Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Why Don't They Like Us?

Yesterday in the Washington Post Anne Applebaum offered an interesting conclusion as to why USA prestige in the world has declined. Hint: it has nothing to do with our bully tactics and arrogance.

"If you're really worried about Iran, do you want to put your faith in the United States, the country that bungled Iraq? If you really care about Islamic fundamentalism, do you want to be led by the country that, distracted by Iraq, failed to predict the return of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan?

There are other factors, of course: As I (and many others) have written before, we've been bad at looking after our allies over the past five years, bad at thanking them or compensating them for military contributions to Iraq, bad at maintaining very basic aspects of public diplomacy, such as student-exchange programs. Still, NATO will not fall apart because our president has been rude to his German counterpart or a few Britons don't get scholarships. NATO will fall apart, however, if its American leaders are perceived as inept. And even if the surge works, even if the roadside bombs vanish, "inept" is a word that will always be used about the Iraq invasion."

The word for this American decade: inept. Which is putting it mildly!

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