As a career U.S. Army chaplain and as the husband of a Princeton alumna (Vera Jesser ’81), I was fascinated to read the March 4 feature, “Hating Uncle Sam.” As a civilian minister and then as a military chaplain, I have been around the world and I have seen much of this hatred toward America. At the same time, I have seen instances of overwhelming appreciation toward the United States and a deep gratitude for our diplomatic and military activities in remote and sometimes dangerous parts of the world.
The PAW article begins, “Why do they hate us?” Another question is, “What makes them so hateful?” Perhaps for balance, the same thoughtful students who wrote the 16-page policy paper on anti-Americanism will now write a contrasting paper titled, “Why do they like us?” This would be a balanced and fair gesture. In much of the world, the United States is revered and respected. I have seen this firsthand in such diverse places as India, Kosovo, the Caribbean, Iceland, central Europe, Cameroon, Guatemala, and Ireland. If these talented students focus on why many parts of the world respect and admire the United States, it will help in analyzing why much of the rest of the world is anti-American.
Perhaps after graduation the young men and women who are featured in this article will resist the temptation for instant financial success and will consider a career in the civilian diplomatic corps or in the military. We need intelligent men and women to serve as engineers, linguists, civil affairs officers, liaison officers, embassy personnel, scientists, translators, and more. Then maybe someday I will have the privilege of serving as your chaplain in some foreign or homeland assignment. We need a new generation of thoughtful people dedicated to making this country and this world a better place within the various branches of our government.