Americans just don’t get it
In an article on the Clash of civilizations, James Pinkerton writes:
It’s true, of course, that the General Assembly contains many dictatorial and tyrannical governments, but Iran and Venezuela are democracies, more or less. And in their demagogic way, Ahmadinejad and Chavez represent huge constituencies, not only in their countries, but around the world. Those two men don’t hate America – and our allies, such as Israel – because they aren’t free. They hate America because they hate America and its allies, period.
We live in a world in which not everyone gets along, for a combination of reasons – theological, historical, personal, legitimate, illegitimate. That’s politics, because that’s human nature.
So of these four leaders – the pope, Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Bush – the odd man out would seem to be … our own president. He has his faith that he is right, but the others have their faiths, too. Hence, the Clash.
Such ignorance is scary. It is quite clear that many Americans appear to believe, like Pinkerton, that “they hate us because they hate us”. Not “they hate us because we (or our our allies) bombed them, or keep threatening to do so”. Not “they hate us because we have attempted to overthrow their democratically-elected governments by engineering a coup”, but just because they hate us with an irrational uncaused hate.
One of the things about human nature is that if you bomb people out of their homes, destroy their livelihood and kill their friends and relatives they are unlikely to be overflowing with love and gratitude towards the people who do these things. This is not an irrational “they hate us because they hate us” hate. They hate for a reason. And the fact that they do so shows the limits of reason, which points to one of the shortcomings in Roman Pope Benedict’s Regensburg address. The Christian injunction to love those who hate you goes well beyond the limits of reason.
This is not how clashes of civilizations start, but it is how clashes of all kinds continue and escalate.
New every morning is the love
with which our ministers approve
devices new and up to date
for fostering the same old hate.