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November 12, 2007
If America’s Image Is
So Bad, Why Do Pro-Americans Like Sarkozy Keep Getting Elected?
“It was by watching
America grow that men and women understood that freedom was possible.
What made America great was her ability to transform her own dream into
hope for all mankind.”
No, these are not the words of Ronald Reagan. Nor are they the words of
George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. They are the words
of the current president of France.
Bill Clinton last week was the latest to jump on the bandwagon of top
Democrats suggesting that electing Hillary Clinton, or another liberal
president, would be the only way for America to repair its image with
Of course, the idea of repairing America’s image assumes that America’s
image in the world is broken, which is now an unquestioned fact in the
eyes of Democratic leaders. But how true is that assumption?
Probably nothing provides a better manifestation of America’s supposedly
broken relations with the world than the deterioration in U.S./French
relations during the debate over the invasion of Iraq.
Former French President Jacques Chirac had, among other missteps,
passionately opposed the toppling of his old personal friend, Saddam
Hussein. Chirac had also threatened Eastern European countries with
exclusion from the European Union for being pro-American, and sent his
foreign minister to Africa to lobby those nations on the U.N. Security
Council to vote against the United States.
Of course, congressional Democrats blamed Bush’s alleged lack of tact in
diplomacy and international relations for the resultant damaged
relations with the French. How would the world respond to Bush’s
behavior, they thought?
Enter Nicolas Sarkozy. Here is a man who not only did not hide his
pro-American sentiments during his candidacy for the French Presidency,
but who proudly, loudly and clearly declared his admiration of America
and American ideals. A few months ago, the French put him in charge of
their country, and it wasn’t even close.
Less than two years before, the Germans had thrown Chancellor Gerhard
Schroder, Chirac’s partner in the anti-American crusade, out of office,
replacing him with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was no closet
pro-American either, and the Germans fully knew of her leanings. She had
also spoken in support of the invasion of Iraq, and has stood by the
United States against Iran.
Less than two years ago, Bill Clinton himself stood with former Canadian
Minister Paul Martin, and the two proceeded to jointly criticize the
U.S. administration. The next month, Canadians kicked Martin out and
replaced him with Stephen Harper, a pro-American conservative. Martin
had run much of his campaign based on condemnation of Harper’s
friendship with the United States. Prime Minister Harper now owes him a
It is no coincidence that all of these pro-American leaders tend to be
conservative. The United States has in the past few years spread a
message of capitalism, free trade and strong opposition to terror. Also,
America now bases much of its foreign policy on the concept of spreading
democracy to countries who need it. Conservatives are attracted to such
Many other democracies have elected or re-elected pro-American or
conservative governments in the last four years. These include those who
play some of the most important roles in our international relations,
including in Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and South America.
One year ago, the Swedes elected the first conservative government in
the better part of a century. Portugal has elected the first
conservative president in over 30 years. Greece recently ended a long
era of left-wing rule.
The Colombians have elected a president who is highly cooperative with
the United States (curiously, congressional Democrats will still not
approve a free trade agreement with Colombia for political reasons).
Mexico elected a friend of America as president, although his opponent,
as in France, Germany and Canada, attempted to use this quality against
Britain of course is still led by the Labour Party, but has seen
pro-American Tony Blair get replaced with a possibly more pro-American
Gordon Brown, who, by the way, is quite concerned about the Conservative
Party winning the next elections.
This global trend of electing conservative, pro-American governments is
due to the kind of solid foreign policy and leadership that the world
had missed during the Clinton years. And except for those leaders whom
Bill Clinton aids in criticizing the United States, such as Canada’s
rejected Martin, leaders of democracies today are friends who are
reaching out to us in a manner we have not seen in a long time. These
are leaders with whom we are happy to work, regardless of disagreements.
Our relations with the world are not broken. When Sarkozy spoke in
Congress last week, he was met with a series of standing ovations and a
room full of smiling U.S. legislators who came out unanimously
optimistic about the state of Franco-American relations.
When Chirac first addressed Congress in 1996 during the Clinton
presidency, only about 100 members were present, because others were so
upset with Chirac that they boycotted his speech. Talk about broken
relations – good thing President Bush was here to repair them.
© 2007 North Star
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