Jewish World Review Jan. 24, 2005 / 14 Shevat, 5765
How to make them like us
At the Senate confirmation hearings for Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Joseph Biden announced that the world pretty much dislikes America these days. And he's right the numbers prove it.
In Spain, for example, an Associated Press poll says just 35 percent of Spaniards have a favorable opinion of Americans, 49 percent do not like us at all. The situation is better in France, but not by much; there, 41 percent approve of Americans, and 52 percent believe we are "mal."
Canadians like us, Aussies are generally on our side, and 60 percent of the Brits think we're swell. However, don't even ask about the Third World: In Pakistan, 65 percent of the folks think Osama Bin Laden is a swell guy.
So what can be done? Well, a few things. First, American tourists should be arrested if they leave this country with orange-colored velour sweatsuits packed in their luggage. Have you ever seen an American group disembark a tour bus in Europe? Cher would be appalled.
Second, well, there really isn't anything else we can do. Just dress like a human being, and be nice if you
The reason the situation is kind of hopeless is that most of the foreign media despise the USA for a variety of reasons. In many countries, dictators like Egypt's Mubarak tell the press what to say and how to say it. Independent media thinking is rare; a truly free press exists in only a very few places.
In countries like France, Germany and even in the United Kingdom, it has become chic to bash the USA. The BBC, Le Monde and whatever they're reading in Düsseldorf usually pander to the left, kind of like the elite media does here. There's little difference between what The New York Times writes and what's printed in the Guardian of London. Both operations think President Bush is a dunderhead and America is a nation packed with religious zealots who would revive the Salem Witch Trials if they could.
In countries like Spain and Sweden, socialism has taken root, so, of course, they think the American drive to make and keep money is horrendous. Again, there's little we Americans can do about that. Western Europe has generally embraced the entitlement culture, and many on the continent sneer at the American work ethic. Especially when we use our earnings to buy orange sweatsuits.
President Bush and his crew are not exactly reaching out to the world, no matter how much Tsunami money is ponyed up. Bush believes France and many other countries put profits over an aggressive approach to the war on terror, and he's correct. For example, if China had its way, Osama and his pals would be running a nuclear power plant built with Chinese parts.
So don't expect detente soon. The USA is fighting a vicious terror war while much of the world remains on the sidelines. The anti-American factions, of course, want to keep this can of divide going. Who do you think is making all those sweatsuits?
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