06/20/11 — It's about time: Ambassador said what Americans are thinking

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It's about time: Ambassador said what Americans are thinking

Wow, who would have thunk it?

There is absolutely someone in Washington who knows when it is time to call a spade a spade.

U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry said to Afghan President Hamid Karzai what so many people in this country would like to say to all those who take money and military support from the United States and then proceed to bad mouth this country.

"Shut up or we will get out and leave you on your own."

Now, the ambassador was much more respectful than that -- and more diplomatic, too -- but there is no question that the message was loud and clear. It is time for the Afghan leader to quit biting the hand that is feeding him and disrespecting the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who are protecting him and his nation.


There are many, many people who are sick of listening to other nations beat up on Americans. They hear themselves being called names, being labeled imperialistic, selfish and arrogant by those who themselves are not really pulling their weight when it comes to being leaders in the world.

All the while, these same people are quick to call on and expect this country's aid for everything from natural disasters to military policing around the world.

Even our own president and first lady made similar comments about how Americans need to understand more about the world and to develop new relationships with other countries -- and implied this country's behavior to this point had been less than stellar.

The U.S. has a leadership role to play in the world. No question about it. And with that privilege comes the responsibility of working hard to understand, to support and to be a reasonably agreeable partner with others around the world.

But that doesn't mean this nation should be run down and stomped on by every Tom, Dick or Harry who is accepting our help or our money.

And it also means we should remember who our friends are -- our allies who have proven their commitment to being real partners in keeping the world safe. They deserve our thanks, not our derision. They need to know they can trust us.

It is time to remind the world that while we are determined to be good citizens of the world, we are finished being its doormat.

U.S. Ambassador Eikenberry might not have said all that this week, but he made the first tentative steps to expecting -- and demanding -- appreciation and respect from those we are helping.

And that is a milestone worth mentioning.

Published in Editorials on June 20, 2011 10:26 AM