The Obama campaign and Democrats in general point to the cheering European crowds that greeted their presidential nominee, Barack Obama, as evidence that he would “win back” the admiration and cooperation of world opinion. They could also point to the headline in London’s Guardian the day after George W.Bush’s re-election. Citing the Bush victory, the Guardian wondered if Americans were “that stupid.” And we know that survey after survey shows that respondents in every single country, save Israel, want us to elect Barack Obama President.
This is not the first time we have heard this. How many people remember US Senator John Kerry’s “global test” remark? During his unsuccessful bid for the presidency, Kerry said that US troops must be used only if “that passes the global test…and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.” To be sure, the comment was one of many that Kerry made that showed just how out of step he was with American voters—and he paid the price at the polls. But more importantly, it was a comment that was not his alone but stemmed from one of the basic articles of liberal faith: that under President George W. Bush, the United States has lost its standing and moral authority in the world. It is an article of faith that 2008 presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama return to again and again.
It is, however, a fallacy that shows American liberals are as far removed from reality today as their 2004 standard bearer was. For the most part, when they speak of us “losing the rest of the world,” they are referring to Western Europe. To be sure, there is a certain compelling logic to it since Europe has been seen as a great ally over the last century and in two world wars -- wars fought in large part against Europeans. But the strength of the argument is only apparent. It is a vestige from a “white man’s burden” world; one in which Europe was seen as the only arbiters of taste and international politics; a world that no longer exists, except in the minds of some European chauvinists. A world that still sees relevance in vestigial racial and cultural ties, and an argument that reflects the elitist and racist perspective of those (primarily on the Left) who make it. Moreover, our interests and Europe’s have been diverging ever since the end of the Cold War. The primary arena is economic competition, but it also shows up in geopolitical issues as well as issues of culture, religion, and morality.
Poll after poll shows that respondents in every European (and Muslim) country want us to make Barack Obama president in November. On the other hand, those people who are on the front lines of our war against Islamist extremism feel just as passionately that an Obama victory will undermine their efforts.
No matter whom Americans support or their position on this war, they overwhelmingly recognize that victory requires active international participation and not only action by the United States. Among those international allies out there fighting this war, there is resounding support for a John McCain victory in November. The European crowds that swooned before Obama are marginally important in this war on terror. These are the same people who say in survey after survey that the United States (along with Israel) is the greatest threat to world peace; who have tried to prosecute our military leaders in their courts and call our troops war criminals. As British journalist Melanie Phillips and other observers have described, they are more likely to follow their grandparents’ example at Munich in 1937 and try to appease today’s Adolph Hitlers rather than they are to stand with us and fight.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is a Muslim journalist who was arrested and tortured for exposing the rise of Islamists in his country of Bangladesh and especially their use of Muslim schools for this purpose. He is openly pro-Israel and pro-US, and has urged his Islamic state to recognize Israel. Shoaib Choudhury continues to publish his weekly paper with articles that criticize the government, expose Islamists, and praise the United States and Israel. He is now on trial for “sedition, treason, and blasphemy.”
When I was attempting to free him in 2003, I approached about 15 percent of the House and almost a dozen US Senators. Every one of them -- Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, and moderate -- gave their support and took action; every one of them, that is, except Barack Obama. Choudhury’s Weekly Blitz tried to educate Bangladeshis about “the real Barack Obama, not the fantasy in the media,” he told me; and asks regularly if “our Senator John McCain will be victorious.” He and others who are trying to block an Islamist takeover of their country pray daily for that outcome.
Bikash Halder is not a wealthy man; he is not an influential man; but he is a tireless activist committed to stop the ethnic cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus. A citizen of West Bengal, India, he is also active in helping to expose the connection between Islamists and West Bengal’s communist government. Earlier this year, he was dragged from a bus and beaten by more than a dozen Communist and Islamist supporters as he was on his way to a meeting. He has had to sell some of the tiny bit of land he has; and he led me through over a dozen refugee camps near the India-Bangladesh-Nepal border not without danger of attack. Since the spring, he has sent out countless emails to his fellow Indians asking them to convince their friends and family in the United States to vote McCain in November; that Obama would let the brutalization of their people continue. Halder and his growing number of allies contact me on a near daily basis and ask what they can do help elect McCain. They, too, pray daily for his success.
Amitabh Tripathi abandoned his career as a freelance journalist to become a full-time activist; so seriously threatened does he believe his country of India is. He has been organizing “alternate media,” organizing allied groups all across his 1.1 million square mile country. He has translated pro-US and pro-Israel articles into Hindi for greater circulation; visited the Israeli embassy for help in fighting Islamists; and brought together people from various Indian communities. He also helped me develop contacts who would support my efforts to stop ethnic cleansing in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Tripathi is so concerned about a possible Obama victory that he has translated articles about Obama into Hindi and distributed them; has organized meetings; and has written articles and given interviews about the danger of an Obama presidency.
When Obama said he supported Jerusalem as Israel’s unified capital, then backed off a few hours later after Arab pressure; Tripathi was livid. “If he changes so quickly on an issue so important to US voters…how can we believe that he will be strong and not let Islamists overtake India?” Tripathi has been sending me information and contacts that he believes will help McCain carry the Indian-American vote. In a recent interview, he said called an Obama victory “a big setback in our fight against Islamism,” especially those who have found their way by legal means into various South Asian government.
Each one of these men has dedicated their lives to fighting radical Islam; each one has done so despite the danger; and each has suffered for it. They also have become leaders in this effort and reflect the opinions of numerous other freedom fighters. South Asia with over one in five human beings will be the critical battleground in the war on Islamist extremism. For some time, opponents have been stepping up their efforts and become more public about it. And whether the Obama welcomes their endorsement, those on the anti-US side of the fight uniformly hope he is elected in November. Our most fervent allies, who have been willing to face attack and privation for that stance, just as uniformly pray for a President John McCain.