During the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions (for lack of a better word) I found very little in the way of anti-American sentiment - in fact, America was left out of the dialogue. That has changed - dramatically - over the past few days.
With warships steaming toward Libya and the Obama Administration once again acting like a squirrel in the middle of the road, anti-American sentiment is now part of the conversation.
Obama is after Libyan oil. The linked cartoon shows the typical response of people throughout the world to anything the US does. Believe it or not, this type of thought is not just reserved for the petulant American Left.
"Libya goes to show that people still look to the US for moral leadership and support. Too bad they don't usually find it" said Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brooking Doha Center today. Moral leadership. President Obama seems unable to clearly communicate moral leadership when it is not inherently political, and George W. Bush allowed his moral clarity to become obfuscated by his inability to defend his positions.
The reality is the US doesn't invade countries for oil. In Iraq, even though we rebuilt their oil infrastructure we buy Iraqi oil at or above market prices. And certainly, Afghan oil is still as non-existent as ever. But why let facts get in the way of a good hissy fit?
Self-proclaimed human rights activist and Lebanese blogger Sarah Abdallah Tweeted the following yesterday: "The US government's definition of 'humanitarian intervention' is invading another country and plundering its natural resources."
The US has the largest economy in the world and is pretty chock full of its own natural resources, because we're too politically lazy to exploit them fully. But even though there is no record of the US intervening in a foreign land on the pretense of humanitarian aid and then loading up the Dodge Ram with booty and high-tailing it back home, it's still what people think. Not just the professional haters in our own country, but world-wide.
All of this has completely frozen President Obama in place while it has sent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton into a Charlie Sheen-like manic episode of saying things a normal person would regret later.
So my advice is this: If there are American lives at stake, say in Libya, then we are compelled and entitled to use whatever force necessary to safely extricate those US citizens who want to be extricated. We shouldn't be involved in the internal affairs of any country, and when we are invited or dragged in, then only with a clear-cut end-game and exit strategy. We should protect ourselves from the inside by tightening immigration and through the sheer size of our economy and not through mis-guided attempts to help people do what we think is good for them.
There is still more oil being produced than can be consumed, even with the new thirst in China, but China can only buy so much oil. Let the unseen hand of the market dictate the price of oil, instead of the feeble hand of the politician. Countries that depend on oil income need to sell oil, so let's act like a consumer and not the world's dad. We should cease to buy any product from any country who does not act in good faith with us. We have oil and we should exploit it. Drill in Alaska and lift the asinine and ill-informed moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico.
Then, make sure our foreign policy jibes with our national belief system. In spite of our political leaders and the assertions of the mass media in this country, we are a moral lot who care about lives and liberty and peace. We need to project our power, militarily and financially, in ways that coincide with the still strong foundations of our country. The haters around the world will hate no matter what we do, but we shouldn't be interested in what the haters think. The United States needs re-dedicate itself to what matters - life, liberty and prosperity.
That may seem Pollyanna-ish to many of you, but if you strip away the non-sense it's a point that's hard to disagree with.