One of the primary criticisms of the Bush administration's approach to foreign policy is to say that it unites the world against us. There's some truth to that, but being popular is only useful insofar as it helps the US achieve its objectives, so I tend to think you need a more reasoned case for why having international support is a good thing: cooperation in the war on terror, support for US initiatives in multilateral institutions, etc.
What I never expected was how willing some conservatives apparently to go even further. Haven't they done enough damage to America's standing in the world? Don't they realize that we stand on the precipice of radicalizing a generation of Arab youth against us? Yet in the aftermath of the London attacks, two prominent conservatives suggested ridiculous approaches that would have united our enemies and divided our friends.
Rich Lowry approvingly passed on "thoughts" from a British friend, including this: "There should be retaliation. Find a terror camp somewhere and hit it. Terrorists should, for these purposes, be treated as one nation, and all should be held responsible for any one attack." And Tom Tancredo said the US should bomb Mecca if radical Islamists strike us with nuclear weapons.
Mecca is the most holy site in Islam. Destroying it would turn every Islamic country on earth against us. How hard is this to understand? The same thing applies to random strikes on "terror camps" before we know who committed the bombings. If we treat all of Islam, or all of the various terrorist groups, as one undifferentiated enemy, that's what we'll get.
And now there's apparently a report in The American Conservative detailing plans to strike Iran after a second 9/11-type attack on the US -- even if Iran is not involved. I'm all for a hawkish stance on anti-terrorism, but the war of ideas is part of the war on terror, and we're going to lose it if this crowd stays in charge much longer.