POLITICAL observations & opinions

* The U.S. needs Obama to re-establish our place in the world; McCain would be a further step backwards

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 24, 2008

Jonathan Freedland writes in The Guardian (UK) (thanks to STEVE for the article) …  

  • Barack Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory.
  • The crowd of 200,000 that rallied to hear him in Berlin in July did so not only because of his charisma, but also because they know he, like the majority of the world’s population, opposed the Iraq war.
  • McCain supported it, peddling the lie that Saddam was linked to 9/11.
  • Non – Americans sense that Obama will not ride roughshod over the international system but will treat alliances and global institutions seriously: McCain wants to bypass the United Nations in favour of a US – friendly League of Democracies.
  • If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush – Cheney finger. 
  • if McCain wins in November, Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves.
  • For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once -in – a – generation chance for a fresh start – a fresh start the world is yearning for. 
  • And the manner of that decision will matter, too. If it is deemed to have been about race – that Obama was rejected because of his colour – the world’s verdict will be harsh.
  • Of course I know that even to mention Obama’s support around the world is to hurt him. Incredibly, that large Berlin crowd damaged Obama at home, branding him the “candidate of Europe ” and making him seem less of a patriotic American.
  • But what does that say about today’s America , that the world’s esteem is now unwanted? 
  • If Americans reject Obama, they will be sending the clearest possible message to the rest of us – and, make no mistake, we shall hear it.”
Pat and I spend many months in Europe each year, and can attest that Europeans (not just from the UK, but French, Dutch, Irish, Italians, Germans, Czecks, and Austrians as well) are very much Obama supporters. They are disgusted with what George W. Bush has done with the power he had, and view John McCain as more of the same.
Some Americans don’t care what foreigners think, but it is wrong and counter-productive to ignore the world’s opinion. The U.S. has no choice but to exist and compete on a global scale. To do so effectively, we must respect our friends and consider their opinions. We must work with our allies to try to convince those who oppose us, by diplomatic means first, and by military might only as a last resort. 
It is abundantly clear that Barack Obama is far more qualified to achieve these ends than is John McCain.

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