Toby Harnden, Washington correspondent for the Telegraph, is moving on and up. In his farewell column, he contrasts his views on America in the late 1980's, when he was a student traveling across America, with his views 14 years later, as a mature adult. He went to his diaries and remembered that he had what passed for fashionable thought amongst the British chattering classesthe view that America is a nation of lightly educated, overfed neanderthals. However, since then, he has grown up, and his view of America has changed.
It is interesting to note, however, that the media elite in Britain still hold the same views that they held during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, another "Cowboy President" and "amiable dunce" whom the glitterati despised with every fiber of their being. The Guardian has turned in into an art form; their continuing feature, sneeringly entitled "George Bush's America", is a prime example of the amber in which their minds are trapped. Matthew Engel (who filed two of the more egregiousexcesses) is a product of this mindset, as are most of the columnists at the Guardian, the Independent, and the BBC. It's nice to know, however, that some of them have the same potential for growth exhibited by Mr. Harnden; all we need is for some of them to exercise the potential.
Harnden's whole piece is worth reading, but one paragraph struck me as particularly important:
Americans had little choice but to rise to the challenge September 11 presented. But acting decisively has stirred the embers of anti-Americanism - among other governments and elites at least. Even more dangerous is the rise of "counter-Americanism", the doctrine that the United States has to be stopped, its goals frustrated and a counter-balance created.
Are French leaders reading the Telegraph? They should be.