A friend of mine has asked me on numerous occasions “But what about how the rest of the world hates us now?” when I reaffirm my support for the US military action in various places around the globe.
My response is always:
- It isn’t now that “the rest of the world” hates us. It’s always. Sure, the invasion of Iraq brought all the voices of anti-Americanism together for a short while, but this attitude is nothing new. It’s not since the invasion of Iraq. It’s not since the invasion of Afghanistan. It’s not since 9/11. It’s not since the election of George W. Bush. It’s always been there.
- I don’t care much what they think.
Now, my friend doesn’t really seem to believe me on either point. And that’s fine. I don’t much care about that, either.
The Victor Davis Hanson article I link to at the top of this post neatly sums up most of my opinion on this matter. He takes it a bit farther than I would in a couple areas, and he’s taking a simple approach to what’s obviously a complex situation, but, all in all, it’s right on target.
It begins with this:
[T]here is a new sort of resignation rising in the country, as the United States sheds its naiveté that grew up in the aftermath of the Cold War. Clintonism may have assumed that terrorism was but a police matter, that the military could be slashed and used for domestic social reform by fiat, that our de facto neutrals were truly our friends, and that the end of the old smash-mouth history was at hand. The chaotic events following the demise of the Soviet Union, the mass murder on September 11, and the new strain of deductive anti-Americanism abroad cured most of all that.
This “resignation” is what I feel. I felt it far earlier than 9/11. In fact, I think I first became aware of it the day I watched dead US soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu and Somalis dancing on the rotors of shot-down US helicopters. It wasn’t the actions of the Somalis that made me aware of this resignation so much as it was the reaction of many others. Both outside this nation and within. And this awareness, this feeling of “I don’t really care”, has grown steadily over the years.
More from the article:
Imagine a world in which there was no United States during the last 15 years. Iraq, Iran, and Libya would now have nukes. Afghanistan would remain a seventh-century Islamic terrorist haven sending out the minions of Zarqawi and Bin Laden worldwide. The lieutenants of Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Saddam, and Moammar Khaddafi would no doubt be adjudicating human rights at the United Nations. The Ortega Brothers and Fidel Castro, not democracy, would be the exemplars of Latin America. Bosnia and Kosovo would be national graveyards like Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Add in Kurdistan as well — the periodic laboratory for Saddam’s latest varieties of gas. Saddam himself, of course, would have statues throughout the Gulf attesting to his control of half the world’s oil reservoirs. Europeans would be in two-day mourning that their arms sales to Arab monstrocracies ensured a second holocaust. North Korea would be shooting missiles over Tokyo from its new bases around Seoul and Pusan. For their own survival, Germany, Taiwan, and Japan would all now be nuclear. Americans know all that — and yet they grasp that their own vigilance and military sacrifices have earned them spite rather than gratitude. And they are ever so slowly learning not much to care anymore.
Now, the wags will immediately point out that individuals like Saddam and nations like North Korea would not be doing bad things without the US around to put them in power or challenge them. There’s more than a kernel of truth to that idea, but not much more. Like the commenter on some of my other posts who seems to think that Hitler wasn’t really all that bad, some folks just don’t seem to get it. There are bad people in the world, and they do bad things. If not Saddam in Iraq, someone else somewhere else. If not machinations over oil flow, machinations over something else. Remember that it isn’t the United States that created the cultural mishmash of nations in the Middle East that is a big part of today’s problem. It was the Europeans. In the early 20th century. During and after that one war. You know, the one to end all wars.
The specific examples cited by Hanson might not have occurred exactly as he outlined them. But they might have. And even if they didn’t, other things (possibly even worse) would have. Bad things have a way of just happening when the cat’s away.
Right now, the United States is the de facto cat. I wish it weren’t so, but it’s better than no cat at all. And if the rest of the world elects to be mice and is unhappy with the current living arrangements, so be it. Because there will always be mice who want to be rats.
The cat doesn’t care what the mice think.
As for the mice:
The U.N., NATO, or the EU: These are now the town criers of the civilized world who preach about “the law” and then seek asylum in their closed shops and barred stores when the nuclear Daltons or terrorist Clantons run roughshod over the town. In our own contemporary ongoing drama, China, Russia, and India watch bemused as the United States tries to hunt down the psychopathic killers while Western elites ankle-bite and hector its efforts. I suppose the Russians, Chinese, and Indians know that Islamists understand all too well that blowing up two skyscrapers in Moscow, Shanghai, or Delhi would guarantee that their Middle Eastern patrons might end up in cinders.
In and of themselves, not all that bad as mice go. But mice nonetheless and probably more than a little happy (despite their protestations) that there’s a cat to keep the rats occupied. After all, once there’s no cat left, who do the rats turn to for fun?
There are several other potential cats around, of course. And some of them are actually quite close to attaining “cat status”. I welcome them with open arms.
(For a hint of who I think might be on this list, simply look at the list of those who led the way with aid to the tsunami victims. Not kind words, mind you. Not the wringing of hand. Actual aid. Not coincidentally, I think, most of the nations on my “cat list” were also forerunners on the “aid list”.)
I wish our problem was the “herding of cats”. I wish we had so many people trying to do the right thing that we tripped over each other like too many cooks in a kitchen. But that’s not the case.
The “rest of the world” may hate us. Or not. I don’t much care. It’s too bad, but that’s where we live and I’d rather be hated for doing to right thing than liked for doing the wrong thing. And look at all those who do the wrong things so often. How liked are they, really? With friends like those, who needs enemas?
There is a growing feeling of apathy toward world opinion among Americans, I think. Many, of course, don’t have it yet and truly, honestly believe that our “alliances” and the United Nations should have an inordinate amount of control over US policy. But unless those “alliances” and the United Nations begins acting in a more-responsible manner, I’m perfectly willing to dismiss most of what they have to say.
If it takes a cat, a cat is what you need. And the cat has a mind of its own. I’d welcome more cats, but I look around and (with a few notable exceptions) I don’t really see any.