With one convention down and one to go, an article written by Fred Kaplan of Slate called “The amazing chutzpah of Condi Rice” caught my eye. In short, he was taking issue with both the comments and source of such at the GOP convention by former Secretary of State, Condi Rice regarding the deteriorating view of the US by others in the world. On the latter point, he notes that Rice was ” a top advisor in the most disastrous, reputation crippling foreign policy administration in decades.” On the former point, he noted the global view of the US is in a much better place than it was when George W. Bush left office. Per a recent survey by the Poll Research Center:
- 60% of British citizens have a favorable view of the US as compared to 53% in 2008, the last year of Bush’s term.
- 69% of French citizens have a favorable view of the US compared to 42% in 2008.
- 52% of German citizens have a favorable view of the US up from 31% in 2008.
- 72% of Japanese citizens have a favorable view of the US up from 50% in 2008.
- Only the three Arab countries measured – Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan did it decline.
I am a recurring viewer of the BBC World News America, along with PBS Newshour, both of whom give a great perspective of the world and the “outside looking in” views of the US. I have seen Katty Kay, one of the BBC anchors based here on talk shows and she knows more about the issues than almost every US politician as she sees the issues with less bias and in a more holistic way which is refreshing. Outside of PBS Newshour, American news anchors tend to talk about the game of politics and steer clear of the substantive issues. Plus the real issues are less tantalizing (Clint Eastwood trumps Marco Rubio, e.g.)
This outside in view is helpful to describe the next point made by Kaplan regarding the world view on the election. According to a another Pew Poll as reported by CNN, global attitudes toward President Obama as a leader make Rice’s comments dubious:
- 87% of the Germans, 86% of the French, 80% of the British and 74% of the Japanese have confidence in Obama .
- More striking than that, 92% of the French, 89% of the Germans, 72% of the British and 66% of the Japanese want Obama re-elected.
Kaplan cites “The facts are these. Obama’s foreign policy, while hardly perfect, has been quite successful. He hasn’t caused any outright catastrophes. He ended the Iraq war. He approved his generals’ plans for escalating the war in Afghanistan, but when it did not work, he backed off instead of plunging deeper into the big muddy. And, some things Republicans wish everyone would forget – he ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden and decimated al-Qaida.” He noted that the GOP needs to steer clear of foreign policy as their argument is weak. Kaplan has focused on the military issues, since he is a “War Stories”columnist for Slate.
If we look at some additional issues the world sees, then we can get an even better glimpse of the over-whelming support for Obama. One of the major concerns I have noted like a broken record is how can we trust a party who denies the existence of one of the greatest challenges facing the US and world? Global warming is here and is man-influenced. The data and number of scientists who cite this are overwhelming. The GOP is the only formal body in the world that denies global warming is happening. Individually, many GOP politicians say under their breath what they cannot say as a group, given the Oil and Gas industry heavy influence and funding of the party. The rest of the world clearly contrasts Obama’s position (such as the mpg and advocacy for alternative energy) versus the Romney and GOP positions of double-downing on fossil fuels and gutting the EPA.
The other issue is Obama coming down hard on the Wall Street crowd with the Dodd-Frank Bill and Consumer Protection Agency. The travails of the financial sector led by the US brought the world down and is a gift that keeps on giving – see JP Morgan Chase, Barclays, Bank of America and Wells Fargo stories over the past few months and weeks. For a party to continue to cry foul over the mismanagement and some criminal activities of banking leaders is beyond me. Bankers have earned every bit of scrutiny they are getting basically throwing out the window their reputation of financial stewardship. When I hear Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama (Senate Banking Leader) complain of the onerous regulations, my reaction should be the same as every American not sitting in a Bank board room – “tough shit.” You brought this one on yourself.
In America, these views get masked, though, by the political machinations. My friend Hugh Curtler (www.hugcurtler.wordpress.com) cites that in today’s world if you state a lie enough times it becomes the truth to some. The “failed stimulus,” “we are Taxed Enough Already” and “job-killing Obamacare” are examples of such a repetitive strategy, yet are not true. Yet, the world can see the forest for the trees hence the overwhelming support for Obama. As an Independent Voter, I see what they see – an imperfect President who has done a pretty good job as President. The stimulus worked per leading economists and the President has seen over 3 million jobs created on his watch. I also see a GOP that offers very few constructive ideas of our key problems of the day. To me, this choice should not be as close as it is in America. I greatly fear a GOP white house coupled with control of one or both of the houses as it will truly take our country back-wards and the rest of the world with it.