September 09, 2008

President of the World

Every four years we get this same lament: "The President of the United States is the most important political figure in the western world, one whose decisions affect all nations and not just the US. So those of us in other countries really, really wish we could vote in the US presidential election, and not just those stupid Americans who keep picking the wrong guy."

Latest example is Jonathon Freedland:

For Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory. Polling in Germany, France, Britain and Russia shows that Obama would win by whopping majorities, with the pattern repeated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If November 4 were a global ballot, Obama would win it handsomely. If the free world could choose its leader, it would be Barack Obama.

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. 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.

And then he proceeds to list all the horrible consequences which we Americans will suffer if we don't get with the program and choose the man the rest of the world approves of.

Mr. Freedland, you don't have to wait until November to get the finger. I've got one for you right here.

Go fuck yourself, and take the rest of the world with you. I don't give a tinker's damn who you think I should vote for.

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.

You can hear it now: when we Americans want your advice in this matter, we will ask for it. Those chirping crickets you hear are the sound of us not asking.

UPDATE: I almost wrote this earlier today, in response to a different news item. I don't know when it happened, but apparently British PM Gordon Brown endorsed Obama for President.

Mr. Brown, if you consult your history book you'll find that we are not British subjects, having fought and won a revolution against your poxy King.

comments disabledThere is a long precedent that national leaders do not meddle in the elections of other nations in the Western alliance, and a lot of that is self-interest. Suppose Obama loses. When you meet President McCain for the first time, how do you think he'll feel about the fact that you hoped he'd lose the election?

And how would you feel if President McCain in his turn were to endorse the Tories in your next election?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 10:05 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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