We are the strongest and richest country in the world, and I have no desire to see us become a nation of cringing, self-loathing apologists.
Yet it is also true that one can show grace in the exercise of power, rather than taunting those in a weaker position.
The real model for this is George H. W. Bush, who was an exemplar of the intellectual/internationalist wing of the old Republican coalition.
Bush 1 was a master of diplomacy; he won a worldwide mandate to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and even get the rest of the world to chip in and pay for the conflict.
That’s real leadership–eschewing the cheap high of defiant action in favor of real results.
I hated Chirac (that cheese-eating surrender monkey) and Schroeder as much as anyone, and I wish that Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin would be eaten by wolves. But we’re the greatest country in the world, not a 3rd-grader. We should make decisions based on facts and what’s good for our country, not based on whether someone hurt our feelings.
That doesn’t mean kowtowing to other countries. But it does mean treating everyone with respect, even those who don’t deserve it, emphasizing similarities rather than differences, and reclaiming the moral high ground.
I love America, which is why I want to see it restored to its traditional standing as the shining beacon of good in this world.
(posted originally as a response to comments on “Obama: The Liberal Reagan“)