04/07/09 — Arrogant, huh? President Obama's comments not message to send overseas

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Arrogant, huh? President Obama's comments not message to send overseas

You might have missed it with all the big news about the economy and first lady Michelle Obama's effect on the European fashion industry.

But during one of his speeches on his recent trip overseas, the president of the United States decided to make an overture to his European hosts.

Americans have been a bit arrogant, he said, and have not always adequately acknowledged the importance of Europe as a force on the world stage.

The exact quote is not here because we want you to look it up and to make a decision for yourself about how you feel about that particular observation.

Do you agree? Are you glad that America's leaders are offering a hand of reconciliation and friendship to other nations?

Or are you angry that a president would make such a ridiculous statement?

Oops. Now you know how we feel.

The United States has treated its allies with respect and deference for decades -- and has been the first to leap to their defense for generations.

The arrangements that were made with regard to the War on Terror -- and yes, President Obama, it is still the War on Terror, even if you see fit to change the name of the mission -- were made with partners who sought a safer world and were willing to put their shoulders to the grindstone to achieve it. Those who chose to partner with us were given their due respect, and their counsel was taken as much into account as the analysis presented by our own experts.

Those who sought to bog down the process, and who sought to benefit from the sacrifices of other nations without investment of their own, were discounted -- as they should have been.

What this country has not done -- and shouldn't do -- is forget that the prestige and honor we have enjoyed for years are attributes we have earned -- no matter what a few malcontents say.

Sure, this nation wants to respect other nations and their right to direct their own affairs -- as long as those affairs do not threaten the well-being of this nation and its people.

And while some might like the new touchy-feely tone of U.S. foreign policy, there is still a need for strength -- and that is the message that the president should have taken to the world stage.

In a nutshell, here it is: We respect and have fought for the rights of people from all nations to be free -- and have done so for generations. And we will continue to fight those battles -- and to stand for the principles of decency and courage we have always stood for. All we ask in return is a little support and gratitude for the times we have stepped up when others wouldn't or couldn't.

That, Mr. President, is the message that many of us want you to send.

Published in Editorials on April 7, 2009 10:24 AM