arrogance (n): offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.
During a recent campaign stop in Florida, Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton made the following promise:
"When I' m president, I'm going to send a message to the world that America is back - we're not the arrogant power that we 've been acting like for the past six years. "
The implication that President Bush is arrogant is somewhat ironic when it comes from the woman who said (while husband Bill occupied the Oval Office),
"I 'm not going to have some reporter pawing through our papers. We are the president ."
Unfortunately, Hillary's attitude is not at all unusual these days on the American Left. While abroad, John Kerry said America has become an "international pariah." Ted Kennedy believes that our fight against terror has "left America more and more isolated in the world." According to John Edwards, America can only regain its moral authority by "acknowledging when we 've made mistakes or been proven wrong." And writing for the Washington Post, Richard Cohen said,
"The contempt the Bush administration has shown for world opinion and international law -- not to mention American traditions of jurisprudence -- is costing us plenty."
When you were growing up, how many times did your parents tell you not to worry about what others thought? To do what was right for you, even if it went against what the popular kids considered to be cool? Too many of our elected officials seem to have forgotten this simple homespun lesson. Their political outlook mirrors the social outlook we were all forced to endure in high school: if you didn't look, dress or act in a certain way, you just weren't accepted by the self-anointed elites. Even if you did, admittance to the inner circle was not guaranteed.
Should Americans look to the self-anointed global elites for guidance when it comes to our foreign policy?
Writing in American Thinker, Kyle-Anne Shiver relates this tale:
I got into a bit of a verbal tussle with a Brit this past summer - in New York, of course. He was demanding to know why W didn't pay more heed to the European interests before starting a bloody war that involved the whole bloody world. At first, I could barely believe my ears, but then I simply reminded him that we, the citizens of the United States, pay our President to worry about us first - and everyone else after that. He bolted back that, well, Clinton had cared about them! I just said that perhaps that was one good reason why his party was out and the ones who put America first - and foremost - are IN.
Another good rejoinder might have been to ask why Europe didn't pay more heed to American interests before starting two terrible wars that involved the much of the world. Neither World War I nor World War II were picnics, and it certainly would have been nice if someone in charge somewhere had asked what America thought beforehand. But most Americans are realistic. They don' t expect France, Germany, or any other country to play "Mother, may I? " with us when they make their foreign policy decisions. Alliances come and go depending on the needs of the day, but the reality is that it has always been every man for himself, and it always will be.
George Bush famously said,
"A leader is somebody who is willing to take positions based on principle, not polls or focus groups."
And as far as our security goes, he has done just that. Unlike his predecessor, who licked his finger and held it up to the wind before making important policy decisions, Bush has been steadfast in his belief that the safety of American citizens takes precedence over the good opinion of the world's chattering classes. After all, he was not elected by world citizens, but by American citizens. In the end, our president is only accountable to us. Not to the French politician who considers the atrocity of 9/11 to be a mere "incident" in history. Not to the U.N., a bloated bureaucracy that has no problem giving Cuba a seat on its Human Rights Council. And certainly not to the angry Brit whom Kyle-Anne Shiver had the misfortune to come across.
It is amazing how all discussion of American arrogance ceases when some kind of disaster occurs somewhere in the world. Then, instead of berating us, the world entreats us to send money, troops, and other types of humanitarian aid to victims of tsunamis, earthquakes, and so on. It is certainly tempting to say "no." After all, being the world 's whipping boy gets a bit tiresome, especially when the whipping boy is expected to extend non-refundable loans in addition to his posterior. But of course we do, because it's part and parcel of who we are.
Doing what is right for American sovereignty may be considered to be arrogant by outsiders and those of us who worry constantly about winning Miss Congeniality in the beauty pageant of life. But the rest of us should not be afraid to stand up for our selves. As George Will said,
"Most of all, America passes the critical gate test. Open the gate and see where people go - in or out. This is still the country people flock to."
Pamela Meister writes about politics and world events on her blog. She can be contacted here.