Thursday, July 24, 2008

Freedom Fries, Anyone?

Sen. Barack Obama has gotten quite the welcome on this recent jaunt throughout the Middle East and Europe: enthusiastically greeted by soldiers in Iraq; his military withdrawal plan validated by Iraq’s prime minister; an uneventful—in a good way—trip thru Israel; a warmly received speech by hundreds of thousands in Berlin. I’d like to think that after 8 years of the failed Bush Administration, Obama’s candidacy sends out a different message to Europe and the rest of the world. One that says “Hey, not only are we seriously considering a black man as our next president, but he’s a smart, thoughtful man, who will rekindle your trust in us.” And with the dollar’s value plummeting, our economy in shambles and our foreign policy equally mocked and derided, we need all the allies we can get. Not that lame-ass Coalition of the Willing, but a real set of true allegiances.

Of course, the wingnuts with their chest-thumping “We’re #1, rah-rah-rah” stance find all this, at worst, un-American; at best, perplexing. But if the 44th president of these United States were to be John McCain, with his gung-ho, shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach to foreign policy, “Old Europe” and the rest of the world—watch out for Russia, who McCain seems to enjoy antagonizing—could conceivably turn its back on us and exercise whatever power it has to ensure our collapse. (Don’t think so? We can’t even get Iraq or Afghanistan under control after 5 years; Germany could clobber us right now.) But our defeat would not be military; it would be an economic one and would represent the fall of the last empire. (Or superpower; whatever’s clever.) All it takes is for China to stumble a little bit and the other superpowers to close their doors and...poof. Remember that next time you feel like ordering "freedom fries" or dissing Deutschland.

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