Why do America’s elite liberals crave the world’s approval so desperately?
During his recent trip to Asia, President Obama sat for an interview with CNN’s Ed Henry. In the interview, President Obama took credit for “restoring America’s standing in the world.” On April 26th of this year, journalist Fareed Zakharia commended President Obama for beginning “a process of reaching out to the world and changing America’s image.” We are now liked much more overseas, it seems.
OK…so what? Why is that so important?
If you travel overseas frequently, or crave acceptance in the “right” circles in Davos or the Hamptons or Hollywood, I suppose it’s useful. But, if you’re not a MSM reporter or a college student trying to curry favor with your hostelmates as you backpack across Europe, what’s the practical value of being liked? What’s the payoff for America?
IMO, it’s limited. At best.
Most developed nations are militarily weak. When it comes to projecting military forces overseas, to the places in the world where real threats are, they’re virtually impotent. When the Germans first sent peacekeepers to Afghanistan, they had to contract with Ukraine for aircraft to get them there. The British Navy, who kept the world’s seas safe in the 19th century, is in the process of cutting its fleet so drastically that it might not be a “blue water” navy (i.e., one that’s capable of sustained operations far from its own shores) much longer. What good is it, then, to build good will with/curry the favor of nations who can’t contribute meaningfully when the time comes?
Many developed nations—i.e., those nations capable of building and maintaining effective modern armies—also lack the will to fight. (Notice that I said “many,” not “all.” Some nations are good warfighting partners for the U.S. The Poles, Danes, British and Canadians come readily to mind. Unfortunately, those nations are the exception, rather than the rule).
Recently, in my role as a slimy defense contractor, I attended an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) video training class. The instructor had been a UAV operator in Afghanistan, where he worked with French coalition forces. Military forces, mind you. Apparently, the French were willing to cooperate with the American UAV operators…but when they found out that the Americans planned to attack the people the UAV was watching, they objected to being involved in any activity that might result in someone actually getting hurt. (Once again, these were French soldiers).
Did these folks think they were on a National Geographic expedition? Other nations’ militaries and governments often shy away from real combat missions. They seem to prefer less-dangerous peacekeeping missions, where people use guns seldom or never.
Do these sound like good warfighting partners to you? If not, then why curry their favor.
Anyway, those are my thoughts—what are yours? What’s the value of having America be liked? What’s the real value, the tangible benefit, of having good standing in the rest of the world?
Happy New Year!