America’s strongest ally

Whenever the issue comes up of who America’s strongest ally is, England and Israel most often make it to the top of the list. Militarily, England is almost certainly our strongest ally, although popular support for the US in England seems to be on the decline. In the United Nations, Israel votes with the US more than 90% of the time, more often than England. A couple of years ago, I heard an interview on the radio with an American in Israel who said that the morning’s paper had a front page spread that said, “God bless America.” It brought tears to my eyes. In what other nation on earth would that headline make its way to the front page in complete sincerity?

Victor Davis Hanson writes in his latest article, Popularity Contest,

The more confident a nation is, even when poor, the more likely it seems to admire America. Some of our best supporters turn out to be one-billion person India (59 percent favorable rating), Japan (61 percent), and South Korea (58 percent) — all democratic, capitalist juggernauts, and appreciative of liberal American trade policy and U.S. military support.

Hanson asks, “should we Americans value the friendship of such democracies — or that of a China that cheats on international trade accords and intimidates its neighbors?” He goes on to observe,

No doubt when the Bush administration leaves office, and should a Democratic one replace it, our approval ratings will rise with our present detractors. But they may also decline among our friends who will learn that U.S. open markets, free trade, and reliable military support in times of crisis are now objects of left-wing criticism. Note in this regard that world opinion toward both China and Russia is turning unfavorable. That distrust will only increase as both begin to flex their muscles — the former gobbling up oil contracts from the most murderous regimes, the latter selling the same rogues anything they need to foment unrest.

I’d like to add a little more about Japan. Despite its constitution’s prohibition of the use of military force, it sent peacekeeping troops to Iraq in solidarity with the US when many western European nations were criticizing us. Since it only retains a self-defense force, Japan is not as militarily powerful as England or Israel, but walking down the street in Japan I often see children and adults sporting t-shirts imprinted with the American flag. I don’t think there is another nation on earth where so many people admire the United States, and the survey results cited by Hanson above seem to concur. There are certainly people who criticize the US in Japan, but the majority supports us and considers us friends.

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2 Responses to “America’s strongest ally”

  1. Norski says:

    Thanks for a thoughtful post. I think you’ve hit on an important point: confidence does seem to go hand-in-hand with a positive attitude toward America. Both among nations, and, quite likely, among people.

    Of course, I’m biased.

  2. casey says:

    Thanks, Norski, for the kind words.