Mark Steyn points out that the world sees that the U.S. as once again afraid to us its power to win:
What’s the difference between September 2001 and now? It’s not that anyone “liked” America or that, as the Democrats like to suggest, the country had the world’s “sympathy.” Pakistani generals and the Kremlin don’t cave to your demands because they “sympathize.” They go along because you’ve succeeded in impressing upon them that they’ve no choice. Musharraf and Co. weren’t scared by America’s power but by the fact that America, in the rubble of 9/11, had belatedly found the will to use that power. It is notionally at least as powerful today, but in terms of will we’re back to Sept. 10: Nobody thinks America is prepared to use its power. And so Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad and wannabe “strong horses” like Baby Assad cock their snooks with impunity.
I happened to be in the Australian Parliament for Question Time last week. The matter of Iraq came up, and the foreign minister, Alexander Downer, thwacked the subject across the floor and over the opposition benches in a magnificent bravura display of political confidence culminating with the gleefully low jibe that “the Leader of the Opposition’s constant companion is the white flag.” The Iraq war is unpopular in Australia, as it is in America and in Britain. But the Aussie government is happy for the opposition to bring up the subject as often as they want because Downer and his prime minister understand very clearly that wanting to “cut and run” is even more unpopular. So in the broader narrative it’s a political plus for them: Unlike Bush and Blair, they’ve succeeded in making the issue not whether the nation should have gone to war but whether the nation should lose the war.
That’s not just good politics, but it’s actually the heart of the question. Of course, if Bush sneered that John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi’s constant companion is the white flag, they’d huff about how dare he question their patriotism. But, if you can’t question their patriotism when they want to lose a war, when can you? [Emphasis mine.]
Because it’s Mark Steyn there is, of course, more and it would be a shame if you didn’t read it all.