The world's verdict will be harsh if the US rejects the man it yearns for
An America that disdains Obama for his global support risks turning current anti-Bush feeling into something far worse
Now, everytime some leftists global leftist reminds us barbarian Americans if we don't choose the candidate they want, I must remind them of the most recent election results in the world. In France, the pro American candidate, Nicholas Sarkozy, won a landslide victory. In Germany, the pro American candidate, Angela Merkel, also won a landslide victory. In Canada, the pro American candidate, Stephen Harper, also won a sweeping victory. In Mexico, the pro American candidate, Felipe Calderone also won a sweeping victory. In all of these election, their opponents attempted to make their pro American stances an issue and each and every time that strategy backfired.
Yet, this pundit now not only proceeds to tell Americans how to vote, but furthermore, he tells Americans that their will be consequences if they don't vote as the chattering class in Europe demands.
It seems that Freeland was snoozing when the verdict came in about Obama's speech in front 200,000 screaming Germans. Americans weren't as impressed. What Freeland doesn't seem to understand is that Europeans always tell pollsters they hate Americans but then at the only poll that counts, the ballot box, they seem to tell another story.
But what of the rest of the world? This is the reaction I fear most. For Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory. Polling in Germany, France, Britain and Russia shows that Obama would win by whopping majorities, with the pattern repeated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If November 4 were a global ballot, Obama would win it handsomely. If the free world could choose its leader, it would be Barack Obama.
The crowd of 200,000 that rallied to hear him in Berlin in July did so not only because of his charisma, but also because they know he, like the majority of the world's population, opposed the Iraq war. McCain supported it, peddling the lie that Saddam was linked to 9/11. Non-Americans sense that Obama will not ride roughshod over the international system but will treat alliances and global institutions seriously: McCain wants to bypass the United Nations in favour of a US-friendly League of Democracies. McCain might talk a good game on climate change, but a repeated floor chant at the Republican convention was "Drill, baby, drill!", as if the solution to global warming were not a radical rethink of the US's entire energy system but more offshore oil rigs.
If Americans choose McCain, they will be turning their back on the rest of the world, choosing to show us four more years of the Bush-Cheney finger. And I predict a deeply unpleasant shift.
Until now, anti-Americanism has been exaggerated and much misunderstood: outside a leftist hardcore, it has mostly been anti-Bushism, opposition to this specific administration. But if McCain wins in November, that might well change. Suddenly Europeans and others will conclude that their dispute is with not only one ruling clique, but Americans themselves. For it will have been the American people, not the politicians, who will have passed up a once-in-a-generation chance for a fresh start - a fresh start the world is yearning for.
Furthermore, what Freeland doesn't seem to understand is that Americans don't care much what Europeans think when we make our determination of a Presidential candidate. We aren't going to be threatened, extorted, or bullied into making any choice but the one we want to make.