Our national media has told us that President George W. Bush has ruined the image of the United States. Our image is said to be so bad that as a campaign ploy Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) has said that if elected she would appoint former President William J. (Bill) Clinton, her husband, as Ambassador at Large. His duty? To repair the destroyed image which the President has created. The national media, such as the New York Times, knows this to be true, having applauded the announcement of Senator Clinton. After all, Bill Clinton has a very positive worldwide image. If anyone could rebuild what Bush has destroyed it would be Bill Clinton.
Item: France has elected a pro-American President. He replaces a President who continually attacked the United States and went so far as to lecture President George W. Bush about Bush’s misdeeds. The new President, Nicholas Sarkozy, in his election evening speech, said the United States could count on France as a friend, that we might sometimes disagree but France would be there when we needed her.
One would have to go back to President Charles De Gaulle, who gave President John F. Kennedy a comeuppance when Kennedy visited France soon after his election in 1960. De Gaulle later said that he did so because he did not consider the United States a solid ally with Kennedy in office. It is extraordinary that President Sargozy would go out of his way to express friendship for the United States and to do so just after having been elected with 53% of the vote - hardly a close election. He could have saved his statement of friendship for later, perhaps if Bush visited France. No. Boom! He spoke only moments after he was declared the winner. And, mind you, no doubt this new President is reading the United States media. So it would have been prudent for him to save his friendship statement for a new President, a President who, after all, supposedly had not ruined the image of the United States. He might have saved the statement for Bill Clinton’s visit to patch things up. Only 20 months remain in the Bush Presidency.
Item: Germany, after years of Socialist rule, has elected as Chancellor a friend of America. Yes, we disagree on some points but this Chancellor clearly is friendly to us and to President George W. Bush. The previous Chancellor went out of his way to clarify that Germany was independent of the United States. This Chancellor, when elected, said Germany was a friend.
Remember that Chancellor Angela Merkel won very narrowly, and only after extensive negotiations with other parties. If being anti-American were in her interest she, like her predecessor, would have made it clear. On the contrary, according to some German media, she risked his Chancellorship by cozying up to Bush. The strange thing is that she is more popular now than when elected; if forced into a new election she well might win by a larger margin than she did. Because she did not win by much she certainly is not going to sacrifice her time in office for friendship with America. Yet she has made it clear that she is a friend of the United States. Give the lady credit. She knows what she is doing.
Item: For many years Canada, our friendly ally to the north, had a Prime Minister who repeatedly attacked the United States. It seemed no matter what we did Canada would find fault. Then there was an election. A friend of the United States was elected. Indeed, some Canadian media say the new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, is a twin of George W. Bush. This Prime Minister, because HE is pro-American, was not supposed to have lasted in office. Strangely enough, he has been in office far longer than expected. In fact, his popularity has risen even though, from his election forward, he goes out of his way to demonstrate that he is a friend of the United States. Although he has survived much longer than expected with a minority in Parliament, some Canadian media suggest that he is waiting to call new elections when he can elect a parliamentary majority.
Item: Retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stood by George W. Bush as an ally even though it has cost him popularity. The situation with respect to his successor is unusual. The Conservative Party actually is leading him in the polls.
And the likely shadow Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is less a friend of America as is the man who likely will fill out of the current Blair term. If it were in his interest to run away from America he presumably would do so. Sources in England tell us that he will turn out to be a good friend of America and of Bush. Inasmuch as he will face an election in a few years he would not show his American friendship if it would hurt him. My guess is that he will use his friendship with Bush and America to trump the Conservatives, considering such friendship is an asset, not a liability, in Great Britain.
If President Bush really had destroyed the image of America, to the point that the services of former President Clinton would be needed to repair all the damage, these foreign leaders, especially those in close elections, would be attacking America and snubbing Bush. The opposite is true. What does that tell us about the national media in this country? As Fox News Network is fond of saying, “We report. You decide.”