The storyline goes something like this: America's onetime popularity in the world was squandered by George W. Bush, whose belligerence and unilateralism after Sept. 11, 2001, alienated allies and engendered widespread anti-Americanism. But now, with the election of Barack Obama, America can restore its good name and regain the world's goodwill.
One vigorous exponent of this narrative has been Obama himself. "The single most important issue that we're facing in this election," he said during the campaign, is choosing a leader "to repair all the damage that's been done to America's reputation overseas." When I become president, he often told voters, "the world will look at America differently." . . .
For Obama, such worldwide jubilation must be gratifying. He should take it all with a healthy shake of salt, however. Because it isn't going to last.
Antagonism to the United States is as old as the United States. It didn't begin with the current president, unpopular though he is, or in response to American military action in Iraq. Nor is it going to vanish Jan. 20.
Friday, November 14, 2008
From Jeff Jacoby in Sunday's Boston Globe: