"Vulgar," "uncultured," "ignorant" and "greedy" are some of the more common adjectives that Britons use when describing Americans, according to the findings of a new poll published today in the Daily Telegraph. Ironically, those same adjectives can be used to describe the Telegraph's editorial board that thought it necessary to conduct the poll — with the help of YouGov — just in time for the 4th of July. Perhaps the better story, which the Telegraph chose not to report, is that after 230 years, Britons continue to begrudge the United States for that pesky revolution.
The Telegraph reports (gleefully):
As Americans prepare to celebrate the 230th anniversary of their independence tomorrow, the poll found that only 12 per cent of Britons trust them to act wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975.
(. . .)
More than two-thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination.
There are two messages that Britons are trying to send here: the explicit message — America's agenda conflicts dangerously with that of the international community; and the implicit message — the international community, minus America, seeks to promote the "greater good" while America seeks to obstruct it.
For Britons, and much of the European and international communities, America's meteoric rise to hegemony – or domination – on the world stage is an intolerable affront to their own hegemonic aspirations, as evidenced by this and similar polls. A brief look at America's rise to power, and its subsequent use of that power, demonstrates the utter asininity of these views.
As World War II came to a close, so too did the days of isolated governance. National agendas came to have global repercussions, which allowed the dominant nations to determine the paths and policies of weaker states. In other words, during the Cold War years, the US and USSR made history, literally.
On the world stage, the unmatched power of either nation gave rise to a bipolar world — where two dominant powers exist. The rest of the international community were forced to choose sides in the conflict in order to protect their own interests against the potentially aggressive policies of one or both powers.
The disintegration of the USSR — which nobody expected until after it happened, despite what many academicians would have you believe — propelled the US to global dominance, at which point the unipolar world that exists today was born.
Ironically, many experts believe that despite the shadowing threat of nuclear holocaust, the Cold War years marked a time of stability for the international community for the simple fact that there were two dominant powers that counterbalanced one another. And this is where the poll comes back into play.
Much of the international community is convinced that America's unmatched power enables us to effect policy that can be detrimental to other nations. In other words, America constitutes a greater threat to world stability than any other nation. While these claims are true, hypothetically, they do not correspond to reality.
Unlike previous world powers, America has been a benevolent ruler, from which the rest of the world has greatly benefited. While illiberals and Europeans will scoff at this notion, their position is hard to defend. Most of the democratized world — and much of the non-democratized world — functions today because the US enables –or enabled — them to do so. Apparently the Europeans have forgotten that it was US policy that rescued them from being relegated to the dark ages after the Great Wars.
Japan is flourishing today because the US military allowed them to focus their monies on economic infrastructures rather than national defense — to this day, only 1% of Japan's GNP is allocated for defense spending.
South Korea benefits from some 40,000 US troops protecting them from foreign invasion, which costs the US approximately $3 billion dollars a year.
Russia is not in complete ruins today thanks to the immediate funneling of US aid into the country following the collapse of its communist government.
Suadi Arabia, Kuwait, and the rest of the Arab Gulf monarchies have not been overrun by their neighbors due to US protection forces in the region.
Canada need never fear foreign invasion so long as America is still standing.
European states benefit directly from the $80 billion worth of yearly financing that America provides for NATO.
And the list continues…
And what does the evil United States ask in return for these generous gifts?
Only that the citizens of these countries are free to vote in fair elections; that they may speak their minds without fear of reprisals; that they may practice their particular religious beliefs without fear of persecution; that their rights to life and liberty are not subjected to the whims of brutal dictators; and that all of these freedoms be guarded by the impenetrable shield of democracy.
If the Europeans and others cannot recognize these glaring truths, then perhaps they ought to consider the alternatives, which are neatly organized in the annals of history.