Some anti-Americanism derives simply from our being a colossus that bestrides the earth. This resentment may be incurable. But much anti-Americanism derives from the role U.S. political, economic, and military power has played in denying such freedoms to others. U.S. foreign policy has to be rethought. It needs not tweaking but overhauling. We need: a historical reckoning with crimes committed, sponsored, or permitted by the United States. [..] A country has to look back before it can move forward. Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto [in 1970], his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?
It’s hard to know how to deal with liberalization in cultures that have been repressed for a long time, that don’t have strong civil societies. But for the United States, of all countries, to be talking about human rights just rings very, very hollow in light of all the objections to our policy in Israel — the perception that we’re hard on one side and not on the other, and that we don’t contest the settlements or human-rights abuses committed by Israeli soldiers, and so on. Plus the fact that we have turned our back on international treaties and not been a global citizen, I think, makes people, even democrats, the leading lights in these repressed societies, very squeamish about being associated with the United States.
Another longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the "national interest" as a whole is defined and pursued.... America's important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive.