I have been reading an excellent article from the Wall St Journal, “Anti-Americanism Is Mostly Hype,” By Foaud Ajami, who is a Bradley Prize recipient, and teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of “The Foreigner’s Gift” (Free Press, 2006).
This article reminds me of the time just after Labor gained office in Queensland for the first time in a generation and Wayne Goss was premier. One of his less memorable statements was to the effect that the southerners liked us now. I wasn’t aware until then that anyone cared whether they liked us or not, but of course lefties just have to be loved, (or at least approved of.)
But of course I digress: –
So America is unloved in Istanbul and Cairo and Karachi: It is an annual ritual, the June release of the Pew global attitudes survey and the laments over the erosion of America’s standing in foreign lands.
We were once loved in Anatolia, but now a mere 12% of Turks have a “favorable view” of the U.S. Only 22% of Egyptians think well of us. Pakistan is crucial to the war on terror, but we can only count on the goodwill of 19% of Pakistanis.
American liberalism is heavily invested in this narrative of U.S. isolation. The Shiites have their annual ritual of 10 days of self-flagellation and penance, but this liberal narrative is ceaseless: The world once loved us, and all Parisians were Americans after 9/11, but thanks to President Bush we have squandered that sympathy.
It is an old trick, the use of foreign narrators and witnesses to speak of one’s home. ….
The deference of American liberal opinion to the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Amman and Karachi is nothing less than astounding. You would not know from these surveys, of course, that anti-Americanism runs deep in the French intellectual scene, and that French thought about the great power across the Atlantic has long been a jumble of envy and condescension.
I grew up in the Arab world in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and anti-Americanism was the standard political language – even for those pining for American visas and green cards. Precious few took this seriously. The attraction to the glamorous, distant society was too strong in the Beirut of my boyhood. …….
There is no need to roam distant lands in search of indictments of America’s ways. Tales of our demise appear every day in our media. Yes, it is not perfect, this republic of ours. But the possibilities for emancipation and self-improvement it affords are unmatched in other lands. …
It is one thing to rail against the Pax Americana. But after the pollsters are gone, the truth of our contemporary order of states endures. We live in a world held by American power – and benevolence. Nothing prettier, or more just, looms over the horizon.
After the war of independence the US with its pioneering people dared to model a state based not on the old European model of freedom granted by the state, but one based on the entirely new idea of liberty, individual sovereignty, and limits on the power of the state itself, – consensual government. In doing so they unleashed an unprecedented burst of human energy and innovation, which advanced the nation to the point where they rapidly surpassed the moribund nations of the old world.
‘American’ became more a state of mind than a mere nationality; nothing was impossible. It should have remained this way but for the inevitable cultural cringe of the left towards those who look down on their nation from afar.
To gain independence the American colonies had to defeat what was arguably the most powerful nation on Earth, Great Britain. After eight years of bloody conflict the British gave up. Fifteen years later they were again in a conflict with another of the great powers of the day, France in a naval war.
In two wars in the early 1800s, America dealt the deathblow to the Barbary pirates who terrorized shipping in the Mediterranean. The great European nations had been forced to put up with, and pay tribute to them for years, despite their naval power. It was left up to the new kid on the block with their pride and backbone to destroy this threat.
By the 20th century the US was pulling the nations of Europe and the rest of the world out of the shit. This situation was not reached by having a bigger and stronger government than the European nations, but because they had a smaller, constitutionally limited government which allowed the people the freedom to prosper and in the process build the greatest nation on earth.
The Pew survey tells us that some foreign precincts show a landslide victory for Barack Obama. France leads the pack; fully 84% of those following the American campaign are confident Mr. Obama will do the right thing in foreign policy, compared with 33% who say that about John McCain. There are similar results in Germany, and a closer margin in Britain.
Of course they think Obama will be better, he is a total big government statist and therefore their kind of guy, that’s why they have degenerated to second, third, and fourth rate powers.
Have a great 4th America, and reflect a little on what made you great, reject the ideas and ‘ideals’ that those condescending bastards in the old world would have you follow, and push to turn back the tide of statism.