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Monday, November 10, 2008

What The World Can Do For Us

Thomas Friedman, resident sage of the New York Times and Shambollocks favorite, wrote yesterday on what an Obama presidency should expect from the global community.

So to everyone overseas I say: thanks for your applause for our new president. I’m glad you all feel that America “is back.” If you want Obama to succeed, though, don’t just show us the love, show us the money. Show us the troops. Show us the diplomatic effort. Show us the economic partnership. Show us something more than a fresh smile. Because freedom is not free and your excuse for doing less than you could is leaving town in January.

Hmmm...I don't think the world is going to snap back into line behind an Obama administration. Further, I believe that Friedman's wish reflects the exact same type of arrogance which earned us international calumny. The mess we created in Iraq and Afghanistan will not be shared by the international community just by an Obama victory. No, I imagine it will take some diplomatic effort and Obama charm.

Instead of these high expectations, how about an Obama administration which begins its diplomatic dialogues with a dose of humility? Just as this momentous election reflects positively on all Americans, the last eight years reflect negatively-and the misdeeds of the last eight years need to be addressed. By all means, President Obama need not apologize for his predecessor, but he should acknowlege how we found ourselves here. After that, President Obama can demonstrate that he has learned from our mistakes and is willing to be more cooperative with our allies. Only after those conditions have been met should we expect to receive any international assistance in Iraq or Afghanistan.

We lack the superpower strength we held at the beginning of the Bush administration. China and Russia, in particular, realize that we do not have the same support amongst our allies, particularly in Europe. An honest effort to open dialogue with Iran would be a terrific first step. But until we show a willingness to eat a little crow, I don't know how we can expect ridiculous offers of monetary and military aid to clean up our own international messes.

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