The first comes from Victor Davis Hanson who discusses anti-Americanism:
So we know the symptoms of this one-sided anti-Americanism and its strange combination of hatred, envy, and yearning — but, so far, not its remedy. In the meantime, the global caricature of the United States, in the aftermath of Iraq, is proving near fatal to the Bush administration, whose idealism and sharp break with past cynical realpolitik have earned it outright disdain. Indeed, the more al Qaeda is scattered, and the more Iraq looks like it will eventually emerge as a constitutional government, the angrier the world seems to become at the United States. American success, it seems, is even worse than failure.
Some of the criticism is inevitable. America is in an unpopular reconstruction of Iraq that has cost lives and treasure. Observers looked only at the explosions, never what the sacrifice was for — especially when it is rare for an Afghan or Iraqi ever to visit the United States to express thanks for giving their peoples a reprieve from the Taliban and Saddam Hussein.
We should also accept that the United States, as the world’s policeman, always suffers the easy hatred of the cops, who are as ankle-bitten when things are calm as they are desperately sought when danger looms. America is the genitor and largest donor to the United Nations. Its military is the ultimate guarantor of free commerce by land and sea, and its wide-open market proves the catalyst of international trade. More immigrants seek its shores than all other designations combined — especially from countries of Latin America, whose criticism of the United States is the loudest.
Nevertheless, while we cannot stop anti-Americanism, here (a consequence, in part, of a deep-seeded, irrational sense of inferiority) and abroad, we can adopt a wiser stance that puts the onus of responsibility more on our critics.
We have a window of 1 to 3 years in Iran before it deploys nuclear weapons. Let Ahmadinejad talk and write — the loonier and longer, the better, as we smile and ignore him and his monstrous ilk.
Let also the Europeans and Arabs come to us to ask our help, as sphinx-like we express “concern” for their security needs. Meanwhile we should continue to try to appeal to Iranian dissidents, stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan, and resolve that at the eleventh hour this nut with his head in a well will not obtain the methods to destroy what we once knew as the West.
Ditto with Hamas. Don’t demonize it — just don’t give it any money. Praise democracy, but not what was elected.
Read the entire piece, of course.
Meanwhile, the slow process of stabilizing Iraq continues as the Iraqi parliament approves the new cabinet and national unity government. That government has formidible challenges ahead:
In his first address, al-Maliki told parliament he would make restoring stability and security the top priority of his new administration. He said he would "work fast" to improve and coordinate Iraqi security forces so they can reduce attacks by insurgent groups and militias.
Al-Maliki also said he would set "an objective timetable to transfer the full security mission to Iraqi forces, ending the mission of the multinational forces."
What is interesting to me is that some seem to think that stability, peace, brotherhood and unification should have magically resulted instantaneously after the toppling of a decades-old totalitarian regime. Why wasn't everything perfectly planned for in advance? And of course, even though events are moving ever so slowly in the general direction we would like; since things are definitely not perfect, then it must just another hopeless, useless quagmire for the utopian left.
In fact, as Hanson notes, the more that Iraq moves in the direction of a constitutional government and works hard to deal with the diversity of interests and cultures that make up the country, the louder and shriller becomes the voices of anti-Americanism; and the voices of hopelessness and defeat.
America can deal with it when those voices originate from outside the country. It is a whole other matter, however, when the loudest and most toxic voices come from within.