Politics — October 6, 2008 at 6:37 am

How the World Sees our Election


Jonathon Freedland of the Guardian newspaper in England had an editorial last month that puts the Europoean perspective in very basic terms. I hope that, a month later, he’s beginning to feel more optimism. I think he has summed up how most of the rest of the Western world views the upcoming election.

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.
McCain might talk a good game on climate change, but a repeated floor chant at the Republican convention was “Drill, baby, drill!”, as if the solution to global warming were not a radical rethink of the US’s entire energy system but more offshore oil rigs.

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. And I
predict a deeply unpleasant shift.
Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change.

Suddenly 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.

I believe this to be true as well. As I have traveled over the past 5 or 6 years, I have encountered very obvious “anti-Bushism”. In Germany. In China. In England. In Canada. In Brazil. Even in Latvia. But it was never anti-Americanism.

If we fail to elect the most qualified, thoughtful and intelligent leadership this time around, I believe, as does Freedland, that this will change in a significant way.

I’m just sayin’…