Krauthammer is spinning and twisting so tightly in this op-ed that he's almost braided himself. Apparently, our problem is that we're too good, see? Everyone hates us because we do too much. Maybe if we let the other guys show their flair, we'd be better off. Seriously.
See if you can follow it.
Baseball has its own way of taking care of those who commit the capital offense of showing up another player. Drop your bat to admire the trajectory of your home run and, chances are, the next time up the unappreciative pitcher tries to take your head off with high cheese that whistles behind your skull.
Now, you might take this the wrong way and think that I am making the case for mediocrity - what Australians call the "the tall poppy syndrome" of unspoken bias against achievement, lest one presume to be elevated above one's mates. No. There is a distinction between show and substance. It is the ostentation that rankles, not the achievement. I'm talking about dancing in the end zone. Find a cure for cancer, and you deserve whatever honors and riches come your way. But the check-writer who wears blinding bling to the cancer ball is quite another manner.
Americans abroad have long been accused of such blinging arrogance and display. I find the charge generally unfair. Arrogance is incorrectly ascribed to what is really the cultural clumsiness of an insular (if continental) people less exposed to foreign ways and languages than most other people on earth.
True, America as a nation is not very good at humility. But it would be completely unnatural for the dominant military, cultural, and technological power on the planet to adopt the demeanor of, say, Liechtenstein. The ensuing criticism is particularly grating when it comes from the likes of the French, British, Spanish, Dutch (there are many others) who just yesterday claimed dominion over every land and people their Captain Cooks ever stumbled upon.
My beef with American arrogance is not that we act like a traditional great power, occasionally knocking off foreign bad guys who richly deserve it. My problem is that we don't know where to stop - the trivial victories we insist on having in arenas that are quite superfluous. Like that women's hockey game in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Did the U.S. team really have to beat China 12-1? Can't we get the coaches - there's gotta be some provision in the Patriot Act authorizing the CIA to engineer this - to throw a game or two, or at least make it close? We're trying to contain China. Why then gratuitously crush them in something Americans don't even care about? Why not throw them a bone?
Read the whole essay here (fair warning: it may cause a migraine)