Saturday, January 12, 2008

World to US - “Don’t elect another idiot, please...”

Well, that isn’t exactly the headline, but it may as well have been.

In a WaPo article from today outlining the increased world opinion about and interest in the Presidential primaries and our upcoming election, the general feeling around those terrorist loving, freedom hating countries in the Middle East, er, Europe, Africa and South America is that hopefully us Americans can elect someone this November that isn’t out of touch with the rest of the world on, well, just about everything, actually.

It has been one of the bigger stories in the UK lately:

[M]ajor British newspapers this week alone have devoted more than 87 pages to news of the U.S. primaries, including 22 front-page stories -- exceptionally intense coverage of a foreign news event. More than 700 correspondents from 50 countries covered the Iowa and New Hampshire events.

And while only someone who has been in a coma for the past 7 years is oblivious to the fact that Mister Bush’s administration’s actions, decisions and positions have been disastrous when measured by any metric that doesn’t involve favoring the ultra wealthy corporatists - much of the world is just waiting for the clock to run out on the most embarrassingly dangerous era in this country’s short history.

Of course, in recent history, the opinion of too many people in this country has been to do the opposite of what the general consensus of the rest of the world wants or is doing - even if just for spite and phony chest-thumping. But this election does present an opportunity; even a historic one - to set this country (somewhat) in the same direction as the rest of the world is moving.

While I am not talking about any one candidate in particular, there is a big contrast between the “worst” Democratic candidate and the “most palatable” republican candidate - not just here but also in the eyes of those around the globe. If we look at major issues where we have not played well in the sandbox with others, the list would be a long one. The environmental, trade and foreign policies (pick pretty much any aspect of it), not to mention nearly all of the domestic policies have had disastrous results or are setting this country on a dangerous path.

The WaPo article is a pretty funny read, and discusses the level of interest in South Africa in both Obama and Clinton (no “what about Edwards?” comments, please), but not in the republicans. Ireland has a lot of coverage of Clinton, and others are quoted as wondering if this will be the end of the US being “the bully on the playground” or that we “choose a person who is both talented and willing enough to work towards peace rather than war.”

Interest was high in Brazil, Denmark and other countries as well - mostly in Clinton and Obama. And foreign policy analysts have been outspoken about just wanting to turn the page, while hoping that the American people redeem ourselves for the debacle that has become the worst administration ever:

Many analysts said the election has created high expectations that the new president will be more in tune with the rest of the world.

"In many capitals people have been waiting for this change for some time," said Rosa Balfour, a senior analyst at the European Policy Center, a Brussels-based research group.

Of course, that eliminates pretty much every republican candidate right off the bat. But it does show that, even this early on in the election process that many eyes are on what is happening, what will happen and what we are thinking/doing. It is obvious who are viewed as viable candidates to function and participate on the world stage. And it is a good warning and bit of advice that the American public should take.

“Our” candidates have their differences. But they are not going to act like a buffoon and be an embarrassment to us or to the rest of the world. We can only hope that enough people around this country remember the last time that a buffoon and embarrassment was on the ballot.


Mark said...

Most of the rest of the world is looking for their governments to do more and more. That is not something that I'm interested in. Governments cannot be trusted. This is not a party issue. Both parties are part of the system, and thus part of the problem. We need to make the government smaller. Do for yourself or do without.

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