Mixed Signals

Ralf posted a few days ago about anti-Americanism. Unless I’m completely off-target here, he claims that the stuff we read or see in the foreign media isn’t really how people feel, that the effect is superficial. He also states that it simply isn’t as bad as we perceive it. The comments to the post seem to bear this out.

That’s fair enough, and I thank him for his input. But then there’s things like this that keep cropping up. (Go ahead and click the link, read the post. I’ll wait.)

The question that pops into my mind when I see things like this isn’t why the people of France hate us, or even if the sentiments expressed so blatantly and repeatedly in French rags like Le Monde is actually how the average Gallic citizen really feels. Instead I wonder what they think will happen if they piss off enough of the American voting public.

The cartoon and article that Gregory so kindly points out to us makes it plain that the authors think America is a violent, war-mongering country just looking to invade and kill innocent people. If they were even half right then I know which country we’d invade next, which odious culture we’d wipe out.

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Credit Where Credit is Due

My buddy Kathryn has another interesting post up. She points out that it costs real money to use military units for rescue and aid, money that no one gives us credit for when they start to complain about how stingy the US is when it comes to disaster relief.

So how much money are we talking about here? To figure that out would take a big pile of research, but she has found the daily costs for operating an aircraft carrier.

So we should get some credit for diverting our military in order to save lives. But there’s something else that’s being ignored, and that’s the money we spend to maintain this capability even when we’re not using it. In Europe, for example, they’ve made the choice to allow their military to dry up in order to fund Socialist welfare programs. They say that they’re more moral, more caring, for doing this.

So how come we don’t get credit for paying for assets that are desperately needed when things really go to hell?


Some of the recent articles at David’s Medienkritik and No Pasaran are not only depressing in themselves, but even more so in aggregate. Whatever the occasion, there is something the US did wrong. The degree of hatred expressed by the European left is orders of magnitude out of proportion to any wrongs we may have done them, a mindset shared by multitudes in the Middle East. That is, of course, unless they both still resent our role in the implosion of their sponsor, the USSR.

I think that there is also a fundamental misunderstanding of the US in Europe and in much of the rest of the world as well. Fundamentally, we are a regional power that has outgrown its region. With vast oceans east and west, friendly nations north and south, and only weak enemies in our hemisphere, Americans have often felt the rest of world needed a good, brisk leaving-alone. We had a war in 1812 – comparatively a small war in the years of Napoleon’s bloody project – and didn’t appear again on the world’s battlefields until Great Britain helpfully showed us that Germany was trying to get Mexico to enter the war on their side by invading us (the Zimmerman telegram). We avoided the Second World War until it came to us. Until that point, there was sympathy for Great Britain and China, but the war fell into the category of Europeans doing stupid and cruel things to each other, with Japan taking the traditional European role of ravaging China.

The change came when we realized that the USSR was no more kindly disposed toward us than the Nazis had been. Mass graves full of class enemies or of racial enemies were pretty much the same thing to us, if not to the more sophisticated and learned Europeans, and if preventing them meant we couldn’t go home, we didn’t go home. That doesn’t mean we didn’t want to.

From Washington’s farewell address in 1796:

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.
Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

The Europeans have to understand that this distance from their affairs is more than physical. Frankly, we would be content to never think of them except in terms of trade and vacation destinations. We’re willing to ignore you as long as you do the same for us. You don’t have to like us. You don’t even have to notice us. Just leave us alone.

If only Osama, Mullah Omar, and Saddam had been able to absorb this simple idea.

Joke of the Day

The World Court, an organization with neither legitimacy nor accountability, condemned Israel, a democratic country, for building a security fence that is saving lives every day. The Court’s head judge wrote:

. . . “The wall … cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order.

“The construction … constitutes breaches by Israel of its obligations under applicable international humanitarian law. Israel is under an obligation … to dismantle forthwith the structure,” he said.

Where does this head judge, who is so concerned about humanitarian and legal obligations, come from? From China, a country ruled by an unelected clique of mass-murderers that lacks legitimacy and accountability and treats its citizens like ants in an ant farm.

It should long ago have become obvious, to anyone who has a clue, that the principal role of “international organizations” like the World Court is as weapons against the U.S. and Israel and other democracies that assert their right to defend themselves. These are the same organizations to which John Kerry and his political allies on the Left would grant increased resources and legitimacy. Bush, whatever his flaws, at least understands who our enemies are. The Democrats won’t be ready for national leadership again until they wise up in this area, and stop pandering to the idiots for whom it is always 1968.