The need to paint Americans as a greedy, selfish, war-mongering superpower cannot be disturbed by facts. It matters not that, in the year before the tsunami, the US provided $2.4 billion in humanitarian relief: 40per cent of all the relief aid given to the world in 2003. Never mind that development and emergency relief rose from $10 billion during the last year of Bill Clinton’s administration to $24 billion under George W. Bush in 2003. Or that, according to a German study, Americans contribute to charities nearly seven times as much a head as Germans do. Or that, adjusted for population, American philanthropy is more than two-thirds more than British giving.
There is a teenaged immaturity about the rest of the world’s relationship with the US. Whenever a serious crisis erupts somewhere, our dependence on the US becomes obvious, and many hate the US because of it. That the hatred is irrational is beside the point.
We can denounce the Yanks for being Muslim-hating flouters of international law while demanding the US rescue Bosnian Muslims from Serbia without UN authority. We can be disgusted by crass American materialism and ridiculous stockpiling of worldly goods yet also be the first to demand material help from the US when disaster strikes.
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