Foreign Leaders: It’s Fine to be Bush’s Buddy
By MARK STEYN
(From the Wall Street Journal)
January 26, 2006; Page A10
QUEBEC CITY — Remember the conventional wisdom of 2004? Back then, you’ll recall, it was the many members of George Bush’s “unilateral” coalition who were supposed to be in trouble, not least the three doughty warriors of the Anglosphere — the president, Tony Blair and John Howard — who would all be paying a terrible electoral price for lying their way into war in Iraq. The Democrats’ position was that Mr. Bush’s rinky-dink nickel-&-dime allies didn’t count: The president has “alienated almost everyone,” said Jimmy Carter, “and now we have just a handful of little tiny countries supposedly helping us in Iraq.” (That would be Britain, Australia, Poland, Japan . . .) Instead of those nobodies, John Kerry pledged that, under his leadership, “America will rejoin the community of nations” — by which he meant Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder, the Belgian guy . . .
Two years on, Messrs. Bush, Blair, Howard and Koizumi are all re-elected, while Mr. Chirac is the lamest of lame ducks, and his ingrate citizenry have tossed out his big legacy, the European Constitution; Mr. Schröder’s government was defeated and he’s now shilling for Russia’s state-owned Gazprom (“It’s all about Gaz!”); and the latest member of the coalition of the unwilling to hit the skids is Canada’s Liberal Party, which fell from office on Monday. John Kerry may have wanted to “rejoin the community of nations.” Instead, “the community of nations” has joined John Kerry, windsurfing off Nantucket in electric-yellow buttock-hugging Lycra, or whatever he’s doing these days.
It would be a stretch to argue that Mr. Chirac, Mr. Schröder and now Paul Martin in Ottawa ran into trouble because of their anti-Americanism. Au contraire, cheap demonization of the Great Satan is almost as popular in the streets of Toronto as in the streets of Islamabad. But these days anti-Americanism is the first refuge of the scoundrel, and it’s usually a reliable indicator that you’re not up to the challenges of the modern world or of your own country. In the final two weeks of the Canadian election, Mr. Martin’s Liberals unleashed a barrage of anti-Conservative attack ads whose ferocity was matched only by their stupidity: They warned that Stephen Harper, the Conservatives’ leader, would be “George Bush’s new best friend”! They dug up damaging quotes from a shocking 1997 speech in which he’d praised America as “a light and inspiration”! Another week and they’d have had pictures from that summer in the late ‘80s he spent as Dick Cheney’s pool boy.