Saturday, December 23, 2006

America Loses, the World Wins?

This is the mantra of left wingers the world over (hence their open cheerleading for al-Qaeda, the Iraqi insurgents, et al), but I was surprised to see Charles Krauthammer fall for it, even if he was applying it in a slightly different context. I am going to take 'ol Charles apart here, although it may be hearsay in some right-wing circles:

Americans abroad have long been accused of such blinging arrogance and display. I find the charge generally unfair. Arrogance is incorrectly ascribed to what is really the cultural clumsiness of an insular people less exposed to foreign ways and languages than most other people on Earth.

You mean, like the way Muslims deeply understand and appreciate the cultural norms of the West? No, Charles seems to be referring to Europe here, where the Contintent (which includes Western and Eastern Europe as well as parts of Southeast Asia), at a relatively small 10,430,000 square kilometres has dozens of countries/languages/cultures; usually at war with one another. The United States, merely one country, has a total area of 9,631,420 square kilometres - and although you will certainly find a different culture in Venice Beach than you will on Madison Avenue, we are generally one and the same people, with common threads of moralities that hold us together. If we were at each other's throats, killing each other for control of Missouri River rights, would we be 'less insular" than the Europeans?

Americans abroad have long been accused of such blinging arrogance and display.

Maybe it is not arrogance, but the joyful exuberance of living in a free nation where anything is possible, where a man/women can cut their own way based on their ability and desire to succeed, and where we take care of ourselves so that a meddling European-style nanny-state doesn't have to do it for us. I'll remember to act more depressed the next time I'm abroad; maybe then I'll fit in with the withering European citizenry....

But here is where Krauthammer really ticks me off a bit:

My beef with American arrogance is not that we act like a traditional great power, occasionally knocking off foreign bad guys who richly deserve it. My problem is that we don't know where to stop -- the trivial victories we insist on having in arenas that are quite superfluous. Like that women's hockey game in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Did the U.S. team really have to beat China 12-1? Can't we get the coaches -- there's gotta be some provision in the Patriot Act authorizing the CIA to engineer this -- to throw a game or two, or at least make it close? We're trying to contain China. Why, then, gratuitously crush them in something Americans don't even care about? Why not throw them a bone?

Well, Charles, you know what - the women on the American Ice Hockey team trained for years to play in the Olympics and were trained to play their best; and if China was able to beat us 12-1, they certainly would do it without hesitation.

Now, I notice you do not ask that we fix to lose men's basketball and baseball events, only sports you deem less important. Well - what about soccer? Certainly less important to America than the rest of the world, where it borders on religion - should we throw the World Cup? What do we tell the hundreds of thousands of youths playing soccer all over America today - play your hardest, strive to win, but if you finally get to a world championship match, you'd better throw it so we do not hurt the feelings of the French?

Part of the reason so many people admire (and, admittedly, occasionally resent) America is because we are winners. We do not struggle under a class based system where only certain elites get to participate, we do not suffer under a dictatorship where friends get coaching jobs and starting roles, but we work under a talent and abiltity based system in everything we do - from business to sports to military promotions (no President has ever had his brother on the Chiefs of Staff). And when something doesn't work, we take it apart and fix it, as opposed to blaming others for our failures and putting out the same weak product(team), expecting to win the next time because it is due to us.

I will not throw a hockey game, or any other sporting event, to appease the leaders of communist China. Sorry, Charlie - if they are so much better than us, why can't their women beat ours in ice hockey? Why should American women (or, say, male soccer/baseball/basketball players) who train their whole lives for an event throw a game to salve the feelings of those who are simply not as well-prepared or well-trained?

Perhaps, Charles, we should throw a war or two instead - you know, just to give the Arabs their dignity! Perhaps a failed invasion of Syria would be up your ally?

Don't like it? Then lay off the United States women's hockey team!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Krauthammer drank from the liberal kool-aid - either that or he has no basic understanding of sports, and/or athletics, whatsoever.

Just a throwaway column, I suppose.