Before I left for London, I made my obligatory trip to the magazine section of Barnes & Nobles. I usually buy a couple "flipping" magazines and at least one with substance. This time I bought Foreign Affairs. I love it because it gives you an in depth analysis of global issues. One of the best articles in this issue was The Real Roots of Anti-Americanism. (Note: the link leads to a 500 word excerpt) In brief, the article discussed the relationships the US has had with different Arab nations and extremist groups from the region, concluding that the U.S. has generally provided positive support for the region and the main reason people dislike Americans is due mostly to scapegoating. Here are the reasons the author, Barry Rubin, provides:

1. Although we misunderstand their region, they tend to misunderstand the U.S. to an even greater extend. They often expect the U.S. to overtake the region, because many Arab leaders would do just that given the power.

2. Information is tightly controlled in the region, so it is easy for antagonistic views to surface.

3. The real record of U.S. involvement is distorted.

4. The role of the U.S. as a protector in the region is downplayed. For instance, although Saddam Hussein has terrorized his country in many ways, the U.S. is still blamed for the country's misfortunes.

5. "There is an attempt to reduce all American policy to a single issue: U.S. support for Israel."

The reason he finishes with, is that it is convenient for Arab rulers to have someone to blame for their own nation's problems. Because the U.S. is the sole super power, and because of the aforementioned reasons, the leaders tend to use the U.S. as a scapegoat.

There is certainly more to the article, but I wanted to throw this out here. Is this really the only reason? Has the U.S. generally been a good little country and played nice with it's Arab neighbors? It has hard to decide whether I am caught up in America-bashing because I disapprove of our recent military inclinations and policy decisions or if there is something missing in the article, because based on what was written, I definitely believe what Barry Rubin has to say.

It is certainly a complex issue, which is why I found this article particularly interesting. Does anyone have anything to add, either their own opinion or a useful link?