Wednesday, March 24, 2004
To execute judgement upon all
While I don't think this critique represents anything like a full diagnosis of the causes of terrorism and anti-Americanism, I do think it's an important part of the story. So it's no surprise that an op-ed with the title, U.S. election: the world should also have a vote would catch my attention.
Check this out:
The options on offer from both candidates are few and the choices far between. This is not only a bad sign for the United States but also for the rest of the world. World peace and the lives of six billion people on this planet hang on the outcome of the elections. How the United States under its next president takes on the reconstruction of Iraq, tackles terrorist threats and nuclear nonproliferation, deals with Muslim societies, and copes with issues of trade, currency and the global environment, will all have a significant effect on the entire global community.
Under the current U.S.-centered international system, the United Nations has been sidelined. Longstanding U.S. allies like Britain and Japan have been relegated to a "coalition of the willing" (now minus Spain), while other major powers such as China and Russia are frantically trying to make "transactions" with the United States. No country has the power to effectively restrain America.
This all sounds right to me. And even if the core claim, the claim that the United States is the bull in the world's china shop, is false, the fact that the claim is being made is a point in favor of my analysis.
The author goes a little hyperbolic a few paragraphs later:
Charles Kupchan, a professor at Georgetown University and author of "The End of the American Era," believes that since Sept. 11, 2001, the system of checks and balances has broken down in the United States. Internally, opposition parties have almost disappeared, and those expressing a dissenting view are few. Bush critics are condemned as unpatriotic, and only in the past four to five months have opponents of Bush's foreign policy begun to creep out from behind the rocks.
That view strikes me as overly pessimistic. But whatever.
Where they really lose me is with the proposed solution:
The idea is to hold a mock election via the Internet at individual discretion, giving everyone around the world with access to the Internet the chance to cast a vote. Voters would be able to choose the candidate they think is best for the world, giving reasons for their choice. The results should then be published before the real election on Nov. 2, allowing U.S. citizens to take world opinion into account when making their own decision.
Talk about a counterproductive idea. How do you think the vote is likely to come out? Me, I think Bush wouldn't do too well. Now, imagine that the results are published a few days before the election. What do you think the effect will be on the American political scene? I'm thinking backlash. But hey, if you want to vote, this site will let you.