January 31, 2003

ROBERT KAGAN writes about courage in the face of anti-Americanism on the part of the European leaders who are standing by America. He’s certainly right about the extent to which the European intelligentsia has aligned itself with Pat Buchanan-style conspiracism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism. And yes, it’s widespread enough that it’s brave to face it down; it’s hard to imagine very many American politicians who would be willing to do so, though I can think of a couple.

But it’s a calculated risk that will pay off big, so long as the United States wins the war. The anti-Americanism won’t go away — it will never go away so long as Europe suffers so many self-inflicted wounds it’s afraid to talk about — but as Fareed Zakaria wrote last year, victory is the best propaganda, and if the war in Iraq goes well it will die down quickly, since a lot of the current upsurge is based on fear. And, unlike many previous administrations, the Bush folks seem to remember who America’s friends are, and who they aren’t.