Assault on Anti-Americanism
2005, a group of relatively obscure British academics and bloggers sat
down with the goal of redefining liberal democracy in foreign policy, in
a “fresh political alignment.” What resulted was the “Euston Manifesto”,
a document laying out a set of principles in favor of democracy, human
rights and equality, and against tyranny, racism, terrorism and
document, primarily authored by Manchester University professor and
blogger Norman Geras, was created in response to overreaching by the
European left, which the signatories felt had gone too far in failing to
recognize the threat from Islamic terrorism. Supporters of Euston ranged
from neoconservatives to pure centrists to mainstream liberals to
self-proclaimed democratic socialists.
must define ourselves against those for whom the entire
progressive-democratic agenda has been subordinated to a blanket and
simplistic ‘anti-imperialism’ and/or hostility to the current U.S.
administration,” the original document stated.
translated into at least 10 languages, and now being published all
around the world, the Euston Manifesto has now come to America. A
companion document, called “American Liberalism and the Euston
Manifesto,” was published last week, and since attracted thousands of
signatories, including those of numerous historians and college
It’s a long
and varied document, but the main points of the American document are as
follows: Radical Islam is an enemy, which “fosters dictatorship, terror,
anti-Semitism and sexism,” and therefore must be confronted. America has
made mistakes in the war on terrorism, but it is wrong for liberals to
act more outraged by them than they are by the terrorism and mass murder
carried out by the jihadists. And the document decries, in several
places, the political polarization on matters of foreign policy that has
befallen American discourse since the Vietnam era.
version made those points and several more. It argued first and foremost
for democracy, while also repeatedly hammering home the point that it is
wrong for liberals to apologize for tyranny, even if it’s done in the
name of leftism (see: Cuba and Venezuela). It also criticized racism,
anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism whether coming from the left or the
right, while also arguing for a peaceful two-state solution to the
the notion that there can be no opponents on the left,” the document
states, echoing a point that should be familiar to readers of Peter
Beinart’s The Good Fight, this year’s most important political
book thus far.
behind Euston have been intuitive to many liberals since the events of
9/11, and even before. We’re the people who are essentially liberal in
our instincts and temperament, but find that the anti-Americanism and
“anti-imperialism” of the hard left appeals to us not at all. We’re the
ones who, disgusted as we may be with that hard left, don’t find pure
conservatism to be a particularly appealing alternative. And most of
all, we see the traditions, culture, and (yes) liberalism of the West as
something to be proud of, not ashamed of, and understand that fanatics
living in another century are a serious and true threat to all of that.
should be familiar to readers of The New Republic, Beinart’s
book, and especially Paul Berman’s post-9/11 book Terror and
everybody is listening, it appears. Last week, just a few days after the
American version of Euston debuted, the laughable Cold War relic known
as the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) met in Havana to slam the U.S. as the
root of all the world’s problems. Included in the group were Iran and
North Korea. NAM concluded by electing the ailing Fidel Castro its
president – believed to be the first time Castro has ever been elected
Manifesto is not a perfect document. The American version just about
punted on the question of Iraq, as it appeared the signatories were
split right down the middle on the issue (the Democrats often find
themselves in that same position). And the original version includes a
call in favor of open source software, which seems awkward and beside
overall, the Euston Manifesto is an important and worthy document that
deserves to be read and debated. You can do both at
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