Sunday, April 13, 2003

I had a great discussion with my Mom today on why as a Canadian (even though she isn't habitually anti-American), she has always opposed the war (even though she is glad it seems to be ending so quickly and cleanly) and therefore she is still glad that Chretien (even though she is habitually anti-Chretien) took a principled stand and kept Canada out of it. Basically, she fully supports a world governing body, and believes that the only legitimate reason to invade a sovereign nation is with the support of the UN. I think she and I agree that the UN ought to have done something about Iraq but she still feels that the US should not have acted without the support of the UN.

Part of what's fueling her position is that she talks a lot of foreigners, particularly Chinese but also many others. In her work she talks to them quite often about current events. Since she's Canadian, these people are quite ready to express their hatred of the US. Some of her Chinese students explained to her that the Iraqi ringleader in the famous footage of toppling the Saddam statue was an exiled Iraqi opposition party leader who had just been flown in from the US by the US armed forces in order to encourage "spontaneous" anti-Saddam demonstrations. Even though my Mom tends not to credit such conspiracy theories, she does take the stories as evidence of very strong anti-American feeling which is getting continually stronger to the detriment of global cooperation in future actions (e.g. potentially North Korea). Not only that, she says, but a unilateral US invasion only encourages other countries, such as China who might want to "liberate" Taiwan.

I have mostly seen anti-American sentiment expressed as extremely strong anti-Bush sentiment from Americans, but then again I'm not in the same situation as my Mom. I don't discuss current events routinely with foreigners and even if I did they might be uncomfortable expressing their hatred to a US resident on US soil.

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