The America Haters

Watch "Breaking Point - Hating America" Sunday at 9 p.m. and midnight ET, hosted by John Gibson.

The anti-American Europeans had worked themselves into a fever pitch in the days leading up to the U.S. election, in anticipation of what they were sure would be a result that would prove they had been right all along (about Bush, about the Kyoto Accords, about WMD, about the Iraq Invasion and Occupation, etc.), and that they had finally been able to educate and raise the consciousness of the American voter. When George W. Bush was returned to the White House the gasp across the Atlantic was nearly audible here in the United States.

This week French President Jacques Chirac has gone out of his way to be especially dismissive and insulting of both the United States and its chief ally in the Iraq war, Great Britain. France has decided it's national policy is to be a rival "pole" of power to the United States to try to undermine American leadership, and at the same time to declare loudly that France is America's best friend. France isn't fooling anybody, except perhaps itself.

Tony Blair understands the importance of American leadership, and in the days after the election, he has told the world that Britain should be a bridge between the United States and Europe. Britain may continue to fulfill that role, but it will be a contested issue, as most Britons don't want to be quite so close to the U.S., polls show.

The Germans have decided they want to get along with the United States better, but it's only the shock of the U.S. election result. Germany will still not agree to send troops to assist in U.S. military operations in Iraq, and it will insist its willingness to train Iraqi troops who have been flown to Germany is adequate assistance and all that America should hope for.

In the Middle East, of course, people have perhaps the greatest interest in a re-elected George Bush succeeding in Iraq, but he will have to do so without the cheers and support of Arabs. They continue to fester in the world's most virulent form of anti-Americanism, partially because it is culturally fashionable and partly because a pan-Arabic sense of pride and honor will not let them see that the Bush vision for Iraq is a big win for them. Not a single Arab country is a democracy. Arabs everywhere yearn for the freedom of a functional democracy, but the humiliation of Iraqi military defeats makes it impossible for Arabs to see the good that will come from an Iraqi democracy.

Half of America (the half that voted for George W. Bush) has been pitted against the other half of America, and virtually the entire rest of the world. It would be naive to think the pre-election bitterness and anger against the U.S. has truly abated. If anything it is worse, but less obviously so. The America haters are quiet, but only for the moment.