March 7, 2003

Backlash?

As a follow up to GWB's press conference last night, Daniel Henninger speculates in today's piece at opinionjournal.com about the potential backlash to European (and other) anti-Americanism, as it may be reflected in the attitudes of American citizens toward our erstwhile allies and any dangerous situations they may face in the future. A couple of excerpts:

I believe most Americans couldn't care less how Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, Mexico or anywhere else chooses to organize itself, were it not for the fact that U.S. citizens inevitably have to die or pay to clean up the mess their dysfunctional economics and politics so often create. Europeans elites don't like having World War II or the cemetery at Normandy thrown back in their faces, but why not? Hitler didn't rise to power on America's watch. The Serbs by now would have slaughtered every non-Serb in the Balkans if the Americans hadn't gone over. The men of France didn't volunteer to die so that South Korea could thrive free of the crazy North. And most of the billions of dollars that the IMF poured into helping Russia stagger through its post-Soviet corruption came out of the pockets of American taxpayers.

This has nothing to do with the prospect of a neo-isolationist backlash, because in an economically and electronically entangled world isolationism is no longer possible. But it is to catch a glimpse of the funk and resentment into which relentlessly mindless anti-Americanism may pitch public sentiment in the U.S.

It takes a special kind of obtuseness to reject the proven inventory of the Iraqi threat or to ask, as a columnist for Britain's Independent newspaper did last week, "When is the U.S. going to get over the events of 11 September?" War indeed has its costs, but so too does free-riding political rhetoric.

I agree with Bush's decision to force France, Russia, and China to go on record in the Security Council as to Saddam's failure to comply with Resolution 1441, rather than being threatened out of submitting any new resolution at all.

Posted by dan at March 7, 2003 11:15 AM