Five years ago, I was very much pro the United States being the world's only superpower. The US seemed to have almost all the attributes you want from a Sole Superpower. It was civilised, appeared to believe in the principles it espoused most of the time (no one is perfect) Above all, it seemed to be more focussed on the President's Pecker than on expanding through military force. It therefore wasn't too likely to upset established orders and leave behind anarchy (which is actually quite a lot worse than tyrrany). I was probably more naive then - but I don't think that that was the entire cause. There had just been an election between a liar and a fool. The liar had won (although the media had portrayed them the other way round - which worried me slightly, (as did shinanigans round the election) but I'd seen enough of our media not to believe it was impartial). Possibly a minor worry - but to be quite honest I was far more worried about University Tuition Fees than anything the US government was going to do. In the course of the year, the US refused to ratify Kyoto, which didn't impress me - but I don't expect to be impressed by any country all of the time. Que serra serra. Then, to borrow a cliche, September 11 changed everything. Pro-US sentiment shot up in sympathy. The US, assisted by us invaded Afghanistan. I opposed this because I do not believe revenge to be a good motive for a war, but expected it to happen and realised I was on the losing side (and wasn't actually too unhappy that this was the case - the important part was getting the opposition recorded IMO). I believed that Afghanistan would be a sufficient pressure valve for the US to let off steam and that things would return to normal. The US set up a detention centre in Guantanamo Bay which appeared (and still appears, despite a US Supreme Court ruling using some of the nastier actions of Charles II as precident) to have been placed into gaps in the law. At this point, it's probably worth pointing out that Kipling's reference to "Lesser Breeds Without the Law" was almost certainly referring to Imperial Hubris leading to the imperial power in question putting aside the law rather than to the conquered (and unconquered) peoples being uncivilised. Afghanistan didn't go too badly (although I wondered quite what some of the propogandists were on at times - c.f. the Tora Bora complex secret underground lair (that looked like a refugee from James Bond or Thunderbirds)). You kick over an already kicked over ant-hill and what's left is a kicked over ant-hill. (It was also a hell of a lot faster and a lot less messy than I expected on). We also get the US President talking about an Axis of Evil - despite the fact that three more unlikely allies are harder to come up with. The US then decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court - which ties in quite messily with Camp X-Ray if you want to look at things that way. Even if you don't, it undermines the belief that the US has respect for international law and believes that its word is its bond. Just another reason to be worried. Next up is the Iraq war. (I'm going to skip such things as no-fly lists and the USA PATRIOT act which are purely internal affairs). There were two major reasons presented for going to war with Iraq. The first was WMDs. Even before the war, I could tell that we were being lied to - or to be accurate, the politicians had asked the intelligence people to come up with evidence that Iraq had WMDs rather than to investigate whether Iraq had WMDs. If that was the best they could do (including Colin Powell's artists impressions presented to the UN), I was pretty sure that Iraq didn't have nukes or bio-weapons. (Chemicals were possible - but calling chemicals WMDs is a bit disingenuous as tonne for tonne, TNT tends to be a lot more dangerous). The second was that Saddam was a Bad Man™ and that we were doing it for the Iraqui People. I can't argue with the first half (although it leads to the question of "why now?") - but I saw too much of the military plans and not enough of the reconstruction ones to believe that there was much of a case for the Iraqui People. In short, I could tell we were being lied to and deceived to get us into a war. Subsequent events have only proved me and those like me right. Two years after the war, the Iraquis still don't have continual power (5 hours off to one on is the figure given by at least one Iraqui blogger - and the Kilowatts are decreasing). Iraq's tradition of musical theatre is more or less dead becuse "Before there was only one Saddam. Now there are 25" [any of whom could make things too dangerous to perform]. Bombs are increasing. About the only improvement is that sanctions have ended. (Which needn't have taken a war, and were probably actually propping up Saddam...). The hunt for WMDs has been given up. And then there are ironies like the excuse of WMDs for invasion and the use of White Phosphorous. Or using Abu Ghraib as an example of the evil of Saddam. In late 2004, we had the US republicans trying to legalise Extraordinary Rendition against previously signed UN charters. (And despite the fact that the intelligence value of torture is negative). Fortunately they failed - but that the US can go that far down the line is an extremely worrying sign. Between 2001 and 2004, the leadership of the US demonstrated that it was not prepared to be bound by the law or treaties it had signed. It had denied people any law at all - and therefore effectively thrown out the presumption of innocence that underlies its own legal system. It had invaded other countries using lies as a pretext. It tortured people and tried to give this official sanction. In short, it had plummeted morally from a fairly high standard to one where I would prefer the EU to be the world superpower (largely because other than under serious threat it would be too busy with internal feuding to do too much damage). Still, I had a lot of hope that the US was going to wake up from this insanity at the 2004 elections and throw the Shrub out. Seemingly it decided to give Bush some political capital to spend (rather than invest) instead. (I say seemingly because I believe that the election was stolen. (This is the only way I can have any belief in the US at all)). 2005 continued along the same lines as the previous years of the Shrub presidency, complete with lining up for a new war. And then we have Americans wondering why there is so much more anti-US sentiment now than there was five or six years ago. It's not us who have changed (at least mostly), it's you.