- Jul 11, 2004
- Reaction score
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Public Opinion: There's been a lot of tut-tutting, on both the left and the right, over the U.S.' loss of favor in the eyes of foreigners including some long-time allies in Europe. We don't think it's something to worry about.While we recognize the value of diplomacy, we think it's far more important that our foreign policy is right that is, both in keeping with America's national interest and our best traditions than it is to be well-liked.
That's the way President Bush has largely seen it. Still, America doesn't seem to be the beacon it once was. It doesn't get credit even for good intentions. Just last month, the Pew Center noted the U.S. suffered a big drop in favorable opinion among foreign nations.
It was eye-opening. From Britain to Turkey, Spain to Indonesia, "America's global image has again slipped and support for the war on terrorism has declined even among close U.S. allies like Japan," the Pew report said, citing State Department data.
This alarming report was the source of a lot of deep ruminations in the media about why so many people dislike us. Is it Iraq? Is it our fast-growing economy? Our Republican president? Mere envy? Or just the inevitable result of having a sole superpower in a world that until recently had two?
Maybe it's a little bit of all those. But one thing we know: Building a better, more stable, more democratic world, as Bush is trying to do, is preferable to being a favorite in world opinion.
That Bush's efforts in the global war on terrorism have been heavily criticized should be no surprise, because, we suppose, others resent U.S. might and wealth. It's schadenfreude a useful German word for taking joy in the disasters of others writ large.
This point was driven home to us with extraordinary clarity this week, following a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, between French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Iran's top diplomat.
"In the region, there is of course a country such as Iran a great country, a great people and a great civilization, which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region."
Douste-Blazy's big French kiss for Tehran was followed days later by comments from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that, to put it mildly, called into question France's view of the world.
Speaking to an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Malaysia, Ahmadinejad said the solution to the Mideast crisis was Israel's "elimination."
How's that for "a stabilizing role"? Ahmadinejad made his remarks knowing that France's top envoy had just tried to undercut the U.S. and Israel by groveling at the feet of Iran's top diplomat.
Unfortunately, some confused souls on both the right and the left mistakenly think we should care what the French think. Please note that, in the chart at right, the U.S. fell from a 69% "favorable" rating in 2000 in the eyes of the average Frenchman to just 39% this year.
Given what we know of France's ideas about the Mideast its open embrace and support of rogue regimes and terrorists, its casual disregard and contempt for the one power, the U.S., that saved it in two world wars do we really care what France thinks?
Often, foreign opinion is the first rationale dragged out for getting the U.S. to do nothing. Israel is attacked and needs our support? Don't do it; it will only anger the "Arab street." Don't imprison terrorists at Guantanamo; it might make the Norwegians and the French mad. And, oh yes, we should heed the United Nations and close Guantanamo, even though five years into the global war on terrorism the U.N. refuses to even define "terrorism."
You can't counter insanity with propaganda, as some suggest. We say fight the war on terror. Imprison and interrogate the terrorists. Support Israel and other democratic allies. And oppose the spread of WMD. Foreign opinion be damned.