How Unpopular Is The U.S. And Should We Care?

We are constantly being reminded by the media that the United States is hated throughout the world.

Both of Democratic front-runners, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, have made raising the image of the United States in the world, a top priority, in their administrations, (if elected).

Michael Gerson from the Washington Post:

“The world was with us after 9/11,” explains Hillary Clinton. “We have so squandered that goodwill and we’ve got to rebuild it.” Barack Obama has said that the “single most important issue” of the current election is picking a leader who can “repair all the damage that’s been done to America’s reputation overseas.”

But just how much are we actually hated… by who, and should we even care? The Democrats would have us believe that we’re universally despised. Not surprisingly, we’re unpopular in the Middle East and Asia, according to The Pew Global Attitude Project:

The U.S. image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia, and continues to decline among the publics of many of America’s oldest allies. Favorable views of the U.S. are in single digits in Turkey (9%) and have declined to 15% in Pakistan.

But there’s good news, too:

First, the U.S. image remains positive in Africa. In several African countries, such as Ethiopia and Kenya, it is overwhelmingly positive. In addition, majorities in two of America’s most important Asian trading partners – India and Japan – continue to express favorable opinions of the United States. And the U.S. image has improved dramatically in South Korea since 2003 (from 46% to 58% favorable).

While opinion of the U.S. has slipped in Latin America over the past five years, majorities in such countries as Mexico, Peru and even Venezuela still say they have a positive opinion of their large neighbor to the north. Similarly, “new Europe” likes America better than “old Europe,” although the U.S. image is not nearly as strong in Eastern Europe as it was five years ago.

So no, we’re not universally despised. Check out the graph at The Pew Global Attitude Project if you need a visual.

Gerson, again:

The second premise of this Democratic argument is that American popularity in these regions could be increased, easily and permanently, by overturning Bush policies.

It is worth noting that American relations with European governments have rebounded strongly in the past few years with the election of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France. And the next president, Republican or Democrat, is likely to close Guantanamo and sign legislation to restrict American carbon emissions, mollifying two justified European criticisms.

I call b.s. on that last bit…Guantanamo, and carbon emissions are two Bush policies I would prefer to see left alone, but Gerson’s on a roll:

Yet the tensions between American and European worldviews ultimately have little to do with specific policies. Europe is an increasingly pacifist continent — which is an improvement upon its bloody history but a source of inevitable tension with a superpower that must occasionally enforce world order. European governments generally view international institutions as a way to constrain American power. Any future American president will continue to view those institutions as a way to amplify our influence in keeping the peace.

And the broader Middle East is an even more difficult case. A close look at the Pew poll shows that appeasing public opinion in this region would require not merely leaving Iraq but also leaving Afghanistan, abandoning the war on terror and ending our support for Israel.

Which begs the question…how far would a Democratic President go, to mollify Islamic countries? I shudder to think.

The third premise of the Democratic argument is that global popularity translates directly into global influence. Here the historical evidence is thin.

Gerson cites the example of Ronald Reagan who was detested, and protested against in Europe for deploying Pershing missiles. Yet Reagan helped end the Cold War, and lift the nuclear threat from Europe with his unpopular policies

More recently:

The January 2007 decision to surge American troops in Iraq was clearly at odds with world opinion. But retreating from Iraq in failure would have earned global contempt for American weakness instead of global popularity. And the turnaround in Iraq has restored at least some of our standing and leverage in the Middle East.

Very true. This is why we shouldn’t throw up our hands in despair every time we hear someone in the world doesn’t like us. Very often we’re right, they’re wrong.

Conclusion:

The real lesson in the years since Sept. 11 is different from what the Democratic candidates imagine: It is easy to be loved when you are a victim. It is harder to be popular when you act decisively to protect yourself and others.

A successful president should strive for America to be liked — and expect, on occasion, for America to be resented in a good cause.

But hey, if you’d rather be a victim, (but loooved)vote Democrat.


Huffpo Turns Off Comments On Jerusalem Attack And Times Square Bombing

What does it say about your blog, and its readership, when you have to close down comments because of their embarrassing, mortifying, and anti-semitic content every time there is a terrorist attack? Or a Republican gets hurt, sick, or dies, or any number of other things? It seems that comments are being closed on a fairly regular basis, over there.

How unfortunate to be afraid of your own commenters.

Charles Johnson:

Why would they do this? Because their site is infested with virulent antisemites who will party and celebrate this atrocity just like the Palestinians have been doing. The people who run Huffington Post know this—and encourage it—and then they turn off comments on posts like this one to avoid embarrassment.Virulent antisemites like the one who emailed me today, using the (phony) address “JewKiller007@hotmail.com,” asking when he could register at LGF.

Hey Charles;

When are you going to open up registration for new members?

I just cant wait to post comments and tear the Jews a new one (although since Jews are soo full of crap anyway, a new one will be a relief for them).

Hope you send me advance notice when registration finally does open.

Thanks.

How charming.

Related:

Both Hillary and McCain have come out with statements condemning the bombing of the recruitment center in Times Square.

Hillary:

“I am deeply concerned by the detonation of a small bomb at the military recruiting office in Times Square. While we should be grateful that there were no injuries and minimal damage, there is an ongoing investigation into whether the attack is linked to foreign terrorist groups, and federal, state, and city authorities should be given every resource and every tool to swiftly complete that investigation. Having worked with and supported our law enforcement and national security authorities in New York, I am confident that they will get the job done.

Whatever else we learn about this attack, it is a reminder of the threats we continue to face at home and the importance of remaining vigilant. I will continue to work to provide all levels of law enforcement with the tools they need to continue to protect us here at home.”

Hasn’t she gotten the memo that it was probably domestic terrorism? She seems a bit slow on the uptake, there.

John McCain:

“The attempted attack that happened in New York City this morning when someone tried to harm a recruiting station in Times Square is unacceptable in America. I know Mayor Bloomberg as well as other law enforcement agencies are actively working, and I have been assured a full investigation is taking place and hope they bring the individuals to justice as quickly as possible. We cannot allow this to happen to the men and women serving in our military whether they are at home or abroad.”

Barack Obama:

??????????????????????

I can’t seem to find a comment from Obama.
You’d think he’d jump at the chance to denounce that sort of militant activism, given the recent news of his acquaintance with with former Weather Underground member William Ayers. People are starting to whisper.
Maybe he took the day off?