The hubris of "many world leaders" is occasionally astounding.

PARIS (Reuters) - The rest of the world will be watching with anxiety when President Bush is inaugurated Thursday for a second time, fearing the most powerful man on the planet may do more harm than good.

Many world leaders, alienated by Bush's go-it-alone foreign policy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq, would have preferred him to lose the U.S. election last November. Since his victory, they have been urging him to listen and consult more.

We wanted you to lose, but since you won we'd like it if you would listen to us more and do what we say. Here's a clue: if you want people to listen to you, you should show them that your advice helps them in some way, instead of only yourself. And no, merely getting back into your good graces does not count as "help" for us.

Mistrust also runs deep among ordinary people. Some 58 percent of people surveyed in a British Broadcasting Corporation poll in 21 countries said they believed Bush's re-election made the world a more dangerous place.

"Negative feelings about Bush are high," Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes which carried out the study, told the BBC. "This is quite a grim picture for the United States."

Grim because...? Are they going to stop buying our stuff and wearing our clothes? Not likely. The only thing slowing down their assimilation of American culture is that their economies are faltering. Are they going to refuse us help in future conflicts? Help with what militaries? France can't even deliver a single helicopter to Sumatra, what kind of help can the world offer us militarily?

Most of the world is irrelevant to us, and the rest is actively trying to hurt us. My own advice is that the irrelevant part should step lightly to ensure that they don't fall into the half that's trying to hurt us.

There is deep resentment to Bush in the Arab world, where he is accused of bias toward Israel, is criticized for his actions against Arab and Muslim states in the war on terror and faces dire warnings against any new military action in the region.

"The more Bush expands the horizon of American violence in the region, the greater the prospect of extremism and fanaticism," said Egyptian political analyst Mohamed al-Sayed.

I watched Voices of Iraq (buy it here) last week, and there appear to be a great many Arab people who are glad for what we did, as imperfect as our effort has been.

As for bias towards Israel, duh. They don't bomb buses and pizza parlors, which puts them a few notches above the Palestinians automatically. Plus, they didn't dance in the streets after 9/11. Plus, they're a democracy.

As for "the greater the prospect of extremism and fanaticism", the 1990s were full of terrorist attacks against America, and so far the 2000s have been pretty quiet. May God's grace continue to protect us.



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