In foreign policy, Americans like to keep it simple. Good countries versus bad countries. Democracies versus dictatorships. Of course, as Ronald Reagan reminded Americans, we are a “shining city upon a hill,” one of the goodies. What no one seems to ask is whether idealistic Americans have a clear view of the world as it is, or how their worldview affects the United States’ global image. Surely, as the U.S. enters its 17th year of perpetual war, these might be questions worth pursuing. Problem is, the truth can be disturbing.
So humor me for a moment and join me on a tour of American hypocrisy and naiveté, from Africa to the South Pacific.