America's biblical name, Manasseh, means "causing to forget" (for proof of America's national identity, send for our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy). When America broke away from Britain's "multitude of nations" to become the greatest single nation in human history, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Manasseh in Genesis 48:19, America turned its back on the Old World and concentrated on building up the great nation it later became. Separated by thousands of miles from the major theaters of war, the United States enjoyed the great advantage of being able to put the world's problems aside and focus on the home front. For most of its history America has been isolationist, not wanting to get involved in the affairs of the rest of the world.
However, this tendency to forget, to put the past and the rest of the world behind them, is a contributing factor to Americans being less informed about world affairs than many of the world's peoples.
In trying to understand the events of Sept. 11, BBC reporter George Alagiah contrasted the wholesome image Americans have of themselves at home with the nation's bad image abroad. "What is it that links a people so determinedly wholesome at home with what their leaders—both business and political—have done in their name in far-away places? The answer is ignorance. The vast majority of Americans are blissfully unaware of their image abroad" (BBC Reports, 2001, p. 43).
Emphasizing the point is a three-part series from the Gannett News Service that appeared in my local newspaper this summer. Its title? "America Becomes the Bad Guy." It observes: "... Ten months after the attacks, many countries view America more as a villain than a victim. Many analysts say anti-Americanism is higher now than at any time since the Vietnam War."
It continues: "European allies are fuming over America's decisions to abandon treaties on global warming, arms control and an international war crimes court as well as to protect American products with new tariffs on foreign goods. Anti-American feelings go much deeper in Arab countries, where the United States is viewed as blindly loyal to Israel ... Surveys in Arab countries show that increasing numbers of people there believe that Israel, not Osama bin Laden, spearheaded the Sept. 11 attacks, even though his terrorist network has effectively claimed responsibility."
It's hard to believe that the most awful day in America's history has actually increased anti-Americanism around the world, but this appears to be the case.
Increasingly the world's preeminent power is resented by others who cannot get their way. As soon as other nations see a chink in the armor of a superpower, they are emboldened. Former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger said it this way: "Hegemonic empires almost automatically elicit universal resistance, which is why all such claimants have sooner or later exhausted themselves" (The Atlantic Monthly, January 2002, p. 38). GN