Depending on whose political echo chamber I happen to be arguing with on a given day, one common criticism I run into a fair bit which many of my readers have surely also encountered is that I put all my energy into criticizing the foreign policy of the United States and its allies.
“You’re not anti-war, you’re only anti-AMERICAN wars!” they say, as though they’re delivering some kind of devastating slam-dunk point. “If you’re so antiwar, why don’t you criticize Assad’s war in Syria? If you’re such an anti-imperialist, show me where you’ve ever once criticized Russian imperialism, or Chinese imperialism?”
The argument being that someone who opposes US-led warmongering isn’t really motivated by a desire for peace and an opposition to war unless they’re also voicing opposition to all other violent governments in the world. If you’re only criticizing US imperialism and not the imperialism of other nations, you must be motivated by something far more sinister, perhaps a hatred for the United States of America.
I have three responses to this feeble line of argumentation, which I’ll list here for the benefit of anyone else who’d like to make use of them:
1. People making this argument never apply its own logic to themselves.
Nobody criticizes all misdeeds by all governments everywhere in the world. If you run into someone making this “you have to criticize all bad governments or your criticisms are invalid” argument on Twitter, just do an advanced search for their Twitter handle plus “Duterte” or “Sisi” or one of the other US-allied tyrants who the mainstream media haven’t spent years demonizing, and you’ll find that they’ve never made a single mention of those leaders the entire time they’ve had that account.
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