David Aaronovitch, one of Britain’s most perceptive commentators, had a lucid piece in the Times of London yesterday dispelling several dearly-held notions of the Left commentariat. The first myth is that
on the morning of September 12, 2001, George W. and America enjoyed the sympathy of the world. This comradeship was destroyed, in a uniquely cavalier (or should we say cowboyish) fashion, through the belligerence, the carelessness, the ideological fixity and the rapacity of that amorphous and useful category of American flawed thinker, the neoconservative. They just threw it away.
The corollary to this explanation of global attitudes towards America, of course, is that the junior senator from Illinois will be able to reverse all of the low poll numbers:
But there isn’t anything that can’t be fixed with a sprinkling of genuine fairy dust. What Bush lost, Obama can find. Where the Texan swaggered, the Chicagoan can glide. Emotional literacy will replace flat iteration, persuasion will supplant force as the preferred means of achieving what needs to be achieved, empathy will trump narcissism.
Aaronovitch argues convincingly that anti-Americanism is a persistent force in the world, due to our economic and cultural power, and that a significant segment of the planet’s people will always tell pollsters they disapprove of this or that American policy or this or that American leader. It’s connected to “runaway modernity,” with America at the forefront. Aaronovitch explains: “So Barack Obama, en fête around the world, will one day learn that there is no magical cure for the envy of others.”
Anyways, this is Aaronovitch at his finest, and the entire piece is well worth a read.