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The Xenophile Historian

K. U. P.

(Kimball's Unauthorized Perversion)

‘World Opinion’ is Worthless

In most wars there are two clearly defined sides. World War I, for example, had the Central Powers and the Allies, while World War II had the Axis against the Allies. However, the War on Terror has three recognizeable factions, not two.

1. First, you have the Islamists/Islamofascists--the terrorists and anyone who supports them, which includes a significant portion of Moslem communities in the West. This group sees the conquest or conversion of the whole world to Islam as its ultimate goal. North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela also belong to this group, though they are not Moslem, because there is no longer a communist bloc for them to join.

2. Second, you have the "Coalition of the Willing," led by the United States and including Israel, the United Kingdom and Australia, topped off by small amounts of help from other countries like India and Poland. Whereas past American presidents talked about "making the world safe for democracy," this group believes that spreading democracy will make the world safer.

3. Third, you have the neutral majority--those who choose not to get involved in the war. Members of this faction either deny that militant Islam is a threat, or fear it to the point that they'd rather appease it than fight it. Whatever the reason, they sit on the sidelines, hoping the problem will go away. The most visible members are the so-called "Axis of Weasels" (France, Germany and Russia), plus China, Canada, Belgium and just about everybody else who is not in the first or second group. Often they insist that it's nobody's business what kind of government is chosen by another nation, and that nations should not intervene to stop human rights abuses. In addition, they accuse the United States and Israel of starting the war by their heavyhanded behavior--in regard to oil, the Palestinians, their response to terrorism, etc. Finally, many folks in this group are still subject to that most irrational of hatreds, anti-Semitism, because Israel is involved. Most of them probably don't want the Islamists to win, but somewhere, deep down in their hearts, they want the United States and Israel to lose. I once heard that attitude referred to as R & B--"Realpolitik and Bedwetting."

It is the neutrals that Western liberals seem to identify with the most. When this group tried to prevent Saddam Hussein's removal from power, liberals accused the United States of "acting unilaterally," as if the Brits, Aussies, Poles, Danes, Mongolians and others weren't there. And when they talk about the American government antagonizing "world opinion," they're usually talking about the nations of Continental Europe, as if no war can be a just war without their participation. In response to that, I recently heard a conservative say, "Of course this war doesn't look like World War I or II, the French haven't surrendered yet!"

Of all three groups, #2, the "Coalition of the Willing," is probably the smallest, in terms of both population and number of nations. It also has the least steady poulation; support for its side in the war is far from total. Pakistan, for example, is officially a member of the Coalition because its president wants to be on our side, while most of his subjects prefer the Islamists.

Let the record show that this is not the only time when the good guys were in the minority. Historical examples would include the Greeks at Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis; the Maccabees in the early stage of their rebellion; England against the Spanish Armada; and Great Britain vs. Nazi Germany in the second half of 1940. And it's a common theme in literature to pit a few heroes, sometimes only one, against a horde of villains (e.g., think of most of the battle scenes in Tolkien's The Lord Of The Rings). We're inclined to wonder if we're on the right side when we're in the minority, but the above examples are enough to make me wonder if I'm on the right side when I'm in the majority, too. World opinion, for instance, tended to favor the Confederacy during the American Civil War, until Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and do I even need to mention that Jesus was crucified by a majority vote?

I've gone on longer with this introduction than I should have, so hopefully you got the point I was trying to make. Anyway, here's a column that puts the issue in better words than I did.

‘World Opinion’ is Worthless

By Dennis Prager

Source: Jewish World Review, August 1, 2006.

If you are ever morally confused about a major world issue, here is a rule that is almost never violated: Whenever you hear that "world opinion" holds a view, assume it is morally wrong.

And here is a related rule if your religious or national or ethnic group ever suffers horrific persecution: "World opinion" will never do a thing for you. Never.

"World opinion" has little or nothing to say about the world's greatest evils and regularly condemns those who fight evil.

The history of "world opinion" regarding the greatest mass murders and cruelties on the planet is one of relentless apathy.

Ask the 1.5 million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Turks;
or the 6 million Ukrainians slaughtered by Stalin;
or the tens of millions of other Soviet citizens killed by Stalin's Soviet Union;
or the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis and their helpers throughout Europe;
or the 60 million Chinese butchered by Mao;
or the 2 million Cambodians murdered by Pol Pot;
or the millions killed and enslaved in Sudan;
or the Tutsis murdered in Rwanda's genocide;
or the millions starved to death and enslaved in North Korea;
or the million Tibetans killed by the Chinese;
or the million-plus Afghans put to death by Brezhnev's Soviet Union.

Ask any of these poor souls, or the hundreds of millions of others slaughtered, tortured, raped and enslaved in the last 100 years, if "world opinion" did anything for them.

On the other hand, we learn that "world opinion" is quite exercised over Israel's unintentional killing of a few hundred Lebanese civilians behind whom hides Hezbollah -- a terror group that intentionally sends missiles at Israeli cities and whose announced goals are the annihilation of Israel and the Islamicization of Lebanon. And, of course, "world opinion" was just livid at American abuses of some Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. In fact, "world opinion" is constantly upset with America and Israel, two of the most decent countries on earth, yet silent about the world's cruelest countries.

Why is this?

Here are four reasons:

First, television news.

It is difficult to overstate the damage done to the world by television news. Even when not driven by political bias -- an exceedingly rare occurrence globally -- television news presents a thoroughly distorted picture of the world. Because it is almost entirely dependent upon pictures, TV news is only capable of showing human suffering in, or caused by, free countries. So even if the BBC or CNN were interested in showing the suffering of millions of Sudanese blacks or North Koreans -- and they are not interested in so doing -- they cannot do it because reporters cannot visit Sudan or North Korea and video freely. Likewise, China's decimation and annexation of Tibet, one of the world's oldest ongoing civilizations, never made it to television.

Second, "world opinion" is shaped by the same lack of courage that shapes most individual human beings' behavior. This is another aspect of the problem of the distorted way news is presented. It takes courage to report the evil of evil regimes; it takes no courage to report on the flaws of decent societies. Reporters who went into Afghanistan without the Soviet Union's permission were killed. Reporters would risk their lives to get critical stories out of Tibet, North Korea and other areas where vicious regimes rule. But to report on America's bad deeds in Iraq (not to mention at home) or Israel's is relatively effortless, and you surely won't get killed. Indeed, you may well win a Pulitzer Prize.

Third, "world opinion" bends toward power. To cite the Israel example, "world opinion" far more fears alienating the largest producers of oil and 1 billion Muslims than it fears alienating tiny Israel and the world's 13 million Jews. And not only because of oil and numbers. When you offend Muslims, you risk getting a fatwa, having your editorial offices burned down or receiving death threats. Jews don't burn down their critics' offices, issue fatwas or send death threats, let alone act on such threats.

Fourth, those who don't fight evil condemn those who do. "World opinion" doesn't confront real evils, but it has a particular animus toward those who do -- most notably today America and Israel.

The moment one recognizes "world opinion" for what it is -- a statement of moral cowardice, one is longer enthralled by the term. That "world opinion" at this moment allegedly loathes America and Israel is a badge of honor to be worn proudly by those countries. It is when "world opinion" and its news media start liking you that you should wonder if you've lost your way.

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