On the morning before the inauguration, I saw a snippet of the pre-ceremony TV news. CNN was interviewing people in the crowd before the Capitol. Part way through, they cut to a BBC reporter who earnestly informed us of the results of a new ‘worldwide’ poll. 70% of the ‘world’- coming from a variety of nations, she assured us- felt that relations of their country and the US would improve with the new Obama administration.
For most of the last 8 years, we’ve had to endure countless statements of how Bush has ‘upset’ the ‘world’ or how the ‘world’ was unhappy with US leadership and/or for not consulting with the ‘international community’ enough before acting on the international stage.
The reality in the international stage is that countries need to act according to their national values. Those values should drive their leadership. In the US, that is democracy first and foremost. It’s also a focus on individual liberties, free-market capitalism, and the rule of law.
If the values of a foreign country are different (ex: Socialist/collectivist) from those of the US (individualist/capitalist), they will never be ‘happy’ with us or the decisions our President makes. As the most powerful country on the planet and the most committed to freedom, the US world leadership should never take the high-schoolish attitude that we should do things that will cause us to be ‘popular’ with other foreign countries. We must first do what is right and let the popularity-contest chips fall where they may afterward. If we want to team with others, we should find those that share our principles. If they do not, we should not waver from our principles in order to do something different so we are more ‘liked’.
With the inauguration of a new administration we gain a President and congress with a distinct Leftist/Socialist past history like that of Europe and other foreign countries. We can only hope that Obama will not abandon American principles and make decisions calculated to ‘please’ the ‘world’.