Sunday, October 10, 2004

What allies?

Throughout the campaign season, the constant mantra from Senator Kerry's campaign is that President Bush has alienated our friends. Senator Kerry insists that if he were President then we would be more respected around the world and would have more nations helping us in Iraq.

This, of course, sounds very nice. Who wouldn't want more nations helping us in Iraq? What nation does not want to be universally respected and admired? But, is this actually realistic?

Let's speak plainly about this for a moment. The nations that John Kerry is talking about are France, Germany and Russia. Kerry seems to take it as an undeniable truth that those three nations were once solid friends of the United States that they have only now been alienated by the brash policies of the Bush administration.

I contend that this is not true. I contend that although each of those nations has at some time worked well alongside the United States they are not historically trusted allies of our nation.

Germany. In the past century, the United States has fought two world wars against the Germans, and half of the German nation was on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.

Russia. The Russians happened to be fighting against the Kaiser on the eastern front of World War 1 and happened to be fighting against Hitler in World War 2. But, in both instances, Russia could hardly be said to be a true ally of the United States. In fact, the Russians started out in World War 2 in league with Nazi Germany. World War 2 began with an invasion of Poland. As part of a secret agreement between Stalin and Hitler, it was both the Germans and the Russians who invaded Polant. And, less than 20 years ago, the United States was engaged in the height of the Cold War against the USSR. The current leader of Russia was a KGB operative in that Evil Empire.

France. And then there is France. France was indeed on the right side of World War 1. The French were attacked, and the British and Americans came and fought alongside them. Then came World War 2. After the Nazis breezed into Paris, the French basically switched sides in that war. The new government successfully sought an armistice with the Germans. Then the Vichy French actually fought against the British and the Australians in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Of course, the real allies eventually drove the Nazis out of France and allowed the Free French under De Gaulle to regain control of their nation. Then the Cold War developed. The French were hardly meaningful allies in that global struggle. And in one of the first times that the United States went on the offensive against terrorists in the Middle East, the French stood in our way. In the 1980's, the French government did not allow American planes to travel through their airspace on their way to bomb Libya.

Summary. John Kerry acts as if the United States has recently alienated tried and true friends and allies. This is simply a misunderstanding of our real relationship with those nations. Why should we expect that the nations we fought against us and obstructed us in the past would now be on our side in the War on Terror? We have never relied on those nations, and there is no reason to be surprised or dismayed at the fact that they decided to sit out the War on Terror.

What Senator Kerry refuses to acknowledge is that the United States still has the same loyal friends beside us today that we have always had beside us in global struggles. The nations that have always stood beside the United States and bled beside the United States are the United Kingdom and Australia. And once again, it is the Brits and the Aussies who are right beside us in Iraq and the rest of the War on Terror.

When it comes to friends and allies, it is not quantity that matters but quality. There are no better quality friends than the Brits and the Aussies.