Cheney, Bush and Co love to drop testosterone-laced lines like: We don’t need to ask for a permission slip to defend our country. Soundbites like these come off pretty well if you’re an idiot. But they are starting to fall on deaf ears throughout the world. In an era where everyone pretty much admits we need allies more than ever, a growing number of countries and citizens around the world hate America.
The prison pictures did a lot of damage. But the public relations blood would not be flowing so freely if there weren’t already a globefull of open wounds.
This has nothing do with a weakness when it comes to self-defense. And it might not (if such notions bother you) have much to do with the moral highground – which some would argue is a key ingredient in the war against terror. It’s just a whole lot easier to run the world’s sole superpower if others like and respect you.
From Tom Friedman: “We are in danger of losing something much more important than just the war in Iraq. We are in danger of losing America as an instrument of moral authority and inspiration in the world. I have never known a time in my life when America and its president were more hated around the world than today. I was just in Japan, and even young Japanese dislike us. It’s no wonder that so many Americans are obsessed with the finale of the sitcom Friends right now. They’re the only friends we have, and even they’re leaving.”