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Jewish World Review June 13, 2001 / 23 Sivan, 5761

David Limbaugh

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Blame America first and always -- TIMOTHY McVeigh was just executed, and President Bush is getting ready to begin his first major international trip. What do the two events have in common? They are both being used as fodder by the blame-America-first crowd.

Despite the fact that McVeigh was clearly guilty and that 70 percent of Americans favored his execution, the media are exploiting his death to rail against capital punishment. One would think the thrust of their focus would be on the heinousness of the crime and the suffering of the victims and their families. Instead, they're focusing on the death penalty itself, which they say gave McVeigh a platform to spew his hatred. Yet, it is they who are providing the platform with their endless coverage.

Also, the media and the Democratic leadership are capitalizing on Europe's manifold complaints against Mr. Bush. The Associated Press reports that President Bush is at odds with the world. He came into office promising a humble foreign policy, but he is irritating foreign nations left and right, says AP, "on issues stretching from missile defense and the environment to trade and even the death penalty." The New York Times ran an almost identical anti-U.S. screed under the guise of a news story.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle concurs, "I think [Bush] ought to listen to [foreign governments]. I think he needs to hear their concerns because they're real."

Instead of meeting these charges with skepticism, AP and the Times offer example after example to demonstrate the supposed validity of the charge that Bush is unduly nettling foreign countries.

The premise is that Bush must not be exercising humility in foreign policy if other nations are angry with us. This is absurd. When Bush articulated his vision for a humble America, he wasn't suggesting that America give foreign governments veto rights over decisions affecting the United States' best interests. Rather, that we would not act capriciously by intervening in the internal affairs of foreign governments (absent the implication of a major strategic national interest) and we would treat other nations with respect.

Let's examine the evidence against Bush cited in the two news stories:

  • Missile Defense. The development of a nuclear missile shield to defend the people of the United States is not an affront to other nations. If we were developing SDI for the purpose of insulating ourselves from attack so that we could launch a nuclear war against other nations, this ridiculous objection may have some merit. As that is not our purpose, we have a moral obligation to use available technology to protect ourselves from foreign aggression. This in no way impinges on the rights or interests of foreign nations.

  • Environment. President Bush has announced that the United States will not participate in the Kyoto Treaty, as it is severely flawed in many particulars, including that it is based on debatable science and does not purport to bind some of the world's worst polluters. By refusing to surrender our sovereignty over such matters to a body that places its socio-economic and political agenda above science and truth, Bush is not telling other nations what they may or may not do, just that we will not participate under current circumstances.

  • Trade. While some nations are concerned that Bush is reportedly looking into blocking steel imports, Bush has already proven himself to be a ferocious advocate of free trade throughout the world. By no stretch can Mr. Bush's approach to trade be considered cavalier.

  • Death Penalty. This is the most outrageous and irrelevant of the examples. While much of Europe rejects capital punishment, America's heritage to the contrary constitutes no threat to foreign governments. It is a domestic matter unrelated to foreign policy.

We should begin questioning those who blindly adopt the propaganda line against the United States and ask them to explain their knee-jerk reaction against America. In none of the above examples is President Bush reneging on his promise to stay out of the internal affairs of other nations. It is other nations who are attempting to interfere in our internal decisions. It is other nations who expelled the United States from the U.N. Commission on Human Rights despite its exemplary record in human rights.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if the national media and the Democratic leadership demanded proof the next time Europe launched into a tirade against the United States? Refreshing indeed, and shocking!

David Limbaugh, a columnist and attorney apracticing in Cape Girardeau, Mo., is the author of the just-released exposť about corruption in the Clinton-Reno Justice Department, "Absolute Power." Send your comments to him by clicking here.