British historian Andrew Roberts, one of the most conservative of his generation, has a in the Wall Street Journal blasting his brethren for their timidity in facing up to al-Qaeda. Roberts chronicles his countrymen’s reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden, which is to say their anger at America for polishing off the would-be Mr. Big of international terrorism. In an inversion of reality, they seem to view bin Laden as a victim of American imperialism. Obama has become the new swaggering George W. Bush, carrying out rough frontier justice rather than abiding by the niceties of international law.
Britons are, of course, not unique. Castigating America? It’s a European phenomenon. It endows the castigator with moral superiority over those primitive, bumptious Yanks. But the quotes that Roberts provides from a recent BBC show are certainly eyebrow-raising:
Another panelist, the writer Yasmin Alibhai Brown, was applauded when she said she was “depressed” by the killing, as it “demeans a democracy and a president who has shown himself to be the Ugly American. He’s degraded American democracy, which had already degraded itself through torture and rendition.” The former Liberal Party leader Paddy Ashdown was then cheered when he said: “I cannot rejoice on the killing of any man. I belong to a… >>>