Main | Friday, January 25, 2008

The World Is Watching

More than ever before, the U.S. election process has the rest of the world holding its breath.
DAVOS, Switzerland — To look at the reams of coverage in newspapers outside the United States or to follow the hours of television news broadcasts you might conclude that foreigners had a vote in selecting an American presidential candidate — or, at least, deserved one, so great is America’s influence on their lives.

From Berlin to London to Jakarta, the destinies of Democratic and Republican contenders in Iowa or New Hampshire, or Nevada or South Carolina, have become home-town news in a way that most political commentators cannot recall. It is as if outsiders are pining for change in America as much as some American would-be presidential candidates are promising it.

The personalities of the Democratic contest in particular — the potential harbinger of America’s first African-American or female president — have fascinated outsiders as much as, if not more than, the candidates’ policies on Iraq, immigration or global financial woes.

And there is a palpable sense that, while democratic systems seem clunky and uninspiring to voters in many parts of the Western world, America offers a potential model for reinvigoration.
From India's The Hindi: “We foreigners can but pray that the new president, whoever he or she may be, will return America to its strengths, values and the tradition of exporting hope and other optimism. And so help to lift America and the world up, not tear one another down.”

Here's hoping we don't let them down. Again.


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