Rich Tucker

“McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet,” Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV told a West Virginia newspaper April 8. “What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know.” Rockefeller later apologized.

This, by the way, is an example of nasty campaigning, the sort of thing Democrats specialize in. Don’t take my word for it. The voice of the political left, The New York Times, recently editorialized that Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary campaign “was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.” But, we’re repeatedly told, it’s the Republicans who are going to go negative.

Oh, well. At least our reporters aren’t as out-of-touch as some across the pond are.

“To visit America at present is to be reminded of the continuing trauma of post-9/11, of a nation that craves a cohering substitute psychosis for the lifting of the Soviet menace,” British commentator Simon Jenkins wrote on April 23 in The Guardian. Things are apparently so bad that “Americans have been almost persuaded by their president, George Bush, that they are not at peace.”

Well, we aren’t at peace. We’re at war. As, by the way, is Britain. Allied forces are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars we can’t afford to lose.

Jenkins goes on to lament that Americans aren’t more like Europeans, who “have demoted military virtues and the military class to history’s dustbin.” But the reason voters on the continent have been able to do that is because, for decades now, the United States has picked up a disproportionate share of the human and financial cost of defending Europe.

Europeans love to brag about their “soft power,” their supposed ability to control events through diplomacy and economic pressure. But that only works when backed by “hard power,” something that Europeans are seemingly unwilling to deploy.

Look no further than the EU3’s (Britain, France and Germany) ongoing talks with Iran. They’ve been at it since 2003, and haven’t convinced Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions. When those talks fail, as they presumably will, the world will look longingly to American arms for protection.

If we won’t give it, what are they going to do -- get angry?

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for