Sunday, June 15, 2008

The World is Watching

Cross-posted at MyDD.

I have lived in China since August 2003 and one thing that has always amazed me has been the global reach of American politics. For sure, criticism of American foreign policy in the Middle East is to be expected, and I have often found myself in heated debates over the War in Iraq.

The morning after the 2004 election, my colleague was reading a Chinese newspaper. On the front page was a map of the United States, painted in Republican red and Democratic blue. He looked at me and said, “What went wrong?” For months after the election, I found myself on defense, trying to explain why, as one British newspaper put it:


Even taxi drivers would ask me about it. I eventually started telling them I was British. Few people had a true understanding of American politics or American culture, but all of the people I encountered were fascinated with with our election.

These days, whenever I find myself in a discussion about American politics, it usually involves the 2008 election. The interest is stunning. Just months into the election of 2008, in April 2007, I found myself in an intense Obama v. Clinton debate (guess which side I took) with an Austrian acquaintance over dinner. We talked about hope, change, experience, symbolism, the war in Iraq.
Last night, I went to a local bookstore to find a new Sudoku book and stumbled upon this:

Obama's Book 2

The world is watching this election. And the world wants a change in American foreign policy.

Democrat Barack Obama's bid to become the first African-American US president has raised hopes in Europe and Africa, where majorities foresee a positive change in US foreign policy, a survey suggested on Thursday.

While Obama received more positive marks overall than his Republican rival John McCain among the 24 countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes project, not all looked forward to improvement with November's election.

This Pew Research Center survey also found that America’s image, while still below pre-Iraq war levels, has begun to improve slightly:

Five years after the start of the war in Iraq, the image of the United States abroad remains far less positive than it was before the war and at the beginning of the century. However, the latest survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project finds some encouraging signs for America's global image for the first time this decade.

Favorable views of the United States have increased modestly since 2007 in 10 of 21 countries where comparative data are available.

After seven years of watching the American foreign policy establishment ignore allies, dismiss criticism, and violate international treaties, the world is ready for a change in leadership it what is still widely seen as the global leader in finance, culture, economics, and politics. In an age of economic uncertainty, conflict in the middle east, and rise of new economic powers in Asia, the world is looking for an American that is humble and engaged. The world is looking for new leadership, not the second coming of George Bush.

No matter how nasty this primary season has been, no matter how unhappy I am with the outcome, no matter how unenthusiastic (read: disgusted) I am with the nominee, I will not allow emotion to cloud my judgment.

Stop John McCain. The world is watching.


Citizen Shelly said...

The world will never forgive us if we deliver John McCain to them. I heard some Iraqis on CNN talking about their preferred candidate and one of the men (a student in Baghdad) said he preferred Hillary. I know his second choice would not be McCain!

Here's an interesting story....
"Obama The Preferred Candidate Around The World: Poll"

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