Yes. The whole world is watching, frustratedly watching, the American election campaign. Many believe that they should have had the right to participate as the decision is bound to affect their own lives as well as American ones. Some living in democracies believe the Americans are too uncouth to be entrusted with such an important decision while those living in dictatorship are filled with hopeless wonder. Too many in the under developed world believe that America stands between them and an opportunity to made a similar choice. For in these difficult times the presidential candidates do offer Americans a real choice and it is a choice which will be understood by both friend and foe alike.
Choosing Barack Obama would telegraph an anxious to please America; one which bought into the preposition that the attacks on 9/11 were her fault. Reza Aslan is right. The Anti American leftist - Islamist coalition would not play nice because Obama is only half white. They will demand that he attend to their articulated grievances and would be sure to add more once he does. As Aslan must know all too well, their very existence is based on not being pleased.
Hillary Clinton’s election would seem most natural to the Third world where parties and leadership post are considered lawful family property. Just think of Benazir Bhutto, Sonia Ghandi and their heir apparent sons. Everywhere it would signal a repudiation of Bush’s forward anti Islamists strategy. An America that elects the woman who pushed her nervous husband to retreat precipitously from Somalia can be attacked again with relative impunity.
The election of John Edwards, Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee would signal that America is fed up with the world and not only wishes to pull up its draw bridges but is serious of trying to do so. Nothing would scare friends or foes more which means that nothing would be resented more. Expect anti-Americanism to reach new heights. Remember that nothing infuriates children more than a lack of parental attention.
The election of Rudi Giuliani, Mitt Romney or John McCain would be perceived as an American decision to continue the war against Islamic terrorism albeit with a different strategy. Rudi Giuliani would be expected to carry it on most aggressively; Nick Romney most efficiently and John McCain most wisely. Indeed, I can imagine nothing better for America’s image than a president McCain.
McCain, not unlike Eisenhower and, perhaps, even more, embodies what is best in America. His election would illuminate the determined seriousness with which Americans mean to meet the dangers and challenges of the new century.
Yes, the world is watching for much would depend on the choice the American people make. Luckily, the Americans usually make the right decision. Just imagine a world with a Somalialike Iraq in the heart of the Middle East. That is the kind of world we would have been living in had the American people chosen Kerry in 2004 or reelected Republicans to run Congress in 2006.
As difficult as it is for elites to acknowledge it, Vox Populi is as close as we can come to Vox Dei.
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