Victor Davis Hanson
Argentina is now angry over a British company's oil exploration off the windswept islands in what it considers its own South Atlantic backyard.
Although nominally democratic, the unpopular Kirchner government in
In response to all this, the Obama administration announced that it would remain neutral. Aside from the fact that the Falkland Islanders wish to remain British, and our prior support for the Thatcher British government during the 1982 war, there are lots of reasons why our neutrality here is a bad idea.
Britain is a longstanding
We do not support all the British do; nor do they always support us. But our centuries-old friendship should earn Britain special support in its disputes, even in the relatively unimportant Falklands mess. If Britain is not considered an ally, then America no longer has real allies.
And perhaps that is the point, after all. The Obama administration does not wish to see the world so divided between allies and the rest.
The president rather abruptly cancelled missile defense with the allied
Obama seems more eager to mollify
The list goes on. Meanwhile, Obama has symbolically tried to downsize the profile of the U.S. by downplaying the idea of an "exceptional" America, bowing to foreign leaders, and apologizing for supposed past American sins.
All that raises the question of what exactly are advantages these days of being a friend of the U.S., when neutrals and enemies garner as much of our sympathies?
We have seen such naive attitudes before in the West.
After the horrific carnage of the First World War, utopians wrongly swore that rival European alliances had alone caused the war, and so created the
After 1945, a much wiser
Today there are many Falkland-like hot spots throughout the world. Yet
In other words, America and its alliances keep friends safe. And the world is more peaceful and prosperous than at any time in history because dozens of nations count on our support and share our values.
So until human nature changes, there are always going to be some nations that are more aggressive than others, seeking to take what they can by force. Groups of like-minded others will resist them both for principle and their own self-protection. And the majority of "neutral" countries will keep quiet, waiting to see who proves the stronger -- and then opportunistically joining the eventual winner.
An idealistic America may now decide that it does not want or need special allies like Britain. But that diffidence will eventually mean we have more enemies than ever -- as the watching world makes the necessary adjustments and joins those who unabashedly promise them support and protection.
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(C) 2010 Victor Davis Hanson. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services.