Jonah Goldberg
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Here's a gloomy thought for you: America is going to be lonely for a very long time. After reading the October issue of The American Enterprise, "Red America, Blue Europe," that's the only conclusion one can draw.

There is a grand myth that the world, particularly Europe, loved America before George W. Bush came into office. The reality is that it only dislikes us a bit more than it used to.

Anti-American books tore up the best-seller list in France throughout the Clinton presidency. The staged anti-globalization riots during the 1990s were not love letters to America or the Democratic Party. In 1999, Bill Clinton needed 10,000 policemen to protect him from Greek activists who aimed to firebomb him. Protesters in Athens continually pulled down a statue of Harry Truman. Despite the relentless jackassery of people like Michael Moore and others who attributed 9/11 to Bush's policies - including our failure to sign the Kyoto Treaty (stop laughing) - al-Qaida got its operation up and running throughout the sunny days of Bill Clinton and the dotcom bubble.

In the 1980s, anti-Americanism was also a big problem, but fortunately the elites of Europe generally understood - with some lamentable exceptions - it was better to have America as a friend than the Soviet Union as a ruler.

But now that the Cold War is over, European elites have been liberated from the need to play well with the United States. Elections in Germany and France have largely been won in recent years by running against America. The U.S. is the only superpower and European elites don't think anyone but them should be superpowers. The Chinese have a similar attitude, of course, and pretty much every foreign policy article and expert I can find says we're going to be playing Cold War-style games with China for the next 50 years.

In other words, we are facing at minimum two enormous problems that will far, far outlast the Bush presidency, and, unlike in the past, it's not entirely clear we can rely on our friends to stand with us. This is a broad generalization, which means that it's open to contradiction by a great many facts while still, I think, remaining true. We do have some real friends, most notably Britain, Japan and Australia.

But much of Europe seems lost to us. There are many reasons for this, but two stick out. First, they're free-riders. They know that America is the only country left with the means and the will to maintain international order. Our economy keeps their economy afloat. We keep the sea lanes open. Our scientific innovation gives them medical breakthroughs they buy on the cheap.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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