Jacob Heilbrunn

Why America is Hated

America is hated abroad. Today's International Herald Tribune features a long article on Pakistan that provides a reminder of why it is hated. Gen. Kayani has apparently been touring military installations in the wake of the humiliating snatch of Osama bin-Laden. "We can't" was his response when queried about why Pakistan should trust America. Pakistan is not alone. The perception abroad that America is a willful superpower bent on imposing its will is not confined to Pakistan. In Germany, America continues to be viewed as the most dangerous power in the world. Now the Czechs are saying no to basing an early warning system against ballistic missiles in Prague. Geoffrey Wheatcroft cogently asks why we should even continue to have NATO exist. Why indeed? Western Europe is unable, or unwilling, to field significant military forces. It is also not clear who the enemy might be. Iran? The mullahs have no real beef with Europe. They want to engage in economic trade with it. If the United States could afford to pay for all of its commitments, including the defense of western Europe, that would be fine. But it can't. So NATO will continue to stumble along. America will continue to reel from the weight of its defense outlays. And it will continue to be abused by so-called allies such as Pakistan, which resents its dependence on Uncle Sam. Gratitude is rarely a category in international politics. But Americans would do well to recognize why such resentment exists. It may not be because we try to do too little, but too much.