As an old foreign student of the Class of ’51, I read with great approval Professor Eric Gregory’s statement (Life of the Mind, April 23) that the slogan “the good Samaritan of the entire world” would in his mind be “a pretense for paternalistic and imperialist ambitions” of the United States.
I still remember one of my Princeton colleagues in 1950 exclaiming with great enthusiasm: “We have the duty to save the world.” This attitude, it seemed to me, was typical of many of America’s elite since then. However, what has come of it if we remember President Bush’s actions in Iraq or presently the United States’ efforts in the Ukraine? How much of it is true, and how much is just a pretense for imperialistic and even sometimes anti-democratic actions?
Is the United States claiming to be the world protector of true democracy or just a hypocrite protecting its own interests, given actions in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.? I’m certainly not anti-U.S. in a general sense, but one has to differentiate critically between the one and the other.
This is the first step of a self-reflection to make this world a better place — of which so much talk is going on in Princeton, if you consider also President Eisgruber ’83’s intentions mentioned in the same issue of PAW.