Carol Platt Liebau: But Wait a Minute . . .

Monday, September 03, 2007

But Wait a Minute . . .

Stryker McGuire writes that European leaders are embracing a "New Atlanticism", and anti-Americanism is "out."

I'm confused. Haven't the Democrats been telling us that relations with Europe are bad because of President Bush, and haven't their presidential candidates been telling us that the only way to rebuild diplomatic bridges is to elect one of them?

As Roseanna Anna Danna used to say, "Never mind."


Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

You are of course assuming that Mr. Alter is correct. While it is true that anti-American feelings have softened somewhat since the outrages of Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo, anti-American feeling remains strong not just in Europe but in the whole world. Here's a quote from the latest Pew survey results:

"A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world's dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years."

American prestige is now at its lowest ebb since before World War II. It will take years, perhaps decades, to recover our ability to get things done on the world stage.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

There is a polling on the website with the article. 64% voted that they don't believe the story. 24% believes it.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...


But you are hoping against hope that Mr. Alter is incorrect. Would that be a safe assumption? Alter stated that this change of attitude is among government leaders. For the people those governments represent, it might take a bit more time. Likely they are barraged by constant anti-American/anti-Bush reportage just like the sorry left of this country. And it is the attitude of our own that is most troubling, our own being the left which rarely has good things to say about our country anyway. And I'd be less concerned than I already am about foreign opinion, if only our own people would cut the crap and get with the program.


How interesting that 64% wouldn't believe a Newsweek article. I'd say it's an easy bet that those 64% consist of America/Bush-haters who only believe the worst. Another poll not worth the time of day.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

One more thing, and this is VERY important:

It's "Roseanne Rosannadanna" and the line "never mind" was spoken by Emily Litella, another Gilda Radner character.

Couldn't let that sit.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

But you are hoping against hope that Mr. Alter is incorrect. Would that be a safe assumption?

Absolutely not!!! I don't hope about the truth, I try to find out what it is. I reserve hope for the future. If Mr. Alter is correct, and this phenomenon represents a real change, then I am glad. However, his claims run so counter to everything I know about world opinion that I find them hard to believe. I'm certainly going to keep an open mind -- and I hope that you are, also.

With that in mind, allow me to present something more solid than the opinions of Mr. Alter: the results from the latest Pew survey. Here's statement of their results:

Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy. Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. Western European publics are at best divided about keeping troops there. In nearly every predominantly Muslim country, overwhelming majorities want U.S. and NATO troops withdrawn from Afghanistan as soon as possible. In addition, global support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism ebbs ever lower. And the United States is the nation blamed most often for hurting the world's environment, at a time of rising global concern about environmental issues.

And here are some numbers: the percentages of people who trust Mr. Bush to do the right thing regarding world affairs:

Italy 30%
Canada 28%
Britain 24%
Germany 19%
France 14%
Spain 7%
Russia 18%

By way of comparison, here are the same numbers for Vladimir Putin:

Italy 26%
Canada 36%
Britain 37%
Germany 32%
France 19%
Spain 7%

Thus, Mr. Putin is held in higher regard than Mr. Bush in all these countries save Italy and Spain. That's how low our international prestige has sunk.

And no, this is not a matter of hope; it's data. So my question to you is, do your own political preferences make it difficult for you to accept this data?

6:01 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

How silly to make such a simple subject appear so complicated. Two European leaders who ran for election on anti-American platforms were defeated by candidates who ran on pro-American platforms.

I think even in Europe the people elect their officials.

This is not difficult political science. It is very simple. The people of France and Germany rejected anti-Americanism in favor of better relations with the U.S.

I think the difficulty the looney left has with this is that it occured on George Bush's watch.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, your declared preference for simplicity is really just a way of ignoring the facts. Do you really think that voters in any country make their decision on a single issue? Yes, there are a few, but the vast majority of voters don't decide that way. Here, let me offer you the scenario:

Jacques enters the polling booth. He looks at his ballot. Hmm, he thinks. Sarkozy or Royal? Sarkozy or Royal? Hmm, Sarkozy's attitude towards immigration -- naah, doesn't matter. Royal's labor policies -- who cares? Sarkozy's attitude toward Turkey -- not important. Royal's speech on the EU -- big deal. Wait a minute! Sarkozy is more pro-American than Royal! That's it! That's the only important thing!


I offered you a ton of data demonstrating just how bad the situation is. We ignore that data at our peril.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

"I offered you a ton of data demonstrating just how bad the situation is. We ignore that data at our peril."

And you ignore any inference that things are improving.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

No, I'm not ignoring the countervailing evidence. It's certainly worthy of consideration. I'm taking in as much information as I can in rendering this judgement. And the overwhelming weight of evidence shows that American prestige has plummeted in the last 5 years.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

The best defense of my position is that the attitudes of the leaders have yet to bleed down to the entire population. The article presented this as a beginning of a trend, thus the overall attitude would still match the status quo.

Another important factor is the overall liberal leanings of most of Europe. In Great Britain, there's really no Thatcher-like conservatism since she left. They basically have two parties, a liberal one and an even more liberal one, in comparison to us.

No other country ranks as high on the radical Islamist s**t list as does the USA and Israel. And though they've been getting a taste here and there, it's not viewed with the same seriousness, otherwise, they'd be more willing to perservere where they've had trooops and increase their number.

World opinion against Bush is due to his audacity. I mean how cocky to think that one should actually DO something about Islamic radicals just because a few thousand Americans died in one fell swoop.

World opinion against the USA is almost cliche at this point. It's never been great. The only time the world loves us is when they need us. The rest of the time they think we're boors, even while envying most of what we have and do. We've been a world leader and there's resentment simply for that.

As for the opinion of the Muslim world, they've wanted us out since the beginning. But if you simply ask them if they want us out (that is, the people of Iraq and/or Afghanistan) before things are running smoothly, they'll say no. Of course they don't want us there, but they don't want us to leave just yet.

Overall, it's nice to hear of any foreign leader with the right attitude about the USA. But in general, the world can go to hell if it's going to bitch about us doing the right thing.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Mr. Art, the data from the Pew Polls do in fact show some trends. The trend since 2002 has been downwards. There was a huge dip after the invasion of Iraq; subsequently, there has been a slow and weak recovery. At this rate, it will take decades to get back to where we were before 9/11.

While European leaders are less anti-American than previously, that doesn't mean that all is forgiven. Sarkozy, Brown, and Merkel are taking a pragmatic approach towards their relationship with America. That doesn't mean that they approve of American policy -- if you read their speeches, it's clear that they do not; they just don't want to make a stink about it.

You're welcome to tell the rest of the world to go to hell. Unfortunately, with the US share of global GDP down to 20% (from it's high of over 50% in the 1950s), and continuing to fall, our comparative strength in the global world order is also diminishing. Our ability to make things happen by flexing our muscles is slipping away. We'd better learn to get along with these other countries, or we might find ourselves on the receiving end of some nasty group actions.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

My point was that we shouldn't spend inordinate amounts of time pleading with the world to consider our position, particularly if it is right. As to our GDP, most of the world wants what we have to offer, so I'm not too worried about that. Also, you seem to believe that one single event couldn't alter or escalate positive attitudes toward us by our foreign friends. The same can be said for a series of smaller events. Attitudes are fickle. But the main thing is that we have to do as we feel best for ourselves and world opinion isn't the final say.

You also make assumptions about our flexing of muscles and even that it is our goal to simply make things happen by their use. This is goofy. Our course was specific and our use of our muscle is not used without provocation. I don't understand where anyone gets off insisting that we punch first as an initial foreign policy strategy. There's no basis for this opinion.

11:34 PM  

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