Many people around the world are indulging in what the Germans call “schadenfreude”: pleasure at the suffering of others. The pleasure appears to be derived from the suffering the United States is enduring after four years of efforts to stabilize Iraq.
On one level, that reaction is predictable. Resentment of the wealthy and powerful is hardly new. But the US in the last few years has compounded this reaction by what it has done and how it has done it.
For some, it was the decision to go to war in Iraq; for others, it was Guantánamo and the perceived double standards of American justice. For still others, it was the lack of sustained effort to bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians or US opposition to the International Criminal Court and to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The result is that anti-Americanism has grown in both reach and intensity.
Still, any satisfaction at the problems the US is undergoing in Iraq is shortsighted and sure to be short-lived.