'A Problem From Hell': America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power - review by Simon Heffer

Simon Heffer

Patrolling The Globe

'A Problem From Hell': America and the Age of Genocide


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THE WAVE OF anti-Americanism that has spread through this country and Europe since 11 September 2001 has been both distasteful and counter-productive. Originating with the feeling that America basically asked for what it got in the terrorist attacks on that day (because it was so prosperous and powerful), the phenomenon has spread out, taking on ever more appalling forms. Perhaps the Iraq war will have tempered these sentiments a little: not because America was doing something necessary that even the anti-Americans deemed right (for they manifestly did not), but because it has demonstrated America's vulnerability. Just as in Vietnam thirty years ago, a guerrilla war is now under way that America and her allies seem unable to win. Those of us who are broadly sympathetic to the Americans can see that their belief in their own unlimited power, and the arrogance fostered by this belief, have been checked. If this means that the world's only superpower behaves a little more tactfully than on occasions in the past, then that can only be to the good.

Certainly a new humility has crept into American foreign policy of late, with President Bush appealing for international help in dealing with the lingering problems in Iraq. Where this leaves the great assumption behind Samantha Power's book is, however, another matter. That assumption runs broadly as follows: America has not

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A Mirror - Westend