Sunday, February 25, 2007


Distinguished Prof. Niall Ferguson pens a provocative article discussing who, according to research polls, has a dislike for the United States. His answer -- just about the whole world. His assessment -- a lot of it is quite natural and has to do with the U.S. simply being the biggest kid on the block.

I would add that much of the West is dominated by political parties and a press that is mildly to significantly left of center with a strong secular and pacifistic bent to all of it. America's politics tend to center right, and are often twinged with a religious flavor that makes the Europeans cringe. Add to this that we present no threat to these countries, and what you get is a high degree of scorn heaped upon the U.S. with no counterbalancing response.

To get a good feel for this, I would suggest occasionally perusing David's Miedienkritik, a site which does a yeoman's job of documenting the excesses of anti-Americanism we face in Germany. In Britain, the anti-U.S. sentiment is even easier to see. Just read the opinion pieces and comments thereto in The Guardian and articles on the BBC -- where one of today's headlines is "Iraq Crackdown Doomed to Fail." You might also want to look at the internet site Biased BBC. If you prefer book form, you might want to read While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer, which documents the same phenomenon in the context of the influx into Europe of radical Islamists.

In the rest of the world, particularly that dominated by salafi Islam, it is no surprise that we are hated by a radicalized populace and their intelligentsia. And not surprisingly, elsewhere in the Middle East, our highest poll numbers are found among rank and file Iranians. I say not surprisingly because the theocrats in power have abused their populace, made a train wreck of their economy, and secularized a large portion of the populace.

At any rate, I find all of this so frustrating mainly because we face a series of threats - the threat posed by radical Islam, the threat posed by Venezuela and Russia which have become bellicose dictatorships, and the threat posed by China that is quite rapidly developing military capabilities to challenge the West -- often with stolen or purchased U.S. technology. America, while the largest and richest country, has neither the population base nor so large an economy that we could face down each of those threats alone. And unfortunately, it would appear that the continental European powers are too petty and insular to take a realistic assessment of the current threats they and we face, and to develop appropriate strategies.

For example, all of Europe is threatened today by the march of radical Islam, whether Shia or Sunni. Yet, Germany and Italy have developed potentially lucrative economic ties with the mullahs of Iran. Consequently, it is they who apparently are voicing opposition to an immediate strengthening of sanctions against Iran. Is that really where their long term interests lie? Can they comfort themselves by relying on the U.S. and the U.K. to protect them while at the same time justifying their actions by pointing to the stupidity and aggressiveness of Americans? Or what of France's Chirac, an amoral thorn in the West's side who has long publicly advocated that Europe make a complete break with the U.S. and form a wholly European power. Why would they do that -- well, simply because Chirac sees that as a path to the return of the glory of France. Is it in France or Europe's long term best interest? I think clearly not. But you tell me?

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