatized as Anti-Americanists. This is no rhetoric, soon it will be a fact.

This Americanism will be modified, if not is being modified, because it goes against the wind, against the necessity of the world community, nationally and internationally, to have better social relationships along with the world development of the productive forces. The proof is the undercurrent actions of the world democracies, American included, against Bushism, plus the reaction of the Islamic Fundamentalists. These actions and reaction, though contradictory, are complementary against this Americanism, because the last is against democracy and against the interests of the peoples of the backward countries. Who has combined the world democracy and the Islamic Fundamentalism in the same sack to work simultaneously, each alone, with different means of action, against US foreign policy? Bushism or their common hatred to America, i.e the so called Anti-Americanism?

The trumpeted Americanism is Bushism that seeks to control the world economy vital regions to later impose de facto situation on the world democracy. The peoples, being suppressed, act less and react more. The world democracies refuse that undemocratic means of hegemony, therefore they act.

In short, Americanism has in mind, if she has mind, to draw the world arena to US benefit with a T-square, as if it were a blank sheet. She wants to perpetuate national states to function contradictorily:To be canals that allow the passage of finance and goods up and down, i.e uneven exchange, and at the same time to be dykes that prevent people from sharing the developed countries the fruit of their development. 

This, for sure, implies something that may sound Eutopian: it allows everyone to infer that US, in order not to be Bushist, should remove the national barriers among the nations, borders included. This is true, but not directly and immediately. This is something that will happen on the long run, at the last stages of the process, when globalisation is fait accompli, when life allows no existence even to a sole Anti-globalizer.

Yet, Bushism is to blame. Not for undoing this, but for pulling in the opposite direction. A few mechanisms facilitating that end are possible and available, but Bushism is barricading globalizing through her relentless efforts to designate artificial means for globalization.

To conclude, instead of the arrogance, underlying praising Americanism, that equates her with the American people, a praise which leads to agitating the mobs of the whole world against the Americans, and the American mobs against the people of the whole world, instead, there is a too simpler way to approach this matter: America is part of the world; what is good for the world is good for America, and vice versa. This is not a new religion, as it may sound. It is the logic of life from now on, i.e under direct globalization. This logic demands that the American demagogues stop that loud nonsense, stop showing alternatively the two faces of the medal: praising Americanism and/or trumpeting Anti Americanism.                                                                         


5 March 2005