Friends. Everyone needs them. No one understands our need for friends more than the people who we need as friends, as one former US ambassador explains.
You wrote a commentary in Britain’s Guardian newspaper in which you suggested that Europeans and the rest of the world should let the Americans know who they want for US president. Can world public opinion and the global media really influence the US elections?
They have already influenced the elections very strongly, by voicing concern over the way the [Bush administration] has conducted itself in the past eight years. You look at all the polls. America’s standing in the world had never ever been so low. These figures have registered everywhere in the United States. I hear this again and again from Americans — “our standing in the world is so low” — and that in turn has influenced American public opinion of the Bush administration’s policies.
Kornblum grasps what many of his fellow Yankees are perhaps just beginning to–that the right to elect a President of the United States ought to be, along with freedom of speech, free medical care, and habeas corpus, a universal right for all citizens of the world.
But are we acting too late? Can we regain the trust of the world by correcting this one injustice, or is a more extreme measure required lest our image becomes unsalvageable? The percentage of people around the world who view American influence favorably has risen slightly above the percentage who view North Korea favorably, but has not surpassed an abyssmal 35%. With numbers like that, Pig-pen has better chances of being invited to the ball.
Back when world opinion polls revealed that China is more popular than the United States, I fear we may have missed a golden opportunity…to become like China. Granted, our inexperience in central economic planning, our abnormal distaste of government persecution of religion, our reluctance to engage in activities like harvesting organs from unwilling subjects, and our total lack of imagination in the area of law enforcement are obstacles that would have to be overcome, but I am sure that with a positive “can-do” attitude that America is supposed to be famous for, we could adapt. At any rate, I think it is accurate to say that the United States would have an easier time adapting to Chinese-style rule of law than Iraq is having adapting to Western-style democracy.
There is another option I have not seen discussed, and it seems glaringly obvious once you think of it. A certain geographically close neighbor exists, the citizens of which hold a continually sinking opinion of the United States, and who can be assumed to be winning many friends, lovers, acquaintances, invitations to balls, etc. Yes, I’m speaking of Canada.
Should the United States apply to become a province of Canada?
It’s a hard question for many Americans to consider. I think we would find on balance many advantages of such an arrangement. Most importantly, world opinion of the United States, not to mention Canadian opinion of the United States, would surely improve by leaps and bounds. The idea is worth examination.