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Anti-Americanism at record-high
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It says "disappointment and bitterness" has grown from the perception that much-vaunted US values "have been selectively ignored by successive administrations" for national security or economic ends.

The committee also says unilateralism, particularly in military action, has led to "anger and a fear of attack that are transforming disagreements with US policy into a broadening and deepening anti-Americanism."

These factors, as well as visa and immigration issues, have helped create a "growing belief in the Islamic world that the United States is using the 'war on terror' as a cover for its attempts to destroy Islam," the report concludes.

A Republican member of the subcommittee, Dana Rohrabacher, disagreed with the report and its premise, telling a Washington hearing where the document was released that "I don't think the United States needs to apologize" for its acts.

There had been mistakes in the 'war on terror', notably in the field of human rights, he said, but argued the United States must not base its foreign policy on public opinion but on "what is right."

He also disputed polling figures suggesting widespread anti-Americanism in Europe, noting that voters in France and Germany and in parts of eastern Europe have recently elected pro-American governments to power.

"I believe that we still have a great deal of people around this world who in their heart understand that America is the force, the only force that is going to protect the decent people of the world against radical Islam, Nazism... and thank God we're still willing to do it," he said.

Delahunt retorted that the report "was not in any way meant to apologize it's about our national security." He said it was the first step in deciding how to "win hearts and minds, so that it's a win-win for everyone."

At the meeting, the subcommittee also heard testimonies for their next report on the impact of the United States' declining reputation on foreign policy.

Esther Brimmer, director of research at John Hopkins University's Center for Transatlantic Relations, noted that after the September 11, 2001, European nations were keen to help the United States, including in Afghanistan.

But their support was "deeply impacted by the invasion of Iraq", and cooler relations contributed to Washington's failure to secure Macedonia's membership of NATO and to undermine its role in reforming the UN's human rights mechanisms, she said.

(China Daily via Agencies June 12, 2008)

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