Jonah Goldberg has a particulary good essay up at National Review Online. Particularly good because more often than not he hits a double, but this one might be a home run!
(I’m sorry but since Judge Roberts began with the baseball metaphors, I’m hooked…I’m like Rafe Palmiero on ‘roids!)
Anyhow, in this essay Jonah points out, once and for all, that quite contrary to all we are told in the media and by the folks on the left, America was not “the beloved country” before George W. Bush came into the White House:
…Anti-American books tore up the best-seller list in France throughout the Clinton presidency. The staged anti-globalization riots during the 1990s were not love letters to America or the Democratic party. In 1999, Bill Clinton needed 10,000 policemen to protect him from Greek activists who aimed to firebomb him. Protesters in Athens continually pulled down a statue of Harry Truman….al-Qaeda got its operation up and running throughout the sunny days of Bill Clinton and the dotcom bubble.
In the 1980s, anti-Americanism was also a big problem, but fortunately the elites of Europe generally understood…it was better to have America as a friend than the Soviet Union as a ruler.
But much of Europe seems lost to us. There are many reasons for this, but two stick out. First, they’re free riders. They know that America is the only country left with the means and the will to maintain international order. Our economy keeps their economy afloat. We keep the sea lanes open….
Second, because we’re behind the wheel, they can indulge their vanity by playing backseat drivers…
A columnist for the British Sun wrote this week, “America may have given the world the space shuttle and, er, condensed milk, but behind the veneer of civilization most Americans barely have the brains to walk on their back legs.” Then he got offensive…
Tony Blair, a stalwart ally in Iraq, has recently been caving to Islamic radicals for domestic political considerations…This hardly bodes well for Britain to stay the course in the battle against Islamic fundamentalism.
What bodes even worse is that Britain is the only country in Europe with a military capable of projecting significant military force abroad for a sustained period of time. Even if the next president, or the one after that, succeeded in winning European friends where Bush has failed, it seems unlikely those friendships will be of enormous use.…We are in for some lonely days.
I suspect that if President Hillary is elected in 2008 Europe will fall all over itself to kiss her feet and declare that their friendship with America can now be restored because “the first Lady of the World,” (hey, I didn’t call her that, The Hague did, a few years ago) will “unite the world in the blahblah and pursuit of blahblah…”
It will all be lies and BS, just as it was when President Bush visted Europe shortly after his election and – before ever seeing him – the left and the press over there were calling him the moronic cowboy idiot tyrant.
I’ll tell you what worries me, though. The idea that Americans – who deep down want to be respected and loved, because (on the whole) they are themselves respectful and (mostly) loving – will grow weary of being disliked by Europe and will vote-in a Hillary – or someone like her, who is palatable to Europe – just to be loved, again.
Europe can’t offer us much – flyover space to the Middle East – moral support, once in a while – but there are some who, I suspect, would give up a great deal for their minimal offerings, if France and Germany and Brussels would only LOVE us.
But it seems they never really have. Loved us, I mean. I have a friend who is divorced. The catalyst for the divorce was a disagreement during which his wife admitted to him that she “never loved” him – that she’d married him only because she assumed he would “take care” of her. With that acknowledgement, the “marriage” was revealed to be a sham and could not continue.
Everyone wants to be loved. And yes, Americans are generous, good-hearted folks who would like to be loved. But healthy love does not demand that you give up who you are for it – healthy love does not forfeit self. It gives and receives but does not “need.” An outsized need to be loved can sometimes cause tremendous damage.
I pray my nation doesn’t fall prey to that need.
UPDATE: By happy synchronicity, Sigmund, Carl and Alfred are examining this question also:
…our host asked if I understood why Europeans were so anti American…we (replied) that when you get right down to it, most Americans don’t really care, media navel contemplating notwithstanding.
He (asked me) why…Europeans were so anti American. Europeans, we said, dislike Americans because, in a short period of human history, went on to surpass Europe in being the center of global influence. (…even worse) that America was built by European ‘garbage…’
…a century ago, Europe was only too happy to rid itself of the ‘wretched refuse’ and ‘teeming masses’. The European elite and intellectuals thought that once rid of the annoying and newly demanding ‘unwashed’ peasant class, Europe would once again regain it’s rightful place as the center of the moral and political world…
Europe…never got over the fact that, unleashed, those ‘wretched refuse’ and ‘huddled masses…understood what the elite and intellectuals of Europe never understood for themselves– that given the opportunity, they were perfectly able to fend for themselves, succeed and even excel. Thus, the European ‘refuse’ become proud and worthy pillars in the community. Their worth and contributions to the American mosaic was far more than what the Europeans had exploited them for. Europe had made a mistake by sending off it’s most abundant natural resource, it’s own sons and daughters.
…everybody needs a cause– and what cause is safer than anti Americanism? Americans won’t come after you and will willingly share all those things that make America great– the ideas, art, technology and acceptance, even in the face of unrelenting criticism. We truly are the best enemy anyone can have as long as you keep it inbounds.
Why do behave in this way? Because this country was built by the ‘wretched refuse’. Because everyday, immigrants come to our shores to take their best shot, knowing they won’t be impeded or blocked by our ‘elite’… America is replete with success stories, of immigrants who came with nothing and within a generation or two, made it.
We’re told everyday how much were hated around the world. We also know that given the choice, we’d have to issue green cards to millions of those people who ‘hate’ us.
That gentleman that we had dinner with– the one who imperiously asked us if we understood why Europeans hated us– in the end, conceded that we were hated because of who we were and who they weren’t.
Of necessity, I had to edit both Jonah’s piece and SCA’s, but please do go read them…
UPDATE: a friend with a phenomenal memory sent this to me – on the same subject:
The July 2001 G8 meetings in Genoa provided the occasion, for instance, for a front-page offering of dubious taste by the paper’s lead cartoonist Plantu. It shows George W. Bush, protesters in the background, giving orders to seven figures, representing the other participating nations, who are variously depicted as bound, gagged, and blindfolded by American flags or impaled through a variety of orifices upon the flagpoles bearing them. “Tell these kids to stop the violence!” Bush demands. An article on the “anti-globalization” movement Attac in the edition of August 28 was accompanied by a cartoon by Plantu’s colleague Serguei. In it, the world is depicted as the body of a living piggy-bank sporting an Uncle Sam hat and a stubbly beard and with a fat cigar embossed by a dollar sign stuck between its teeth. A small dark figure, evidently the dispossessed of the earth, holds out its hand pathetically. Another offering by Serguei from August, this one accompanying an article on Henry Kissinger and Chile, depicts Uncle Sam with a death’s head, glowering at a globe dripping in blood. In his right hand, the Uncle Sam figure clutches the cigar with the dollar sign on it: the icon of American cupidity.
Hmmmph…imagine that. And all before 9/11.
H/T to MaxedOutMama for the SCA piece.