Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The world likes America but hates Bush.

I read with interest "France's Le Monde Newspaper: America yes, Bush no" over at Kuro5hin since it confirms something I've heard and thought for a while. There is a lot of anti-American sentiment in the world right now, but it's not directed at Americans. It's directed at what the country has done and at President Bush personally.

People sometimes elect lousy leaders. Other countries have done it, they understand, and they're forgiving. I give them credit for that. However, if America, having seen what Bush has done, elects him for a second term, I think the people of the world will then blame the people of America for Bush's first term as well as his second. Voting for Bush tells the world, "yes, we wanted that to happen."

The original poll covered ten countries, only two of which favored Kerry, according to this article in The Guardian.
The only exceptions to this trend are the Israelis - who back Bush 2-1 over Kerry and see the US as their security umbrella - and the Russians who, despite their traditional anti-Americanism, recorded unexpectedly favourable attitudes towards the US in the survey conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Beslan tragedy.
The other eight countries polled:
  • Australia
  • Britain
  • Canada
  • France
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • South Korea
I won't be voting any differently based only on the opinions of foreigners (any more than I'll vote based on the opinions of terrorists), but I do think it's worth figuring out what their beef is. Given that so many other people have an opinion different from the people in this country (who seem to be split very evenly), where does that difference come from? Do they know something we don't, or do they merely (and predictably) have different interests? For instance, they didn't get the tax cuts that Americans got. Perhaps it's that they just are not Americans and feel no solidarity with an American leader.

In any case, this election may turn out to be more than the most important anyone in America can remember. The world is watching, waiting to see what their favored Americans do about their unpopular leader.
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