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Let The Ingrates Defend Themselves
by Esther Hartstein
25 February 2003

Did it ever occur to the people running this country that shutting down our foreign aid programs may shut some complaining mouths as well?

With negative attitudes towards the United States hovering around 80% in some parts of Europe with similar numbers elsewhere, nobody but the most set-in-his-way imperial romanticist would argue the fact that the U.S. image is shot. Liberals blame President Bush, Conservatives blame the rest of the world. I say stop with the blame game and let's strategize.

Since World War II, the United States has stationed troops around major European cities to defend them. It has posted 41 military bases on the Korean peninsula, although the Pentagon has now committed itself to lowering the number to 23. It has assisted the French in their imperial missions in the Ivory Coast, providing weaponry and manpower. It has provided food to diverse Muslim peoples, many of whom hate the U.S. with a passion, as though oblivious to the source of their income. We give more foreign aid than any other country in the world.

And even despite this impressive yet far from complete list, our country's public image is in shambles. Other countries have grown fat in their refugee camps and lax in their military upkeep, and are devoting their resulting leisure time to biting the hand that feeds them. Protests swept across Europe, with protesters waving signs calling our President stupid, greedy, and evil. 75% of South Koreans in their 20's hold negative views of the United States, and there have been efforts in that country to boycott a James Bond film. "The U.S. is imperialist!" has practically become a global cry of solidarity against our country. And let us not forget that Muslims all over the world consider Osama bin Laden their hero.

Did it ever occur to the people running this country that shutting down our foreign aid programs may shut some complaining mouths as well? That when the food supply runs out, our detractors overseas may start engaging in farming rather than flag-burning? The U.S. has been spending millions advocating global population reduction. So why are we paying for hostile peoples, such as the Palestinians, to sit idle and jobless, breeding Mujehadin (Islamic Warriors)? Have we not enough honest, unemployed people at home to care for?

I would not deny that we have decent, caring leaders committed to the safety and prosperity of their people. Why, then, are we fighting terrorism with one hand and feeding it with the next?

I say, let the ingrates defend themselves. Let the Europeans pander to the Muslims until they are outbreeded into minority status and their military has become an arm of al-Qaeda. Let the South Koreans, with their U.S.-trained troops, defend themselves against the North Korea they love so dearly. Show the Islamists of the world that we won't be bailing them out from the devastation of their fanatical regimes.

I say we should divest, not invest, in our image. The nations of the world are cursing us as evil, greedy imperialists, and we gain nothing by assisting these complainers. Let the babies of the world suck their bottles. Then, they can either grow up on their own-or come whining back to mommy when things get tough.

Email Esther Hartstein

A multi-award winning poet, Esther has written a book, "Eros Wins The Battle", about a U.S. immigrant fighting for regime change in her native country. The book, filled with Greek myths and poetry, is available at BN.com (Barnes and Nobel) and Amazon.com.