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As Long as We Remember...

November 9, 2004

“W” Stands for Winner - Part Two

Richard B. Weldon Jr.

America leads the world as the most powerful, most prosperous, and most generous nation on the Earth. The election of the world’s most powerful leader would naturally cause comments from his colleagues around the globe.

Last Tuesday’s election was no different, with other world leaders rushing to reporter’s microphones to weigh in with their thoughts and opinions.

After reading a number of these, I thought it might be fun to reproduce some of these comments and then add my own commentary after their words.

''There is a major and lasting lack of understanding between the American people and the rest of the world, in both directions,'' said Hubert Vedrine, a former French foreign minister. ''Almost all nations, with perhaps three or four exceptions, wanted change.''

Minister Vedrine epitomizes the view of French President Jacques Chirac. Not only that, but his sentiments reflect the general opinion of people in the street throughout Europe.

Generally, informal polling done throughout the continent confirmed that the consensus was that President Bush was not respected abroad, and that a majority of Europeans would rather see Senator John Kerry elected.

Unfortunately, many European countries share the malaise and lack of acceptance of a compelling imperative to keep the world free from murderous dictators and thuggish regimes. It is that same cowardice and failure to act to protect self-interests that led to Adolph Hitler’s occupation and America’s heroic intervention.

''Europe will continue to criticize Bush the same way as earlier,'' said Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson. ''But I do not believe that he will be more willing to listen.''

Hey, Goeran, guess what? You nailed it. American’s used the power of the ballot to affirm that President Bush has our support for his policies and approach. We know Sweden, France, Germany, Spain, and Greece are not thrilled with the Bush doctrine.

We know that our on-and-off again allies would prefer to take a wait and see attitude. This ostrich approach endangers future generations, by allowing terrorist states to build capacity and capability.

The good news is that this attitude, while pervasive, is not universal. Russian President Vladimir Putin said a Bush victory would mean the American people had not given in to terrorist threats.

''I would feel happy that the American people have not allowed themselves to be scared and made the decision they considered reasonable,'' Mr. Putin said at a Kremlin news conference.

No one would call President Putin a lap dog for President Bush. In fact, until Chechnyan rebels attacked a school and massacred little children, Mr. Putin had sided with his European counterparts.

President Putin was forced to confront the same reality that faced President Bush as he stood amid the rubble of the World Trade Center. That kind of savage disregard for humanity dictates an immediate and decisive reaction, and Mr. Putin now sees that.

An ailing Yasser Arafat congratulated Bush and expressed hope that a second term would help give a new spark to the Middle East peace process, an aide to the Palestinian leader said.

Mr. Arafat ''declares the readiness of the Palestinian leadership to cooperate and work with (Bush) to resume political efforts to bring about peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the president's vision'' in the road map, Arafat aide Mohammed Rashid said.

Wait a minute! President Arafat is now ready to work with President Bush to bring about peace? What changed? It wasn’t more than five weeks ago that Mr. Arafat was excusing the actions of Palestinian killers as “defending their territory.”

Maybe his failing health is forcing him to realign his thinking. More likely, he is smart enough to read the tea leaves, and Mr. Arafat sees a reelected George W. Bush possessing a mandate to use the tools necessary to protect Americans and American interests abroad.

Cuba's state television said Bush won the presidency by manipulating voters' fears of future terrorist attacks. On last Wednesday's edition of the island's nightly televised ''Mesa Redonda'' discussion program, host Randy Alonso said Bush's win was due to a successful strategy ''to cultivate fear among (U.S.) citizens'' and ''present himself as the great leader of the fight against terrorism.''

Hey, Randy, President Bush really IS the great leader of the fight against terrorism. In fact, I anticipate President Bush will continue to lead a worldwide fight against terror, and I expect he’ll continue to fight terrorists where they live and train.

Cuban state television! I’ll bet that’s a real pleasure to watch. All chickens, all the time! All I need is for some crackpot on Cuban state television to decide that American voters were so stupid as to vote for someone who could only cultivate fear among the electorate.

Oops, that’s exactly what Terry McAuliffe of the Democratic National Committee said during the campaign. Maybe there’s a place for Terry on Cuban state television. I’ll buy the one-way plane ticket!

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