WORLD MATTERS: Yes, European conservatives agree, U.S. politics and media are in free fall

Pardon an outburst from a fervent friend of the United States: Yes, Secretary of State John Kerry is right! This year’s election campaign is indeed an embarrassment to America!

As Kerry said, America’s friends around the world are shocked. I am a European conservative, and I am shocked. I speak with friends in Europe every day, including senior officials in Germany and seasoned political observers in France. And they are shocked by this country’s descent into abject vulgarity at a time when the world yearns for American leadership displaying wisdom and values.

Yet it was even more shocking to watch President Barack Obama doing “the wave” at as baseball game in Cuba and subsequently dancing the tango in Buenos Aires while Europe was reeling after the latest ISIL outrage in Brussels, just as Obama’s and Kerry’s absence at the world leaders’ unity march in Paris after the murderous attack of Islamic terrorists on the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices in January 2015 had been embarrassing.

I have covered most U.S. Presidential elections since Goldwater vs. Johnson in 1964 as a foreign correspondent.They were always entertaining, quite different from ours, and that was fine. But lately they have been degraded to a level so base that it seems to confirm John Adams’ dire insight, “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide,” as former Republican hopeful Mitt Romney reminded us recently.

This is precisely what America’s European friends fear. I hear it every day.

Do Republican politicians and their media minions not realize that conservatives in Britain, France, Germany or Italy – never mind our invariably anti-American liberals and leftists — also watch their gratuitous insults on CNN and Fox and read about them in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times? Does it not occur to them that we European conservatives who are their friends shake our heads in despair when Republican front runner Donald Trump declares NATO “obsolete” and when his supporter, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Cal.), chooses the day of the Brussels bloodbath to assert on Fox, “NATO is not there for radical Islam, NATO is there for Russia”?

What? Whom if not Muslim fanatics were NATO soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, where Germany deployed the third-largest military contingent after the U.S. and the United Kingdom, a fact never mentioned by Republican politicians and pundits, and never discussed in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, presumably because mentioning this fact might weaken the relentless agitation against us “feckless Europeans”?

Once every so often Fox’ Bill O’Reilly asks the rhetorical question of what President Obama’s anti-ISIL coalition was actually doing. He does not begin his inquiry the way every newsroom intern would have when I started out in this business 60 years ago — by calling for example the press attaché at the German embassy in Washington (202-298-4251) or his French counterpart (202-944-6000), as journalists of my generation would have done.

Nor, God forbid, would he send a reporter with the proper language skills and historical knowledge to Berlin, Paris, Rome or Madrid. Were he to follow standard journalistic procedures he would discover that France, Germany and other European nations are actually busy fighting Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and in Africa.

Only fools would believe that America can do without friends any more than Europe can do without America. Virtually every day when calling Europe I hear the same response to the irresponsible rhetoric from this side of the Atlantic: “We have lost our friend.”

Full article: WORLD MATTERS: Yes, European conservatives agree, U.S. politics and media are in free fall (World Tribune)

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