In 1945, the United States was the founding impulse behind the cornerstones of the international community: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations. At that time, American ideals were perceived to coincide with American actions, intended to expand social, legal, and economic protections around the world. Sixty years later, "Anti-America" has spread into a global phenomenon, crossing borders, classes, ideologies, religions, and generations.
In Friendly Fire: Losing Friends and Making Enemies in the Anti-American Century, Julia E. Sweig, the Council's Nelson and David Rockefeller senior fellow for Latin America studies and director for Latin America studies, writes that anti-American sentiments were born in Latin America at a time when most of the international community was distracted by the Cold War. Under a policy to contain communism, Sweig argues, the United States sponsored dictatorships and tolerated the subversion of democracy. Recently, as the United States applied a "preemptive Americanism" beyond the Western Hemisphere, the world took notice. Anti-Americanism flourished among the United States' closest allies in a way and to a depth not seen before.
Sweig examines the origins of "Anti-America" over the last half century, and outlines policy recommendations for the United States and its allies to ensure that anti-Americanism does not become a debilitating feature of international politics.
Sweig warns that if "allowed to settle into an acceptable global reflex, the new anti-Americanism will undermine the international community's political will to give the United States the benefit of the doubt" on a wide variety of foreign policy issues, thus hampering international cooperation on global initiatives. Friendly Fire offers a detailed analysis of the interaction between the United States and the world community—and a prescriptive framework to contain the anti-American backlash for the future.