Will U.S. standing in the world rise once we exit Iraq?

John Mayer’s tepid anti-war ballad “Waiting on the World to Change” always bugged me, a slacker’s lament that makes excuses for its own lack of passion. At least now the once-popular song is dated, and we’re no longer waiting to see if the world’s attitude will change towards us. It already has.

President Obama has clearly contributed to this changing world his first 100 days. He’s authorized a staged withdrawal from Iraq, incorporating advice from top military commanders. This policy, earning grudging approval from Sen. John McCain and some concern from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is bound to sit right with moderates everywhere. He’s communicated unequivocally and directly to the Arab world, starting with an inaugural address that proclaimed a need to “responsibly leave Iraq to its people.”

The Decider has given way to the Diplomat, and the world likes what it sees. Yet gaining global approval hardly requires turning tail; our buildup in Afghanistan demonstrates a focus not on fleeing conflict but redirecting resources where they can best help us fight our enemies.

The Pew Research Center just wrapped up an eight-year comprehensive study of global attitudes towards the U.S., and stat after stat shows that our favorability rating took a nosedive since 2000, with the ongoing war in Iraq a major cause of discontent. Yet even though we stood on shakier ground last fall, many across the globe held out hope for better relations.

Those better relations were certainly evident during the recent G-20 summit. There is some rock-star hype around Obama, to be sure, but it doesn’t account for the degree of his current global approval. Far too much anger has been generated by past U.S. unilateral actions for other nations to fall in line just because they like Obama’s style. No, there’s a real change in the air, based on policy, not personality.

Will our Iraq pullout make us safer? Hard to say, given that there will always be those who wish us harm, even if their numbers lessen. Yet when it comes to looking forward to the day that our global reputation is saved, rising phoenix-like out of the ashes of that one disastrous move—well, the wait on that change is over.

Will U.S. standing in the world rise once we exit Iraq?

Our standing may rise upon exiting Iraq, but primarily because many nations simply have more trust in a non-conservative American president. Case in point: according to that Pew study, the socially liberal nations of France, Germany and Britain overwhelmingly have confidence in President Obama to “do the right thing” globally. Yet Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, does not, with only a 20 percent confidence rating.

Many don’t understand that some will dislike America no matter what we do – and that our global detractors have even more worrisome problems.

When the towers fell on 9/11, I watched in tears as CNN cut away to live Middle Eastern scenes of men, women and children dancing jubilantly in the streets. An ecstatic celebration of our 3,000 dead, of the great blow struck against the Great Satan. In the Palestinian territories, those fed and clothed with the aid of American dollars (an estimated $2 billion since the Oslo Accords) erupted in joy, firing weapons into the air as if they wished they had piloted the airplanes themselves.

CNN never aired those images again. But I remember. This was before Iraq. Before the war on terror. “Cowboy Bush” had been in office just 7 1/2 months. And still, presumably because we support Israel as well as the Palestinians, these Arabs rejoiced in our tragedy.

Heritage Foundation Middle-Eastern expert James Phillips explained by phone that Obama might currently be more popular in the overall Arab world, but “they are not going to like his policies, which are going to be pretty much the same. We will be defending our own interests and those of our allies.” And when Obama does that, “those that hate Israel and support the radical groups Hamas and Hezbollah are going hate us, regardless.”

Part of anti-U.S. feeling historically stems from our “global policeman” role – a role many nations abhor until they need it. Similarly, Phillips noted, Muslim extremists today hate Iraqi security forces just as much, since they are now defending a democratic country.

Europeans automatically like us more with Obama in office — but the Pew report also found an increase in their hostility toward Jews and Muslims. I wish other nations would look at the plank in their own eyes before picking the speck out of ours.

309 comments Add your comment

The Other Jack

April 17th, 2009
11:15 am

Joke

No. She was confrontational and argumentative. She was also in an obviously hostile situation. She was not the person that needed to be covering that story.

He was leading into the resolution of the story, which was exactly what her original question was about. She cut him off. She was so aggressive, that she asked: Don’t you understand that the state of “Lincoln” (where ever the hell that is) was getting some amount of money. SHE was already off point. The reason why you had never seen her before ws because she was a novice. She screwed up.

I have worked for CNN twice in the 20 odd years I have been in Atlanta. They pay crap and hire either reporters who can’t get a job or production people that are kids, fresh out of school. They finally learned to put vets in the control rooms, but that only happened after they were sold to Time/Life (or whoever the hell bought them)

I have been in situations at least that bad (The Rodney King riots in Atlanta), where we were actually attacked, but we were both vets and was able to handle it and still look like pros. She and her videographer were amateurs, as per CNN.

She was horribly biased in a situation where people were already angry at her network for being biased. She was an idiot.

–As if crazies holding racist posters is not a valid story? C’mon! Where was FOX’s Fair and Balanced coverage of those people?–

There was a very tragic story on local Atlanta news about five people dying in a hit and run accident. We know it was a woman driving a BMW 740. We also know that she was smoking a cigarette and was talking on her cell phone. Do you know whether she was Black or White? She is (or was) at large, there is a description of her out, she is full blown BOLO, and the local news won’t mention whether or not she is Black or White.

The same thing happened a few months ago when some guy had gotten involved in a road rage incident who took out his pistol and killed another driver in front of that driver’s wife. the wife gave a full description of the killer, which was relayed by the news stations . . . all except the race of the killer.

With that sort of sensitivity to racial issues, where very useful crime prevention is retarded because of a HUGE element of a general description of a perpetrator is left out, why would you think that FOX should focus on that sort of thing?

JokesOn

April 17th, 2009
10:12 am

Yea, you win.

Not about “winning” it is about truth, but thanks for the acknowledgement.

JokesOn

April 17th, 2009
10:06 am

I saw the clip (on Hannity no less…a conservative entertainment program) and the crowd was chaos around that lady. I was afraid for her. And, when she asked that guy a simple straight forward question regarding the “What you talking bout Willis?” and other racists posters being held, he went into a off subject tirade. She tried to refocus him back to the question, talking loud because of the huge amount of screaming in the background and chaos, and he started his off topic rant again. So, she left him.

The next person even confirmed that there were a lot of crazies there and asked why she would interview one of them! She was mad that all the crazies were even acknowledged! As if crazies holding racist posters is not a valid story? C’mon! Where was FOX’s Fair and Balanced coverage of those people?

The Other Jack

April 17th, 2009
10:05 am

Joke

Yea, you win. I just don’t have the time. My old PC went down last nigh in the middle of rendering 30 frames of that show opening. I had been having trouble out of the processor fan. Off to Best Buy.

The Other Jack

April 17th, 2009
9:52 am

–what a load of bollocks. if you want to keep repeating your mantra of “it’s a baby! it’s a baby! it’s a baby!” have a ball. I still say what I’ve said repeatedly in the past – medically, the proper term is a fetus until it has emerged from the woman’s uterus. and, that fetus should not be considered equal to the woman who is carrying it. for me, that is what it all boils down to.–

Well that’s nice. I didn’t realize that you were a medical professional. I’m sure you always call a discoloration on your finger nail a chromonychia, and when you have a little gas, I’ve heard you mention having a bout of eructation so many times in the past.

What I am talking about is a pregnant woman who refuses to say that her unborn child is a human. That sort of thing, but since you have obviously never seen the debates, I guess this is the best you can do. The next time the discussion breaks out, I’ll point it out and then maybe then you will have nowhere to run . . . er . . . I mean you will further understand the situation.

–and you do understand that this was a political rally – so much for “Fair and Balanced”–

So apparently, you still can’t tell the difference between news and political commentary. Entertainment and news? Ring a bell? Cronkite and Limbugh? Do you recognize any sort of difference? David Brinkly and Sean Hannity. Any spark at all?

–… again, if Blitzer or Stephanopolous or Couric wanted to do their show from an anti-war rally in 2003 — or were promoting the rally and how to get involved — your head would have exploded. But IOKIYAR RULES, as always!!—

Stephanopolous. Clinton’s boy. Oh yea. He’s one of the most respected “journalist” that the left wing media has. (yuk, yuk. Now there’s a standard) But here again, he and Couric at least pretend to be journalist. Hannity and Beck do not. They are called (read it slowly) political commentators. They have a different role than news people. See, their job is NOT to be Fair and Balanced. Their job is to show up at political rallys aand support the politics involved.

Here’s an idea. Watch the clip you said you would of the CNN reporter and there you can see what a real biased news network does. That is a “reporter” that screams at protesters for taking a stance against what her network constantly pushes. This time it is so bad that it has become an internet sensation. But again, bias only happens when FOX has political commentators who show up at political rallies. It’s all FOX and CNN is always fair and pretty much perfect. I’m learning a lot from you.

–hahahaha … for what crime??? your shrillness and your craving for Dem blood overrules everything for you — the rule of law and even logic.—

I don’t know. I know a lot of people that run male prostitution rings out of their home and aren’t arrested when it is discovered. I’m sure you do too.
“Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, an acknowledged homosexual, today confirmed that his Washington apartment had been used as a callboy headquarters by a male prostitute for a year and a half until late 1987. Responding to a story in today’s Washington Times, Frank said he had hired the prostitute out of his own funds as a personal aide and fired him when he found out what was going on.” newsbusters

–thanks for starting my day with a laugh.—

Same here.

JokesOn

April 17th, 2009
9:48 am

TOJ,

I provided the links you asked for…gonna comment on that subject or ignore it?

JokesOn

April 17th, 2009
9:47 am

Your point might carry more weight if I had actually supported the overspending under Bush, which I didn’t.

You asked why we judge the two differently and I explained why. Bush did not see the public as deserving to know what he was doing and why he was doing it.

Your policy of inaction is scary. That is one of the factors that got us into this mess – lack of action/oversight/acknowledgement. More of the same would have, most probably, gotten us more of the same.

Gandalf, the White!

April 17th, 2009
8:14 am

Gale

April 17th, 2009
7:58 am

It is a serious pity that rolling eyes cannot be placed into a text box.