Thursday, July 24, 2008

Will This Overseas Trip Help Obama? Possibly.

A column by a British editorial writer sparked the impetus for this post. The central premise in this post is a variation upon what he had to say in his column. He was interviewed yesterday on MSNBC and I found myself nodding my head in total agreement with the argument he was advancing.

To wit, what has been bandied about recently is the hope that an Obama visit will mend fences with the rest of the world, and clean up American's reputation in the world, a reputation sullied by the excesses of the Bush Administration. Among the left, a major sticking point with the current government in power is how it has abused and misused its power. In Obama, leftists hope to see a resumption of American good standing in the rest of the world. It's a worthy cause to laud, though a more thorough examination might do us well to ponder.

Though I hate to admit it, this country is often in a Catch-22 situation when it makes major policy decision, or really, any decisions at all. It can often do no right, or at least get little to no praise for the things it does right; it is overwhelmed by criticism when it makes mistakes, no matter how minor. Likewise, when this country flexes its muscles either economically or militarily, it is perceived as forcing its hand unjustly in the affairs of the world, but when a crisis abroad appears, it is lambasted in the opinion of the world when it does not act decisively.

It's a combination of sour grapes and just plain old envy. We are the most powerful, most affluent country in the world, and other people resent us for those facts. Obama's visit will hopefully impress upon the rest of the country that he is a capable leader, and at the same time make the same impression upon undecided voters, but I don't see this being the slam dunk the mainstream media wishes. It makes for good theater and hyperbole, so I understand the reason why the mainstream media is pushing it. I reflect upon similar press-driven events that are not nearly as important to the overall debate as the hype would have one believe.

What might be a more helpful question would be to ask why, historically, one nation or state has secured so much wealth at the expense of all the others. Should we accept this as a lamentable fact of human nature or is there some way to expand a more equal distribution of wealth and entitlements across the face of the world?

No comments: