Can’t Charm the World
Up there in far off Boston, Jeff Jacoby opines that the president elect hasn’t thus far exhibited an accurate understanding of the world’s opinion of the United States:
Sure enough, much of the international reaction to Obama’s election has been ecstatic. “Legions of jubilant supporters set off firecrackers in El Salvador, danced in Liberia, and drank shots in Japan,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Kenya declared a national holiday. South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu exulted: “We have a new spring in our walk and our shoulders are straighter.” The Sun, Britain’s most popular newspaper, headlined its story “One Giant Leap for Mankind.”
For Obama, such worldwide jubilation must be gratifying. He should take it all with a healthy shake of salt, however. Because it isn’t going to last.
Antagonism to the United States is as old as the United States. It didn’t begin with the current president, unpopular though he is, or in response to American military action in Iraq. Nor is it going to vanish Jan. 20.
The difficulty of being the lead executive of the nation is that it rapidly becomes impossible not to get some dirt on your lapel, and it’s a dangerous game to try. If President Obama moves unilaterally — or even just without the explicit permission of a corrupted United Nations — when our national security requires, he’ll be reviled. If he fails to do so and the world’s security worsens, he’ll be reviled.