Anti-Americanism is a relatively recent phenomenon.
The elites may have always despised American passion for individual liberties, but most common people admired America for exactly that. Upon gaining independence, a number of nations — from Uruguay to Greece to Togo to Malaysia — modeled their flags after the U.S. flag. Preambles of most Latin American constitutions closely resemble that of the U.S. Constitution, and the Latin American hero Simon Bolivar himself was an admirer of the United States and a believer in libertarianism and free markets, regardless of how his name and legacy are now being twisted by Hugo Chavez.
The important fact about modern-day anti-Americanism is that it spreads almost exclusively among impressionable cultural elites who are most exposed to ideological clichés delivered through media and educational channels.
It would be absurd to presume that people of the world go to bed every night loving dictators and hating the United States. Obviously, the first conscious thing on the mind of a European, an African, or an Asian as they wake up in the morning is not how to survive another day of “America’s economic and cultural imperialism.” And since anti-Americanism is incompatible with common sense that guides our daily lives, people must be reminded of it every day to keep it alive. That is the burden that radical intellectuals have taken upon themselves, dispensing daily quotas of leftist clichés to the “unwashed masses” down below.
Thus, Oliver Stone is reportedly making a documentary about Hugo Chavez, whom he describes as an “energetic, principled champion of change in Latin America” and hopes, in Stone’s words, to “capture the spirit of his drive to roll back U.S. influence.” The ability to claim originality while working for decades from the same moth-eaten template makes Mr. Stone an Oscar-winning genius. Is there a chance that in the process of glorifying what he calls the region’s “liberation from the United States,” the legendary director might display authentic originality by interviewing, not a leftist, but a hero of anti-Marxist resistance? Can the devastation inflicted on Latin America by socialist policies persuade Mr. Stone to look beyond the worn-out clichés? We can only wish.
If the convention requires this “unconventional” genius to lionize America’s enemies, it’s what he does — not more and not less. Until recently, Stone was rumored to be considering a similar anti-American documentary with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the recent insurgency against this man in his own country may have convinced Stone to kill the plan as too obviously absurd.
In the heyday of the Cold War, both knowingly and unknowingly, such radical intellectuals served as a reliable conduit for anti-U.S. propaganda generated in the think tanks of Moscow. The technical details were described by a number of defectors from the Eastern Bloc intelligence agencies, the highest-ranking of whom was Ion Mihai Pacepa, acting chief of Romania’s espionage service.
“The whole foreign policy of the Soviet-bloc states, indeed its whole economic and military might, revolved around the larger Soviet objective of destroying America from within through the use of lies,” Pacepa writes. “The Soviets saw disinformation as a vital tool in the dialectical advance of world Communism. … Many ‘Ban-the-Bomb’ and anti-nuclear movements were KGB-funded operations, too. I can no longer look at a petition for world peace or other supposedly noble cause, particularly of the anti-American variety, without thinking to myself, ‘KGB.’
“As far as I’m concerned, the KGB gave birth to the antiwar movement in America,” Pacepa continues. “KGB chairman Yuri Andropov managed our anti-Vietnam War operation. He often bragged about having damaged the U.S. foreign-policy consensus, poisoned domestic debate in the U.S., and built a credibility gap between America and European public opinion through our disinformation operations. Vietnam was, he once told me, ‘our most significant success.’”
The fraudulent image of America as the “violent imperialist aggressor” was picked up by the Western media, disseminated through activist groups, and found its way into policy making, exemplified by John Kerry’s 1971 “Genghis Khan” testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where Kerry almost verbatim repeated the KGB fabrications, later recognized by Pacepa as his own subversive product.
“KGB priority number one at that time was to damage American power, judgment, and credibility,” Pacepa recalls. “One of its favorite tools was the fabrication of such evidence as photographs and ‘news reports’ about invented American war atrocities. These tales were purveyed in KGB-operated magazines that would then flack them to reputable news organizations. … All in all, it was amazingly easy for Soviet-bloc spy organizations to fake many such reports and spread them around the free world.”
Our sensory organs may perceive the same reality, but our knowledge of the world depends on how our minds interpret our perceptions and connect the dots. A successful propaganda campaign modifies that process by inserting, in a manner of speaking, a prefabricated optical lens that redirects incoming information and rearranges the existing dots. It may remain unnoticed for a while because the distortion affects limited designated areas — in this case, political ideology. One still is the same person, except that when he thinks of political, economic, or social issues, lies suddenly become perceived as the truth, right as wrong, good as evil, enemies as friends, and so on.
Ultimately, the most successful, moral, and just country in the history of humanity becomes perceived as a violent monster feeding on the bodies of innocent victims.
Caught off guard by such a procedure and lacking intellectual tools to detect it, any decent red-blooded man will naturally be enraged by America’s “injustice,” wish for its defeat, and sometimes even join its enemies. Assuming that in 1971 John Kerry was a decent man and his testimony to the Senate Committee was delivered in good faith, he must have had that lens implanted in his brain for a long time. The Vietnam War was won by Moscow, not on the battlefield, but in the information warfare. And that was only the beginning.
This is how Pacepa remembers it:
During my last meeting with Andropov, he said, wisely, “now all we have to do is to keep the Vietnam-era anti-Americanism alive.” Andropov was a shrewd judge of human nature. He understood that in the end our original involvement would be forgotten, and our insinuations would take on a life of their own. He knew well that it was just the way human nature worked.
Andropov’s strategy must still be working if even today Barack Obama believes in these insinuations strongly enough to apologize before the world for the perceived history of “American arrogance.”
During his recent visit to Moscow, President Obama stated:
America supports … the restoration of the democratically-elected president of Honduras, even though he has strongly opposed American policies.
But didn’t Obama himself oppose American policies just as strongly and from the same ideological perspectives? His own history suggests that saying “because he has strongly opposed American policies” would have been a more honest use of conjunctions.
From his communist mentor Frank Marshall Davis to the unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, Barack Obama has always gravitated towards people holding radical leftist views akin to those of Zelaya. He eagerly promoted leftist ideology as an ACORN activist and later when he taught and developed theories that opposed the American system of individual liberties in favor of unsustainable group entitlements at the expense of producers — theories that advocated placing the people under the controlling “care” of the state.
And since such views are part of the ideological template that vilifies America and lionizes its enemies, Obama’s instinctive reaction was to back Zelaya and throw a lifeline to Ahmadinejad.
Like John Kerry at the Senate hearings, President Obama may be acting in good faith, but his processing of reality is just as impaired by the same “metaphorical deformation.” As a result, the leader of the free world strays across the frontlines and joins the Marxist leaders Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro, Evo Morales, and Daniel Ortega, at least two of whom — Castro and Ortega — were committed Soviet clients.
The Soviet Union may have self-destructed in 1991, but the seeds of intellectual deception it had planted gave such a bountiful crop that seventeen years later America has elected a leader who is guided by received notions designed to subdue and destroy this country. Apparently, the rumors about America’s victory in the Cold War appear to have been greatly exaggerated.