Kerry assured us that, because he spoke French and loved the UN, he would have Europeans eating out of America’s hand if he were to become President. How great must his chagrin be with the fact that it is during Bush’s watch that the Europeans are coming back to us. And it is during Bush’s watch — and despite the War in Iraq — that the more stable Arab nations are coming back to us. They may not like Bush or America, but with Russia and China placing pressure on Europe, and Iran placing pressure on fellow Muslims, political expediency is driving them back into the American penumbra. Charles Krauthammer, not unsurprisingly, sums it up well:
And it makes the point that the Bush critics have missed for years — that the strength of alliances is heavily dependent on the objective balance of international forces, and has very little to do with the syntax of the U.S. president or the disdain in which he might be held by a country’s cultural elites.
It’s classic balance-of-power theory: Weaker nations turn to the great outside power to help them balance a rising regional threat. Allies are not sentimental about their associations. It is not a matter of affection, but of need — and of the great power’s ability to deliver.
What’s changed in the last year? Bush’s dress and diction remain the same. But he did change generals — and counterinsurgency strategy — in Iraq. As a result, Iraq has gone from an apparently lost cause to a winnable one.
The rise of external threats to our allies has concentrated their minds on the need for the American connection. The revival of American fortunes in Iraq — and the diminished prospect of an American rout — have significantly increased the value of such a connection. This is particularly true among our moderate Arab allies who see us as their ultimate protection against an Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas axis that openly threatens them all.
Once again, it seems that actual reality is running counter to the conclusions that the “reality based party” has drawn in approach the world around it.