UNITED STATES: An American reaction to the US elections

From Paris, Carmen Negrin forwards "An apology" by Hurst Hannum, Professor of International Law, Co-Director, Center for Human Rights & Conflict Resolution, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Tufts University.  Here is an excerpt: The reelection of George W. Bush as President of the United States compounds the disaster of four years ago, both for the US and the world.  Democracy can produce abnormal results, and the 2000 election might have been dismissed as an aberration.  Now, however, American voters have spoken clearly, and fear, fundamentalism, and ignorance have prevailed.

I am writing to apologize for my country and for the harm that it is likely to do both within and outside its borders during the next four years.  As an international lawyer, I am ashamed to live in a country that no longer believes in law.  As a liberal who believes in tolerance, I am ashamed to live in a country that now embraces the narrow values of the religious right.  As a teacher, I am ashamed to live among citizens who choose to believe obvious falsehoods, such as the alleged presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the alleged complicity of  Saddam Hussein in the 9/11 attacks.

As a rational human being, I reject the appeal for God to bless America, just as I reject the suicide bomber's call to Allah and the claim of religious zealots everywhere to exclusive knowledge of the truth.  American zealots are not engaging in widespread violence yet, but they reflect the dangerous currents of bigotry and religious extremism that are growing in every corner of the world.     The abdication by the United States of any legitimate claim to moral authority will undermine those around the world who believe in human rights and equality between rich and poor, strong and weak.  While I can only hope that individuals and civil society will continue to struggle against injustice, repressive governments everywhere will be heartened by the message from Washington that anything can be justified in the name of waging war on terrorism.  The United States has exchanged its ability to inspire for its power to threaten.

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: November 28, 2004