THE HELPLESS GIANT
"There's a growing view that America is an International patsy," complains Howard Baker, a Republican hopeful in the 1980 campaign. Baker's comment cannot be dismissed as mere campaign rhetoric. The U.S. is taking a beating around the world, and its faltering image is very obvious.
The U.S., according to columnists Evans and Novak, suffered "humiliation in Iran" and incurred "undisguised ridicule" because of its inability to protect its embassy in Teheran and its ambassador from ignominious death in Pakistan.
In Mexico, President Carter suffered through a humiliating public dinner lecture by his host, President Lopez Portillo. Yet he offered nothing public in response to the stinging attack, but only embarrassed himself with a reference to "Montezuma's revenge."
As a whole, writes columnist Patrick J. Buchanan, America is seen as a "perplexed and partially paralyzed nation led by a weak, indecisive little man with not the slightest comprehension of the... world we inhabit."
The Wall Street Journal urged in an editorial for the administration to "show some backbone somewhere." An official of the previous Ford Administration intoned: "People have very little faith in us anymore, and it's going to take years for us to recover our respect around the world." But some of America's allies, it appears, can't afford to wait so long.
Reports the U.S. News & World Report of March 5, 1979: "Growing concern about Carter's lack of initiative in world affairs is driving French President Vallery Giscard d'Estaing and West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt to discuss privately ways the European allies can fill what they view as a serious "leadership vacuum."
The concern in Europe only confirms what Evans & Novak called "stark new evidence of America's decline and the fears it has unleashed among U.S. allies..."
—Gene H. Hogberg, News Bureau