Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Measure Of America

Living outside the United States, I’m constantly amazed at how much scrutiny and attention we get from the rest of the world. When President Bush says Social Security promises are worthless, the Asian markets go nuts. And when America goes on vacation in the summer, the rest of the world grumbles and pays more for gas. So it’s interesting to see how the rest of the world reacted to the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster.

President Gerhard Schroeder used it to trounce his conservative opponent in Germany's presidential debate. Defending his welfare state, Schroeder used the botched relief effort and gas gouging in the wake of Katrina -- as well as President Bush's failure in the war on poverty, as was made so clear by images from New Orleans -- to underscore what a mistake it would be to move toward a US-style capitalist system.

According to the International Herald Tribune, the Cold War KGB couldn't have come up with better propaganda to highlight class disparity in the United States,

All the ingredients were there in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the surrounding area: the rich, mainly white folks, high-tailing it out of town; the poor, overwhelmingly black, abandoned and marooned; the streets given over to armed vigilantes; the government unresponsive and society unglued.

In Monday's Transatlantic Trends survey, Europeans give President Bush a 72% disapproval rating. Images of Katrina's aftermath reinforced Europe's stereotype of America-the-heartless, and strengthened their attachment to "social solidarity".

While many countries made generous offers of aid for disaster victims, others cynically used the catastrophe for their own purposes. Cuba's Fidel Castro offered to send 1,500 doctors to embarrass President Bush (personally I think this is a great idea that would backfire on Castro when these highly respected professionals return to Cuba with tales that contradict his anti-American propaganda, but I'm confident the Bush administration doesn't have the smarts to take advantage of a strategy that won the Cold War). Iran is also cynically offering 20 million barrels of oil, in exchange for lifting sanctions. As if.

And really interesting for me (because I live in Singapore), was an article in the local paper quoting sci-fi author and Texan, Bruce Sterling, who was here recently,

For me, the unsettling aspect of Singapore isn't their repression, which is subtle and always nicely-dressed in legalisms. No, the weird part is the public exhortations, the regime's Taoist PR campaign. They've got some kind of genuine Techno-Confucian Mandate of Heaven thing going on. It's being carried out by really bright, eager, workaholic city apparatchiks who are keenly rehearsed...

[But] you know what? If Singapore had just been hit by a giant typhoon, the regime wouldn't be snivelling and making excuses about the hunger and looting. Eco-catastrophe and martial law would surely put the Singapore power-elite really on top of their game. They wouldn't spin their "clean-up effort". They would assign resources, put trained people on the job and actually clean up. Because they are not just a spin machine. They possess competence.

Competence doesn't seem like a big deal until you are forced to realize that your own government has none.

This week, the 2005 version of the UN Human Development Report was released. Since 2000, the United States steadily slid from 3rd place down to 10th place on the human development index. Belgium is now doing better for its citizens than the United States.

The world watches and judges, and the last few years have given the world plenty of reasons dismiss the United States as a role model: the baseless Iraq invasion, our budget-busting deficits, the Abu Ghraib and Gitmo human rights hypocrisies, and now our inability to deal effectively with a major catastrophe on our own soil. America is in decline. At what point do we stop making excuses and once more make America a country to be respected and emulated?

Posted by American Pundit at September 8, 2005 12:46 PM
Comments
Comment #79017

The Schroeder example is particularly telling.

Barring a miracle, German voters are about to give him the boot. So instead of talking about Germany’s massive unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and failing social systems, he finds it convenient to change the subject to matters he has no influence over.

There are justified criticisms of America and American policies—and whether from our friends or others, it behooves us to listen. But there is also straight out unthinking Anti-Americanism resorted to by frauds and failures trying to divert attention from their own massive problems.
Look at Iran. Look at North Korea.

Europeans are—with some important exceptions—startling ignorant and/or hypocritical about America. Americans are ignorant about Europeans too, so it runs both ways.

Too many will complain about American meddling in world affairs while at the same time wondering why we don’t move heaven and earth to solve all of the world’s problems. Look at the recent hisory of the Balkans, where they screamed at us in one voice to intervene in a problem on their own front doorsteps while they sat on their hands.

It’s not uncommon these days, for example, to find Europeans who have never set foot in a museum or concert hall bragging about the superiority of their own cultures while they themselves are chowing down on Big Macs and dressing like Britney Spears.

Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 2:03 PM
Comment #79018

Im sure that even though the world has seen terrible mistakes made at the political level, they will also see the amount of time, energy and money that the average person has donated and know that the people who happen to be running things dont represent the true spirit of America.
From the national guardsmen participating in the relief effort and the guy who puts a few coins in the boot because thats all he can afford, its the people, not the president or the mayor or the parties, that make America Great. Im sure the rest of the world sees that.

America is not in decline. If anything, this event has brought us all closer. Except for the very few such as yourself who want to make political hay of the event. But, as polls show, the average person realizes that the relief effort is more important than the politics. Most people are doing what they can to contribute and they are rejecting your message of failure because its an insult to them.

Posted by: TheTraveler at September 8, 2005 2:04 PM
Comment #79021

AP,

It is good then for the world that they (alas not we) are able to learn from our disgrace. Personally, i thought it was wonderful a couple weeks ago when India backed their workers against the American-styled expolitation of workers. Sad no one here seemed willing to discuss it.

We Americans will soon be taking our place at the back of the line due to our total failure in leadership. But it will be the poor picking up the pieces as our rich leaders make a mass exodus from their sinking ship to other more ‘harvestable’ nation.

Hopefully the world will also learn to protect themselves from the political/economic exploitation coming not only from America, but also from within their own borders. The results of decades of training and education in manipulation and spin to cover greed and irresponsibility will increasingly come into the light. Europe and even the UN have recently felt the effects of this. None has yet dug as deep a hole as America with 40+ years of humanist inspired public education.

Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 2:14 PM
Comment #79034

AP,

More accurately this has shown the true measure of the American Left. Shallow, petty, and spiteful pretty much sums it up.

Posted by: esimonson at September 8, 2005 3:03 PM
Comment #79037

Thanks, Eric. I knew I could count on you for a contentless, partisan attack.

Posted by: LawnBoy at September 8, 2005 3:08 PM
Comment #79047

Sanger,

Europeans are—with some important exceptions—startling ignorant and/or hypocritical about America. Americans are ignorant about Europeans too, so it runs both ways.

Care to list these important exceptions?
Otherwise, I agree, ignorance is well shared on both sides.

Look at the recent hisory of the Balkans, where they screamed at us in one voice to intervene in a problem on their own front doorsteps while they sat on their hands.

Indeed, and it’s a lesson we’ve learned since. Hence the recent move to set a real European army.
Which seems to anger US!
Why???

It’s not uncommon these days, for example, to find Europeans who have never set foot in a museum or concert hall bragging about the superiority of their own cultures while they themselves are chowing down on Big Macs and dressing like Britney Spears.

Great sample of stereotyped ignorance.
Thank you.

TheTraveler,

I�m sure that even though the world has seen terrible mistakes made at the political level, they will also see the amount of time, energy and money that the average person has donated and know that the people who happen to be running things don�t represent the true spirit of America.

Indeed, we can make the difference.
But we (the rest of the world) have to compose with your government’s current policy, not America spirit.

- From Euroland.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 8, 2005 3:56 PM
Comment #79049

Good post, AP.

IMO, this illustrates one of the key traits of the Bush League, which is that they are MUCH more interested in (and consequently much better at) gaining power and consolidating it than they are in actually governing. I think they’re pretty inept when it comes to actually running a government.

The Bush League failed to adequately protect us from foreign attackers when they ignored repeated warnings from the outgoing Clinton administration that Al Qaeda was going to be their biggest challenge, and ignored additional warnings from within the administration that Al Qaeda had plans to use aircraft as weapons. The result of their inattention was a catastrophe. Don’t get me wrong - I am NOT placing the entire blame for the attack on the Bush League. But I am saying that if they’d paid any attention to the warnings, it’s much more likely that the attacks could have been thwarted.

After 9/11, the Bush League’s ineptitude at diplomacy wasted the overwhelming outpouring of sympathy following the attack. Instead of using that outpouring and forming a REAL coalition to end global terrorism, they chose to focus on Iraq, a country had NOTHING to do with 9/11, no connection with Al Qaeda, and that posed little or no threat to this country. Warnings from many sides that invading Iraq would inflame the Muslim world and, as Hosni Mubbarak of Egypt said, “create 100 new bin Ladens” appear to be coming true. By almost any standard, the situation there is bleak. We may need to be in Iraq for decades to repair the country that we destroyed. instead of finding the terrorist leaders and bringing them to justice, it appears that we may in fact be creating more terrorists.

The Bush League’s ineptitude at managing a budget has resulted in record deficits that will take generations to pay off. In this respect, they are helping Osama bin Laden achieve one of his own stated goals - to bleed this country dry economically. Furthermore, Bush League economic policies are endangering the middle class, which is the engine that drives our economy. What astounds me is that this is being done by the party that has traditionally labeled itself as the model for fiscal responsibility.

The Bush League’s failure to manage a bureaucracy and failure to hire competent people as managers appears to have been a significant factor in the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina. Again, I’m not placing the entire blame on the Bush League. But a better ability to govern and manage could well have ameliorated the situation.

I fully expect to be called a “Bush-basher” for this. I find it ironic that the wrong wing uses such a tactic to dismiss ALL criticism, legitimate or otherwise, because it comes from a group of people who spent the years 1992-2000 doing exactly the same thing, and whose one and only policy for at least the last decade seems to have been undoing the accomplishemnts of the Democrats.

Posted by: ElliottBay at September 8, 2005 3:58 PM
Comment #79054
one of the key traits of the Bush League, which is that they are MUCH more interested in (and consequently much better at) gaining power and consolidating it than they are in actually governing.
You hit the nail on the head. BOTH parties are more interested in power (convertible to cash via corporate/PAC support) The Parties are no longer interested in candidates which can actually govern, but candidate which will bring in support (cash) to sustain the monsters that are the DNC and GOP. Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 4:32 PM
Comment #79060

Brought us closer together? Couldn’t tell that from watching C-Span’s coverage of the House of Representatives today. Hell, you couldn’t tell that from visiting any political blog in America.

We are exerting a lot of effort to help victims today. That is good. But that does nothing to reverse America’s decline economically (yes, our national debt and deficits are important ingredients in our economic health), or our leadershp role in the world, or in eliminating the triple class system in America which has been discussed, abhored, and had billions of dollars and reams of legislation thrown at it over the decades, with little results.

Hell, we can’t even manage a simple task like taking out Saddam Hussein without turning it into a domestic and international fiasco. Was a time when we settled world wars. Yes, we are in decline. We so revere name recognition and public image, that we have lost sight of competence, experience, and wisdom in choosing our leaders. That is one of a handful of reasons this decline is taking place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 8, 2005 4:54 PM
Comment #79061

Phillipe, I don’t the US is angered at all by the idea of a European Army. In fact, I’d venture to say that most Americans would love to not be primarily responsible (as we have been for generations) of having to carry out virtually every military action at the expense of our own lives and dollars—while being at once told that we should be doing more and doing less.

What will you find, however, is great skepticism about Europe’s ability to actually create and field such an army. If Europe can’t even agree about a Consitution, agricultural subsidies, currency and the like, how they are ever going to cooperate militarily—something that requires great resolve and centralized lightning-fast decision making. Not to mention a willingess to sacrifice some social spending to fund said military—a willingness most of Europe shows no real inclination for.

Even if there was an adequately trained and equipped Euoropean military, how are Great Britian, France, Germany, Spain etc ever going to agree about when, where and how to use it?

When you talk about anger, what I think you’re alluding to is American anger at some of the anti-US rhetoric that’s gone along with proposals for such an army—the idea that it’s needed to counteract America power, as if America were a military threat to Europe and the world that needs to be faced down by European arms.

The reason this angers us is that America has no desire to dominate Europe military, has historicaly used its military to aid Europe (often at great expense) and such noises strike us as unnecessarily aggressive and unappreciative considering our mostly cooperative history in military matters.

I wouldn’t say that there is a specific European nation whose citizens best “understand” America, although those who share our language have an easier time getting an unfiltered view. After all, what is the truth to be understood? America is enormously complex and you can live your whole life here and still have a very incomplete picture. There are groups of people, such as many in some Eastern European states, who tend to idolize America. There are others (like the Greeks) who more often go the other direction and seem to believe that we’re a nation of blood-sucking vampires. But who is right? Neither, really.

There are individuals spread throughout Europe, however, many who have lived here or learned about us from a variety of sources other than the popular media, music, movies etc., that seem to have a somewhat broader perspective of both the good and bad. In the same way, Americans who have traveled, lived abroad, or who have other kinds of contacts with Europeans have a better understanding of their points of views.

Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 4:59 PM
Comment #79062

“because it comes from a group of people who spent the years 1992-2000 doing exactly the same thing”

Holy crap ElliottBay, I think we may actually agree on something.
Are you saying the right is making excuses for Bush in the same way the left made excuses for clinton?
That the right is dismissing ALL criticism, legitimate or otherwise the SAME way the left did from 1992-2000?
That the right is ignoring the concerns of the left the SAME way the left ignored the concerns of the right?

If thats what you are saying, then BRAVO!

Posted by: kctim at September 8, 2005 5:02 PM
Comment #79070

When terms like “Bush League” are used, you can be pretty sure that you’re hearing commentary that has put its conclusions before its reasoning (instead of the other way around). And behold—that’s just what we get.

Blaming Bush for 9-11 while saying “I’m not entirely blaming him” and the rest of that laundry list of tired old left-wing accusations is the same stuff that probably cost the Democrats the last election. And Micheal Moore-willing, will cost them more.

Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 5:23 PM
Comment #79071

If you are an American, whether you live here or not, why do you you care what the rest of the world thinks about us.

We know in our hearts we live in the greatest country in the world. When it breaks, we know how to fix it.

America has always set the tone (if not the example) for the rest of the world. Here is where everyone wants to be in spite of the perceived shortcomings.

No place in the world “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” like here in America.

Posted by: steve smith at September 8, 2005 5:23 PM
Comment #79073
America has always set the tone (if not the example) for the rest of the world.

Yeah, and my 3-year-old grandson has ‘always set the example’ for the rest of our family on how to wash his hands after using the toilet.

*rolls eyes*

The USA isn’t even 3 centuries old… and some of us act like 3 year olds.

Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 5:33 PM
Comment #79076

steve smith,
Although you are correct about America being the best Nation in the World, I just wish the Left and Right would get off this kick of I’m Righter than you are” and get on with the Business of Proving the The World just How Righteous by the Laws of Man & Nature Our Founding Fathers were about Human Nature and Self-Governing. Getting rid of those Rapitalist that think “The God Almighty Dollar” rules the World should be the first step.

As far as the World seeing how bad America is, Diplomacy keeps me from speaking out about the other Nations in he World blindly & willfully following a Set of Rules and Regulations that only allow a few Citizens to “Have it All” at the expense of their Poor.

The time is coming when Americans and the rest of the World will wake up and realize that The Founding Fathers of America solved The Riddle of a Righteous Nation and established the means to allow The Natural Course of Human Events in our Global Society to state the date and time when what is known to be Unalienable Right Regardless by one’s own Spoken Word to Rule The Earth.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 5:47 PM
Comment #79078
The time is coming when Americans and the rest of the World will wake up and realize that The Founding Fathers of America solved The Riddle of a Righteous Nation and established the means to allow The Natural Course of Human Events in our Global Society to state the date and time when what is known to be Unalienable Right Regardless by one’s own Spoken Word to Rule The Earth.

Wow. I’ve read that about five times and I still can’t wrap my head around it.

Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 5:55 PM
Comment #79079

Henry,

Could you please clarify with the mindane yet accepted vernacular of American English. With your individulaized jargon i am left with the impression you think America has the ‘unalienable right’ to rule the world?

Posted by: jo at September 8, 2005 5:57 PM
Comment #79082

David,

Brought us closer together? Couldn’t tell that from watching C-Span’s coverage of the House of Representatives today.

I was talking about the people, not the politicians. If you look at the outpouring of help and support, it has brought us together.
Most of us want to finish the rescue/relief operation before playing politics with it.

Indecently, I saw some speeches on C-Span yesterday as well. Apparently there are a few people who want to blame everything on Bush. Theyll be happy to know that a whopping 13% of the country agrees with them. The rest of us are still pretty united.

Posted by: The Traveler at September 8, 2005 6:05 PM
Comment #79085

AP,

Re: America’s Decline…
If I might paraphrase Rummy here: We don’t go to hell in a handbasket because of idiots we want, we go to hell in a handbasket because of idiots we’ve got.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 8, 2005 6:12 PM
Comment #79102

Sorry People,
I keep forgetting that many people in America and other Nations have never been taught how to use The Cardinal Knowledge of America under Common Sense Law.

It is Self-Evident in Human Nature that every Human is endowed by their “Creator” to tell the difference between what they Know-to-be Right and Think-to-be Right by the tone of their own voice. If you don’t believe, state something that you know for a cold hard fact is Absolutely Right and can be verified by any Book of Knowledge. Than say something that you are not sure is a cold hard fact. The difference is in the tone and force of your voice. Further than that all I can say is ask a Parent or your Grandma. Otherwise I’ll have every Lady on this Blog screaming at me.

It is also Self-Evident in Human Nature that every Human is driven by a force to be Right in their beliefs and words. Thus, is that not why we debate so hard to prove our points?

It is also Self-Evident in Human Nature that every Human will only follow Laws that they Learn, Understand, and Know to be Unalienable Right Regardless. History is full of examples of this fact in Human Nature. In America, Prohibition is one of those Laws. Even though every American knew it was constitutionally illegal to consume alcohol during The 20’s, history shows that most Americans side stepped The Law because they believed that it was unfair and unjust.

Now, use The Laws of Nature to prove that something exist in Reality. Although in Theory “Anti-Radioactive Matter” can exist, as of to date no one that I know of has proven it. Anti-Matter was only proven to exist outside Theory a few years ago by MIT. Therefore, before it was proven as a fact of life, you could only theorize about it, but using it to prove facts and the natural characteristics associated with it would be wrong.

Next chose a topic, almost anyone will do. Than ask a question about it where you can only come up with a Right or Wrong answer. Since The Intent of a Law is designed to be Unalienable Right Regardless it must hold up to All Reason and Logic placed up against it. For example, Can you walk through a brick wall? No. Why? Well, the answer is almost obvious and Self-Evident. However, if asked if you can pass through a brick wall the answer is yes. Why? Doors, Windows, etc. will let you on the other side, thus passing you through the brick wall.

The last part and probably the most difficult to grasp is to explain it in such a way that an other person can understand how through The Natural Course of Human Events such a thing could happen. For example, I walked through the brick wall to get a soda. Do you believe me? I hope not. However, if I told you that I walked through the doorway in the brick wall to get a soda, can you see how through the Natural Course of Human Events that could happen?

Now combine all the above at the same time and use your Common Sense to take it to the Extreme so that all Reason and Logic meets All Space and Time. What every is left must be Unalienable Right Regardless of Race, Color, or Creed. However, I must warn the Weak of Heart. By learning how to do this it will push your Personal Beliefs to the point that you will question yourself and your faith.

Why is this so important to learn, understand, and know how to use? Because your Civil and Constitutional Unalienable Rights as an America Layman depends on it and is protected by Law. What The Founding Fathers of America hoped is that as a Society “We the People” would political debate the issues of the day so that we could direct Congress to pass Laws of The Land which are known to be Unalienable Right Regardless for All Americans just not those of Special Interest or Political Ideology. Remember, it is the sworn duty of our Elected Officials to take on The Devil (s) of Civilization which is fundamentally different than the average citizen is taught in their Religious Beliefs.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 8, 2005 7:43 PM
Comment #79106

kctim,
I don’t recall very many liberals “making excuses” for Clinton’s behavior. I certainly didn’t. I personally found his behavior despicable - almost as despicable as those who stooped to investigating a president’s sex life instead of addressing any of the more serious issues facing our country, like the growing threat of terrorism.

sanger,
I reached the conclusion fairly recently that the Bush administration wasn’t really very interested in governing and were actually terrible at it. I didn’t start calling them “the Bush League” until AFTER that. And that means that you just did exactly what you erroneously accused me of doing - reaching a conclusion before doing any reasoning.

The Dems lost the 2004 election for two reasons, and two reasons only:

  • Americans have NEVER voted out a wartime president.

  • The Republican slime machine was MUCH better than the Democratic slime machine.
  • Posted by: ElliottBay at September 8, 2005 7:55 PM
    Comment #79128

    Oh man, where to start? AP, I normally like your articles, but in this case your analysis is totally wrong. When we’re talking about the results of Katrina, it’s nothing to do with Iraq, or deficits, as you suggest in your conclusion. It’s also nothing to do with race, because America is not more racist than most places in Europe.

    We’re not even blaming anyone for incompetence or mismanagement, because we know very well that it happens all the time.

    You should’ve listened more to Gerhard Schoeder (even though he’s getting voted out) and the UN HDR. It’s all to do with your ultracapitalistic beliefs, creating huge inequalities.

    If you want to know what Europeans think, there are several posting on this board, and blogs everywhere (in English!). Me, I have to go to bed, because I’m going to watch the cricket tomorrow, and if you (or anyone else from anywhere) can understand that link, then we’re really on our way to cross-cultural understanding!

    Posted by: Paul at September 8, 2005 8:59 PM
    Comment #79163

    ElliotBay, I remain skeptical.

    I’m all too familiar with the internet debating tactic (employed as often by Republicans as Democrats, I hasten to add) of saying things like, “Jeez, I’m a conservative evangelical Christian who has voted Republican all my life. I belong to the NRA and the John Birch Society, but ever since (insert current event here)I can in good conscience no longer support Chimp/Shrub/Bushitler and his Bush League oil-guzzling Halliburton Texas bloodsuckers!”

    My point is that convincing others instead of merely venting (which is all too easy to dismiss) depends on not showing your hand by using such obviously partisan and intemperate language.

    Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 10:41 PM
    Comment #79173

    Lawnboy,

    Nancy Pilosi, Jesse Jackson, Howard Dean… every statement blaming Bush for being racist and incompetent is senseless and vindictive. It’s to the point where I see now that America will never be the same.

    Posted by: esimonson at September 8, 2005 11:02 PM
    Comment #79210

    Eric, such why the long face? Pilosi, Jackson and Dean were accusing Bush of being racist and incompetent before Katrina, and they’ll continue to do it in the future. But are they America? Does anyone care what those clowns have to say?

    Dean got his answer in the Iowa primaries. Jackson, despite his feverish efforts, has never been elected to anything and is pretty much a laughingstock whose only verifiable talents are for street theater and extortion. Pilosi now leads a party which has seen its share of national authority decline towards the vanishing point for over a decade.

    And personally, I think this this is only the beginning. You’re right that things will never be the same. These fools are being erased before our eyes and I’m glad for it.

    Posted by: sanger at September 9, 2005 12:25 AM
    Comment #79240
    Phillipe, I don’t the US is angered at all by the idea of a European Army. In fact, I’d venture to say that most Americans would love

    sanger, it really is amazing to me how many people who give unquestioning support to President Bush have no idea what he’s doing. Phillipe is absolutely right. The Bush administration threw up roadblocks to the EU rapid reaction force every step of the way.

    This unit was conceived in the wake of Europe’s failure to act in Bosnia, and is meant for use in similar circumstances. The Bush administration forced the EU to promise it would never be used without US consent.

    Republicans may want to see a Europe that can defend itself, but your Republican leaders do not.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 2:26 AM
    Comment #79245
    Apparently there are a few people who want to blame everything on Bush. They?ll be happy to know that a whopping 13% of the country agrees with them.

    Traveler, you obviously haven’t seen the latest polls showing that two thirds of Americans don’t think President Bush did all he could have.

    If you are an American, whether you live here or not, why do you you care what the rest of the world thinks about us.

    steve smith, what the rest of the world thinks about us is important. The world’s respect and their willingness to follow America’s lead allow us to pursue our foreign policy without relying exclusively on our armed forces. It’s called soft power, and it’s far more effective, deep rooted, and lasting than military power.

    The principles of democracy, freedom, and human rights are still alive an well in the world, and there was a time when the United States could rally the forces of freedom to advance them. But, over the last four years, America lost the moral high ground.

    You can believe in your heart that being #10 is better than being #3, but that doesn’t change facts, it just leads to low expectations for America.

    I hear a lot of people on the right say that President Bush did the best he could after Katrina. Bullshit. They say Iraq is going as well as can be expected. Bullshit. That a sluggish economy and massive debts are the best America can do. Bullshit. That 37 million Americans in poverty — more than one out of ten Americans, with the number growing by millions every year for the last four years — is acceptable. Bullshit!

    What I want to see from the right is fewer excuses and more solutions. You guys have absolute control over the government, and now the judiciary. Use it to make America respected and strong again.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 2:57 AM
    Comment #79246

    Paul, I thought I made clear the European view of America-the-heartless. Sorry I didn’t put it in my closing paragraph.

    Me, I have to go to bed, because I’m going to watch the cricket tomorrow

    I hope your team won. I occasionally head down to the Padang here in Singapore to catch a match, though I prefer rugby.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 3:09 AM
    Comment #79251

    AP,

    I wouldn’t describe it as “America-the-heartless”, more “America-the-blindly-attached-to-neoliberal-dogma”.

    I didn’t realise they played cricket in Singapore, but I guess anywhere where the Brits have been, cricket and rugby will be there too. I wonder if Baghdad Bengals will ever be beating Kabul Camels 21-17 with 1 minute left in the 4th quarter…

    Posted by: Paul at September 9, 2005 3:44 AM
    Comment #79254
    every statement blaming Bush for being … incompetent is senseless

    Ok, Eric, then defend the President’s competence. Say why those attacks are senseless instead of just attacking the people who don’t like the job the President has done.

    Without that, your statments are just partisan hackery.

    Posted by: LawnBoy at September 9, 2005 4:13 AM
    Comment #79255
    sanger, it really is amazing to me how many people who give unquestioning support to President Bush have no idea what he’s doing. Phillipe is absolutely right. The Bush administration threw up roadblocks to the EU rapid reaction force every step of the way.

    This unit was conceived in the wake of Europe’s failure to act in Bosnia, and is meant for use in similar circumstances. The Bush administration forced the EU to promise it would never be used without US consent.

    Republicans may want to see a Europe that can defend itself, but your Republican leaders do not.

    AP, thanks, your perfect english is exactly expressing what I would have replied painfully to sanger if I was not so tired last night…

    Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at September 9, 2005 4:18 AM
    Comment #79276

    Phillipe and AP, that’s my point exactly—European lack of resolve and ability.

    You say that they’d like to have their own army but that they’re also waiting for George Bush to enthusiastically support the idea? Pathetic. I didn’t realize that George Bush was the ruler of Europe.

    Or was Europe expecting the US to fund, train and lead their army as well? Is that why they need our permission?

    If an army never comes into existence because of foreign powers putting up “roadblocks,” then I’d hate to see how it functions on the field of battle.

    Further, as I understand it, Bush has voiced personal support for the EU rapid reaction force as long as it doesn’t interfere with or duplicate NATO functions. Other than voicing this opinion, what authority or power does George Bush have over European militaries?

    Apparently this grand European army has been defeated already—not by an enemy but by a frown from George Bush.

    Posted by: sanger at September 9, 2005 9:40 AM
    Comment #79287

    EB
    “I don’t recall very many liberals “making excuses” for Clinton’s behavior”

    You are making an excuse with that very statement. Your political beliefs have you believing all concerns by the right over clinton were only about his “behavior.”
    He lied, his incompetence resulted in US military deaths and innocent civilian deaths, he was soft on terrorism, rights were trampled, his incompetence killed innocent Americans etc…
    The left made everything out to be about his “behavior” the same way the right is now making everything out to be about “liberal hatred.”
    What goes around, comes around I guess.

    Posted by: kctim at September 9, 2005 10:43 AM
    Comment #79321

    It’s Karen Hughes to the rescue! America’s International Image is now in the hands of Bush’s Savior. Once again, President Bush calls upon his friend to run the “Spin Machine” so he can salvage Ameica’s image. I feel sorry for her though because just before swearing her in, President Bush signed into Law the ability to pay “The Poor of America” less money. All I can say is good luck telling Tyranny Governments to treat their citizens better when in the mist of a Natural Disaster our Leader wants to make it harder for our citizens to get back what they lost. Real Intellegent move by The Republican Party.

    Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 9, 2005 1:08 PM
    Comment #79325
    You say that they’d like to have their own army but that they’re also waiting for George Bush to enthusiastically support the idea?

    Ohh sanger… That’s just a pathetic attack. First, in all ignorance, you say Republicans want a strong Europe. Then when I point out that President Bush opposes an independent EU military force unless its deployment is under a NATO/US veto, you blame the Europeans. That’s sad.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 1:20 PM
    Comment #79327

    Henry, the blatent cronyism of this administration never fails to surprise me. Texas shyster Gonzales is attorney general, Rove is Deputy Chief of Staff, now speechwriter Hughes is America’s public face to the Middle East.

    Who knows. She’s such a cheerleader, maybe she’ll be the best Undersecretary of State for the Middle East we’ve ever had. Surely she can’t be as incompetent as Michael Brown.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 9, 2005 1:25 PM
    Comment #79350

    kctim,

    You said: He lied, his incompetence resulted in US military deaths.

    Back that up with facts. Show me proof that that he lied about something that led to the deaths of American servicemen.

    Posted by: ElliottBay at September 9, 2005 2:18 PM
    Comment #79387

    Wow. I’ve read that about five times and I still can’t wrap my head around it.
    Posted by: sanger at September 8, 2005 05:55 PM

    Tell him to keep taking the tablets sanger!

    Posted by: Paul in Euroland at September 9, 2005 3:46 PM
    Comment #79456
    and once more make America a country to be respected and emulated

    And how is that to be accomplished ?
    Government continues to grow to nightmare proportions, continues to be irresponsible, unaccountable, and mismanages most everything it meddles in.

    Democrats and Republicans have devised a wonderful system of government.
    They simply take turns filling their own pockets, while being irresponsible and unaccountable.
    Many spend most of their time just rasing money for their next election.
    Many really provide no net benefit to society.
    And the people continue to do the same thing, which empowers the politicians to continue to fill their own pockets, and be irresponsible and unaccountable.

    Hell of a deal, Eh ?

    Third parties are missing a supreme chance to get their turn in office for a while.
    Third parties simply need to communicate to Americans that what we’ve been doing ain’t working.
    Americans must start treating government as one broken, dysfunctional machine.
    Third parties must get on all the ballots, and recommend that voters go vote out all incumbents, and main-party candidates that simply take turns being irresponsible and unaccountable.

    Then, voters must demand this new government to adequately address the nations top 10 most pressing problems. And if they don’t, the voters should contine to vote out all incumbents, every election, until politicians finally realize that they won’t have long in office until they start dealing with problems, rather than avoiding them for fear of risking re-election.

    The problem is the system is broke. The system allows those that refuse to tackle tough problems to exist within government indefinitely. And even if voters choose to vote out an incumbent, they usually merely vote in another main-party candidate, and nothing changes. Both parties simply provide an endless supply of politicians that are not willing to tackle tough issues, and both parties simply take turns being irresponsible and unaccountable.

    It’s that simple.
    And if it doesn’t work, we’re no worse off. We’re simply as screwed up and dysfunctional as ever, and only a less peaceful method will, in time, correct the problem (the hard way).

    If anyoune has a better idea, please share it with us. what we’re doin’ now ain’t workin’ and we’re runnin’ out of time, as government continues to grow, debt continues to grow, and our pressing problem continue to grow in number and severity. It’s not hard to see an economic disaster in our future. What will it be? More walloing in the petty partisan squabbling over petty and less substantive issues, more clever distractions to avert the voters attention away from a looming economic meltdown, or will voters realize it’s now up to them…they’re the only ones that can peacefully fix the problem now, because government will not reform itself.

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 9, 2005 6:25 PM
    Comment #79523

    American Pundit, my point was that the Europeans envision their army as a resource which they control independently of the will of Washington, but pretty much gave up on the idea when Washington offered the slightest non-binding opinion about how it might function.

    That is pathetic. This is laughable. If you want a counter-weight or compliment to American power, you don’t hang on every American word and wait for them to cheerlead for you. You go ahead full steam, damn the torpedos, and demonstrate that independence which is supposedly your goal.

    Wanting to stand up to America while waiting for America’s approval is the squishy stuff, I’m afraid, that European leaders are known for.

    It’s a lot like a parent and a child. When the child truly becomes an adult, he goes his own way, doesn’t hang on the parent’s every word, and in the long run the parent ends up respecting the child for demonstrating his own initiative. Europe and America, however, have a complicated but seriously disfunctional family relationship for which both sides share part of the blame.

    Posted by: sanger at September 10, 2005 12:03 AM
    Comment #79527
    Wanting to stand up to America while waiting for America?s approval is the squishy stuff, I?m afraid, that European leaders are known for.

    Ok sanger. If that’s what the RRF was for, then I’d agree. But your basic premise is wrong. The purpose of the RRF is to react quickly to stop another Bosnia or Kosovo, it’s not a counterweight to US power. It’s meant to handle European crises without US intervention.

    President Bush decided that the Europeans handling their own security affairs was a threat to US/NATO influence in Europe.

    Europe — not quite ready to break off diplimatic and economic ties and militarily oppose the last remaining superpower in a time when democracies should all be supporting each other — decided to work with its closest ally and fellow democracy. you call it pathetic, I call it good common sense.

    And thank you for pointing out a real foreign policy difference between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats would rather see a Europe that can handle European affairs without US intervention.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 10, 2005 12:27 AM
    Comment #79533

    American Pundit, do you really think that ties would be broken off if the Europeans actually built an army instead of just talked about it? Bush never gave any such ulimatum and the record shows it.

    The Europeans (except for a few countries like Great Britain and Poland) were just looking for any excuse at all to keep subsidizing summer-long vacations and their incipeient socialist fantasyland instead of providing for their own common defense. After all, they well know that we’re stupid enough to bail them out in the end when push comes to shove, why why cut short their vacations? Why risk their own necks?

    I agree with you, incidentally, that we should encourage them to take care of themselves and that we’re a bunch of jackasses—Republicans or Democrats—for doing for them what they ought to be doing for themselve. But they don’t want to do for themselves. They hate the idea. Otherwise they’d actually DO it and stop looking for excuses and crying into their beers about the lack of tender love and approval extended to them by Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush.

    Posted by: sanger at September 10, 2005 12:43 AM
    Comment #79536
    we should encourage them to take care of themselves and that we?re a bunch of jackasses?Republicans or Democrats?for doing for them what they ought to be doing for themselve. But they don?t want to do for themselves. They hate the idea.

    Well, sanger. I can only assume you live in an alternate, parrallel universe.

    It’s the Republican leadership who tried to block the RRF, and the Europeans did in fact create their force regardless — with a Bush veto option on deployments.

    It’s a fact that your Republican leadership does not want Europeans handling European security affairs without US involvement. But your last post makes it obvious you’re not interested in facts, just partisan spin.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 10, 2005 12:53 AM
    Comment #79631
    Competence doesn’t seem like a big deal until you are forced to realize that your own government has none.

    If government has no competence, then what good is it ? If that’s true, if government provides no net benefit to society, then it’s time to start over.

    … have given the world plenty of reasons dismiss the United States as a role model: the … America is in decline.

    Yes, many reasons: home.comcast.net/~d.a.n/PressingProblemsFacingTheUS_NoBackLinks.htm”

    If fact, we’re becoming an excellent example of what to abhor. Only desparate nations could ever look at the U.S. as a role model; and then, they probably hate us anyway.

    At what point do we stop making excuses and once more make America a country to be respected and emulated?

    How ?
    Some Americans don’t think America is in decline.
    Some Americans think the U.S. is invincible.
    Some Americans think it will all work itself out peacefully ?

    Realistically, it’s looking more and more inevitable that things will have to sink to rock bottom, before they’ll ever get better.

    Posted by: d.a.n at September 10, 2005 3:37 PM
    Comment #79706

    I hope not, d.a.n.

    Posted by: American Pundit at September 11, 2005 10:28 AM
    Comment #79843

    EB
    “Back that up with facts. Show me proof that that he lied about something that led to the deaths of American servicemen”

    SOMALIA, 1993: Clinton pledged NEVER to deploy American troops overseas unless U.S. strategic interests were threatened and there was a clear military goal with a firm exit strategy.

    http://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/africa/100593binladen.html?Partner=PBS&RefId=Eutttn-uFBqv

    You just have to be willing to look for it EB.

    Posted by: kctim at September 12, 2005 10:25 AM
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