Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hearts and minds

I was thrilled to hear this from newly elected (in the greatest landslide in South Korea’s short democratic history) South Korean president Lee Myung-bak:

"I assure you there will be a change from the past government's practice of avoiding criticism of North Korea and unilaterally flattering it."

It is an article of faith on the left that our alliances have weakened since the beginning of the Iraq front of the War on Terror; all of the Democrat presidential candidates (and their husbands!) have echoed the theme countless times. Thus it bears repeating that as least as many governments friendlier to President Bush and the US have been elected (France, Germany, Canada, and now South Korea) as have been ousted (Spain, Italy and Australia). Great Britain and Japan have not moved in either direction, remaining staunch allies.

Reaction in the Muslim world has been mixed, with favorable public opinions of the US having dropped in Turkey (30% to 9%) and Jordan (25% to 20%) but having risen in Lebanon (35% to 47%), Pakistan (10% to 15%) and Egypt (6% to 21%) between 2002 and 2007 according annual surveys conducted by to the Pew Global Attitudes Project. There has been a sharp decline in Muslim support for suicide bombings and al Qaida, an extremely positive development.

The bottom line here is that the standard narrative that President Bush’s foreign policies, in particular in Iraq, have weakened our alliances and perception throughout the world is unfounded. It's just garden variety partisan spin, an attempt to fool the uninformed.

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