Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The hysteria that the world’s hyper-power must be perfect or it is no good is in dire contrast to the treatment given to China

The world has been recently flooded with media accounts that U.S. soldiers may have dropped or at least gotten wet a few Korans
writes Victor Davis Hanson (Shih-sheh to Stavn Piranha), although I fear his last sentences are too optimistic.
Abu Ghraib, we are told, is like the Soviet gulag — the death camp of millions. Americans are routinely pilloried abroad because they liberated Iraq, poured billions into the reconstruction, and jumpstarted democracy there — but were unable to do so without force and the loss of civilian life.

This hysteria that the world’s hyper-power must be perfect or it is no good is in dire contrast to the treatment given to China. Yet Pavlovian anti-Americanism may soon begin to die down as the Chinese increasingly flex their muscles on the global stage and the world learns better their methods of operation.

…The Patriot Act to a European is proof of American illiberality in a way that China’s swallowing Tibet or jailing and executing dissidents is not. America’s support for Saudi Arabia is proof of our hypocrisy in not severing ties with an undemocratic government, while few care that a country with leaders who traverse the globe in Mao suits cuts any deal possible with fascists and autocrats for oil, iron ore, and food.

…As nations come to know the Chinese, and as a ripe Europe increasingly cannot or will not defend itself, the old maligned United States will begin to look pretty good again. More important, America will not be the world’s easily caricatured sole power, but more likely the sole democratic superpower that factors in morality in addition to national interest in its treatment of others.

China is strong without morality; Europe is impotent in its ethical smugness. The buffer United States, in contrast, believes morality is not mere good intentions but the willingness and ability to translate easy idealism into hard and messy practice.

Most critics will find such sentiments laughable or naïve; but just watch China in the years to come. Those who now malign the imperfections of the United States may well in shock whimper back, asking for our friendship. Then the boutique practice of anti-Americanism among the global elite will come to an end.

Cal Thomas has more on the gathering threat of China…