THE WORLD WON'T LOVE OBAMA FOREVER
By Jeff Jacoby
The storyline goes something like this: America's one-time popularity in the world was squandered by George W. Bush, whose belligerence and unilateralism after Sept. 11, 2001 alienated allies and engendered widespread anti-Americanism. But now, with the election of Barack Obama, America can restore its good name and regain the world's goodwill. One vigorous exponent of this narrative has been Obama himself. "The single most important issue that we're facing in this election," he said during the campaign, is choosing a leader "to repair all the damage that's been done to American's reputation overseas." On the day I become president, he often told voters, "the world will look at America differently."
Sure enough, much of the international reaction to Obama's election has been ecstatic. "Legions of jubilant supporters set off firecrackers in El Salvador, danced in Liberia, and drank shots in Japan," the Los Angeles Times reported. Kenya declared a national holiday, while a minister in the French government likened the occasion to "the fall of the Berlin Wall times 10." South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu exulted: "We have a new spring in our walk and our shoulders are straighter." BBC correspondent John Simpson pronounced Obama's election one of those events that renders the United States "young and vibrant, the envy of the world" and The Sun, Britain's most popular newspaper, headlined its story "One Giant Leap for Mankind."
For the president-elect, such worldwide jubilation must be gratifying. He should take it all with a healthy shake of salt, however. Because it isn't going to last. Antagonism to the United States is as old as the United States. It didn't begin with the current president, unpopular though he is, or in response to American military action in Iraq. Nor is it going to vanish on January 20.
In Hating America, a survey of more than two centuries of anti-American hostility, Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin note that an upsurge of anti-Americanism was already "strong in the Middle East and well under way in Europe" before Bush took office in 2001. In the 1990s, for example, Greeks opposed US support for Kosovo's Muslims, and vented their anger at President Bill Clinton. "Among the epithets flung at Clinton in the mainstream Greek media," the Rubins recount, "were criminal, pervert, murderer, imposter, bloodthirsty, gangster, slayer, naive, criminal, butcher, stupid, killer, foolish, unscrupulous, disgraceful, dishonest, and rascal."
A decade earlier, it was Ronald Reagan who provoked eruptions of anti-American fury. In 1983, millions of Europeans marched in protest when the Reagan administration countered the Soviet Union's deployment of nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe by installing US ballistic and cruise missiles in West Germany.
But it isn't only issues of war and peace that set off America's braying critics. In A Dangerous Place, a memoir of his tenure as ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan describes a 1974 world food conference in Rome that had been convened by the United States. "The scene grew orgiastic as speakers competed in their denunciation of the country that had called the conference, mostly to discuss giving away its own wheat," he wrote. America is a big, rich, and powerful nation; that alone is enough to provoke global resentment, no matter who lives in the White House.
As a presidential candidate, Obama argued that America's standing in the world had declined because of the Iraq war and unilateral actions by the Bush administration "emphasizing military action over diplomacy." Yet there will almost surely be times in Obama's administration when the United States will have to take action when others won't, to defend its principles or protect a threatened party. As one notable American has written: "There will be times when we must again play the role of the world's reluctant sheriff. This will not change -- nor should it." The author of those words? Barack Obama, in The Audacity of Hope.
Popularity is nice, but it isn't the goal of American foreign policy. Great nations have great interests -- interests that cannot always be secured through patient negotiation or Security Council resolutions. As the foremost military power, the United States must at times be "the world's reluctant sheriff," using force to maintain order or defend liberty. President Obama may speak more softly than his predecessor, but he will still be carrying a very big stick. Like other presidents, he will be loudly condemned when he uses it. As George W. Bush can tell him, the abuse goes with the job.
Some Positive Reactions from the Right
By Dennis Prager
I spent a good part of the past year speaking and writing against the election of Barack Obama. During the last week of the campaign, my Salem Radio Network colleagues, Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved, and I spoke on behalf of the McCain-Palin ticket in the Battleground states of Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. One would expect that I would be devastated at Barack Obamas election -- as devastated as liberals were at the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004. I am not -- yet. Here are some reasons why:
1. Republicans won the election of 2004, an election that was more important to the future of America and the world than was this election. Had Sen. John Kerry won in 2004, America would have left Iraq in defeat and Islamists would have won their greatest victory ever. Millions of young Muslims would likely have seen in Islamic jihadism humanitys future and signed up for terror; and Iraq would have degenerated into genocidal chaos.
2. The election of a black president is good for blacks, good for whites, and therefore very good for America. At least at this moment -- no one can predict the future -- many more blacks feel fully American, and fewer blacks regard white America as racist than ever before. One cannot attain a higher status than the American presidency, and a black man will now occupy that position. As the Hoover Institutions Shelby Steele wrote, this is the first time in history that a majority white nation elected a black as its leader. Conservatives are not surprised. I have argued for decades that America is the least racist country in the world. By and large, only Americans on the right have believed, or at least had the courage to say, this. Now that fact is obvious to virtually anyone with eyes to see.
3. The Obama victory poses a serious challenge to liberalism and to the doctrine of black victimhood. If fewer and fewer blacks perceive white Americans as racist, a major reason for black support for liberalism could lose its appeal to blacks. On the other hand, if liberalism continues to portray blacks as victims of white racism, more white Americans will regard liberalism as phony -- or worse, as stirring up racial tensions for political gain. Most whites are tired of racial tension, tired of being portrayed as racist, tired of their children being taught in college that they are either consciously or unconsciously racist, tired of lowering standards for blacks or anyone else.
So the Obama victory puts liberals in a bind. They either acknowledge the reality of an essentially non-racist America and thereby alienate black and white liberals still committed to this proposition or they continue to play the America is racist card and alienate many whites.
The challenge the Obama victory poses to many blacks is that they will have to abandon ascribing black problems -- such as disproportionate amounts of violent crime and the highest rate of out-of-wedlock births in America -- to racism. Fewer and fewer white Americans will tolerate being blamed for problems within black life.
4. The Obama victory will bring clarity to Americas place in the world. Now that America is apparently loved again, we shall see how this plays out beyond emotional rhetoric. Will Europe contribute significantly more troops to Afghanistan? Will Germany now allow its NATO troops to shoot at Taliban fighters (thus far they have been allowed to shoot only if shot at)? Will our allies and Russia and China place the needed sanctions on Iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear device? Or is Americas being loved irrelevant to how other countries behave?
5. Conservatives will be able to show how much more decently they act when they are out of power. The treatment of President George W. Bush by liberals has been despicable, undeserved and unprecedented. We who oppose Barack Obamas policies will, hopefully, act in accordance with conservative values of decency. Hence my simple announcement on the day after the election: I did not vote for him. I did not want him to be president. But as of January 20, 2009, Barack Obama will be my president. Barack Obama may have a successful presidency or a failed one. If he allows the left wing of the Democratic Party to set his agenda, it will be the latter. In the meantime, however, we can celebrate the aforementioned good of Barack Obamas election and pray for him and for our beloved country.
"Compassionate" conservatism was a mistake : "The liberal pundits who embraced the candidacy of Barack Obama are also eager to issue a death certificate for free market capitalism. They're wrong, and they remind me of what the great Willie Nelson once said: `I'm ragged but I'm right.' To be sure, the American people have handed power over to the Democrats. But today there is a categorical difference between what Republicans stand for and the principles of individual freedom. Parties are all about getting people elected to political office; and the practice of politics too often takes the form of professional juvenile delinquency: short-sighted and self-centered."
Freedom works: The case of Hong Kong : "Hong Kong has an impressive reputation for economic freedom and classical-liberal virtues. In a series of articles, Milton Friedman used Hong Kong to show how the power of free markets combined with little else can create wealth, pointing out that its per-capita income rose from 28 percent of Britain's in 1960 to 137 percent of Britain's in 1996. As Friedman wrote in 1998, `Compare Britain - the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, the nineteenth-century economic superpower on whose empire the sun never set - with Hong Kong, a spit of land, overcrowded, with no resources except for a great harbor.'"
Guess what else is in the bailout bill: "Do you think the IRS should set up undercover operations to entrap unsuspecting taxpayers? Do you think the IRS should release your confidential tax returns to law enforcement and intelligence agencies upon request? If you answered `No!' to either question, you're out of luck. Before its October recess, Congress passed a bill giving the IRS these powers. You may ask, `Why didn't Downsize DC oppose this bill?' As a matter of fact, we wrote against it virtually non-stop for two weeks! Don't remember? That's understandable. These provisions are buried in Sections 401 and 402 of Division C in H.R. 1424, the Bailout bill."
Goodbye neoconservatives; hello to their liberal brethren?: "The media and the Washington foreign policy elite breathed a sigh of relief when Barack Obama thumped John McCain in the election. Had John McCain won, there was always the chance that the neoconservatives would have beaten out the Republican realists for his foreign policy soul. With a victory by the liberal Obama, however, the stake would finally be driven into the heart of the `jingoistic' neoconservative vampire. Yet even after Obama takes power, an evil foreign policy ghoul will still hover over the White House - this time wearing the benign clothes of a compassionate angel. Obama's top foreign policy advisors include Susan Rice, a member of the `muscular liberal' crowd - you know, the same crew that includes the bombing progressives Madeleine Albright and Richard Holbrooke."
GOP needs Night of Long Knives: "The GOP has been laid low, thanks to politicians who swapped their principles for power and lost both. As the chief electoral vehicle for conservative and free-market ideas, the Republican Party cannot regain America's confidence, nor should it, until the guilty have been catapulted into the nearest volcano. Comrade George W. Bush has spearheaded the most aggressive federal expansion since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As a delivery system for socialism, he has been the most effective Trojan Horse since that pine steed rolled into Troy."
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here or here or here
The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)