Jewish World Review Sept. 22, 2004 / 7 Tishrei, 5765
A hole-in-one for anti-Americanism
So far we've learned one big thing about anti-Americanism: it seems to help your golf game. This weekend, for the second time in a row and the fourth time in the last five matches, the European golfers defeated their continent's version of the Evil Empire, trouncing the United States to keep the Ryder Cup.
The enthusiasm with which the Europeans pounded the red, white and blue -- along with the odd lack of passion from the U.S. side - were eerily similar to last month's basketball competition at the Olympics, where foreign players challenged our NBA sleepwalkers as if they were playing the Great Satan himself. Sports always reflect popular culture, and what we are seeing in the international sports arena is just a simplified version of what goes on every day in the real world. Intellectuals around the globe -- lost and adrift for years after the failure of socialism -- have largely settled on anti-Americanism as their new ideological vehicle of choice.
You can see this in Al-Jazeera's rah-rah attitude toward the suicide bombers and hostage-takers who have disrupted our efforts in Iraq. You can see it in the tight-lipped anger of Kofi Annan, who never misses a chance to let slip a bad word about the United States. You can see it in the electorates of Western Europe, where struggling governments in France and Germany use anti-U.S. rhetoric to maintain the political support. You can even see it across the border, where Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin held onto office a few months ago by accusing his conservative opponent of pushing ideas that were too American.
Indeed, you cannot understand the current world crisis unless you appreciate the extent to which much of the world is down with the anti-American flu. Why isn't Kofi Annan happy that the United States and its allies finally implemented the many U.N. resolutions condemning Saddam Hussein? Why aren't so-called "moderates" across the Moslem world happy that Hussein has been hauled off to prison? Why are lefties across Britain screaming for Tony Blair's head? Why does Michael Moore get feted with rose-petals across Europe? Why doesn't anyone care that China is stomping on democracy in Hong Kong, but foreign election observers are coming to check on our presidential race? In every case, the explanation relates to simple, raw, unreasoning hatred for the United States. For too many people around the world, anything that's good for the United States must be bad for everyone else.
It is difficult to imagine a more unpleasant situation for American liberals. For the most part, these folks are far more at home in Paris or Geneva than they would be in Cincinnati or St. Louis. For decades, American liberals have basically stolen all of their ideas from Western Europe. The sexual revolution, pacifism, sucking up to the Soviet Union, higher taxes, a more restrictive welfare state: each and every one of these ideas originated in Europe before being embraced by the American left. Heedless of the fact that Americans often disagree with Europeans, and that ideas designed for the French electorate might not play in Peoria, the liberals have paid heavily for their dependence on foreign thought. But even American liberals have to be a bit wary of promoting anti-Americanism to an American electorate.
So they have adopted the see-no-evil hear-no-evil strategy: just pretend that anti-Americanism doesn't really exist. Oh, no, promises John Kerry, it's not that they hate us, they just don't like George Bush. Once he's gone, it'll be just like the days of John F. Kennedy and Ich bin ein Berliner. We'll get allies to help us in Iraq, the United Nations will sign off on any preemptive strikes we'd like to launch, the lion will lay down with the lamb, and the "alliance" will be restored.The problem with this argument is that the American people have slightly better memories that the Democrats give us credit for. We remember all the silly anti-Reagan marches across Europe in the early 1980's. We remember that as long ago as 1975, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, of all people, was moved to call the United Nations "a theater of the absurd." We remember that de Gaulle kicked NATO forces out of France in the late 1960's, and that France wouldn't even let us fly through their precious air space when we retaliated against Libya in 1986. And we remember that when Bill Clinton - who the Democrats tell us was loved around the world -- negotiated the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court treaties, the results were so hostile to our interests that he didn't even try to get Senate approval. In short, we know that anti-Americanism is nothing new, and we can tell the difference between "allies" who really wants to help us - think Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair - and countries who despise us but who occasionally refer to themselves as "allies" because they need our help.
Right now, that knowledge is carrying George Bush to victory. Americans aren't na´ve: we know that the situation could be better in Iraq, and we have real doubts about the prospects for democracy in the Middle East. Most of us are still concerned about whether we're doing enough to defend our homeland - particularly given this Administration's refusal to defend our borders. In short, we would be willing to consider a serious criticism of the Bush Administration and its foreign policy. But we also know that Kerry's fantasia about reaching out to Europe and the United Nations isn't serious.
At least the Bush Administration is standing up for us, instead of countries and institutions who hate us. Unlike John Kerry, President Bush sees that anti-Americanism is real. He knows that the International Criminal Court would be used against our soldiers. He knows that the Kyoto Protocol would be used against our economy. He knows that the United Nations is both a haven for despots and the world-wide headquarters of anti-Americanism. He knows that weakening ourselves won't win the respect of the world, but will simply let them hurt us even more. And right now, with anti-Americanism running amuck, we need a president who knows those things.
If John Kerry wants to turn this election around, he has got to accept the fact that Americans see no reason to trust the rest of the world. Until he and the other Democrats show that they will stand up to anti-Americanism, Zell Miller will remain a hero, and the Republicans will keep getting big cheers for their applause lines about "not outsourcing our foreign policy" and "not getting a permission slip from the U.N." And unless Kerry turns this thing around very quickly, the America-bashers around the world will help put George Bush right back into the White House.
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JWR contributor Laura Ingraham is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show and the author of the just released "Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are Subverting America". Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Laura Ingraham