Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The World Has an Opinion. Who Knew?

Story from the Australian Broadcasting Company regarding a recent poll of 22 (23 if you count the US) countries and whom they'd like to see in the White House next year.

Yeah. Big surprise.

Two problems with this poll:

1. The polling was done during the months of July and August. Presumably this is pre-Palin data we're talking about. I'd be very interested in (though no less swayed by) data with Palin in the mix. I wonder how the stuffed-shirt Euro-establishment sees a conservative woman affecting this race. The Brits already seem to regard her more or less as window dressing, based on what I've seen in their Fleet Street fish-wrappers thus far.

2. Like I care what the rest of the world thinks about our candidates. Aside from the mild curiosity I just mentioned, why should we care for one minute what world opinion is with respect to our political process? Lest we fear too much that world opinion holds any real sway here, let's remind ourselves just how welcome US opinion of foreign processes is these days. Last I heard, even the G8 were telling Bush to mind his own doggoned business, and I can't imagine Obama being much more than just another celebrity anywhere outside of Washington, D.C. They'd fawn over him when he makes his appearances before kings and ministers, then pat him on his head and send him back across the pond to get him out of the way. A world power-player he would not be. The first time he goes to the United Nations to ask "Mother, may I?" (Obama would characterize such a visit as having a "frank" dialogue with the Security Council, of course) would forever brand him as weak, and he would find powers such as Russia and China (not to mention the entire Middle East) testing his limits to the uttermost.

I find the list of nations who were polled to be fascinating:
A total of 23,531 people in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, the UAE, Britain and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone in July and August 2008 for the poll.
Of the nations polled, I find China and Russia to be particularly telling. If they truly want an Obama presidency, what does that say about the person with whom they'd rather deal? Several socialist or near-socialist nations in this mix, not to mention countries with heavy Muslim populations that would be highly unlikely to support anyone who wishes to pursue the fight with terrorists on (or near) their turf. Not even Australia is as staunchly conservative as it once was, so no surprise here.

Here's the money quote, though:
"Large numbers of people around the world clearly like what Barack Obama represents," GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller said.

"Given how negative America's international image is at present, it is quite striking that only one in five think a McCain presidency would improve on the Bush administration's relations with the world."
Striking, perhaps, but not in the least surprising. And a negative international image is just par for the course. Even with Clinton's pandering to foreign leaders, our international image wasn't all that hot during his presidency, either. Fact is, the world has always seen us more or less as uncultured cowboys, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

But, hey, thanks for your feedback, folks. Keep those comments coming. We'll just keep filing them in our nice round file cabinet next to the shredder.

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