Some numbers on the Iraq conflict from Juan Cole:
Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce Linda Bilmes has estimated the cost of five years of the Iraq war at 1 trillion and 372 billion dollars; is the next five years Mr. Krepinevich estimates for his strategy likely to be much cheaper? He does not think so. Neither do I.
Meanwhile, as he points out, not just Arabs or just Muslims but peoples all over the world have come to dislike and fear America and “Indeed, citizens in Canada, France, Germany the Netherlands, Russia, Spain and the United Kingdom now hold more favorable views of China than of the United States.” The trend is toward greater distrust of Americans. This, as I and others have emphasized, is the wasting of a treasure Americans have inherited that is far more valuable than money.
Mr. Kepinevich is absolutely right. General loathing for Americans and American products spreads gradually across the world, even in places which had previously been susceptible to advertisements for the American way of life.
On the positive side, the recent failure of the Americans to contain Unesco’s stand on the cultural exception can be traced to this war.
Beside American military imperialism, much of the rest of the world will have no more cultural imperialism.
More and more, I am reminded of the lonely bully on the school playground beating each of his schoolmates individually before they finally gang up and ostracise him from the school grounds altogether.
This isn’t about “cultural imperialism.” If the USA is so reviled around the world, then American pop culture exports–movies, television shows, music, etc.–will die off a natural death, for why would you Europeans watch, for example, “24”, when it’s the product of a loathesome (in your eyes) nation? Why would you import our dreck when you’re perfectly capable of producing your own? No, this is about controlling the free flow of information. France financing “Asterix” is every bit as fascistic as China censoring Google. Americans are proud to have enemies like Red China and France.