Things are changing, however, both here and abroad. Thousands of American
troops have left Europe. Its denizens now sense that the American people nolonger wish to subsidize their defenseonly to earn ingratitude. The E.U. dream of heaven on earth may be mired in hightaxes, low growth, high unemployment, and demographic and entitlement timebombs—not the sort of platform from which to hector a supposedly sinking U.S.
Things are even more evolutionary in the Middle East. Dissidents in Egypt or Beirut are not singing the praises of the E.U. or U.N. Nor are the new democratsin Iraq and Afghanistan. It is still too early to appreciate much of this shifting, but historical forces are now in play which are not conducive to vaunted European “soft power,” so often a mask for crass profiteering.
Soon, freed Middle Easterners are going to make a few simple deductions: France profited mightily from Saddam; America removed him. The E.U. wanted nothing to do with the new democracy in Baghdad; Americans from places like San Antonio and Tulsa died to preserve it. An Iranian knows that the U.S., not Germany or Belgium, wishes him to be free and is more likely to take the risks to see it happen. An Afghan could assure him of that.
The muscle-flexing of China has given Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan second thoughts. They worry not that the United States invites them into partnerships, but that we might not. The Americans allow outsourcing to India, buy thousands of Hondas, and send young men to the Korean DMZ. Europe sells China new bombs, the French fleet goes on maneuvers with the communists, and the E.U. keeps it tariffs and subsidies high. A once-caricatured America starts to look very good again.
There is another wild card at play that explains the decrease in anti-Americanism. After September 11, the American people are in a much less apologetic mood—more likely to pull troops or cut off aid than to ask forgiveness for imaginary grievances. No one here laments that we left the Philippines or are departing Germany. We took out Saddam without Belgians and Frenchmen, without bases in Turkey, and despite, not because of, the U.N. or Arab league. America runs high trade deficits with Asia and Europe. It lets 20 million illegal aliens cross our borders. It spends liberallyon defense, patrolling sea-lanes and protecting commerce rather than setting up autocracies and stealing oil.
Americans are finally beginning to wonder whether all these ungrateful
folks are worth the toil and tre asure. In response, critics abroad are beginning to
sense that their cheap rhetoric may have real consequences, that maybe the U.S.
was a good deal for the world, after all.
George W. Bush did not cause this new round of anti-Americanism. But he may
well have done more than anyone to end it.
Of course, this will not convince all the Bush-hating, knee-jerk anti-U.S., ANSWER minions who hysterically claim that Bush has ruined the reputation of the U.S. around the world--but then nothing ever would. No action--or inaction-- as long as the actor is America, will ever be free from their poisonous, hate-filled and querulous carping.
And it's too bad, because I was under the impression they were all moving to the paradise to the north of us after the last presidential election.
Guess they were just joking.