Tuesday, August 25, 1998 Published at 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK
Why does America have so many enemies? Jonathan Fryer reports.
In the wake of the bombings at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the Clinton administration has revealed that there have been many other threats against US property and citizens abroad.
The embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania slaughtered many Africans, as well as Americans. But there is no doubt that the target of the atrocities was the United States.
Investigations are still underway into exactly who is to blame, but the Clinton administration belives that dissident Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden had a key role in the attacks.
When asked, shortly after the embassy bombings, why she thought US diplomats had been targetted in East Africa, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied that maybe it was because of the values for which the United States stands.
"Because we are strong and because we use our strength to resolve conflict that some wish would go on forever."
The role of Islam
But not everyone sees things that way.
Sheikh Omar Bakhri Mohammed is the leader of al-Muhajiroun, an international Islamic organisation dedicated to the establishment of a world Islamic state.
"The cause of the problem," he says "is the presence of the American forces in Saudi Arabia, and the embargo against the Muslims in Iraq, and the presence of the state of Israel."
America's strong support for Israel has antagonised many in the developing world, particularly those who empathise with the Palestinian cause.
President Fidel Castro of Cuba, for example, does not mince his words when decrying US sanctions against his country, which are aimed at bringing an end to his Marxist regime. "This is genocide," he says. "It is turning a nation into a ghetto."
Even close US allies like the European Union, Canada and Mexico are sometimes uncomfortable with the way that Washington promotes its policies towards places like Cuba.
But recent US governments have maintained that it was largely because of US resolve that Communism - notably described by former President Ronald Reagan as the Soviet Union's "evil empire" - has collapsed.
"Every time there is any kind of incident fingers are pointed at Muslims," says Hala Maksoud, President of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Certainly that is how things are seen by many Muslim clerics in Iran, whose revolution has been a particular source of US disapproval.
Frequently, pro-government Iranians have denounced America as the Great Satan.
"It is obvious that as long as America's approach and behaviour remain hegemonic and arrogant, one should not speak of resuming ties," he says.
Another, disquieting dimension for the United States' friendly relations with the rest of the world is that some governments and people think that now that the United States is the only super-power, it is using the United Nations to implement its own policy goals.
As Iraq is on the US black-list of countries which do not behave by what Washington considers to be international norms, the Clinton administration does not take such remonstrations very seriously.
But as President Clinton himself underlines, threats against the US and its values are taken seriously - but they are not going to persuade the US government to change course in a hurry.
But he maintains enough of the policies that cause aggravation in some parts of the world - such as promoting Western-style democracy and human rights, and standing up for Israel - to ensure that such hostility will not disappear overnight.