Daily Archives: April 20, 2008

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Desegregating Europe: in a much-anticipated decision, the European Court of Human Rights produces its own version of Brown v. Board of Education.(D.H. v. Czech Republic).

Author(s):Michael D. Goldhaber. 
Source:American Lawyer 30.2 (Feb 2008): p77(2). (1445 words)  Reading Level (Lexile): 1420.
Document Type:Magazine/Journal
Library Links:
Full Text :COPYRIGHT 2008 ALM Media, Inc.

ON NOVEMBER 13 THE EUROPEAN Court of Human Rights settled any doubt that, in its protection of despised minorities, it is the rightful heir of the Warren Court. By a vote of 13 to 4, the European Court held that the Czech state had discriminated against Roma (Gypsy) children by quasi-automatically tracking them into schools for the mentally retarded.

Ironically, D.H. and Others v. The Czech Republic leaves today’s U.S. Supreme Court isolated in its cramped views on discrimination. Europe has become the unquestioned leader in a global judicial dialogue on civil rights in which the United States is only a marginal participant.

The European Court, based in Strasbourg, France, hears complaints by citizens against the 47 nations that have signed the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. One judge from each nation sits on the court, but complaints are generally heard in the first instance by a seven-judge panel; when petitions for rehearing are accepted, cases go to a “Grand Chamber” of 17 judges, somewhat resembling an en banc panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is similar in size. In the past generation, this institution has emerged as Europe’s primary expounder of constitutional values. Just as the Warren Court protected “discrete and insular minorities” (to use the phrase coined by Justice Harlan Fiske Stone), so the Strasbourg court in D.H. pledges to defend the “disadvantaged and vulnerable.” But in addition to grounding its mission in the Roma’s history of persecution, the European Court invokes the contemporary ideal of diversity. Thus the court identified an emerging European consensus that recognizes an obligation to protect minorities, both for their sakes and “to preserve a cultural diversity of value to the whole community.”

The European Roma, who number 10 million by one estimate, are the continent’s prototypical unpopular minority, facing widespread segregation in housing and education, as well as police brutality and stereotyping. It’s certainly hard to miss the disadvantage suffered by the 18 Czech Roma children who brought the D.H. case. When the suit started in 1999, the main advocacy group behind the case, the George Soros-funded European Roma Rights Centre, showed that Roma children in the plaintiffs’ hometown were 27 times more likely than their peers to be placed in “special schools.” It was enough to make a Jim Crow school superintendent blush.

EU_George_Soros_funded_desegregation_agenda

Last year, a lower chamber of the court rejected the children’s pleas on the ground that it was not the court’s role “to assess the overall social context.” After the case was accepted for a definitive rehearing by a Grand Chamber of the court, an editorial in The New York Times encouraged the court to “seize the opportunity to modernize and reverse a decision that has anchored European race relations today well behind where America was in 1954.” With no qualms about undertaking a broad social inquiry, the Grand Chamber grabbed the moment and reversed in dramatic fashion. At the heart of its opinion, the Grand Chamber declared that claimants may rely on statistics to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. Once that preliminary showing has been made, the burden shifts to the state to justify the policy to the judges. Such an approach is essential if a court is to invalidate a general policy that falls with disparate impact on a minority.

These discrimination standards bring the European Court of Human Rights into line with the law of the European Community and the U.N. treaty bodies, to which the Grand Chamber devoted 12 pages of citations. Sadly, the one Supreme Court decision cited by the European Court, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., dates to 1971, and its permissive test was confined to statutory law. Under U.S. constitutional law, establishing discrimination requires proof of intent, and the justices in Washington have spent the past 20 years retreating from the promise of Brown v. Board of Education. Last June they reached a new low, rejecting the school desegregation plans of Louisville and Seattle.

 

“The decision underscores the growing divergence between the U.S. and the rest of the world in the field of equality rights,” says one of the plaintiffs’ counsel, James Goldston of the Open Society Justice Initiative, another Soros-funded group. “Since Griggs was decided in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court has, on the whole, narrowed the scope of protection against racial discrimination, while courts in other countries–including, now most prominently, the ECHR–have steadily broadened it,” Goldston says.

Back in the seventies, it was U.S. law that inspired British and Irish barristers to transform the European Convention on Human Rights into a force for social change through a series of creative lawsuits. One leading early advocate was Anthony Lester, who in 1973, citing the civil rights precedents he had studied at Yale Law School, established that Britain had violated human rights when it effectively revoked the British citizenship of Indians and Pakistanis expelled from the young nations of East Africa. Now a member of Blackstone Chambers and the House of Lords, Lester has continued to fight the good fight as the winning barrister in the Roma desegregation case.

The European Court of Human Rights forms a progressive parallel universe to which the United States has traditionally been oblivious, although that is starting to change. The Supreme Court’s Bowers v. Hardwick decision, which upheld a ban on gay sex in 1986, seemed embarrassingly ignorant of the earlier Dudgeon v. United Kingdom, which reached the opposite result on identical facts in 1981. It was only in 2003’s Lawrence v. Texas that two gay men from Houston, who had been convicted of sodomy, persuaded the Supreme Court to overturn Bowers. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion was especially notable for the respect it accorded the European precedent of Dudgeon. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg observed after that term: “Our ‘island’ or ‘lone ranger’ mentality is beginning to change. Our justices … are becoming more open to comparative and international law perspectives.”

Desegregation and gay rights are only two of many areas in which European constitutional law holds lessons for the U.S. In 1971 a group of suspected Northern Irish terrorists–who became known as “the hooded men”–were subjected by the British military to many of the same techniques of sensory deprivation used at Guantanamo Bay. It’s been 30 years since the Strasbourg court banned this form of psychological warfare as “inhuman or degrading treatment.”

For all of Strasbourg’s pathbreaking, in recent years some commentators have worried that the Roma case was apt to be remembered as the Brown v. Board of Education that wasn’t. The Strasbourg court’s previously timid record on equality generally and Roma claims in particular suggested that the court had lost its reformist drive. One theory held that the court was reflecting the more conservative social mores of the former Communist nations that joined the Council of Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A second theory held that the court was so overwhelmed by its caseload–a victim of its own success–that it was prioritizing administrative efficiency over individual justice. The D.H. ruling lays both fears to rest. “This judgment is a most welcome affirmation,” says Goldston, “that the Strasbourg court remains a dynamic model of progressive rights enforcement and interpretation.”

As America knows well, the real trick is to translate bold judicial action into lasting social change. The D.H. ruling’s direct effect is unclear, because the Czech Republic formally abolished “special schools” in 2004, after the case was filed. But the effectiveness of that reform is highly debatable, and the Grand Chamber opinion has drawn attention to the persistence of Roma school segregation throughout Central and Eastern Europe. So although D.H. may not technically compel further Czech action, it will surely help interested nonprofits to push educational reform in Prague and elsewhere. Where advocates are disappointed with progress in Roma desegregation, they may bring new cases, armed with powerful new law. The same holds true for other European minorities–like Muslims–and for other realms of life that are prone to discrimination, such as housing and criminal justice.

When The American Lawyer visited the Roma shanties of the Czech Republic in 2002, early in the case’s long history, one of the plaintiff schoolgirls said: “I want to be a sweet maker, not a sweet maker’s helper.” It is too late for that girl to retrieve her lost school years. But thanks to the D.H. ruling, the next generation of Roma children may follow their dreams. The day may not be distant when lawyers of Roma origin sit on the European Court of Human Rights.

Michael D. Goldhaber is the author of A People’s History of the European Court of Human Rights (Rutgers University Press, 2007). E-mail: mgoldhaber@alm.com.

Source Citation:Goldhaber, Michael D. “Desegregating Europe: in a much-anticipated decision, the European Court of Human Rights produces its own version of Brown v. Board of Education.(D.H. v. Czech Republic).” American Lawyer 30.2 (Feb 2008): 77(2). LegalTrac. Gale. Arlington Public Library. 19 Apr. 2008 
<http://find.galegroup.com/itx/start.do?prodId=LT&gt;.

Gale Document Number:A175287492

Superdelegates Are Despairing Amid Stalemate

By DAVID S. BRODER | Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:30 PM PT

As a rule, presidential elections are not won or lost by what happens in April. But last week, more and more Democratic officeholders and strategists were worrying out loud about the possibility that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are running themselves into trouble by their unending battle for the nomination.

The negativity of the campaigning for Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary is spotlighting issues that can easily be exploited in the general election by Republican John McCain. The increasingly personal tone of the Clinton-Obama exchanges is draining some of the enthusiasm from Democrats, who have believed for many months that 2008 would be their year for victory.

Even so, according to this month’s Washington Post-ABC News poll, there is still no strong demand from grass-roots Democrats for the two senators to end their battle and turn to the challenge posed by McCain.

By 53% to 41%, those surveyed said it was more important that their favorite candidate win, even if the race goes into the summer, than that the race end as soon as possible.

Supporting that finding, by an identical margin, these Democrats said Clinton should remain in the race, even if she suffers an upset loss in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

By contrast, my conversations Wednesday and Thursday with members of Congress and other Democratic officials found few superdelegates who are sanguine about the prospect of seeing the intraparty fight continue until the late August convention in Denver.

They were reacting in part to Wednesday night’s savage ABC News debate, perhaps the nastiest since Clinton and Obama sparred in South Carolina more than two months ago.

Clinton was the aggressor in the Philadelphia tussle, frequently piling on as Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos of ABC rehashed all the recent controversies that have beset Obama — and adding some new charges of their own.

It was a notably uncomfortable performance by the current front-runner, one in which he barely suppressed his irritation with the questions and delivered convoluted explanations or apologies in response.

Many of these issues clearly will be recycled by the Republicans if Obama is the nominee. On potentially the most explosive — Obama’s relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright — Clinton in effect gave McCain permission to go after Obama.

She said Wright’s words, and Obama’s varying explanations of his relationship with the pastor, “raise questions in people’s minds” and make this “a legitimate area” for discussion. It will take no urging for Republicans to accept her invitation.

But Clinton has her own credibility problems, and they are more severe than her opponent’s. Questioned by Stephanopoulos about her fabricated story of dodging sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia, she said she was “embarrassed” by the incident and apologized again.

But that incident fed a growing skepticism about Clinton’s candor. In the Post-ABC poll, just 39% of all voters said they now view Clinton as honest and trustworthy.

Compared with polls in 2006, she has dropped 18 points among Democrats, 13 points among independents and 7 points among Republicans.

Despite Democratic voters’ willingness to see the contest continue, three times as many say the long campaign has hurt their party’s chances as those who think it has helped.

In increasing numbers, they characterize the race as negative, not positive, in tone. And by a large margin, they blame Clinton more than Obama for taking the campaign in that direction.

In all those respects, the Democratic politicians I interviewed are more critical of the campaign, and more worried about its effect on the party’s chances, than the voters in the Post-ABC poll.

They see that, despite the big Democratic lead on the so-called generic ballot, McCain already has achieved a near statistical tie with either Obama or Clinton, trailing the former by 5 points and leading the latter by 3.

A few more nights like Wednesday, and the Democrats may find themselves lagging behind McCain. He has hardly struck a blow at them.

Obama and Clinton are doing such a good job of demolishing each other, or scuttling their own chances, that McCain conceivably could coast to victory.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

Legacies Suffer Amid Absence Of Incumbents

By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON | Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Four months into 2008, the presidential campaign — already too long and nasty — is still a long way from over. And the casualties are mounting.

First, George Bush’s popularity remains dismal — even though some of the complaints about his first term have gone by the wayside. The French and German governments are now staunchly pro-American. Violence in Iraq is way down from a year ago. America has been free from a terrorist attack since 9/11.

No matter. Nothing has seemed to help the president. His approval rating stays at, or sinks below, 30%.

Why? The current gloomy economic news and the continuing human and financial costs of Afghanistan and Iraq explain a lot. But another reason is this present election cycle. For the first time in nearly six decades, no incumbent president or vice president is daily hammering back in defense of the recent four years.

We expect Democratic opponents Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to trash an incumbent Republican president. But Republican nominee Sen. John McCain seldom endorses anything about the two Bush terms.

Again, the last time America witnessed anything similar was when Harry Truman left office with a 22% approval rating — under furious attack by Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower and shunned by his own party’s nominee, the maverick Adlai Stevenson, who had not been part of the Truman administration.

Obama Obsession

If the current president hasn’t been helped by the present campaign, look what it’s done to his predecessor. The Clinton legacy is wrecked. Left-wing bloggers, liberal columnists and some Democratic politicians now despise Bill and Hillary Clinton — even more than did “the vast right-wing conspiracy” of the 1990s.

A furious Hillary keeps charging the media with the same sort of bias that the Republicans used to routinely claim always favored her husband. Apparently the left has become infatuated with Barack Obama and does not want another eight years of the once-iconic Clintons — especially after their use of the race card, the hardball politics and Hillary’s chronic exaggeration and misstatements.

Globetrotting Bill Clinton spent seven years crafting a legacy as a post-partisan senior statesman. Now he’s thrown that away by devolving into a political henchman assigned to take down the Democratic Party’s first serious African-American candidate.

Whatever the result of the 2008 campaign, the image of an above-the-fray Bill is no more — shattered somewhere between the disclosure of the $109 million Clinton tax returns and his finger-shaking lectures to the press about its supposed unfairness to his wife.

Democrats once were enchanted that their party might usher in the nation’s first woman president. Now many of them fear Hillary is a bothersome obstacle in the way of an even more hip and novel breakthrough candidate.

Issues Ignored

Racial relations also soured from the campaign. Obama promised to be our post-racial healer. But so far, even if it weren’t his intent, he is proving the most racially contentious candidate in recent American history. African-Americans still line up behind Obama, even as whites keep voting in large majorities for Clinton.

The more Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, keeps sounding unhinged, the more Obama can’t quite free himself from this hateful albatross.

When Obama talks down about middle America’s fondness for religion and guns, or suggests that small-town America is “anti-immigrant” and “clings” to “antipathy to people who aren’t like them” or quips about the “typical white person,” he only increases racial polarization — cementing the image of someone who sees America in terms of “they,” not “us.”

The Bush and Clinton legacies, Obama’s “new” politics and race relations are all casualties of a wide-open election without incumbents. But the greatest casualty has been our inability to figure how to deal with looming crises.

So far we haven’t heard specific workable proposals from the candidates about how exactly they would solve energy dependence, soaring food prices, illegal immigration and outdated farm subsidies.

The candidates have offered no new solution for the looming Social Security crackup. Few candidates have expressed novel ideas for stopping staggering deficits or bulking up a sinking dollar — much less exactly the sacrifices necessary on all our parts to restore American financial solvency. No one has offered a better way of dealing with an ascendant but lawless China, an unhinged Iran or the ongoing war against Islamic extremism.

In 2008, everything and everyone has fallen victim to a nasty campaign — except America’s nastiest problems.

© 2008 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

The Rules Suddenly Change For Obama

By MICHAEL BARONE | Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Barack Obama seemed puzzled. Angrily puzzled. The apostle of hope seemed flummoxed by the audacity of the question.

At last Wednesday’s Philadelphia debate, George Stephanopoulos, longtime aide to Democratic politicians, was asking about his longtime association with Weather Underground bomber William Ayers.

The Weather Underground attacked the Pentagon, the Capitol and other public buildings; Ayers was quoted in The New York Times on Sept. 11, 2001, as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”

It was at Ayers’ house that Obama’s state Senate candidacy was launched in 1995; Obama continued to serve on a nonprofit board with Ayers after the Times article appeared.

Obamaites live-blogging the debate were outraged. The press is not supposed to ask such questions. They are supposed to invite the candidates to expatiate on how generous their health care plans are. Or to allow them to proclaim that “we are the change that we are seeking.” Or to once again bash George W. Bush.

There was some of that in this debate. But Obama was asked about his association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his remarks about wearing an American flag lapel pin, his comment that “bitter” small-town Pennsylvanians “cling to guns and religion,” and his “friendly” relations — “friendly” is his campaign adviser David Axelrod’s word — with William Ayers.

Did Obama expect that this would never come up in the campaign? He certainly gave that impression. The normally poised candidate looked irritated and weary.

“This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English” — actually, it’s education — “in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

“And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.”

He compared Ayers to Sen. Tom Coburn, who has advocated the death penalty for abortionists. But of course, Coburn has never advocated bombing their houses or clinics.

“A guy who lives in my neighborhood.” Debates are held not just to learn the details of the candidates’ health care plans — which given the complexity of the issue probably will be considerably altered if they are ever actually put on the table — but also to learn who the candidates are. That includes learning about which guys who live in their neighborhood they chose to befriend.

About Obama, almost all Americans knew next to nothing when he got up on the podium of the 2004 Democratic National Convention and instantly made himself presidential candidate material.

His gracefully written, autobiographical “Dreams From My Father” — we could learn, if we could get through all 464 pages — is a story not of transcending racial barriers but of developing a black and African identity.

The presidency is a uniquely personal office, and each incumbent puts his individual stamp on it. Obama’s choice to join the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church and his choice to befriend William Ayers were not those most Americans would make, and Hillary Clinton was quick to declare, perhaps opportunistically, that they were not choices she would have made.

This doesn’t mean that Obama is responsible for Wright’s outrageous statements or for Ayers’ criminal acts (the charges against him were dropped because of government misconduct).

But Obama’s choices to associate with Wright and Ayers tend to undercut his appealing message — very appealing after 15 years of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — that we must strive to overcome the racial and cultural and ideological divisions which have dominated our politics They are something that voters are entitled to weigh as they make their decisions.

Obama fans are upset that ABC News’ Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson broke the unwritten rule that you are not supposed to ask Democratic candidates about these things. Associations with unrepentant radicals and comments made to contributors at a San Francisco fundraiser in a billionaire’s mansion are supposed to be kept indoors. Only the face that the candidate wants to place before the public should be seen.

Beliefs that most activist liberals share should be kept under wraps if they are unpopular with most of the voting public. That is how mainstream media have operated for the past generation or more. But not at Philadelphia’s Constitution Center on April 16.

The rules had changed. Barack Obama was not well prepared.

Copyright 2008 Creators Syndicate, Inc

Harvard Goes Halal

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Islamofascism: Separate gym hours for Muslim coeds. Calls to prayer. Lectures on Shariah finance. A campus in the Mideast? Nope. It’s all happening at America’s pre-eminent college.


Read More: Education | Religion


 

Over the past few years, Harvard University has received millions in endowments from rich Saudi and Emirate sheiks. Now it’s returning the favor by Islamizing its campus and promoting the Shariah agenda of its new Arab masters.

Recently, the Ivy League school has made special accommodations for the religious needs of Muslim students, including, and rescheduling of exams to observe Islamic holidays.

And this weekend it hosted a $400-per-person conference on Shariah finance led by officials from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The goal of the forum — sponsored by Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project — is to “integrate” Islamic finance into the mainstream economy.

That’s a tough fit, because Islamic, or Shariah, finance forbids investment in major Western industries, including those that derive substantial income from interest.

Banking and insurance, as well as alcohol, tobacco or pork-related industries, are not considered “halal,” or allowable, under Islam. Entertainment is also unlawful.

Shariah-compliant investments are monitored by paid Shariah law advisers who must “purify” certain returns by donating them to Islamic charities — including some that promote jihad and support suicide bombings.

With $800 billion already in Shariah assets — and $1 trillion to $2 trillion in Arab petrodollars annually looking for an investment home — the potential for billions being siphoned off for terrorism is real.

This, of course, would be a serious criminal violation of U.S. law. Yet Western bankers, including many on Wall Street who are jumping into the Shariah finance market, don’t know this.

One prominent Shariah adviser is Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi. He’s a paid adviser to Arcapita (formerly Crescent Capital), which happens to sponsor Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project along with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian who has advocated suicide bombings and described Shariah finance as nothing less than “jihad with money.”

He heads the Islamic American University and is a proposed trustee of the Islamic Society of Boston. The director of Harvard’s Islamic Finance Project, S. Nazim Ali, is active in both the university and the Islamic Society. Ali is neither an economist nor a scholar. His background is in computers.

Another paid Shariah adviser is Sheik Muhammad Usmani, a Pakistani cleric who ran a madrassa that trained thousands of Taliban and who recently wrote a book supporting jihad and Islamic domination. He, too, has links to Harvard, according to the Center for Security Policy, a vanguard against so-called Shariah creep.

Roger Ferguson, president-elect of the university’s board of overseers, joined Swiss RE in August 2006. Two months later, Usmani was named chairman of Swiss RE’s Shariah advisory board.

Until recently, Usmani was listed as chief adviser to the Dow Jones Islamic Fund, which is run by the North American Islamic Trust, a recently named co-conspirator in a federal terror-financing case.

Usmani’s name — along with the entire section covering the fund’s “Shariah supervisory board” — mysteriously disappeared from the Islamic Trust’s Web site after we exposed the fund’s extremist ties in a Feb. 28 editorial (“The Risky Business of Islamic Finance”). Other key information on Shariah also has been purged. In addition, the Islamic Trust renamed its Dow fund the “Iman Fund” and amended several paragraphs in its prospectus.

It appears Islamists are trying to use such Shariah-compliant financial products as tools to get Islamic law through the back door into Western countries, including the U.S. They’re enlisting our finest colleges in the project.

If Arab sheiks think they can buy American colleges and use our campuses to spread Wahhabism, Harvard only has encouraged them.

 

Good Job, Brownie

Another brick in the wall…

Leftist agitprop is a dismal failure if it doesn’t stir emotions because the logic is pure sophistry. Dems can only win these days by preying on irrational fears of climate alarmism and disparities in wealth among hated minority groups meanwhile denying clear and present danger (e.g., the domino effect of an Iran, hence Jordan, hence Syria, hence North Vietnam, hence Sudan, and hence Libya with nukes). These enemies of ours (with whom we are so unpopular) are on the CIA watchlist for: A) being state sponsors of terror and B) proliferation as these activities go hand-in-glove. Dems would like us to believe that having enemies mad at us is somehow ‘bad’ for American credibility and that we should suck up – perhaps by giving more weight to UN decisions and allow foreigners to haul our military men (why not even our own president?) into an international criminal court where they’d be tried in cases based on multicultural legal standards. Based on sharia law, you can saw an infidel’s head off for being just that. In fact, you’re morally obliged to do so. To suggest otherwise is to betray an ignorance of Islam. Enough already!

 

 

 

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, April 18, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Diplomacy: Democrats have hammered the Bush administration for supposedly losing allies and global standing. But a look at U.S. ties shows Bush to be a master diplomat who is strengthening U.S. relations all over.


Read More: General Politics

 

“The world owes President Bush a debt of gratitude in leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a man whose recent elevation to office was supposed to denote a “cooling” of relations with the U.S. and a tilt toward Europe.

But Europe isn’t really “cooling,” either.

France is now led by a man elected as “le Americain.” Like Brown, President Nicolas Sarkozy had nothing but good things to say about Bush.

“We spent hours discussing important issues, commercial, economic and others, and I would say that we have done so in a spirit of openness and trust and that is something I have been particularly struck by,” Sarkozy said last November. “And when I say that the French people love the American people, that is the truth and nothing but the truth.”

Where exactly is the animosity Bush’s critics keep talking about?

In Italy, all we can find is another enthusiastically pro-Bush prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who won high office this week in a landslide. “What I did counted in my relationship with Bush,” he said this month in his campaign.

In Germany, led by conservative and U.S.-friendly Chancellor Angela Merkel, the sentiment has also gone pro-American, as it has in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Canada.

Outside of Western Europe, the reviews are even warmer because there’s a focus not just on terror-fighting but standing up for democracy— as ties with Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Albania show.

“Albania enjoys friendly and cooperative bilateral relations with the U.S. Pro-U.S. sentiment is widespread among the population,” the State Department’s Web site reads.

In the case of the Czechs, it’s about shared ideals: “Relations between the U.S. and the Czech Republic are excellent and reflect the common approach both have to the many challenges facing the world at present. The U.S. looks to the Czech Republic as a partner in issues ranging from Afghanistan to the Balkans, and seeks opportunities to continue to deepen this relationship,” State says.

Across Africa, it’s also about Bush’s commitment to democracy and development. Tens of thousands of people greeted Bush in several countries this year, hailing him as their continent’s great friend.

Meanwhile, IBD — along with nine Democratic Congress members — saw the same in Medellin, Colombia, where thousands of Colombians greeted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in January.

That brings up another reason why Bush has succeeded: No president in U.S. history has signed as many free-trade deals as Bush, which has deepened our alliances well beyond trade.

Bush signed off on 10 free-trade agreements, many with Arab states vulnerable to terrorism such as Morocco, Jordan, and Persian Gulf state Bahrain — which is now a “major non-NATO ally.”

Closer to home, check out what Bush’s free-trade policy has done to regional ties: “Relations between the United States and Chile are better now than at any other time in history,” State’s site reads.

Bush has also boosted ties with strategic Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore, and broken new ground with some very big players globally, like Brazil and India, both of whose leaders have the most cordial of relations.

Who’s left? Russia? China?

Even among them, Bush has shown surprising skill at keeping them talking, despite their backsliding on democracy.

So what was that again about Bush alienating the world?

Maybe the next time Democrats insist on their old canard about Bush being hated, they can get out a map and see who’s left. Right now, they have no one, apart from a few anti-American dictators.

They might also ask themselves why. The answer is President Bush has done a terrific job bringing much of the world into our circle of friendship by fighting terror, building democracy and promoting free trade. Brown knows exactly what he’s talking about.