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Why do people hate us?

Raśl Escalante of Mexico says: "Many WAIS postings have attributed the world's 'hatred' of 'Americans' to envy; others have looked into past US military, diplomatic and business activities. My opinion is that vague animosity and distrust are more accurate terms than "hatred"; that this animosity tends to be directed at the US government rather than at Americans themselves and is as often mixed with grudging admiration, and that the latter motive is far stronger than the former.

The difference in wealth between Americans and other peoples is considered visceral evidence that somehow they (we) are being cheated, but I don't really think that said difference is an underlying motive. In my experience, the wealthier classes in third-world countries, who in general have profited from the system that the US would purportedly 'cheat us' through, mostly regard this difference as a fact of life similar to the difference between their wealth and that of their own people.

The distinction is important because if Americans believe that hatred of them is bred by envy, then their own actions that resulted in hatred were relatively virtuous by their own standards and they need not revise them further: "If pursuit of the American Dream makes people hate us, then let them". On the other hand if "hatred" of them has been caused at least partly by the actions of their government and by other factors under their control, then their own best interest should lead them to take a critical look into the past. This, I strongly believe, is urgent and feeds into the relevance of the history text-book project.

I also think that different people and different countries have many different motives (some less justifiable than others) that deserve going into in more detail".

Ronald Hilton - 7/21/02