I FOUND Andy Maciver’s recent opinion piece (“Trump is temporary, but America is permanent”, The Herald, July 30) not without some glaring omissions in his glowing and uncritical re-imagining of American history. I believe your readers would benefit from some added context.

First, anti-American rhetoric, as with any other form of prejudice towards a people of differing national origins, is terrible behaviour and should be condemned as unacceptable.

However, that condemnation should not be extended to the valid criticisms many have towards policies and actions of the American government.

In the opinion piece Maciver asserts the US’s leadership position as a promoter and defender of democracy specifically as the bulwark against communist authoritarianism during the Cold War.

He highlights the benefit to the tens of millions of Europeans freed from behind the Iron Curtain as a result of the end of the Cold War yet in the same breath he trivialises the seriousness of US global intervention during that period.

In so doing he neglects to mention the direct support of the so-called “champions of democracy” for anti-democratic despots who crushed dissent in much the same way as Soviet bloc governments.

For example, the 1953 CIA-backed coup in Iran on behalf of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now BP); the 1954 CIA-backed coup in Guatemala on the behalf of the United Fruit Company; training and support for the Indonesian military as they carried out the 1965-1966 mass killings of leftist dissidents and ethnic groups; and the financing and arming of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan (precursor to the Taliban) during the Soviet 1979-1989 invasion.

There are many more examples of the United States supporting anti-democratic forces in the protection of foreign policy interests and those of capital. These events are not insignificant and should not be resigned to footnotes in the popular understanding of US history the piece holds.

The truth is often more complicated.

Americans have contributed a great many positives and done great good in the world.

The positive contributions might even outweigh the negatives of “American intervention” throughout the world but that is not the point Maciver is making.

The assertion that the US is the world’s “moral authority” cannot stand the testimony of history.

Basel Kanaan,


THERE is only one word – sorry, two words – to describe Andy Maciver’s paean on the USA: “utter” and “rubbish”. Likewise, I reject his enthusiastic lauding of capitalism which in my book is synonymous with feudalism.

There isn’t a single flash-point on the globe that the USA isn’t directly involved in or has proxies working on its behalf.

It has interfered in the politics of and toppled the legitimate governments of countless countries simply because they didn’t bend the knee to US financial interests.

It has the largest military-industrial complex in the world, which pulls the strings at the Pentagon and in the White House and the main purpose of which appears to be to protect and promote the corrupt banking system that owned by the few and subjugates the entire globe.

They intercept our electronic communications and spy on us here in the UK and on our neighbours in Europe.

The only reason they have their nose firmly stuck in the Middle East is because of oil and the fact that the petrodollar is the only thing that keeps the US financial system working.

We, Andy Maciver included, have been systematically brainwashed for years since the start of the Cold War that Russia and China were the enemy, yet the Yanks who never went home after the Second World War were our pals; I wonder why France kicked them out?

David J Crawford,


MR Maciver asserts that Trump’s conduct could fill several newspaper columns.

He is understating somewhat. Trump’s increasingly reckless and cynical behaviour could fill an entire library’s worth of books. Look at the dozens of books that have already been published.

Trump’s victory in 2016, the culture wars that have been disfiguring the States for years (and will continue to do so for some time to come), and the racially divisive atmosphere that pollutes the country – all of these show America in a terrible light.

Yes, Trump may lose in November (provided he accepts the result) and Mr Maciver’s assertion that the Presidency is stronger than the President may be upheld. But America’s chronic inability to deal with its structural problems - race, poverty and inequality – dims its lustre as a shining beacon to the rest of the world.

A. McDonald, Edinburgh.

AMERICA is deeply flawed but your columnist was right to point to its record when it comes to saving the free world.

He neglected to mention, however, possibly its greatest moment – its decision to roll up its sleeves and defend democracy in 1941.

Granted, it took Pearl Harbour to finally push it into the Second World War, but its contribution in terms of men, machines and military know-how was the decisive factor in defeating Hitler and Japan.

But in a wider scenario Maciver was correct to point out all the ways in which we take American enterprise and innovation for granted: Apple, and Netflix, and Amazon, to take just a few examples.

And where would the British economy be without huge US investment over the decades?

America is sometimes its own worst enemy but its contribution to the world is impossible to ignore.

R. Fullerton, Glasgow.