6/28/2007

There is no evidence, other than meaningless polls and impotent protests, that Bush has turned the world against the US...


Global poll shows wide distrust of United States - Print Version - International Herald Tribune

It was not surprising to see this headline on the Drudge Report last night, it seems as if a new study showing America's supposed tumble in popularity polls around the world, most of which have attributed by the media and Democratic politicians to the radical policies of the Bush Administration and its failure to "work with our allies". Hogwash I say; purely rhetorical slander. Typical Democratic political tactics in the Bush-era, and it is disturbing that so many members of the media accept this as fact despite the substantial evidence to the contrary.

Where is the proof that Bush foreign policy has isolated US? The rhetoric coming out of the Democratic presidential candidates on the consequences of the Iraq War is in lock-step, but so much of what they are saying is simply without factual support. One of the central criticisms of White House foreign policy is that it has led to a drastic surge in anti-Americanism abroad, and thus further isolated the United States at a time when cooperation was needed in the face of international terrorism. But how then do the Democrats explain the continual electoral support for candidates in Europe and Asia that either explicitly support our current foreign policy, or maintain a solidly pro-American platform in a campaign against an anti-American (or rather anti-Bush) candidate?

If the Democrats were accurate in their assertion, it would be reasonable to assume that after six years of Bush there would be significant evidence of shifts in the international political order, with voters in other Western democracies and traditional US allies embracing candidates that campaigned on the same anti-Bush strategy that is the foundation of current Democratic talking points. However, in almost every major test of the electoral relevance of supposedly burgeoning anti-Americanism, it has proven impotent and irrelevant. The pro-American candidate has prevailed in nearly every contest in which they were pitted against an opponent that was explicitly suspicious of the United States and the current White House.

This is particularly undeniable in the elections held in those countries that comprise our "traditional allies", as John Kerry and John Edwards liked to call their anti-war sympathizers in Western Europe, which were bitterly divided in the international debate prior to invading Iraq. I will never forget the cover of The Economist the week after Spain's President Jose Marie Asnar lost his reelection bid in 2004 following his controversial handling of the terrorist attacks during the week before the election, which played off of the "most wanted" playing cards used to identify fugitives of Saddam's regime and insinuated that Blair, Howard and Bush were the next to fall. This was the first major electoral test of the "coalition of the willing" and the strength of the anti-war, anti-Bush movement sparked by his controversial decision to invade Iraq, and it was a blow to the initial legitimacy of the conflict. Much to my delight, it has now become apparent that the premonitions of the British news magazine were misguided and in fact it would be the other side of the debate that would suffer defeats at the polls in every subsequent referendum.

I must admit that there has in fact been a bit of a sea change in the Spanish-speaking world, with Latin and South America emerging as a hotbed of radicalism in the early 21st century, but we have always had trouble containing radicalism in Latin politics and this is clearly not the area of the world that Democrats are referring to when they cite the growth of anti-American sentiments.

In Europe, Asia, Oceania and our neighbors in North America, the pro-US candidate has emerged victorious as pragmatism and different priorities have rendered over-hyped anti-Americanism silent at the polls. But that won't change the tune coming from the Democratic presidential candidates, who will jump on every opportunity to emphasize that Bush has undermined our interests abroad and failed to work with our allies. They point to large demonstrations and opinion polls, but what do these matter if they fail to translate into electoral success? My question for these windbag politicians and their minions on the internet (yes I am talking to you Reddit users) is simple: Where is the proof that Bush has damaged the US abroad?

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