Conrad Black: Stand Up, AmericaRoundup: Historians' Take
At the end of World War II, the Americans and the British ruled, or heavily influenced by traditional right, or occupied, or sustained by force of arms righteously exercised, almost all the world except what was under the hobnailed jackboot of Stalin’s Red Army (largely supplied by the United States as it was). The masses of the world were generally uneducated and didn’t speak English, but most of their local leaders did. Latin America admired the U.S., as Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy gave back a good deal of sovereignty and ended the practice of having the United Fruit Company and other American corporations deploy the U.S. Marines around Central America. Most of the Latin American countries joined the war effort, if only to be in at the founding of the United Nations, and the whole hemisphere — except for Canada, a dominion of the British Commonwealth and autonomous but in close alliance with Great Britain — sheltered under the shield of the Monroe Doctrine, which under its more vigorous espousers had purported to authorize the U.S. to intervene anywhere in Latin America for almost any reason....
It would be foolish and futile to become too misty-eyed about the era of Anglo-American paramountcy. The multipolar world, with generally declining patches of poverty and illiteracy, is a better place, and it is much preferable to be concerned about the antics of almost stateless terrorists, horrifying though their activities sometimes are, than to have to worry about immense nuclear arsenals in the hands of the Great Powers and on trip wires of massive retaliation and Mutually Assured Destruction....
No sane person would suggest that the U.S. try to resurrect that degree of enforced respect, but it is becoming so routine to watch the burning of American flags, and it is so inadequate for America to respond to attacks on its embassies and the murder of a distinguished ambassador in Libya with milquetoastish platitudes from an administration that has laboriously accepted the legion of acts and conditions it has declared to be “unacceptable,” that it is time, in Monty Pythonese, for “something completely different.”...
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