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Jonathan Freedland: The World's Verdict will be Harsh if the US Rejects the Man It Yearns For

Yesterday, I wrote a post in which I said the BBC helping defeat Obama. According to a BBC poll of two dozen or so foreign nations, citizens of those nations want Barack Obama to be President of the United States. I linked to and quoted from that article and said that people of other nations have no business telling us whom to vote for. Some commenters said I was being ridiculous, that people from other nations weren't telling us whom to vote for but that they were simply answering a question posed to them.

Well, today, I am proven right. Jonathan Freedland writing at the Guardian puts it bluntly: America, vote for Barack Obama or else. Of course, it's absurd that Freeland could possibly speak for the rest of the world, but if Freeland himself wants to take on that role of world spokesman, fine.

So what did Mr. Freedland say? Well, after bashing Sarah Palin with smears that have already been debunked by Factcheck.org, he goes on to say what the world's reaction will be if McCain/Palin win on November 4th:

But what of the rest of the world? This is the reaction I fear most. 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.

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.

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. In that circumstance, Slate's Jacob Weisberg wrote recently, international opinion would conclude that "the United States had its day, but in the end couldn't put its own self-interest ahead of its crazy irrationality over race".

Even if it's not ethnic prejudice, but some other aspect of the culture wars, that proves decisive, the point still holds. For America to make a decision as grave as this one - while the planet boils and with the US fighting two wars - on the trivial basis that a hockey mom is likable and seems down to earth, would be to convey a lack of seriousness, a fleeing from reality, that does indeed suggest a nation in, to quote Weisberg, "historical decline". Let's not forget, McCain's campaign manager boasts that this election is "not about the issues."

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.

How is this not a threat? How is this not another way of saying, "vote for Obama or the rest of the world will come down on America's head like a ton of bricks"?

The American people don't meddle in other countries' elections. The man or woman Britons choose as Prime Minister affects our country greatly but you don't see us going out there and saying "elect so and so or there'll be hell to pay!"

So, I was right. In fact I was spot on when I said the rest of the world is telling us for whom to vote in this presidential election.

Mr. Freedland, we don't take kindly to people in other nations telling us how and for whom we are supposed to vote on November 4th. What happens in America is our business, sir. And by the way, Mr. Freedland, your little threat is going to help defeat Senator Obama, not help him.


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Comments (15)

Speaking of unhinged: While... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Speaking of unhinged: While at Chicago Midway yesterday waiting for my flight, I couldn't help but hear (because she was talking loudly into her cell) an unhinged lib woman saying "the numbers aren't good anymore" for Obama and "how can we be so stupid to NOT elect someone who's our own Nelson Mandela?!?" and "They're going to overturn Roe!!!"

It took all I had not to laugh maniacally.

So now, among certain groups of the faithful, Obama = Mandela.

You can't make this stuff up.

I for one and shocked, SHOC... (Below threshold)

I for one and shocked, SHOCKED I tell you! that other countries would like to see America do something to weaken themselves to a point where they won't be told they should look at America as the place to invest...America as the world's only superpower...America as the place where people flock to pour over its borders in search of a better life...America America America. Why wouldn't they say, 'hey, what about us...12% unemployment, no military, and 1% GDP growth ain't so bad'.

So let's recap.Fir... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

So let's recap.

First, there's going to be a race war if we don't elect Obama.

Now, the rest of the world won't like us if we don't elect Obama.

Why don't we just have a coronation for the worthless, incompetent blowhard and get it over with? Who needs an actual ELECTION? Our 'betters' have decided what would be 'best' for us - should we not listen to them and meekly comply, all the time looking down at our feet lest we give offense?

As I noted over at <a href=... (Below threshold)

As I noted over at QandO earlier, there is already a process by which the people of any nation in the world can legally vote in American elections:

  1. Vote for annexation as a US territory, or whatever the process is under your legal system.
  2. Petition the Congress for annexation. This has never been refused in US history, to my knowledge.
  3. The President will appoint, with the approval of the Senate, a governor for your new territory.
  4. You will have to write a new territorial constitution, conformant with the US Constitution. While you are doing this, Federal law and taxes will apply, and the Federal government will be building out various American institutions in the territory.
  5. Once you have the new constitution ready to go, vote to petition for statehood. A simple majority is sufficient. Submit your petition for statehood and your constitution to the Congress for review.
  6. Congress will review your constitution to ensure (per Article IV) that it would maintain a republican form of government, as well as your legal and social climate. Congress will debate your petition and,
  7. if accepted (and none has ever been rejected in our history), you will be admitted to the Union as a new state. Congratulations!
Don't worry Freedland, afte... (Below threshold)
Piso Mojado:

Don't worry Freedland, after the annointed one is washed with degreaser, we'll send him over to you for a fresh lather and you folks can appoint him King and savior of western europe.

If I didn't know better I'd... (Below threshold)
Modean:

If I didn't know better I'd swear Jonathan Freedland was a McCain mole put in the Guarniad for the specific purpose of damaging Obama. Not that I'm complaining if that's the case, just I didn't think there was any Republican anywhere with that kind of political savvy.

Seriously this is the same paper that started the letter writing campaign to "help" Kerry in Ohio by sending random voters letters from it's readers telling them not to be stupid and vote for that cowboy Bush or Britain and the rest of Europe would be very cross with them. They didn't learn from that debacle, obviously. So if they're going to pull stunts like this even though they hurt Obambi, well all I can say is more please, and faster.

Sounds like those morons at... (Below threshold)

Sounds like those morons at the Guardian need a reminder of how Americans reacted back in 2004 when Guardian readers last tried to influence the election. Warning, here comes the profanity...

"Have you not noticed that Americans don't give two shits what Europeans think of us? Each email someone gets from some arrogant Brit telling us why to NOT vote for George Bush is going to backfire, you stupid, yellow-toothed pansies ... I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin, dipshit. Oh, yeah - and brush your goddamned teeth, you filthy animals.
Wading River, NY"

"Consider this: stay out of American electoral politics. Unless you would like a company of US Navy Seals - Republican to a man - to descend upon the offices of the Guardian, bag the lot of you, and transport you to Guantanamo Bay, where you can share quarters with some lonely Taliban shepherd boys.
United States"

"KEEP YOUR FUCKIN' LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN'T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT'S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON'T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT!
PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!"

"Shame on you for using the people of Ohio like this. The US presidental election isn't just about foreign policy, it's about healthcare, taxes, education, transportation, natural resources and all manner of issues with little to no impact on the people of Britain.

"We live in a globalised, interconnected world. If China shuts its borders to US imports, you better believe American companies, shareholders and workers are affected. Should US citizens therefore have a direct say in Chinese policies? No - Americans should demand that their own elected leaders address the issues with their Chinese counterparts. The British have a similar voice in US policies - through your own elected representatives who have any number of diplomatic, economic and military tools at their disposal. You vote for your leaders and we'll vote for ours. Your problem is with your leaders, not ours.
Washington DC"

"Real Americans aren't interested in your pansy-ass, tea-sipping opinions. If you want to save the world, begin with your own worthless corner of it.
Texas, USA"

"My dear, beloved Brits,
I understand the Guardian is sponsoring a service where British citizens write to Americans to advise them on how to vote. Thank heavens! I was adrift in a sea of confusion and you are my beacon of hope!

"Feel free to respond to this email with your advice. Please keep in mind that I am something of an anglophile, so this is not confrontational. Please remember, too, that I am merely an American. That means I am not very bright. It means I have no culture or sense of history. It also means that I am barely literate, so please don't use big, fancy words.

Set me straight, folks!
Dayton, Ohio"

"Hey England, Scotland and Wales,
Mind your own business. We don't need weenie-spined Limeys meddling in our presidental election. If it wasn't for America, you'd all be speaking German. And if America would have had a president, then, of the likes of Kerry, you'd all be goose-stepping around Buckingham Palace. YOU ARE NOT WANTED!! Whether you want to support either party. BUTT OUT!!!
United States"

"Keep your noses out of our business. As I recall we kicked your asses out of our country back in 1776. We do not require input from losers and idiots on who we vote for in our own country. Fuck off and die asshole!!!!!
Knoxville, Iowa"

"I suggest that if a particular reader of the Guardian would like to vote in America - would really like to influence the American election, say - that reader should move to America, become a citizen of the United States. Everyone is welcome here. Even the readers of the Guardian. But if you don't wish to be an American, to live in Ohio, for instance, and participate in the American political process, that is too bad. Perhaps there is something wrong with you. Perhaps it is your teeth.
New York"

"Go back to sipping your tea and leave our people alone.
Ohio"

Hmmm..at this point, I'd li... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Hmmm..at this point, I'd like to tell the rest of the world to GO TO HELL!!

Ooooooh, I'm scared. The c... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Ooooooh, I'm scared. The country that is adopting Sharia Law little by little is telling us who to vote for. We must listen!

Lol.

Did I read "America doesn't... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Did I read "America doesn't meddle in other countries elections?" Is iraq a country or the 53rd state then. No body is threatening anybody, but the fact is there will be judgements made...end of story.

After reading this drivel b... (Below threshold)

After reading this drivel by Freedland, I cannot contain my equal parts amusement and fury. Amusement because these elitist idiots think what THEY want matters to US and fury that we've saved their asses so many times in the past with the lives of our citizens and our financial resources!

Bunch of dopey pinheads!

Tim, just curious. If Iraq ... (Below threshold)
Modean:

Tim, just curious. If Iraq is the 53rd state, what are the 51st and 52nd?. I'm guessing New Pennsylvania is in there somewhere...

My head hangs low.... (Below threshold)

My head hangs low.

Not in shame mind you, it's to hide the smirk.

Let's not forget that Lord ... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Let's not forget that Lord Nelson is still spinning in his grave over how p*ssified the once-mighty British Navy has become (referring to the infamous kidnapping incident by Iran in the North Arabian Sea last year).

Personally, I'd love to see us end the shameful occupation of Britain and Germany, after 60+ years, and withdraw our support of NATO except for the few former Warsaw Pact countries who recently joined it. End the horrible US occupation of Old Europe, now!

THEN, let's cement a deal with the remnants of NATO, Baltic states, and Georgia, so that any attack by a rogue state, or from Russia, is met by an immediate military response from us. This pact would include reaffirming strong ties to Israel.

And then sit back, and let Ahmadinejad continue negotiating with the EU-3 while he uses the time to actually build his Bomb.

This scenario would work, if we had the intestinal fortitude to do the following:

* Formally recognise development of US-based petroleum sources as being in our national security interest, so that we are no longer dependent on any foreign oil sources other than Canada (with apologies to Southpark, of course);

* Development of the Prompt Global Response conversion of a certain number of SLBMs to carry HEX (high explosive) rather than nukes, so that if Iran does anything we don't like, we can 'splain it to them instantly with a Trident DIII down their underground facility's poop-chute; and

* An actual willingness to meet any aggression against our true allies with overwhelming force, pre-emptively if necessary.

We have two examples of Europe's collective willingness to defend peoples and countries in its local area within the last ten years: Bosnia and now Georgia. Both cases demonstrated Europe's unwillingness to sort out its own messes, and its overwhelming dependence on the US to do its dirty work for them - without so much as a public "thank you".

So let them accomodate Ahmadinejad and leave them to their own decrepit, creeping-Sharia devices. Let all of Europe learn Spain's hard lessons, that accommdating threats gets them nowhere. And let them learn that the US will no longer let Europe defend itself "to the last American soldier, and the last American dollar", as the old Cold War saying went.

And to all the wankers in the UK who think they have a right to opine on US elections? Well, Markos says it best.

Screw Them.

McCain wants to by... (Below threshold)
McCain wants to bypass the United Nations in favour of a US-friendly League of Democracies.

That's it! McCain is pro-democracy!?! I have had it! He'll never get help from us, EVER!!!

signed,
Your average thug tyrant on the U.N. Security Council




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