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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”