Under normal circumstances, there is a word for people who attempt to separate the president from his Secret Service agents, and that word is "dead."
So perhaps the Chilean security agents who detained an agent attached to President Bush should be feeling as if they have a new lease on life, no? Probably not. Some inexplicable spasm of machismo led the Chileans to turn a simple walk to a photo op into a rugby scrum. You can well imagine how the president felt when his ever-present bodyguard evaporated. He was all alone and open to harm, so what did he do? No, Terry McAuliffe, he did not re-enlist in the Texas Air National Guard. He went over to the jostling knot of chest-bumpers and hauled his agent out.
And that's why they hate us! Seriously. So it seems. Said Marcelo Romero, a reporter at Santiago's newspaper La Cuarta: "All of us journalists agree that President Bush looked like a cowboy. It was total breach of protocol. I've seen a lot of John Wayne movies, and President Bush was definitely acting like a cowboy."
Again, we must remind the rest of the world: "Cowboy" is not quite the insult you believe it to be. It's like calling a Frenchman a gourmand and expecting him to shrink back in shame.
The message boards on the Internet were full of scorn; some fevered typists seemed to think Karl Rove had made Bush do it to look tough. Rove used a joystick to activate the control pack installed in Bush's spine, the one that made his jacket bulge in the debates. To be fair, if President Kerry had done the same thing, some rabid right-wingers would have hit the message boards to scoff: "No man left behind LOL wonder if he shot the Chilean guy in the back as he ran." But distaste for Bush is a global phenomenon. Ask anyone who's been abroad. They hate him.
Really, so what? Yes, global cooperation might be easier if every time Bush went abroad he washed the feet of the local oligarch, passed out $50 bills and free stem cells to the poor, apologized for deposing Saddam Hussein, and climbed into a dunk tank so every leftist in the country could throw baseballs at his head. But even then there would be great enmity toward the leadership of the United States. And there will be great enmity until we let the innumerable Lilliputians of the globalist movement tie us down with treaties and U.N. resolutions and International Criminal Court indictments.
But just because the world hates Cowboy Bush doesn't mean we're wrong.
What is the world, exactly? Check the headlines. "The world," naturally, is incensed by one Marine shooting a wounded terrorist. It angers the world more than the film of the death houses and torture chambers discovered in Iraq. (Which do you think airs more often on Al-Jazeera? Those were no doubt day care centers and wellness outreach clinics until the Brutal U.S. Occupation radicalized the kind folk of Fallujah.) No, the world hates us more -- either for doing something about Fallujah, or for reminding the diplomats who float from reception to reception that such places exist. Hard to tell.
More news of the world, with all its conceits and follies: "Arafat's Nephew Hints Israel Poisoned Palestinian Leader." There wasn't room in Yasser Arafat's body for more poison. His heart took care of that. "U.N. Official Says Iranians Seem to Curb Atom Activity." (To be followed by "Mushroom Cloud Seems to Appear Over Tel Aviv.") In the Congo, the United Nations is under investigation for 150 counts of sexual abuse by its staff and soldiers; do we get to hold them in contempt? Vladimir Putin has been doing his best to rig Ukraine's election; does the world sneer and spit at him? French troops appeared to have fired on crowds in Ivory Coast, but does anyone line up to protest a visit by Jacques Chirac?
We're not saying everyone should love the president and the United States. But there's enough hate for everyone! Let's spread it around!
It's the multilateral thing to do.
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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.