Since our friends and neighbors chanted Obama into office on the assumption that he could change the world’s opinion of us — as if world opinion of the U.S. truly matters or as if world opinion of the U.S. can be altered by one man –, let us take a look at two choice headlines from an early August article in Der Spiegel. Just to get that all-important international perspective….
Let’s put to rest this notion that American is better off with the affection of the world. It’s not true. People from abroad who hate America will hate America no matter what. We are, for better or for worse, the New York Yankees of the world, forever despised. Deal with it. It’s the price you pay for being top dog.
Liberals hate being hated because they go on their trips to Europe, and they witness the open hostility Europeans have to America. They go to Paris and they imagine their waiters are spitting in their croissants or whatever, and lefties feel they deserve this punishment because of the sins of their Ugly American brethren and U.S. foreign policy. And then there’s the corrosive liberal guilt that is sewed into their nature.
2008 is soooo far away….Look at the pic below (click to enlarge).
Why were Germans so enamored with him? The U.S. knew nothing about him, and Germans knew even less. But there they are with the cameras out. So few cell phones there (I count only 1 out of the myriad of digital cameras). All with their overly earnest sense that the world was about to change. They’re so impressed with this man in front of them. Some of them with mouths agape. You’d think the Germans would be extra-careful when a charismatic, cult-of-personality figure walks onto their stage. But they embraced him completely it would seem (at least those present in this picture).
This world view of Obama, captured in this picture, is typical of the foreign perspective. Truth is, most people even in the U.S., let alone the rest of the world, are misinformed as to what ‘American exceptionalism’ really means. A great explanation of American exceptionalism can be summed up in a 10 minute speech Rush Limbaugh gave in Joplin, Missouri on July 4th. Chris Matthews thinks it means: Hey, Look! Even a black guy from Kenya can become President, isn’t that a wonderful example of American exceptionalism? Noooo. The Other McCain has an excellent critique of Matthews’ understanding of American exceptionalism. And the mere event where a minority is democratically elected to the highest office in the land doesn’t by itself make America exceptional in any way. Nor is it a wonderful thing, by itself. Nor is it ‘kind of cool’ that a black guy became President of the U.S.. Not if the man represents an ideological perspective contrary to the country’s foundation; a perspective requiring America to fundamentally transform itself.
(And why was Germany so interested in seeing America rebrand itself? For the sins of Dubya? Not to be petty, but they’re not exactly in any position to pass judgment on U.S. foreign policy. )