- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003

The greatest understatement of modern political reality was uttered by David Maxwell Fyfe, the British politician, when he said: “Gratitude is not a normal feature of political life.”

How true his words were back in the 1960s and how much truer they are today as we read in the European media anti-American propaganda that has spread faster than the HIV-AIDS pandemic. I have diagnosed this disease as “Severe Acute Hate America Syndrome” with the acronymic initials SAHAS.

One of the most execrable examples of this flourishing anti-Americanism was an op-ed piece in the London Daily Telegraph on May 8 by the noted British novelist, Margaret Drabble, titled, “I loathe America, and what it has done to the rest of the world.” By her prose, Dame Margaret indicates quite clearly that she, like so many European media outlets, most notably the British Broadcasting Co., is suffering from SAHAS. So infected with SAHAS are Dame Margaret and her fellow-loathers at the BBC that they have preferred that Saddam Hussein’s cruel dictatorship were still in power rather than see the glimmerings of democracy in that tragic land. Fortunately SAHAS was not deep-rooted in the beleaguered European democracies during World War II, otherwise Dame Margaret and her ilk would be speaking German today.

What is so curious is that despite this daily slew of scurrilous attacks on America, Europe’s pressure with U.N. support for weeks has been on the United States, which never had an African colony, to invade Africa with U.S. troops to bring peace to Liberia. Even more curious is the statement of a Liberian Foreign Ministry official, as reported in The Washington Post: “Whatever Liberia is today, it’s what America made it. Or what America allowed it to be.” Among Liberian elites, the more irrational and unproven an anti-American statement is, the greater its truth.

Now the reason I raise the question of gratitude is that for a century U.S. military and politico-economic power and American lives have been devoted to the successful liberation of enslaved or endangered peoples from dictatorships. In fact, the 20th century will be known as a century when genocidal tyrannies were destroyed and turned into democracies. Without the efficacy and unstinting dedication of U.S. power the world would still be in thrall to dictatorships of all kinds: Fascist, Communist, Nazi, nationalist, theocratic. Quite possibly this liberation came about because of the effective working of an Anglo-American alliance in World War II and in postwar Europe, the Marshall Plan and NATO. It is the United States that has made possible today’s European Union, which is becoming the most powerful generator of the anti-American crusade.

I want to list the countries from tiny Grenada to the Soviet Union threatened or ruled by communist, fascist or military dictatorships that U.S. military and technological power helped overthrow or else prevented from seizing power:

Afghanistan, Austria. Albania. Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, East Germany, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Soviet Union, Taiwan, Turkey and Ukraine.

U.S. foreign policy with the 1947 Truman Doctrine saved Greece and Turkey. In 1950, U.S. military force saved South Korea, and later prevented China from invading Taiwan, today a robust democracy and an economic wonder. I would also include the overthrow of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and the ethnic dictatorship of Serbia over the rest of what was Yugoslavia. That’s 37 countries and almost a billion people — 966 million, according to 1966 population statistics — living in relative freedom.

And does the easing of dictatorships in China and Vietnam stem from a sudden ascent of communist politburo virtue or could it be U.S. pressure on the question of human rights plus the need of U.S. markets and loans? Is the fact that Latin America is overwhelmingly democratic just an accidental happening?

Quite a record. What that liberation record shows is the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of American lives and billions and billions of U.S. dollars. Can any other country make such a claim? France, which collaborated with Nazi Germany and supported to the very end Saddam Hussein’s foul dictatorship? France, the most anti-American country in Europe, ought to award Margaret Drabble the ribbon of the Legion of Honor. Perhaps it already has.

In any case, the United States just goes right on pursuing its unavoidable mission, fully aware, as the man said: “Gratitude is not a normal feature of political life.”

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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