“It Comes With The Territory; Get Over It.”
Matthew Kaminski throws a little cold water on the expectations of those who are sure that Obama will “restore our reputation in the world.”
One hates to spoil a good party, but here’s a bet that’s far safer these days than a U.S. Treasury bill: Even with Obama at the White House, they won’t really like us any more than before.
It’s not because America’s not a special country, a City upon a Hill, from the Pilgrims to Obama, the Blagojevich couple and other American horrors notwithstanding. It’s because it is. And as ever, our earnest assertion of our superior ontological uniqueness–not to mention its reality in and of itself–is exactly what always grated on the unfriendlies grouped together under the banner of anti-Americanism.
Kaminski points out that what Bush did was simply give those who never have and never will like the US cover to do so openly. But he reminds us that well before Bush ever had a chance to establish that cover, the feelings were still evident. Even the “we are all Americans” moment after 9/11 wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
It shows a certain level of both naivete and political immaturity to make the highest priority in foreign policy being “liked” by the rest of the world. It’s an impossible job as the former PM of Spain reminds us:
Last year, on the eve of the 3/11 train attacks anniversary, former Spanish Prime Minister José MarÃa Aznar told me that power makes America, the Rome of our times, a target of so much criticism. His message: It comes with the territory; get over it.
And a British historian reminds us:
“We didn’t give a toss what anyone thought when we ran the world.”
Ah, but the Sally Fields crew does. However, given how the real world works, no matter what we do in an attempt to be better “liked” in the world, those who make that a priority are sure to be disappointed. Until and unless the US becomes a third-world backwater, the same attitude we see now will prevail. The only difference one might see his how openly it is displayed.
[Crossposted at QandO]