I don’t often write specifically about politics although I am a very political person. In general I find overt political posts a bit of a waste of time because those who agree will agree and those who don’t, won’t. They seldom encourage debate or new thinking. However with an important election coming up I thought I’d say my piece from the perspective of a foreigner who can’t vote but who will be affected by the result of the American election.
If I were American I would probably vote for Obama anyway since my views generally tend to be left of center, and I’m a woman, and I don’t think rape is a gift of God and I do think all people should be guaranteed adequate health care even if they are poor. I also don’t suffer from amnesia so I can still remember that the debt crisis began and was caused by the previous administration. But hey, I am not a native and maybe there are nuances to domestic American politics that I just don’t get.
What I can do however as a foreigner is give an opinion as to why Obama is so much more popular in the rest of the world than Romney, and why that is important.
The Mormon Missionary has accused Obama of beginning his term in office with a tour of apology. He paints that as a sign of weakness. (Do Mormons and Christians now teach that it is wrong to apologize? Is the key to Christian philosophy based on the idea that Jesus and his followers could beat up the bad guys in a saloon brawl?)
Obama quite simply recognized when he came to office that the rest of the world HATED George W Bush and thought of him as a war mongering moron. An idiot. A buffoon. Obama realized that in order to get things done he was going to have to establish a new relationship with the rest of the world; a relationship based on trust and respect. And slowly and surely he has been winning back the respect of the world by showing that he is indeed a statesman, and a man of intellect.
Republicans in America seem to confuse respect with fear. They think it is enough for the rest of the world to fear America and they use fear of their power in pretty much the same way dictators do; to bludgeon their way through and restrict opposition. This kind of power seems to give pumped up Republicans an inflated sense of the size of their own dicks. It also seems to make them conveniently deaf while the rest of us snigger in private about the real size of their dicks. Is this the kind of “Respect” America is willing to settle for?
Under Bush (and it will be the same under Romney) the rest of the world thought about America in pretty much the same way we do about North Korea. It is a sad and confused place with a crazy, unpredictable dictator and it is incredibly dangerous because it is often aggressive and it has nuclear weapons. America though is even more dangerous because it is much more influential and adventurous overseas. Yes, internationally Romney and Bush have as much respect as Kim Jong-un, and are thought of as the same kind of dangerous idiots.
We do remember Iraq. We do understand that without the unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq and the huge loss of life that created on all sides; the war in Afghanistan might have been over by now. We do know that without the war in Iraq and the lack of accountability in the financial sector championed by the last Republican administration the global economy might not have been brought to it’s knees and we wouldn’t have to be paying for it now.
America can play a positive and constructive role in the world. Obama’s back seat approach to the Arab Spring may have lacked the “shock and awe” that Republicans favor, but how soon people forget that America played a key role in helping the locals overthrow Gaddafi? On terrorism, who was it that finally found and eliminated Osama Bin Laden? Could a Republican have trod the diplomatic ground in Pakistan delicately enough to get that job done without causing another war?
There are situations brewing in the middle east that require an intelligent and diplomatic touch. Please spare us the Iraq style of shock and awe in solving the impending problems in Israel/Palestine and Iran!
Then there is China, the world’s only other true superpower. Politically and economically China is struggling to cope with it’s own sheer size. It could open up more to liberalism and democracy or it could revert to the oppressive style that served it well in the past. It could become the friend of the west or it could become a formidable enemy. It will take skillful and intelligent diplomacy from America to nudge it in the way the west would prefer; not ignorance, shouting and saber rattling.
In simple terms the rest of the world respects the kind of intelligence Obama is known for. We think cowboy stories should be restricted to comics and Hollywood.
If Americans want the rest of the world to fear and despise them they should, I suppose, vote for Romney. If they enjoy the respect that Obama is winning back I hope they will give him the chance to finish the transformation he has already started.
- President Barack Obama: My vision for America – CNN (edition.cnn.com)
- The Case for Barack Obama (swampland.time.com)