Friday, November 07, 2008

Improving America's Standing in the World



One campaign promise made by President-Elect Obama has already been fulfilled: to raise America's standing in the world. It is so gratifying -- no, astonishing -- to see foreigners marching joyfully with the American flag, instead of burning it.


Of course, the honeymoon can't last. Hard choices will have to be made, some of which will displease some in other nations. We will have to fight and even bomb in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which may lead to riots in the streets. Economic hardships around the world will follow from the ruins of our financial gamblers' binge, no matter how fast we rebuild. We should push China on human rights and their currency tricks. Whatever we do about North Korea, Burma, and Congo will make some enemies. And Russia could get ugly again.


Still, things are already better because the world is expecting a U.S. administration that will be less belligerent, less arrogant, less unilateral. And so am I.

4 comments:

halifax said...

I certainly hope that we have an administration that will be less belligerent, less arrogant, and less unilateral, as well. However, you might want to remember that Mr. Bush ran in 2000 as a man who would lead a less belligerent and less arrogant (if not less unilateral) foreign policy. Look where that got us.

Mac said...

Forty years ago, I swore the following oath, which, as a retired officer of Marines, still binds me. “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.”

It is the same oath taken by the Vice-President and all senators, representatives, and cabinet secretaries, among others.

That means that President Obama will be my president even though I supported his political opponent.

My concern with your post is that it seems to lose sight of the fact that on Tuesday, we elected the President of the United States. The idea that the President must be the choice of or acceptable to other countries and cultures, whether or not they bear us ill will, is a dangerous one.

So long as the President (whoever he or she may be) obeys his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States…, “ we will be safe.

So long as those important duties complement our dealings with the rest of the world, we will be “no better friend.” At any time that our interests diverge from those of the rest of the world, then the default position must always be the interests of the United States. In the worst case of divergence, we should be “no worse enemy.”

One man's belligerance, arrogance and unilateralism is another man's preservation of domestic tranquility and provision for the common defense.

If any president puts the interests of any other country or people ahead of our own, then he has violated his duty to "secur[e]the blessings of liberty to us and to our posterity."

Gruntled said...

There is a world of difference between "The idea that the President must be the choice of or acceptable to other countries and cultures, whether or not they bear us ill will, is a dangerous one" and having the world look with hope on what course the United States will take. The first President Bush rallied the world behind us in the first Gulf War. The second President Bush could have rallied the world behind us in a war against Al Qaeda. That he chose instead to wage an elective war instead is dangerous for the interests of the United States everywhere.

Chairm said...

I think Obama will project arrogance on all matters of international relations.

It will be an arrogance that the White House is the solution to the world's problems.

All wars are elective. Obama elects to wage war in Afghanistan and he elects to ramp down in Iraq prematurely. It won't solve the problem of Al Qaeda for him to make such a choice, and the world will turn on him, as they did GWB.