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In my speech in Florence, “The Danger of Being Hated,” I focused on how changing attitudes towards the United States around the world – but particularly among former key allies, such as Turkey, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain and Italy – were seriously undermining the security of the United States, and also making essential cooperation in operations targeting terrorists progressively more difficult. The essential cure, I argued, was a return to less of a Lone Ranger foreign policy at home and abroad. That means return to a cautious bipartisan foreign policy at home that avoids to the full extent possible making foreign policy a subject of partisan debate, and investing more time and energy in the restoration of the traditional network of alliances that emerged in the period after World War II. I cited Dwight David Eisenhower as the appropriate role model for this process.
I continue to be astonished at the steadily growing levels of fear and hatred targeting the United States. But why should we be astonished? This phenomenon tracks developments within the United States. But overseas, George Bush and Dick Cheney seem to be despised in roughly equal measure, and the hatred seems especially intense in the countries that formed the core of our old alliance. The reaction might be compared to a jilted lover. Who are these men, and what do they have to do with the America we admired? That’s the essential question. And today we see some more depressing results.
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the former KGB man with mysterious links to dirty tricks in Germany in the eighties. The man who is now tied to a series of murders of political opponents, including Politkovskaya and Litvinenko. A brutal figure, even if judged by most Russians approvingly as an effective leader. Now new Pew polling numbers are in from across Europe. Putin is more trusted than George W. Bush: in Canada by 8%, in Britain by 13%, in Germany by 13%, in France by 5%.
This is sad news and evidence of how much Bush has sunk America’s reputation in the world. Bush’s successor will have a tough time turning things around.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Pairs of moose-dung earrings sold each year at Grizzly’s Gifts in Anchorage, Alaska:
An Alaskan brown bear was reported to have scratched its face with barnacled rocks, making it the first bear seen using tools since 1972, when a Svalbardian polar bear is alleged to have clubbed a seal in the head with a block of ice.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”