Politics & Policy

“The Happy Warrior”

The New America Firsters.

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This article appears in the August 23, 2004, issue of National Review.

When did the Left get so Hicksville and parochial? They were always at the most ostentatiously internationalist end of the spectrum, always asserting “solidarity” with the oppressed masses overseas. True, this internationalism derived mainly from their belief in big government, and world government as the biggest government of all. But by definition it obliged the Left to embrace notions of common humanity, etc. Even their lineup of unsavory Latin pinups–Fidel to Che, Allende to Ortega–required them at least to have a nodding acquaintance with the foreign pages of the newspaper.

Not any more. To be sure, John Kerry pledges that, under his leadership, America “will rejoin the community of nations.” But it remains to be seen how many members of the world community will still be on speaking terms with the Democrats come November. Kerry-Edwards’s protectionist demagoguery–outsourcing, Benedict Arnold CEOs, etc.–rattles foreign governments far more than the war does. If it’s a choice between Democratic-party trade barriers or the lunatic Texan overthrowing some tinpot dictatorship once a year, the Europeans will go with the latter.

You wouldn’t know that from the Dems, who manage to sneer about “nations you can buy on eBay” and berate the president for his obnoxiousness to foreigners all in the same sentence. Bush has “alienated almost everyone,” Jimmy Carter told CNN, “and now we have just a handful of little tiny countries supposedly helping us in Iraq.”

“Little tiny countries”? Who do you have to be–other than Jacques Chirac–to get any respect from the Dems these days? I suppose the Kingdom of Tonga’s pretty tiny. Population 100,000. But they’ve just deployed 45 Royal Marines to Iraq, and good for them. A proportional deployment from France–supposedly the only ally that counts, to Carter, Kerry, Biden & Co.–would be 27,450 troops. No matter how much conversational ketchup Teresa drizzles over Chirac, that’s never going to happen.

Why would Jimmy Carter sneer at Tonga? Well, actually, he didn’t: The nickel-’n’-dime nowhere statelets he had in mind are Britain, Australia, Japan, Italy, Poland, and some 30 others. In the last year, the “tiny little countries” helping in Iraq constituted half of the G8 nations, a majority of NATO members, and a majority of European Union countries. On the other hand, Carter is still fondly recalled by the Arab League.

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Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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