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To criticise another diary is never easy. It is almost impossible when you are a lesser known member of the Dkos community and the diarist has a passionate and admiring following. Yet it would be dishonest if I did not express the strength of my feelings. Feelings as a European.

I was appalled and angered yesterday by the diary that took the words of one of the Democratic candidates and juxtaposed them with neocon language to discredit that person.

It would be interesting to do something similar to the statements made by Sarkozy and Royal in the run up to the final poll in France in a few days time. To do so would be just a game, an exercise as intellectually dishonest as that played on Barack Obama.

I am not writing, however, in defence of Barack Obama here. To me, he is one of an excellent field of Democratic candidates and I would not want any of them to be attacked in this way. In any case, this defence was done admirably by others – and not just by those who support him. I am writing here as a European in defence of the America people, because it was they who were also being attacked by the diary, even if the diarist did not understand that this occurred because of the second language problem.

Barack Obama is quoted by the diarist as saying:

But if the next President can restore the American people’s trust – if they know that he or she is acting with their best interests at heart, with prudence and wisdom and some measure of humility – then I believe the American people will be ready to see America lead again.
They will be ready to show the world that we are not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries. That we are not a country that runs prisons which lock people away without ever telling them why they are there or what they are charged with. That we are not a country which preaches compassion and justice to others while we allow bodies to float down the streets of a major American city.
That is not who we are.

This was the response of the diarist:  "The problem is that yes, this is precisely who America is today in the eyes of most of the world ".

I have some news for the diarist. No, that is not so. That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is and what its policies are "in the eyes of most of the world."

A substantial majority of American people have shown that they have rejected this administration and these policies, or did the November elections pass unnoticed in that particular corner of Europe from which the diarist writes?

Obama was not talking about some dehumanised nation; his remarks were about the American people and what they are and how they can be seen again in the eyes of the world.

Perhaps the diarist had in mind the Pew Research findings:

If that is the case, then the diarist is interpreting the data far too widely. He would only have evidence that this is how the current American administration and its current policies are seen. Without being too unkind, the diarist may be too clouded in his opinion by coming from a country that is unique in Europe in the intensity of it wanting to distance itself from the US. This is an extraordinary phenomenon that began with de Gaulle before the US and allied forces landed at Normandy to free his country, it was the motivation for the creation of the EU and has grown ever since, particularly on the left. In 2005, Pew recorded that 73% sought greater distance from the United States, way ahead of the 59% of its nearest neighbour Germany, even with the Iraq war.

Worse still, the diarist offers the American people little hope in the foreseeable future, no matter that a Democratic president will take over leadership. He writes:

Finally stopping the most atrocious behaviour will not eliminate the fact that it took place, that it took place for a long time, and that it was supported by a surprisingly high proportion of the population

.....And yet America will not be in a position to lead until it has atoned. You don't eliminate such a stain, such a loud precedent (which many others will be all too happy to use as an excuse for their own abuses for a long time) just by not doing it anymore. The credibility to talk about values, about democracy, about cooperation, about peace - just isn't there. And talking about a stronger military, more interventionism in other countries (even of the humanitarian or modest kind), and bringing the American model back to the world is not going to work, because it is yet more meddling

I would like to see the evidence that "the most atrocious behaviour" was so widely supported by the American people. Is this just erroneously conflating the original support for the invasion of Iraq with all that has subsequently emerged?

I dislike the implied dismissal of hope that the United States can regain in reasonable time its position by changing its policies to that of a Democratic leadership. Nor do I like the bald statement that "The credibility to talk about values, about democracy, about cooperation, about peace - just isn't there ". I can only refer back to Pew again. They write:

Our surveys have brought home to Americans and their leaders the challenges the United States faces in restoring our country's image and its influence overseas. The U.S. continues to meet with widespread antipathy in many parts of the world, and in particular it faces strong and growing opposition to key aspects of its foreign policy. Nonetheless, our polling has also uncovered some hopeful signs, even in Muslim countries where the U.S. faces some of its most daunting challenges.

One frequently cited example of the U.S. turning around its image in a difficult environment is Indonesia, where U.S. humanitarian assistance following the horrific December 2004 tsunami helped improve America's image in the world's largest Muslim country. Prior to the tsunami, favorable attitudes toward the U.S. had plummeted in reaction to the Iraq war, however after the tragedy and the influx of American aid favorable views of the U.S. more than doubled, jumping from 15% to 38%. Recently, we have seen a similar, although more limited, pattern in Pakistan where American aid following the October 2005 earthquake helped drive favorable opinions of the U.S. up slightly, from 23% in 2005 to 27% in 2006.

Pew does not under-estimate the difficulties of restoring the leadership role of the United States but its quantitative measure contrasts with the airily expressed and unsupported opinions of the diarist. It gives the following example of the immediate effect that the generosity of the American people can have on world opinion:

My greatest anger arose about the comments by the diarist when I read this statement about Americans:

Getting out of Iraq is not a proof of sanity, it's just an absence of proof that you are insane or deluded or both

More than 200 people on Daily Kos awarded mojo to this diary making these allegations about a Democratic candidate and about the future of American leadership of the free world.

I have tried to understand, and perhaps can, the reasons for this award to the diarist for these comments. We are all tired to the bottom of our souls as to what America has been for these last six years, how it has acted and how it has conducted itself both in foreign and domestic policy. So it is all too easy to share the emotional response of someone from France, whose elegant writing has captured so many on here. I utterly and completely oppose the comments, however, as representative of Europe.

Well, I doubt if this diary of mine gets recommended, let alone gets the same mojo. It is out of tune with the sentiment of the times on here and the exhaustion felt by many. It does not play to your current sense of despair of your country but touches upon the proper pride that I want to recall about its great achievements.

I will state my view, however , and will do so defiantly even though different from that of the diarist. It is the view of a European just as much as the one that you applauded so heavily yesterday, even if my only audience today consists of the sheep in the Welsh hills around me.

America is still a great country and, however much most of Europe has despaired these last few years, the majority of its people still love Americans. Yes, "love" Americans. It goes beyond simply affection for your warmth as a people, your music and your culture. In Europe, old Europe, there will not be lost a sense of gratitude for the help that you gave us when we were faced with an enemy greater than any that the world has ever seen. In the UK we stood alone, perhaps just half a dozen Spitfires away from defeat through exhaustion. Mainland Europe was in the control of an evil dictator that brought death and destruction to millions. Does six years of Bush undo this history and the gratitude that is felt to your country?

Then followed an equally threatening Soviet dictatorship, with ambitions that went beyond its icy grip of the control of many European countries and had ambitions for an ideological and military dominance of world proportions. Through steadfast defence, at great risk to its own people, the United States faced down that threat that could have destroyed the world. You can travel across Europe, across the destroyed Berlin Wall and through Poland and on to the newly freed Eastern bloc and you will find gratitude to the United States. Does six years of Bush undo this history and the gratitude that is felt to your country?

Like many of you, I spend my time on Daily Kos criticising American policy and expressing anger and indignation at what I see. This is not the knee-jerk anti-Americanism such as one constantly used to see from the far left in the UK and still see in pockets of the European extreme left who are a small minority in their own country. It is specific to this time and to this current administration.

With your efforts, backed by the courage and determination that you have shown over the last six years, America will regain the role that is rightfully hers and will find a greater wisdom and a truer path to leadership of the free world. Make absolutely no mistake, and let no diarist purporting to speak on behalf of Europe persuade you otherwise, the world is eager to accept, and needs, the United States back in its proper leadership position. For all the wrongs and evils that Bush has committed, that is the mantle that you, as the American people, will need to be ready to assume when you get your country back. We will love you for it.

When many of you think that what you read on here is "Europe" speaking, then I have to ask you, as I do in the title, "What the h*ll is this ‘European’ view on here?" Sometimes it is not something that I recognise, nor want to recognise.

Originally posted to Welshman on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:59 AM PDT.

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  •  I don't think I have broken any rules (403+ / 0-)
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    This is intended as strong debate, no more. If I have transgressed, then I apologise. Chuck me off the site and I will go with no ill will and even with a grin. I will go having stood up for those Americans that I have been lucky enough to know.

    Which is not strange that I stand by those Americans, even though I am a Welshman. Maybe it is because I am a Welshman that I feel this affinity that comes from the eighteen fellow countrymen who signed a document at the birth of your democracy. It is that Constitution that this diary is really standing up for and defending. It is powerful enough to bring your country back to you – and to us. Just have hope, determination and a little more patience.

    •  You have good points. (14+ / 0-)

      And many people like ranging from Jerome a Paris, Chris in Paris, and even Lenin have pointed out the twisting and squirming of the neo-cons for ideological purposes.

      Keep putting light on this!

      Today, 4/30/07, 3350 Americans, and untold Iraqis are dead, tens of thousands more maimed. What are YOU going to do today to help end the Bush/Republican war?

      by boilerman10 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:56:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary. Rc'd n/t (7+ / 0-)

      "Impeach the Cheerleader, save the world!"

      by deepfish on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:11:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you! (24+ / 0-)

      I don't think we should make the mistake, in rejection of the ignorant psuedo-patriotism/nationalism on the right, of being in despair of who we are.  DKos is America, goddamnit, and so is everybody out there working for a better day.  Nothing, and especially no candidate is perfect, but we can't stop believing in ourselves as a people or the potential for our future.  Shit's mad fucked up right now, and it won't be easy to fix by any stretch, but fuck it, right?  Nobody ever promised tomorrow would be easy.  Keep the faith.

      If you don't understand someone, consider that the problem may not lie with that person, but rather with your own understanding.

      by Aethern on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:31:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  (since this diary appears to call me out) (108+ / 0-)

      Here we go:

      I don't claim to speak for Europe. I speak for me. You're free to consider me ignorant, misinformed, wrong, etc...

      I find it revealing that you feel the need to state in almost every diary that you are European - presumably because you think there would be a doubt if you did not state it explicitly, a self-explanatory thought.

      I did not like what I saw in that speech, and noted that the neocons jumped on the same things - whether their purpose is to keep their interpretation of these ideas alive, or to somehow taint him, or some other devious thing. People are free to disagree, to think my interpretation is wrong or too pessimistic or too naive, that's fine.

      But reacting to the fact that I'm French just goes to show that one has no arguments on substance. As I've said repeatedly to those that bring up my nationality when they don't like what I write: "I thought the standards of America were higher. Being 'no worse than the French' appears very lacking in ambition to me."

      And calling my piece a hit job is also a strange attack. I have never taken part in the primary discussions, have not and will not express support a preference for a candidate, and have no intention of doing so. I saw one speech by one of the leading democrats, found it worrying - to me, as an outsider - and wrote about it.

      Please react on the substance, not on who I am and who you think I represent. I represent no one but myself, and do not claim to represent Europe or the world or the Edwards campaign or anyone else.

      •  Thanks for commenting, Jerome (68+ / 0-)

        I think that there may well be different perceptions about how the original diary was intended and how it was read.

        What is important is that we express our diversity of views but do so recognising that it is important to this site, the people on it, the United States and the rest of us in the world that America regains its leadership role and does so as quickly as possible within a framework of Democratic and not neocon Republican values.

        That said, the two diaries should just stand and hopefully the best bits will be taken from them both.


        •  Agreed (55+ / 0-)

          My opinion would be that "leadership" should come, in today's circumstances (i.e. following 8 years of reckless Bush administration) by example - i.e. accepting to listen to others, accepting to be bound by international rules rather than ignoring them, acknowledging the existence and interests of others as just as legitimate as America's, and avoiding the use of, or even the hint of military force in relations with others. And taking care of human rights at home.

          Now that would be leadership.

          (And no, France is not up to these lofty standards)

          •  Sounds a lot like Obama (16+ / 0-)

            except for "avoiding... even the hint of military force in relations with others" which I find terribly naive in a world of dictators, madmen and terrorists.

            Hillary is like Joe Biden, only unelectable.

            by Joe B on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:37:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Now will someone speak for Italy? (21+ / 0-)

              Or will we get a new government next week?

              I gave mojo to both diaries for their thought provoking ideas and promoting intelligent discussion.

              I tend to give Obama the benefit of the doubt here because it is easy put his words in the context of the present administration, but I don't believe that is fair. Obama is correct to say that America can not abandon its leadership role in the world. World leadership, however, comes from the power of persuasion of allies, not the power of a gun at an Iraqi's back.

              Bush and Cheney have demonstrated how useless raw military power is by itself.

              "It's the planet, stupid."

              by FishOutofWater on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:04:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Actually, we can... (11+ / 0-)

                We already abandoned our leadership role, because we lost all our respect in the world.  We Americans are ridiculously arrogant.  Outside of our borders, most people are not begging for our leadership.  It's not like they are lost without us.  

                This crap about American leadership is the same as the idea that we serve as some amazing example for the world and everyone wants to emulate us.  Our act is starting to get old and the more other countries see of us the less they like what they see.  

                Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

                by Asak on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:22:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, you're wrong (7+ / 0-)

                  The diarist got it right.

                  Europeans love the American people, they just hate our president.

                  First they will ignore you, then they will laugh at you, then they will fight you, then you will win. Mohandas Gandhi

                  by Bridge Master on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:42:59 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think the reality is somewhere between the 2 (10+ / 0-)

                    My take is that when Americans elected Bush for a 2nd term after all that had been uncovered about his administration up to that point, the world for the most part lost faith in the American majority. They know that close to half the country didn't vote for him, but they're understandably very skeptical of the other half+, and are watching with a wary eye what America will do to rectify the problem. It's up to Democrats to reverse the destructive course this country under Bush is on, and in doing so to restore the world's trust in America.

                  •  They don't love Americans and they (8+ / 0-)

                    don't hate them. I don't think they have stronger feelings about Americans than European nationalities. They hate Bush I will agree with that statement.

                  •  70% fear American officials (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    According to this story, tourist numbers have fallen by 17% since 9/11, at a cost of $100 billion and 100,000 American jobs, even though tourism in the rest of the world has soared, and the dollar is uniquely good value (for instance, £1 is now worth $2 for the first time in years).

                    "[Respondents to a survey] said they feared US officials more than terrorists or criminals. Another 66 per cent worried they would be detained for some minor blunder, such as wrongly filling out an official form or being mistaken for a terrorist, while 55 per cent say officials are 'rude'."

                    They're not staying away because they're worried they'll meet George Bush. They don't like meeting the Americans who treat them like the lowest dirt, and while I can usually agree the President sets the tone for the country, nobody can make him take personal responsibility for other Americans behaving like this, unless maybe they're big Bush supporters. And if they are, then again, that means Bush can't be the scapegoat, not if he's being supported by the rest of the country.

                    I used to enjoy travelling across the Atlantic to the USA, mostly the desert states of the south west and the "nearest coast" of New England. But I just got tired of the hassle, and Bush's re-election in 2004, just after my last visit to Boston that September, put me off going back. That was like America's validation of everything Bush had done.

                •  my experience is not so (36+ / 0-)

                  here is a personal anecdote that I posted on C&J a while back:

                  Just wanted to share.  My fiancee was kinda pissed that I was on the computer so much yesterday.  So I explained that a lot is happening and we are watching history in the making.  Now, I currently live in Germany and she is German.  In fact, a real proletariat who works at a local factory.

                  In any case, I explained that what is happening now could be an Oliver Stone film.  I explained all the f--ked up stuff of the corrupt administration, possible economic collapse, the weak war rationales in detail.  I explained how our insurance, while not perfect, is so much better overall than what we had in the US.

                  Then I explained the power of blogging and dKos in particular.  How bloggers played a major role in the Congressional elections and what that means for the world.  I explained how bloggers blew the top off of the recent scandals.

                  And she said to me, I'm paraphrasing the conversation here: "Maybe I would like to stay in the US rather than coming back after you get your PhD and I get my BA."

                  "Why on earth would you want to do that?  The US is no longer what you see in movies, it could get really bad there, we may be better off here."  I replied.

                  "Because if what you say about these blogs is true, about how people really do have a lot of power to guide American society, that may be a place where I would like to live."

                  And I thoughtm, for a brief moment, dKos and blogs just may...just may... be turning American into a shining city on the hill once again.

                  Congrats on your contributions to Democracy and the Republic, Kossacks, there may still be hope.

                  The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. -Bertolt Brecht

                  by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:52:45 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Great personal story, JD (7+ / 0-)

                    Now you marry that gal--she's a bright and quite lovely--and bring her home.  I'd be happy to have her as a country mate.

                  •  Marrying a german is an experince (7+ / 0-)

                    that is opening my eyes to what is really shared between our cultures.  There are a lot of pro-American feelings here and there is definitely a sense of anti-Americanism.  It is purely subjective, but I do sense it.  When I first moved here and lived among the people for about a year, I started freaking out, because the feeling was there and I didn't know what to do about it.  All the time I had spent here before, there was never this sense of being uncomfortable as an American.

                    I could try to say something that was false in my interpretation of how people feel about America, or how ashamed I am of America because of this ultimately stupid war.  I have to ask how much of this feeling of anti-Americanism I am projecting onto my adopted culture or how much of it is real.

                    I am not the only American having this difficulty here.  A German woman who was at a party I was attending, once she knew I was American, told me she was tired of her husband going crazy and talking about his views on the war all the time.  My wife and I have an agreement that I can talk about this for about 5 minutes at breakfast, when she will tolerate my views and then give a very precise analysis of George Bushes stupidity and how can Americans live the way they do.

                    When I first met her, her attitude about America was completely positive.  This was about a year before Bush took office for his 2nd term.  The last time we went back she was disillusioned somewhat.  The Bush propaganda was having its effect on her.

                    My emerging sense is that this administration has run its course as far as spreading good cheer among nations (yes, that is sarcasm).  This whole affair (or perception of one) of Europeans and Americans not getting along cannot last forever.  I think it will just be a little more than 600 days for it to resolve itself.

                    Bush has a way of projecting his own problems onto the entire world.  He is a master of getting people to enable his proclivity to fail.

                    I hope I haven't made too many people angry at this post; it is just my experience and commentary.

                    President Bush has expressed complete confidence in your abilities.

                    by gringoringo on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:23:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  You *so* made my day (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Jeffersonian Democrat

                    Thanks for sharing that story.

                    George Bush won't fire Karl Rove for the same reason Charlie McCarthy never fired Edgar Bergen.

                    by Malacandra on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:51:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Well, not Italy (10+ / 0-)

                but I can speak for myself.

                I, too, rec'd both diaries for the same reason.

                One interpretation I have made is that Obama's style, frequently described [my paraphrase] as "high on rhetoric and eloquence but low on substance" is a challenge he will have to confront.

                If any "side" can take Obama's words and turn them into their own ideals, well, it could be Obama's clever campaign approach designed to broaden his appeal or it could come back to haunt him, especially if demands for specificity are placed before him.

                I appreciated the perspective of both diaries and am happy to have a dialogue about both here.

                Bottom line for me: politics is complicated.

                "You can count on Americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else." -- Winston Churchill

                by bleeding heart on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:17:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  This phrasing is key, I think (19+ / 0-)

                but I don't believe that is fair. Obama is correct to say that America can not abandon its leadership role in the world. World leadership, however, comes from the power of persuasion of allies, not the power of a gun at an Iraqi's back.

                And I think it's a concept Obama would obviously get behind. My problem with Obama, and I believe Jerome's problem with Obama have to do with two things really:

                1. Legitimizing militarism
                1. Legitimizing American exceptionalism

                Both are 'isms' that the Neocon's avidly embrace, and, in fact, if you examine the 'isms' closely you can't have a neocon (at least of the variety of seen hereabouts) without both of these tendencies in abundance.

                I think Jerome is correct in pointing out these 'isms' in a candidates speech. I think it would be wise for all of us to watch other candidates as well for doing the exact same thing.  Why? Because there is nothing especially healthy about militarism or American exceptionalism. For  decades they have led us into the worst sorts of situations from our war in Vietnam to the silly sally in Grenada to Iraq. This goes without mentioning other obvious instances of interventions gone horribly wrong or 'right': El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Panama, etc...

                These don't happen by accident. They happen because, as a culture, we accept the principle of the use of force when dealing with other nations--sometimes as a first step (especially with regard to our Southern neighbors). Jerome calling out Obama on this tendency is fine. I can understand Welshman's view, but he's missing something I can say more accurately as an American (likely) than he can as a European.

                Many, many people of our country do, in fact, embrace militarism--perhaps the majority--and they certainly embrace American excpetionalism.  We like to dress it up  and call it patriotism or love of sacrifice or whatever, but it's the same beast. I think this happens because we have a horrible historical memory--frequently forgetting all the disasters we promulgate with our murderous intrusions--and we have a horrible mainstream press--that does not tell us what we are doing in many strange lands many miles away. We also do this because we sincerely believe that the use of military force is effective--"it's the way to get things done!" We are nothing if not a practical, and impatient, people.

                If nothing else the disaster of Iraqi war should prove a corrective to this view, and lessen our tendency to use a bullet where a ballot might do.

                I think Jerome jumped on Obama because his rhetoric was being plucked apart by the neocons to once again advance their dual gods of militarism and American exceptionalism. They needed to be called out.. and Obama needed to be called out too, because when ANY candidate invokes the dual gods of militarism and American exceptionalism they are pandering to what is worst in this country--not what is best, which I think, is what the Welshman sees and is generously trying to defend.

                Both views are accurate, but, I think, of necessity, Jerome's diary was very important in calling attention to the two diseases that America needs to cure before it can become 'a proper leader', as the Welshman would have it.

                "When you deal with stupidity, you begin to understand the concept of infinity." -- Gustave Flaubert

                by DelicateMonster on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:26:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Obama is not George Bush (7+ / 0-)

                  not that I'm saying that's what you're saying, but check it out.  after 6 + years of this horrible, horrible human being as our President has lowered our standards to abominable levels, and cynicism is at all time highs.  right now we're all in a state of mind that says "OK Mr./Mrs. Candidate - PROVE to me that you are not entering office with designs to start a pre-emptive war."  and while I can hardly blame people for being in that state of mind, we have to step back from it a bit.  all Obama is doing is attempting to state that he values diplomacy over militarism, but that it is in the interest of many, not just Americans, that we not have a broken military with a tattered reputation.  and he's trying to do this without giving the Right Wing Media that one sound bite they're looking for which could be used to tank his candidacy.  and apparently that's what things have come to on both sides of the issue, which is just sad.  Obama is not a warmonger, and he has NO intention of initiating unnecessary military conflicts!  come on people, we DO know this for a fact!

                  we've been dealing with the Republicans' straw men for so long its easy to forget that there are actual threats out there not just to us, but to smaller countries, selected populations of people here and there, some of whom could be wiped out or at least seriously decimated but for the threat of an American military response.  that is ugly but it is real and true.  what Bush has done is take that idea, which was already on shaky ground post-Vietnam and our other disastrous involvements in the Middle East and Central / South America...and just utterly crapped all over it.  we're so far away from having done anything helpful or useful as a nation that we've almost forgotten what its like.  Bosnia and Kosovo would be the most recent example, and even there we were way, way, way too late to the game. i don't think that Europeans are waiting around to be "led" once again by Americans, but I think that most of the world feels more secure when the strongest country is an entity that they feel they can view as generally benevolent and competent.  and I think all Obama is saying is that he wants to restore that perception, and the reality behind it.

                  ...i felt my pants' warmth as my legs became string and my arteries burst into song...

                  by itsbenj on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:09:32 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Can't get rid of exceptionalism (5+ / 0-)

                  We may be able to tone down American militarism, and after what Bush has done to our armed forces we will probably have to. Neo-cons notwithstanding, part of the American myth (mythos) is that force should be a last resort, not the first. Bush, in fact, had to keep saying that even as he was working hard (for him) to make sure that force would be the only resort. The next president will have to be someone who can persuade Americans once again that reaching for a gun at the first sign of trouble is not necessarily the best thing to do.

                  Exceptionalism, however, is one part of the American psyche that no politician, especially at the national level, can ignore or dismiss with any hope of being elected. We were all raised to see the US as different, a place where people or their ancestors came because we were the best, because we were too bright or too independent or too different to be allowed to thrive in the "old world;" we came here to be the best we could be. God has blessed this land and its people, and woe to any would-be leader who tries to tell us we are just like the rest of the world.

                  But there are ways and there are ways of promoting exceptionalism. The worst way is the one Bush is practicing: We know better than the rest of the world, and so we don't have to pay any attention to what the world thinks or wants, and if you don't like it, well too bad; just get out of our way or we'll do to you what we did to Saddam. (The neo-cons said in so many words they expected the ME to fall in line because of fear that we did in Iraq we would to their countries next.)

                  The better way is to see American exceptionalism as placing a higher burden on the country, rather than in giving us license to do as we please. The world may find this uncomfortable - as it has in the past - but it will be a damn sight less uncomfortable than the variety of exceptionalism we're practicing now.

                  But one way or another, exceptionalism is a permanent aspect of American domestic politics.

                  "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

                  by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:56:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  so we just shouldn't ever work on it right! (0+ / 0-)

                    But one way or another, exceptionalism is a permanent aspect of American domestic politics.

                    Lets just all live in a fantasy where people in America are somehow different from people everywhere else in the world.

                    I'm not saying you're advocating this...but at least small generational advances have to be made on this issue.

                    People shouldn't believe they're inherently better or chosen by God or any other backwards thought like that, it's dangerous.

                    Anti-War is not a protest, it's common sense.

                    by Janosik on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:37:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In a way, though, every western nation deals with (0+ / 0-)

                      personal exceptionalism... Clearly the British dealt with a certain form of "British exceptionalism" at the height of their power (and, to a certain extent, still do), and the French certainly had this opinion of themselves before being forced to pull out of Algeria.  When the Germans went through it, they had the Nazis.  The Belgians had the Congo and various massacres in Africa, though their exceptionalism was, I think, minimal and relatively short-lived.  The Italians sort of went through it (well, Mussolini did, anyway) in WWI and WWII when they tried, and failed, to invade North Africa (though they really had it when they were the Romans... now THAT was arrogance).  A lot of countries have had to deal with an exceptionalist opinion of themselves, but it almost seems like America and Americans have taken it to a level beyond even Western Europe during the Imperial era, since it seems to almost be definitive of being an American.  Maybe America will get over that someday, as so many other places have... we'll see.

                      If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

                      by nilocjin on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:41:10 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you missed my point (0+ / 0-)

                      I was arguing that the American belief in our country's exceptionalism is a basic fact of life, and any politician who wants to be successful has to acknowledge that and work with it. But then I argued that there are various ways of using exceptionalism. Call one way the Bush way: We can do what we want because we are the best, the biggest and the baddest, and you better not get in our way. The other way is the Kennedy way: Because we have been granted exceptional gifts, we have also been tasked with exceptional responsibilities.

                      And that's how to work on it.

                      "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

                      by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:18:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Good comment... (0+ / 0-)

                    And I think the notion of placing a higher burden on America as a measure of its 'exceptionalism' is kind of what the Welshman was getting at too. I'd be behind this, 100% if I saw it implemented as often in policy as I hear it evinced in rhetoric. Sadly, the exact opposite is true, and this leads us to be something of a deluded people, always being told how special we are and have been, when, in fact, most of our policies are not especially generous or far sighted vis a vis the good of the rest of the world.  Our contributions to the UN are in arrears, our charitable giving generally on the low end for Western nations, and the kind of bad stuff that Western countries do--selling small arms weapons to Africa, for example--is as bad as the worst of them.

                    You might recall that even under Democratic leadership we were hesitant in joining the ICC and tried the best we could to water down the Kyoto protocol.

                    So my take is politicians that want to gain political benefit from waving the dandy of American exceptionalism, ought, at minimum, to offer some specific policy goals that bear those high ideals out in actual actions. It wouldn't be hard to do, and it can be done specifically without resort to militaristic rhetoric. IN fact, if I've remembered this correctly, a great example of true American exceptionalism 'with teeth' was (I believe) Kennedy's fine call for a Peace Corps.

                    "When you deal with stupidity, you begin to understand the concept of infinity." -- Gustave Flaubert

                    by DelicateMonster on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:23:13 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Exceptionalism and the Law (0+ / 0-)

                      I am a lawyer.  I went to NYU, the "Global Law School" and was introduced to many different systems of justice of many different nations.  After much study, I concluded that, flawed as it is, I like our system best.  Thus I am an American Exceptionalist, believing that America does have an exceptional legal system, one which should be a model for all.

                      Thus, I take issue with the idea that not joining the ICC was a bad thing.  As good as the intentions of the ICC, I do not believe that it is as good as the American Legal system.  Additionally, given the conception of the ICCs jurisdiction, it is a massive threat to sovereignty as well as the individual rights of accused persons.  

                      My point is, it needs to be ok for Americans to take a clear eyed look at our institutions and find them to be better then the institutions of others.  This is obviously not the case for all aspects of America, but simply because a system or institution is American, and I am and American, should not mean I cannot say that this system is superior and indeed oppose a threat to that system, such as the ICC.

                      Pet Peeve.  Sorry.

                      Sometimes I think that I'm bigger than the sound . . .

                      by TastyCurry on Tue May 01, 2007 at 01:35:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I'm not arguing (0+ / 0-)

                        that American doesn't stand out in some instances, or is not 'exceptional' in some instances. Of course it is. For years our biological and technological R& D was second to none our legal system is certainly admirable and our advocacy of openiness and liberality in terms of culture earns us high marks.  Regarding the specific case of the ICC we obviously have a difference of opinion, but my main point is that if we claim to be an exceptional country and that 'exception' should somehow confer the honor and obligation of leadership for the world, than we should at least validate the idea of our exceptionalism with a concrete policy agenda. Not rather nebulous slogans as in Welshman's phrasing 'her rightful place'...Without exceptional policy and implementation we hardly have a 'rightful place' as leader.

                        Maybe putting this  in a more conversational tone might help: my grandma used to chide and say, you lead by example, not by calling yourself the big boss...

                        Our best leadership will come in the form of modeling the behavior that we hope other countries will emulate--and that usually means making sacrifices and carrying larger burdens--as an example-- not bombing a sovereign nation 'up to the stone age' and calling folks traitors who decide that's not such a great foreign policy agenda.

                        "When you deal with stupidity, you begin to understand the concept of infinity." -- Gustave Flaubert

                        by DelicateMonster on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:54:06 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Singling out Obama was unwarranted (7+ / 0-)

                  in the original diary.  Every major Dem candidate for president, at least since Carter, has endorsed militarism and American exceptionalism, just like they have sworn that Israel is our best friend.  To do otherwise is perceived as political suicide.

                  I resented that Obama was singled out.  Of the top tier democrats -- Obama, Clinton, and Edwards -- I give Obama the best chance of directing a sane and peaceful foreign policy.  

                  If you are looking for a major Dem to denounce American militarism and exceptionalism, you are not living in reality.  The Democratic party leadership has not questioned these bedrock concepts for a long long time, sadly.  But don't blame Obama for it or pretend that Clinton or Edwards are any different.  Your only hope is Kucinch or Gravel or Nader, and they have no hope at the polls.  

                  Change is slow people.

                  Lookin' for a leader

                  by extradish on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:02:43 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  When will a candidate have the vision (0+ / 0-)

                    to avoid the exceptionalist narrative?  If Clark declared, he might be the first.  

                    •  why ... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      ... would you think to ascribe that vision to Clark?

                      it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                      by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:51:53 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  He seems to be the most negotiation-minded (0+ / 0-)

                        In interviews I've seen, he pretty much starts internationalism.  But of course, he'd probably go the way of all candidates upon declaring.  

                        •  appearances (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          kellogg, extradish

                          as the American in charge of the Balkans action, his international image would clearly be American Exceptionalism

                          all the Democrats running prefer negotiation ... i've seen nothing to suggest that Wes Clark believes in diplomacy more than any other Democrat who's a candidate

                          it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                          by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:56:30 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Sure, all prefer negotiation (0+ / 0-)

                            Yet all -- all -- buy into the exceptionalist rhetoric.  Of course, Clinton did, under whom Clark was the leader of the Balkans action -- but Clark couldn't really speak on his own.  If Clark runs, he'll probably adopt a similar done.  

                            It's probably too much to expect anybody to abandon this view, as it's a key part of American nationalism, which seems to be key to becoming president.  It would be nice to see somebody credible try.

                            BTW, typo in previous comment: should be "starts with internationalism."  And yes, that seems to be where Clark starts when he talks about how he'd handle things.  But I'm not holding my breath in hopes he'll run.  

                          •  Geez -- typo city today (0+ / 0-)

                            "similar tone."  

                          •  american exceptionalism is ... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            ... deeply cultural ... it's part of the heritage of a nation made up, by a vast majority, of people whose ancestors emigrated to what they perceived as a better place

                            iow, it's deeply ingrained in the American story, as taught at home, in school, and in most of the rest of our lives

                            it doesn't have to necessarily be a bad thing ... it certainly CAN coexist with humility ...

                            it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                            by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:39:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  I think as far as critiques (0+ / 0-)

                    on this site, or any other liberal site goes, the criticism for militaristic and exceptionalistic propaganda should be leveled at EVERY candidate that practices it, without exception.

                    Obama likely got picked out of the group because he happens to be such a good speaker. And because the neocons started to swoon a little :-)

                    Having said all this, I'd add that I'm generally in agreement with those who perceive this as a kind of political threading of the American rhetorical needle, like coming out in favor of supporting Israel, etc. It's just perceived as a di rigguer politic stance.

                    On the other hand, there's no reason to like it or accept it.

                    Obama as the rest of the candidates are aware of the liberal blogsphere and he (and/or the others) may well tone down such rhetoric as a direct result of the conversations we're having now.

                    If he does so, that's so much the better in my view. The closer we get to making exceptionalistic and militaristic speechifying politically dangerous, the safer our country will actually become.

                    "When you deal with stupidity, you begin to understand the concept of infinity." -- Gustave Flaubert

                    by DelicateMonster on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:31:25 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Dictators, madmen and terrorists (29+ / 0-)

              Dictators - some are our "friends". Until we actually care about these, that worry about dictators sounds hollow. In fact, many of the very problems we face around the world come from the fact that we (that's a collective "West" we) coddle too many dictators when we find it convenient, notably to protect our access to resources;

              Madmen - get rid of the one in the White House (you know, the one that actually has power to do and is doing bad things around the world) and things will look a lot better;

              Terrorists - are a law enforcement issue. Showing that you follow the law (both domestic and ionternational) will do wonders there. Not coddling dictators (see point above) - ditto. Islamic terrorism is born of the fact that most of the Muslim world now conflates, with reason, dictatorship with US support and democracy wil Islamist parties - because that's the way we've wanted things in that part of the world for too long. We support corrupt, autocratic regimes, whose only outlet for popular discontent is religion, and we support the suppression of Islamic based movements.

              •  Historically, we haven't foolishly believed (6+ / 0-)

                that all dictators, madmen and terrorists even merit a military response.  We used to be quite clever about using our military as a looming threat without using them to deter, manage and undermine these people and their regimes.  We used to be smarter about our responses...

                •  Oh, is THAT what we were doing... (18+ / 0-)

                  in Panama in 1989; in Honduras and Nicaragua in 1981-89; in Iran in 1953; in Cuba in 1961; in Guatemala in 1954; in Haiti in 1915-1934; in the Philippines 1898-1941; in Mexico, 1846-48 and in the conquered territories of the U.S. Southwest ever since?

                  Oh, I forgot Vietnam, 1955-1975.  And, of course, Iraq, 1991-2007.

                  Looking back, I see lots of self-serving and very clever manipulation and subversion to attain our ends, short of, up to, and including military invasion.  It's a continuum, and the aim is always theft of natural resources with the 'collateral damage' of displacing indigenous peoples from their land to the cities, where they become a cheap labor force for that exploitation and other 'enterprises'.

                  I can't think of a single instance where the U.S. has selflessly sacrificed its treasure and blood to win democracy or freedom for anybody anyplace.  For the "free market" (read American capitalist exploitation), scores of instances, a majority of which overthrew democratically elected governments.

                  •  "All" - there is a modifier - "ALL" in my first (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    thingamabob, cappy

                    line that is meant to acknowledge that there were indeed times where we went the other direction, but not ALL times which is how the Neocons think.  The difference being that the neocons believe that any country that so much as looks at us the "wrong" way should be dealt with militarily without any other efforts made using any of the other available tactics.  I have made no positive judgment on our motivations in our past manipulations of or interventions in other countries.  I am simply stating that the military has not been trotted out for every single solitary conflict as the Neocons would have us do.  But thanks for your holier than thou response anyway.

                  •  Start with the Peace Corps (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sja, Welshman

                    Over two hundred thousand Americans, my wife and I included, have given up comfortable lives and livings in the US and gone abroad to work, often in difficult and uncomfortable and occasionally dangerous conditions, to, as the Peace Corps Act puts it, "help people to help themselves." The Peace Corps has worked on everything from basic sanitation to computer programs, and while it cannot interfere with the local governments nor offer opinions on local politics, volunteers by our presence and by discussions on America do a great deal to inculcate American ideals of democracy and freedom.

                    We are also, and we make it clear, representatives of the American people, not the American government, and that too impresses local people whose own governments have often tried to blur the line between the state and its citizens.

                    I could also cite WWII, where the US went to war (and against a lot of isolationist opposition) to rescue Europe from the Nazis. Yes, it was done incompletely, and there were some with ulterior exploitationist motives, but we sacrificed blood and treasure and achieved a democratic result.

                    "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

                    by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:03:38 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  DanK, I applaud your Peace Corps service. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      nilocjin, pioneer111

                      The Peace Corps has, I think, largely been an honorable humanitarian service without ulterior motives.

                      However:  Over the same period of time during which two hundred thousand U. S. citizens have served well in the Peace Corps, several million have served other ends, in the armed forces, the C. I. A., USAID.  

                      As a nation, I believe our motives contain a mixture of selfishness and altruism.  The relative mixture of the two is my complaint.  Far more often the motives are exploitation and gain, and far more often our interventions in countries of the global South - of whatever sort - are destructive of peoples, land, and democracy; when we overthrow a "dictator" (a term we reserve for unelected and elected leaders who oppose our imperialist policies) it is to further those acquisitive goals, not to install democracy, and the result is a dictatorial ally the term for whose regime dare not be spoken, viz, the Shah of Iran, President Saddam Hussein, President Manuel Noriega (a dictator who became a "dictator" only when his drug-supplying usefulness to the Bush1 regime ended), Presidents Ngo Dinh Diem, Big Minh, Singman Rhee, Carlos Castillo Armas, Fulgencio Batista, and on, and on, back through time and space.

                      What is my point?  We "Americans" are ignorant of our history.  We are taught dates and great white men with one or two women and blacks thrown in as a bone to the dog of political correctness.  The very use of the term "Americans" betrays an ignorance - or a callous carelessness - of Western Hemisphere geography and insults our neighbors north and south.

                      World War II?  It's a subject for a whole encyclopedia.  We (the U.S.) did not "enter the war to rescue Europe from the Nazis", but to rescue our colonialist ally, Britain, which we supplied for years before we declared war on Germany.  We entered the war in Europe primarily because we were attacked by Japan and their ally, Germany, immediately declared war on us - first.

                      The war was won when Russia turned the tide against the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad, or perhaps it was lost (to Germany) when Hitler went to Moscow instead of to Baku's oil fields.  At that point we (U.S., Britain) were just invading North Africa.  (Note that we took Algeria from Vichy France / Germany, and returned it to France after the Vichy Government fell.  Great liberation, that.)  History we learn:  "We won the war and generously gave the Marshall Plan to Europe," when in fact the Marshall Plan contained requirements that 80% of the money be paid to U.S. contractors.  Ditto for aid given to Japan after the war.  (And ditto for many IMF / World Bank loans since.)

                      Most "Americans" think Japan attacked us on our land, but Hawaii was a colony, taken by deceit and military force in the 1890's.  It did not become a state until 1959, by when enough mainland whites had moved there to carry the referendum.

                      But these things we do not learn.  That's my point.

                      •  I was responding (0+ / 0-)

                        to a claim that, without qualification, we have acted as a selfish nation. So quantity is not the issue here.

                        About the word "Americans": What would you have us use? I had this discussion once in Costa Rica. There really is no other term that work\s. United Statesians? USers? Yes, it's an insensitive tern in that it excludes everyone else who lives in North or South America, but I put to you that, in addition to having no credible alternative, we have achieved a general understanding that "American", with no further qualification, means someone from the United States. Ask a Canadian if he wants to be called an "American" - especially these days.

                        As for WWII, I think our motives and objectives are more mixed than you portray them. And while FDR could not move the country to war until we were attacked, he did as much as could to prepare for the war he saw was coming. (And I'm not getting into the question of whether he knew about Pearl Harbor in advance.) And whatever our motives, would you prefer that we had let "our colonialist ally" succumb to the Nazis?

                        And how the war was won is another tricky question. Shall we point to the Battle of Midway? Or Hitler's failure to take Leningrad? On one level, it could be argued that Hitler lost the war when he opened the Russian front in the first place. Let us be clear on this point, though: Without the Soviet Union, it would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to win the war, a fact often overlooked in American retelling of the war. (Turnabout is fair play: USSR textbooks were often equally reticent about the American contribution.)

                        Finally, whatever the benefits to US contractors from the Marshall Plan, it remains that Europe would not have recovered as it did without it. Comparing the Marshall Plan to the IMF/World Bank overlooks the fact that the Marshall Plan worked.

                        "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

                        by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:30:45 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You make some good points. (0+ / 0-)

                          "Americans":  To be facetious, how about USuns.  

                          I agree, there's a practical problem there, and I'm merely trying to highlight that, in addition to stealing much of the continent, we appropriated the name for ourselves.  Insensitive?  Arrogant, too.

                          WWII:  It's useful to remember that WWII for us was two wars.  Midway was certainly a turning point in the war with Japan.  I agree with you that our motives were more mixed than I portray them; I just make the point that they were more mixed than altruism and establishing "democracy".  We've overthrown far more democracies than we've helped set up, a fact that escapes 99% of Norte Americanos.

                          Both Britain's and America's ruling financial elite tended to favor Hitler early in his rise, and there were articles and discussions that it would be good to let Germany rearm to defeat the Soviet Union - specifically, communism, which they feared greatly.  At the end of World War I both we and Britain put expeditionary forces in the USSR to topple the Bolsheviks.  When that didn't work, we spent (combined) about half a billion dollars (in 1920 dollars, about $500 billion today) over the next decade to support the White army and various attempts to subvert them.  Suddenly, when Hitler turned ugly, the Soviet Union was "good old Uncle Joe."  Uncle Joe accused us and Britain - perhaps rightly, it's debatable - of letting Germany bleed the USSR before entering the war.

                          World War I - II was, among other things, an oil war.  Although the battle of Midway destroyed a major part of the Japanese fleet, the strategy that paid the most dividends was actually that of sinking their tanker fleet that brought oil to them from the Royal Dutch/Shell oil fields in Indonesia (so says Daniel Yergin in The Prize), which they invaded because we stopped selling them oil, which they needed to pursue their own dreams of driving out the Euros in favor of themselves.    Our North African campaign was designed to prevent Germany from getting to middle-east oil.  A major strategic reason for World War I was that Germany was trying to get a piece of the Persian and (modern day) Iraqi oil fields, and Britain didn't wish to allow that.  (Yergin again, and others.)  So, from a certain perspective, the whole 30-year's war (with a rest period) was capitalist, colonialist nations squabbling with each other over who would be allowed to steal the resources of defenseless peoples.  (And make no mistake:  the USSR was a state-capitalist enterprise, at least from the time Stalin took over.  Socialist?  Don't make me laugh.)

                          When the U.S. emerged undemolished from the fray, George F. Kennan, assistant secretary of State and one of the so-called Wise Men who shaped post-war policies, said in State Department Policy Planning Study 23, in 1948:  

                          (W)e have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction.

                          (Policy Planning Study 23 is a very interesting document, a momentary glimpse behind the cloak of power, and well worth a careful read.  It was Top Secret.)

                          What has really changed?

              •  Until law is restored, America can not again lead (23+ / 0-)

                Jerome and Welshman -

                I find good, noble, and hopeful things in both of your essays, which I think complement each other perfectly as a nearly complete statement of progressive view about the role of America in the world today.  But, there is an awful truth that everyone avoids -- and Obama, as much as I like him, is also an offender -- that is that America's reputation is tainted, and can not be remake into the leader of the world until we do something to restore law in the United States.

                What needs to be done is precisely what domestic political realities forbid -- the Indictment, Trial and Prosecution of the President, Vice President, and their top aides for command roles in war crimes in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and violation of the Geneva Convention and UN Convention Against Torture in the conduct of the GWOT.

                Aside from the barely reported statements supporting Impeachment by a single minor Democratic candidate, we have not heard even a murmur about war crimes prosecutions from any American elected official of any stature.

                Domestic prosecution for war crimes of a seated leader of a major state is unprecedented.  That is why removal for domestic offenses, such as Watergate-type scandal, may be the best we can hope for.  Even this entails a dangerous constitutional crisis, but it is a necessary step to the restoration of faith in the United States as a rightful bearer of leadership in the world.

                If we are not to lead, we will have to learn what it is to follow.  The American people would find the reality of that even less palatable than the difficulties of removing Bush-Cheney.

                We have little time to do what must be done.  When you're behind on points, running out the clock is not an option.

                •  The sea of our forgetfulness... (9+ / 0-)

         exactly where BushCo's malfeasance will go if it isn't confronted and directly repudiated soon.

                  And the political and legal precedents they will have set will encourage similar transgressions by future chief executives--just wait and see.

                  This is a case where letting bygones be bygones is not wise.

                  The investigations must continue, the truth must continue to come out, and the Democrats must have the courage to inflict consequences on BushCo.

                •  Obama avoids? (0+ / 0-)

                  But, there is an awful truth that everyone avoids -- and Obama, as much as I like him, is also an offender -- that is that America's reputation is tainted ...

                  What makes you believe that Obama has ignored this?

                  it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                  by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:53:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Naive? (21+ / 0-)

              I will never understand you warmongers.  You talk about bullshit like dictators, and yet how many dictatorial countries have invaded another country lately?  Is there even a single one?  

              Meanwhile we are running around the globe invading countries and causing trouble.  Our motto should be "Have military, will use it".  

              We put 500 billion into our military, and then have to justify its existence so we cook up a bunch of half baked threats.  None of the names you hear in the military-- North Korea, Syria, Iran-- are a threat to us.  None of them are going to attack us.  None of them could attack us.  Gravel was right when he said at the debates that we have no threats.  

              We need to start fighting back against this paranoid mania of a terrifyingly dangerous world.  A delusion that is promoted by the far right, and which has come to be accepted in the mainstream.  When we have Hillary and Obama up there supporting this sort of warmongering.  

              War should be a last resort, and that means the option should not even be on the table ever, because if it is you are going to use it unnecessarily.  

              Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

              by Asak on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:19:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What about Kosovo? (0+ / 0-)

                Should we have just let that happen?

                I hate statments like War is always wrong. It ain't pretty but I think we all can agree that the world is better off having the US handing Hitler his ass in WW2.

                George W. Bush is the Ricky Martin of Presidents. In ten years nobody will ever admit that they supported him.

                by john in seattle on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:13:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hold on there, smokey (0+ / 0-)

                  If one says "War is always wrong," one isn't defending Kosovo or Hitler.  You're interpretation of that statement seems to be that America going to war is always wrong. If you say "war is always wrong," you're saying Hitler was wrong (clearly a tough sell!) and that Milosevic and his cronies were wrong (only a tough sell to the Russians at the time).  Now, if someone else has essentially started a war, is it wrong to respond?  I'd say no, with those same two examples in mind.  Really, I'd rephrase the original statement for more clarity to be "starting a war is always wrong, for anybody."

                  If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

                  by nilocjin on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:50:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Right (0+ / 0-)

              Because this is a post-911 world, right?

              Oh, boy.

          •  Well if that is the case, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wystler, pamelabrown

            then you attacked the wrong candidate. If you had taken the time to actually learn about Obama's history, you would learn that this is exactly the style of his leadership and always has been: listening to others, respecting international law, acknowledging the existence and interests of others, trying to avoid the use of military force, and taking care of human rights at home.

            You frankly owe Barack Obama an apology. And you owe those of us working our tails off trying to achieve these goals an apology as well.

        •  I Recommended Jerome's diary.... (24+ / 0-)

          and I would again.  However, I do give you kudos for a rational, well thought out opposing view that doesn't descend into petty name calling.  That's what debate is.

          Personally, I think Jerome is closer to the truth of how the world views America just now, and it gives me no joy to say that.

          It is not so easy for many to separate 'Americans' from the 'George W. Bush White House', unfortunately.

          The Next Agenda for Progressive Canadian Politics

          by CanadianBill on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:30:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am a great fan of both these foreign guys (15+ / 0-)

            and am glad they can be civil in their disagreements... Both make good points.
            Hey, lots of us think less well of our country because of the misconduct of the Administration. It may not be fair, but it's understandable.

            When civilizations clash, barbarism wins.

            by Allogenes on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:44:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The distinction is almost irrelevant (23+ / 0-)

            Is this how the world views "America", or merely how the world views "the Bush Administration"?

            Is there a meaningful difference? Of course, to many of my American friends, there is a HUGE difference. They understand and applaud criticism of the policies carried out against their wishes by this rogue administration--so long as it does not impugn their own values or actions.

            But the fact remains that the Bush Administration, like it or not, acts on behalf of the American people. That they have been allowed to "steal" or otherwise procure two electoral victories, and that despite their malfeasance continue to be in power, speaks volumes. The world surely does not believe that Americans all actively support the policies of the Administration.

            But the world imagines (rightly, don't you think?) that Americans are not yet motivated enough to do something meaningful about it. 6 years is a long time for extra-judicial, corrupt and cruel policies to take place--it may be uncomfortable for Americans to deal with "collective guilt", but then they never seemed to have a problem with it when talking about Nazis. And no, I don't think Godwin's Law applies, since it's sole purpose is to render potentially meaningful comparisons inoperable, specifically to evade facing such questions.

            I sympathize since I happen to believe we Canadians bear some of the guilt for allowing our governments to be substantially less-than-ideal in this regard (our own Afghan torture issue remains unresolved). But whether we like it or not, being seen as responsible is both logical and justified.

            I take many of Welshman's points to heart, but Jerome was well within his rights, provided a cogent argument and reflected reality--despite it's unflattering portrait.

            -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

            by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:28:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for that comment, Keith (18+ / 0-)

          It cleared the cobwebs away this morning. Now I understand what is bothering me so much about your and the other mostly "Anglo-Saxon" position:

          it is important to this site, the people on it, the United States and the rest of us in the world that America regains its leadership role and does so as quickly as possible within a framework of Democratic and not neocon Republican values.

          Two counter-arguments are possible here.

          One, is U.S. leadership de facto a good thing? Or at least better than anything Europeans or South Americans could ever come up with? For me, a system that allows the likes of BushCo unlimited power to terrorize for six long years needs an overhaul. And I don't believe that's going to happen in one electoral cycle. (Nor do I see signs that anyone else cares enough to step up to the plate. My fantasy is a long period of soul-searching, culminating in a new international order that really is international.)

          The other is a much more practical, realism-based argument. Put aside your affection for America and take a long hard look at us. We have a broken army and an endangered constitution. We're at least a decade behind most countries in dealing with climate change -- and we're still most responsible for it. I'm tempted to add something about our "leadership" in human rights abuses, but that would be unfair to us. There's no country where a majority of the electorate gives a damn about torture, Darfur, Gitmo, extraordinary rendition, etc., etc.

          Distilling these counterarguments: 1) Will the U.S. be ready to take over the reins of world power by 2008? 2) Will the U.S. have the power to do that?

          •  I think it's a fine balance (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SarahLee, berith, Tuscarora, thingamabob

            It's very important after 2008 - for Americans as much as for anyone else - that globally speaking the US doesn't come down with some kind of post-neocon guilty hangover from war-mongering too hard the night before and doesn't show up for work the next day.  We need everyone at the table, fully engaged.

            But it is also important that both means and ends are fully reassessed and readjusted.

            Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale... A.E. Housman

            by ignatz uk on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:49:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Hi, Matt (10+ / 0-)

            "One, is U.S. leadership de facto a good thing?"

            I'll be honest, three years ago I would have doubted it. Let me also be clear. There are many things about the States that still scare the hell out of me.

            But since coming on here and watching what is happening and what is said and the debates within your country I have changed my mind somewhat.

            You see, I find far more intelligent, aware and critical analysis of the fundamentals of your society and what it's vision is and what it hopes to achieve than ever I do in Europe. The rock of your Constitution helps gives this a focus but what I hear in your legislature is far more deeply questioning than much of what I hear in Parliament - even accepting that the robust slanging matches in the latter can be more entertaining.

            If I look at the arguments surrounding the European Constitution, the failed European Constitution, it had far more to do with self-interest and protectionism by groups and countries and far less to do with trying to build a new set of combined nations states working together for the common good.

            Look, this is not a very well thought out response but I guess what I am trying to say is that I am a long way from giving up hope in regard to States. Of course, the neocons must disappear, a new foreign and domestic set of policy imperatives need to be defined and those things that are broken need repairing.

            More specifically, what the world needs in 2008 is a genuine world vision from the US based on those values that we often repeat here. Will the US have the power to do it? Here I agree a bit with Jerome. Let us stop thinking in terms of "power". The US is big, huge and needn't be ugly. Just being a big lovable lump that has its economic strength will serve us all well whilst the other things get fixed.

            Gee, Matt. I am sure that is a not very intellectual answer but dig around in it a bit and there may be something worthwhile there

            •  Welshman, you are making a category error (17+ / 0-)

              Your feeling that debate in the US is at least more profound and searching than in Europe is probably quite accurate. But to draw the conclusion that it is therefore more likely to produce better "world leadership" is a serious stretch, at best.

              For one thing, the debate is energized by the Constitution in TWO distinct and opposite ways: 1) the Constitution provides a framework and focus for discussion of rights and policies; and 2) the many attempts to marginalize, repudiate or circumvent the Constitution by this administration have created a considerable degree of concern. Not having such a document removes the focus, but it also removes the impetus to protect it. IN other words, the debate is more energized because the violations are also more significant.

              It also seems strange to me to argue for one nation's supremacy over others on any political dimension. Do I want European world leadership? Not really. But why should I want American world leadership either? You clearly are dissatisfied with much of the political dialogue in Europe, but I hardly think of American political discourse as the panacea you seem to imagine. I actually see it as largely responsible for the inertia in Europe today, as so many European politicians try to stake out similar policies, and do so by adopting American public relations techniques. Or that's how it appears to me as a Canadian, and I equally lament the stupid direction many Canadian debates take all in thrall too, or in response against, American issues and actions.

              I think this is an important diary. But I also think it worth asking yourself why you feel the way you do. Is the fault in Europe, America or ourselves?

              -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

              by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:48:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Great comment and an important point.. (7+ / 0-)

                It is men/women of intellect and ideas that provide leadership, not nations. America has a unique ability to transform itself due to the nature of it's institutions. Edwards meme of two Americas may extend to the realm of ideology as well, so America can never be viewed as an homogeneous entity. There is much to love and much to hate in America and all other countries also because at the end of the day they are all subject to the variability and complexity of human nature. We need to remain attuned to great thought rather than the spacial location of it's origin.

                "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." --Aristotle

                by java4every1 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:35:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You said a mouthful! (3+ / 0-)

                  There is much to love and much to hate in America and all other countries also because at the end of the day they are all subject to the variability and complexity of human nature. We need to remain attuned to great thought rather than the spacial location of it's origin.

                  Can we frame this and post on the front page?

                  -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

                  by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:40:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  America and Europe are not the whole world. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The most plausible alternatives to American or EU leadership are leadership from Russia or China.


                Dems in 2008: An embarassment of riches. Repubs in 2008: Embarassments.

                by Yamaneko2 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:30:08 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  see below: (0+ / 0-)

              "The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

              by Ritter on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:49:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I think people in the UK/Europe nurse on a desire (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            matt n nyc, zbctj52

            for a 'strong' America, because it relieves them from the responsibility of putting their beloved differences aside and coming together as a unified body .

            Maybe its 'easy' for me to say as an American (where at least all my European/UK forebearers happily jettisoned their former national identities without a second thought), but really, it realistically is not a good thing for the world to be so militarily dominated by one country.

            Europe/UK - it is time for you to get your acts together.

        •  Frankly When I Read The following (7+ / 0-)

          I quit reading your diary.

          I was appalled and angered yesterday by the diary that took the words of one of the Democratic candidates and juxtaposed them with neocon language to discredit that person.

          Juxtaposed them with neocon language? He actually provided neocon quotes on Obama's speech. You make it sound as Jerome did otherwise.

          I am writing here as a European in defence of the America people, because it was they who were also being attacked by the diary, even if the diarist did not understand that this occurred because of the second language problem.

          Second language problems? Jerome is one of the most articulate writers on this site. Some people here cannot even construct a sentence correctly. He has no problems at all with English. In fact if I didn't know he was French I would not even have a thought that he wasn't American.

          I'm sure you diary had something to say but to put forth a falsehood about Juxtaposing instead of calling it what it is - providing quotes - seems to have a bit of an agenda behind it.

          And then to insult someones command of a language when it is clear that their command of that language is as good as yours reeks of unspoken motives.

          Perhaps next time you critique a diary you should stick with facts and not embellish you critique with shady interpretations and insults.

          "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

          by talex on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:23:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is a fascinating in depth analysis.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ..of how this diary can be read on European Tribune at the moment.

            You will find that it agrees with many of your points.

            I particularly enjoyed the joke on there: "How can you tell a Welshman is lying?" Answer: "When he speaks in English" !

            In fact the point about language was because I wanted to allow space to encompass the fact that Jerome's comments might have confused references to "America" with "Americans"in Barack Obama's speech. The comment was made for the reverse, and kinder,  intention than that which you describe. Sorry if that didn't come across and I will even repeat it in Welsh if it will give my sentiments greater veracity for you good people on Eurotrib   :)

            More seriously. of course you are right. There is an agenda to my writing. Like you, I have and remain deeply concerned about the direction of American foreign policy. Possibly unlike you and what I read on Eurotrib, I do believe that there is every hope that in 2008, if not before, we will see a major change. My agenda is of optimistic hope.

            •  If You Have Read Jerome's Diaries (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Then you know he does not need you to "allow space".

              In fact the point about language was because I wanted to allow space to encompass the fact that Jerome's comments might have confused references to "America" with "Americans"in Barack Obama's speech.

              America is Americans. Americans are America.

              I don't travel internationally but I know many people who do. In most of the world American's are being looked at and treated differently than before. Is this Bush's fault? Of course. But we also voted him in and his policies are our poliies and that is the way many other countries see it.

              BTW - I don't read Eurotrib FWIW. But I'm not surprised to see that others might have also been offended by your depictions, as they were perceived, you gave of Juxtaposing and language barriers.

              Possibly unlike you and what I read on Eurotrib, I do believe that there is every hope that in 2008, if not before, we will see a major change.

              Possibly unlike me? I live here. I vote here. I was born here. There is no way your hopes for this country can be any stonger than mine.

              But from your unessary comment - "Possibly unlike me" - I can see that my initial observation of your tone and agenda in your first few paragraphs of your diary were not misplaced at all.

              "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

              by talex on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:31:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Talex (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                If one looks hard enough, there is always something in an exchange that brings two people together.

                Your "There is no way your hopes for this country can be any stonger than mine." does it for me on this one.

                We agree.

                As for Eurotrib, it is worth reading for the coverage of the French election alone. Has some of the most interesting commentaries on it on the web.

      •  The reason it looks like (4+ / 0-)

        a hit job is its on DKos the year before a Presidential Election.  

        There is mounting tension here between the Edwards and Obama supporters - and if 2004 is a guide its going to get worse.  

        But really, I must say the diary was an embarrassment. The vast majority of Neocons can't stand Obama.  And why should they since he opposed their central project - the invasion of Iraq?

        •  How was it an "embarrassment"? (26+ / 0-)

          As you know, neocons have no shame and no sense of embarrassment. If they see one idea they like in Obama's speeches, they'll latch onto it and claim him one of theirs (as a justification to keep on defending other goals that Obama does not share) - that's how they work.

          I know it, you know it.

          But the fact is. I read them. Then I went and read the speech itself. I quoted the speech in my diary. I also pointed the bits where Obama clearly expressed positions that are totally opposed to the neocons. I still did not like the overall balance, the overall tone and the overall emphasis on military force.

          Now one can disagree as to what a good foreign policy can be - and to what a good foreign policy after 8 reckless Bush years should be. I stand by my ideas that what would have been a mostly decent foreign policy (if a bit "muscular") in 2000 is not adapted to the world in 2008.

          What is needed today is to abandon fearmongering, to stop seeing the world as an existential threat to America, and to focus and finding ways to cooperate with others rather than fight with them.

          Many will say - but some countries are downright nasty! I've said it before and will say it again -  American policies are not helping there - in fact, some (in the current administration in particular) seem to take particular delight in cycles of provocation, war of words, escalation and brinkmanship. That needs to change.

      •  You Touched Upon A Good Point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jerome a Paris, leveymg


        ...whether their purpose is to keep their interpretation of these ideas alive, or to somehow taint him, or some other devious thing

        I think the Neocons are currently in disarray and despair. I liken it to the point many of the older ones were at when they transformed from being Lefties and Pinkos to Neocons. Their great and grand ideas have been shown to be impractical, unpracticable and stinking of downright crackpottery. Any line of thought which even remotely brushes against their notions will be snatched up and touted as proof that they are not yet irrelevant. The Neocons are and have always been political parasites, latching onto whatever politically strong animal they can in the hopes of continuing to survive.

        Land in your hand you'll be happy on earth Then invest in the Church for your heaven.

        by Splicer on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:03:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Holy Cow (4+ / 0-)

        I'm ducking, it's Agincourt revisited all over again with arrows flying!

        Just kidding, a little not-so-comic relief.  Actually, living here in Germany, I find both sides prevelent.  But I've never personally been on the recieving end of any Anti-Americanism what-so-ever.  Mostly, both of these views are talked about in the abstract.

        The law was made for one thing alone, for the exploitation of those who don't understand it, or are prevented by naked misery from obeying it. -Bertolt Brecht

        by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:46:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        "You Have The Power!" - Howard Dean

        by talex on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:25:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have appreciated some fo your work here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pamelabrown, smartdemmg

        but what you wrote was, indeed, a "hit job", regardless of your comment that:

        And calling my piece a hit job is also a strange attack. I have never taken part in the primary discussions, have not and will not express support a preference for a candidate, and have no intention of doing so. I saw one speech by one of the leading democrats, found it worrying - to me, as an outsider - and wrote about it.

        America, and the world, should be so lucky to have Obama become its next President. Your piece evidenced your lack of understanding of current dynamics within our internal political climate and how the neocons are operating.

        Any of our top Democratic candidates will have an enormous task ahead of them in cleaning up the mess that has been made of this country and the damage that the Bush administration has done to the world. But you read Obama's speech completely out of context and managed to attack those of us who have been giving our all to stop the madness that has been happening in our country in the process.

        What you did was despicable, Jerome.

        •  No it wasn't. (0+ / 0-)

          Sorry. Outsiders are allowed to observe the American political scene and have opinions on them.

          You're reacting to Jerome's diary as if he were American. He's not, and your reaction is inappropriate.

          Americans are in the process of picking their next President who will, as you note, have an enormous task cleaning up the mess and the damage. If you don't feel in your bones that the relationship of America to the rest of the world is an essential part of the problem, you will choose poorly. Not as atrociously as in 2000 and 2004 -- that would hardly be possible. But you dare not measure success by that. This time you need to choose superbly.

          Jerome wasn't attacking Obama. Your response evidences a lack of understanding of current dynamics in the world's political climate, and how the least utterance of any candidate is being nervously parsed outside the US for the slightest clues as to whether that candidate will be adequate to the enormous task.

          When foreigners tell Americans what American politicians sound like to them, that's information. Moreover, it's information you sorely need. (And hey, it's not like your media is going to supply it!)

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:45:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You've done an awful lot of backtracking since (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LV Pol Girl, smartdemmg

        yesterday.  Yesterday it was not, according to you, ambiguous as to whether the "purpose is to keep their interpretation of these idas alive, or somehow taint him, or some other devious thing" in regards to Obama.  The thesis of your essay was clearly that Obama already did or easily could share the ideals of the neocons.  You analyzed the speech of a leading Democratic candidate according to the dictates and views of the stated enemies of this site, neocons.  To me that is clearly a hit job.  It would just be a misguided and foolish diary if you gave the same treatment to every candidate, but since you chose to single out Obama, an act ridiculously tiresome around these parts at this point, it was indeed a hit job.  Backtracking now, with the tried but true, "I'm just one man" argument while the language of your diary clearly contradicts your newfound humbleness and intent will not fool me.  Hopefully it won't fool the rest.

        The amount of cognitive dissonance necessary around here to consistently misrepresent and thrash the ONE decent candidate who was against the war from the beginning and consistently so since, as hawkish and a neocon in Dem clothing is astounding.  The fact that this criticism consistently comes from supporters of the candidate who voted FOR the war and supported it until he needed grassroots Presidential support, whose hardline stances are textbook pandering for an underdog insurgent, whose rhetoric has not the consequences, pressures, or necessary ACTION of serving in congress, makes it all the more breathtaking.  This site has truly jumped the shark.    

        Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

        by MatthewBrown on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:35:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No backtracking (5+ / 0-)
          I did no backtracking as I did not comment on the motives of the neocons in my diary. I'm happy to write about this now in addition, and state that they may indeed have ulterior motives.

          As to the "a single man", that's in direct reply to Welshman who accuses me to pretend to speak for all of Europe.

          And if Obama has indeed opposed the Iraq war from the start, which is to his great credit, why does he feel the need to focus so much of his speech on militarism and on the overwhelming threat from terrorism, the fallacies pushed to their extremes by Bush?

          •  Because he's running for fucking president... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wystler, Welshman, LV Pol Girl, smartdemmg

            and it's a foreign policy speech.  EVERYONE talks about the military.  He talks about terrorism because it's a gigantic issue and he is a realist and a pragmatist.  If he didn't talk about terrorisim, then he would get a ton of shit from AMERICANS, which, no offense, factor into our electoral process much more than blog writers from Paris.  Again you gloss over the substance of his speech.  For better analysis I suggest you go over to another recced diary by VirginiaDem.  

            You're backtracking because you wrote a kneejerk diary, I would wager, without having substantively read Obama's speech, but rather the neocon response, which you (hopefully) regurgitated unwittingly.  You're backtracking now that you realized how badly you bungled the thing.  If I were you I'd just say "I wasn't at my best" and call it a day.  The reason I'm attacking you so much is because I've had it up to my fucking eyeballs around here with the INSANE criticism, specifically and most notably by Edwards supporters, of Obama as some hawk.  It's maddening and has to stop.    I don't see anyone smearing a candidate in anywhere close to the same way around here, which is why people feel entirely comfortable writing diaries like yours which are a complete misrperesentation.  The climate at this site right now is poisonous.    

            Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

            by MatthewBrown on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:06:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hmm... (8+ / 0-)

              EVERYONE talks about the military.  

              Yes. That's precisely the problem. Military solutions come too easily, even to someone like Obama who opposed the war in Iraq.

               He talks about terrorism because it's a gigantic issue

              No it's not. It's a minor inconvenience which can be dealt with by law enforcement and increased international cooperation. It's the Bush administration that made it this overwhelming threat everybody now believes it is. why should we follow their fearmongering?

              •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

                And America has always been a militaristic kind of society, involved in one war or another almost continuously - the difference with Western Europe after the two great conflicts is striking. Western Europe went pacifist while America kept on building its military machine.

                That's a mindset that will need to change, but I don't see it. Am not too surprised that even Obama feels he needs to stress the importance of the military.  Still not sure where he stands on different issues but he sure doesn't look like he would part America's ways as profoundly as it needs to.  

                •  correction (0+ / 0-)

                  Still not sure where he stands on different issues but he sure doesn't look like he would change America's ways as profoundly as it needs to.  

                •  Western Europe pacifist!!!!??? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Chilean Jew

                  Are you fucking kidding me?  Seriously.  Let's take France for example.  Building a nuclear arsenal and having a horrendous and inexcusable war with Algeria in a post colonial world.  That's just one sentence.  I could keep going.  What are you smoking?  The U.S. is not and never has been alone in its overemphasis of military might.  Take a minute to get off the high horse and read a book or two.  

                  Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

                  by MatthewBrown on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:48:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  France's Algeria debacle (0+ / 0-)

                    You have a point there...but other than this, can you tell me of other, EU states that have invaded other countries, or indeed threatened them after 1945??

                    The European Union is a SHINING EXAMPLE of cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Seriously.

              •  So your criticism then is of American politics.. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jerome a Paris

                fine, but that's not what your diary is about.  If you want to write a diary about some sea change in the world of politics (which BTW, reverence for and overemphasis on the military is NOT just unique to the U.S.) that simply is NOT going to happen then be my guest.  It's interesting intellectual fodder and I'm all for it.  However, again, backtracking repeatedly with easily lauded platitudes about how the U.S. should be less militartistic is beside the point of why you should, in my view, just apologize for your shoddy diary which, given your stature, only contributes to the horrendous atmosphere of attack and misinformation pervading this site.    

                Arrogance and stupidity: it's a winning combination.

                by MatthewBrown on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:44:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  for jeebus' sake (0+ / 0-)

                Anybody who's paid a moment's worth of attention knows damned well that Obama agrees 100% with the notion that:

                Military solutions come too easily ...

                Terrorism is a pretty damned big threat, albeit an international (often) law enforcement problem. That was made perfectly clear in the US in September 2001. Before that, it was made abundantly clear in April of 1995.

                Fact: There are folks out there whose primary goals are:

                • destabilization of existing governments
                • goading expanding military conflicts

                Those folks? The come in every shade, speak many different languages, practice most every religion (though I doubt there are any Mennonites or Quakers (oops! Nixon) or Amish among them).

                What: You don't think Barack Obama understands this? You got another think comin', pal ...

                it's about biconceptualism ... Obama08

                by wystler on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:06:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Democrats *should* know better (0+ / 0-)

                Agreeing with Jerome regarding the military issue and why it should not be so prominent right now in the campaign, I ask all Democrats to remember 1968 (or the history of it if you're young) and the lesson of Lyndon B. Johnson.

                Or did we learn nothing from Vietnam, or so little that even in a Democratic primary race, we repeatedly hear phrases such as "strong military," "defend ourselves from..." and other references to our strongarming possibilities?

                We have our nuclear arsenal, our "precision" bombs and planes and aircraft carriers.  Can we aim our military squawking to what is truly necessary?  That is, taking care of the injured vets messed up by their involvement in an invasion of choice?  That this country doesn't take care of its wounded and mentally scarred is a travesty, especially in the midst of ongoing talk about further invasions.

                And no, terrorism is not a huge issue, not for Democrats and not even for Americans in general.  We need to make our nuclear plants as safe as Mohammed Atta thought they were, yes, but that's not a military issue; it's an intelligence and security issue.  Indian Point should either be bombproof or deactivated.  Any problem there, whether from internal or external sources, would affect many millions for years to come rather than 2,900.

                So yes, let's take overt militarism off the table.  Bill Clinton never tried to scare me to death, and I would have been insulted if he had.  If I remember correctly, Kosovo was couched in terms of saving a minority from genocide, and I supported that idea despite my initial hesitancy over using our military.

                Let's advocate protecting ourselves, not "defending" ourselves which is just a pseudonym for military action.

                Everyone is talking about crime... Tell me who are the criminals. - "Equal Rights," Peter Tosh

                by Nastja Polisci on Tue May 01, 2007 at 01:09:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  ahem (0+ / 0-)

        I find it revealing that you feel the need to state in almost every diary that you are European - presumably because you think there would be a doubt if you did not state it explicitly, a self-explanatory thought.

        Not everyone puts their address and/or nationality in their username.

        Keeping felons well-read since 2001

        -6.13, -7.90 (now that I know what these numbers mean)

        by TheBookPolice on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:40:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm optimistic America can win back good opinion (17+ / 0-)

      As I said earlier today here, the important thing will be truthfully confronting the crimes of this administration and being truly sorry for the murders and thefts they have inflicted on the Iraqi people as a result of their crimes.  Honesty and sorrow go a long way toward asuaging hard feelings in every culture, whether it is the Middle East, South Africa or New Orleans.

      If America wants to be respected again, it only has to stand up the criminals in power, retake control of the reins of government, and reassert the principles that have guided our conduct as expressed in the Constitution and the treaties that bind our nation under international law.

      "Being a politician is a poor profession. Being a public servant is a noble one." - Herbert Hoover

      by LondonYank on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:25:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the next President has to be willing to (21+ / 0-)

        really take on the real work that those repairations will require.  I see us currently positioned as a party doomed to repeat the aftermath of Watergate where everyone on Capitol Hill thought that there had been enough divisive politics and chose to move on rather than going after many people who participated in Nixon's cabal.

        When Ford died there were a lot of people who waxed poetic saying that the American people wanted to move on after Watergate and that he did the right thing pardoning Nixon, but that just was NOT true.  The large majority of Americans wanted justice and a real cleaning to take place.  It didn't happen.  That set this country down a path of firghtening cynicism about government and allowed people like Dick Cheney to plan their next attack on our Consitution and this country.  At least then our rougue regime had only managed to anger our citizenry and not so much the rest of the world.

        Now we are in a position where Americans and the rest of the world are pissed off and expect justice to be meted out by the next President.  People will expect the next President to actually clean house.  That house cleaning will not be easy.  The Bush Administration had gone so deep into every Agency in DC that it will be a mass firing and it will appear to be a blood-bath of sorts to some, but it is absolutely critical that that cleaning be undertaken if we want to set this country back on the right road.  Just look at what we know about the Department of Justice already.  Career attorneys are now being hired on a political basis.  The only way to undo that is to fire them on a political basis and start over.  That is going to be a political and possibly legal hot potato.  I don't think that our two top candidates actually have the political fortitude to take this cleaning on.  I am not sure any of them do, but that is what we desperately need to re-establish our credibility domestically and internationally.  The two top candidates are "tough" on national defense, but neither has exhibited to me a similar toughness on Constitutional defense.

        Defending the Constitution should be the first standard we apply to our next nominee.  Tough on Defense should really mean Tough on Defending OUR Constitution.  That is the only thing that will right this ship domestically and internationally.  Which candidate has the guts to make defending the Constitution a top priority?  That is the question I am looking to answer in this primary season.

        •  Yes to this: (5+ / 0-)

          Tough on Defense should really mean Tough on Defending OUR Constitution.  That is the only thing that will right this ship domestically and internationally.  Which candidate has the guts to make defending the Constitution a top priority?

        •  Can one imagine Germany or Japan today without (8+ / 0-)

          the war crimes trials of six decades past?  Unthinkable.

          The same must happen here, if we are not to slide further down an steepening slope toward Empire in decay and rogue military Superpower.

          You are absolutely correct, ih.  The next election isn't a panacea.  If crimes have been committed during the past six years -- and, they surely have -- then, we will all pay a horrible price before long if we again fail to clean house.  It is a cancer within the nation that must be removed.  

          •  What frightens me about Obama is his seemingly (12+ / 0-)

            deep desire to "get along".  I appreciate and value that desire because that is essentially what I want in the end too, but we aren't at the end yet.  We still have too much work to do that is in actually very contentious by nature.

            We are going to have to be really aggressive and actively restore this democracy which will not happen if our top priority is "being nice" or "being bipartisan".

            The issue at this point in history as I see it is that the Republican Party has been hijacked by people who do not believe in the Constitution and they want to destroy it thus leaving the Democratic Party in effect as the party of the Constitution.  That means that PARTISANSHIP will be required not optional until the Republican Party once again embraces the foundational document of this nation called the Constitution.

            Once both parties return to that document as the guiding force we can act and work in a bipartisan fashion, but not now.  Biparitisanship in this environment will mean giving away more of our Constitution and not restoring the parts that have been gutted under BushCo.  I really believe we need a fighter not a lover right now.

            •  One of the most effective aspects of the (5+ / 0-)

              Gonzo interrogation by the Senate Judicary Comm. was the one-two punches that Leahy and Specter dealt AG AG.  

              After his sixtieth or seventieth, "I can't recall that", Specter summed things up by saying something to the effect of, "I really want you to exonerate yourself, Mr. Attorney General, but I'm afraid you haven't." For me, that was the really devastating moment in the hearing.

              When these guys want to work together in a bi-partisan way, it's a wonder to behold.  Truth in the midst of political theater.  It's the way American government is supposed to work, and is a light to the world.

              So, I know that some of our elected leaders and ranking officials -- people like Leahy, Specter, Obama, Hegel, Fitzgerald and Comey -- have it in them to do the right thing.

              They have to finish the job, though, and it's best for everyone if they deliver the coup d'grace to the present heads of state quickly, cleanly and with one unified motion.

              We're tantilizingly close to that moment when there's something in the air that says to everyone, "The time is now."

              •  Don't get me wrong - I'm not suggesting that (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Canadian Reader, leveymg

                when we see a bona fide opportunity to work together that we shouldn't.  I was saying that if your first premise is to get along and then do the right thing rather than the modified reverse - do the right thing and try to get along but not worry about getting along if it compromises what is right - in this time in history it will not work out for the good.

              •  I just want to make one tiny little point that (5+ / 0-)

                kind of puts my thoughts into context relating to Specter.  He is the same guy who made a dramatic and important speech about 1,000 years of the rights afforded to the people by the Magna Carta being destroyed in one blow by the Military Commissions Act and a few hours later voted for the bill.  "Working together" has to actually mean "working together".  It can't mean being friendly and then going off and screwing someone - or some people like us - the American people.  If Specter really cared about the destruction of the Judiciary, he could have a) prevented his aid from slipping in that amendment to the Patriot Act and b) could have intervened in the antics at Justice any time over the past many years he was Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Sooo...  just I'm just keeping those kinds of data points in mind when I think about playing with a guy like Specter.

                •  Specter is like the weather (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LondonYank, inclusiveheart

                  He's unpredictable, and you have to dress properly around him.  But, he knows how to make the flowers bloom every April.

                  He's also capable of some astonishing destructive feats.

                  I don't know whether to curse him or thank him.  So, I'll do both.

                  That seems to be a consensus of those I've talked to who have worked for him.

            •  Inclusiveheart (0+ / 0-)

              you misinterpret Obama;  he has an amazing ability to take liberal positions and reframe them as common sense: this is awesome for progressives and Americans.  Obama's history demonstrates his love, respect and committment to be a partner, not bully, of the world.

      •  I couldn't agree more with this comment. (14+ / 0-)

        Unfortunately, I also don't think there is a chance in hell of it happening.

        America (for some reason I've never really understood), seems to never repudiate the previous administration. (Well, I guess bush did, but I think that bush has been a bit of an anomaly about pretty much everything.)  Sure, we might hear all of the Democratic candidates ripping bush up one side and down the other NOW... That's what you always hear during an election season. That will stop once a new administration takes office though, it always does.

        Our new president will be congenial, smiling, laughing, joking, and taking many, many pictures with bush when bush hands over the reigns in 2009... and I will be disgusted by it. Then we will start to hear that the bush administration did the best that they knew how, that they truly believed they were keeping faith with our Constitution, blah, blah. We'll be told that it's time to forgive and forget, like a good Christian nation should. Past is past, water under the bridge and all that... Plus, it was never bush's fault anyway because it wasn't his fault people gave him bad advice, which he accepted in good faith.

        In 2009, a new reign of bullshit will start by pretending that the previous administration weren't lying criminals hellbent on destroying our way of life. I'm already dreading it and will be VERY surprised if this doesn't happen.. because it's what always seems to happen.

        "It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." Oscar Wilde, 1891

        by MichiganGirl on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:14:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

          I was sick watching Clinton be civil to the handover of the WH in January 2001.  The election was stolen, but we continued to pretend otherwise.  

          I would love the next Democratic president to refuse to do that little charade with the current criminal in the WH.  

          I think that is what bothers me in some of what Obama says.  Somehow we are supposed to suck it up and reach across the aisle.  I don't want to.

          And I think unless we can tell the truth Americans will never evolve a new perspective on the world.

          It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

          by pioneer111 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:27:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  And I love you too man (10+ / 0-)

      In Nov. of 2004 (later in the month a few weeks removed from the election) I was in London visiting friends.

      One afternoon I went to the imperial war museum and took in the new exhibition on D-Day, for the 60th anniversary.

      The whole wing that was dedicated to the invasion was absolutely moving. At one point I was standing around a table, which was projecting a documentary film of the invasion. I watched as American, British, Canadian and French troops stormed the beaches. I watched how Eisenhower and his european commanders worked side-by-side drawing routes on maps and motivating their troops.

      I have to admit I got a little misty eyed and ashamed of the way my country was acting towards our old friends. I cowardly picked my head up to look around the table at the Brits who had gathered around to watch the film beside me, they too were a little misty-eyed though for far different reasons I am sure. As the film ended they all walked out, but I hung behind a little.

      One of the final men to leave was an older gentleman in his 50s it would seem. He stopped as he walked towards me and looked at my New York Yankee hat, than proceeded to give me a nod and a gentle look.

      I recounted this story to my friend, another native New Yorker living in London, and he explained to me that while most Europeans are not happy with the direction our country is going, the are so goddam greatful for what we have done.

      Out good deeds of the past are not a blank check to be an asshole in the future.

      Obama? '08? Oh yea!

      by Skulnick on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:53:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nicely said. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Canadian Reader, FrankFrink

        It's interesting, as a Canadian, I tend to see several different layers of opinion towards the US, which are getting increasingly muddled with every passing post-9/11 year.  There is the immense gratitude that many feel towards the US for its actions in WW2.  There is the mild cultural annoyance that Europeans might or might not feel towards a certain kind of fratboy-ish American abroad.  There is Canada's perpetual need to define itself in relation to the US -- usually by enumerating how we are not like them.  

        And then there are those with deeper layers of resentment:  the anti-globalization left, which uses "America" as a stand-in for "Capital," as a means of anthropomorphizing it.  There are also things like the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to consider.  But then I am positive that there is a not-insignificant number of people who were either indifferent or positive about Americans in the 90s, but who worry that the US as a whole might be coming to resemble the worst attributes of its current administration.  This one is hard to answer, because there continues to be a very loud minority of Americans who, if not still apologists for Bush, nevertheless continue to express a belligerant and self-satisfied posture towards those not like themselves.

        It's important, I think, to be cognizant of these complex layers of attitudes towards the US.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:27:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very accurate observations about Canada. (0+ / 0-)

          I think the Canadian attitude to the US is rather like the relationship between a younger and older sibling. The older one may have all sorts of difficult personality traits that the younger one perceives very clearly all the time, yells about often, and sometimes even obsesses over, but when you come right down to it, they're still family.

          And that's not ever going to change. We are tied more irrevocably to the US by geography than siblings are by blood; one can stop speaking to a brother or sister, but Canada is always going to have to share that very long border with the US.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:10:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I certainly hope we never get to the point where (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Canadian Reader

            the two countries aren't on speaking terms. That would be a terrible and tragic day.

            I have nothing but the upmost respect for Canada and it's people. One of the worst moments of the Bush presidency in my opinion was when he slighted our neighbors to the North after 9/11. You guys have always been there for us and I think it's about time Americans recognized that.

            Obama? '08? Oh yea!

            by Skulnick on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:26:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Joining your 18 fellow countrymen in dissent (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      berith, Pithy Cherub, fluffy, ellen

      Thank you, Welshman; dissent and the right to disagree is essential to democracy, and must be more than permitted but encouraged if democracy is to thrive.  Without dissent, this country would never have emerged.

      Had there been more dissent permitted AND encouraged in 2001-2006, you wouldn't have needed to dissent in this post.

    •  thanks for the kind words, welshman (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Canadian Reader, seaprog, brione

      by the time i got to jerome's diary, it was pushing 700 comments so i didn't bother to say anything, because i figured upwards of 600 of those would be essentially, "your candidate sucks!  no, your candidate sucks!!" which i tired of back in late 2003.

      i'm not sure whether jerome intended his diary as a slam obama piece, but if he didn't, he should have known that is how it would develop.  in any case, now that i'm here (and have rec'd your diary) let me take jerome's side for a minute, wrt america's role in the world.

      i'm glad you remember the "good times" our nations had fighting the scourges of fascism and state communism.  this history is one reason i'm still "proud to be an american" despite my awareness of the evil we have also done.

      but living in this society, i'm far less sanguine about our ability to once more take a leadership role in the world.  nor do i think we should, even though the powers that will likely fill that void aren't much to my liking either.  our problem really runs deeper than a few years of bad behavior by an illegitimate government.  it has to do with the apathy and structural problems that let it take root in the first place.

      we've lost the can do mentality that got us to the leadership of the world, expressed in the simplest terms.  it's been replaced by a can't do mentality, both in terms of competence (we just can't seem to rescue those people in new orleans) and in terms of increasing authoritarian meddling in people's lives.  there are many factors putting us there, from our perverse consumerist variant of capitalism to the corruption of our whole form of government to our slowly dying educational system.  it'll take a lot of work by a lot of enlightened and committed people to change all of that, and history shows changes of that magnitude don't occur without a crisis.

      in short, the american empire is even now being lowered onto  the scrapheap of history.  if we are to be leaders in a future world, it will have to be in a very different capacity, after we have re-asserted ourselves as a republic and re-discovered our essential values.  the best case would resemble the demise of the USSR, a collapse with minimal internal bloodshed.  but given the violence inculcated in our society, i often think that is a vain hope.  we could certainly learn a lot from the UK in this regard, on how to give up one's empire and press forward with a stiff upper lip.

      l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

      by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:32:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are very (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      well known and becoming more so every day, and most deservedly so.

      Well done, as always. Recommended, of course.

    •  re: atonement (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Canadian Reader, Sparhawk, jfadden

      one other thing - i have to agree with jerome when he says that

      And yet America will not be in a position to lead until it has atoned. You don't eliminate such a stain, such a loud precedent (which many others will be all too happy to use as an excuse for their own abuses for a long time) just by not doing it anymore. The credibility to talk about values, about democracy, about cooperation, about peace - just isn't there.

      just putting someone else in charge isn't going to change things.  and the fact that george the 43rd is still sitting in the white house, having been returned to the job in 2004, is enough for most people in the world to realize that there is a significant portion of the population supporting these misdeeds, and most of the rest to apathetic to stop it.that doesn't mean they will necessarily blame us as individuals, but collectively we are certainly to blame.

      when i was in eastern europe a few years ago, my friends put it to me in just those terms.  they said, essentially, "we know you didn't vote for him in 2000, and he shouldn't be there.  but the proof will come in 2004, if people vote for him then, americans are responsible for his actions."  and ohio notwithstanding, bush did win the popular vote in 2004.

      and yes, just stopping the behavior and saying "oops" isn't likely to restore our reputation.  although i think jerome was wrong to think obama doesn't get this, after all the quote he referred to said,

      They will be ready to show the world that we are not a country that ships prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far off countries.

      maybe i'm parsing it too fine, but obama is a careful rhetorician, and his use of the word "show" indicates that he knows very well that it will take positive action to accomplish this, not just the absence of the negative.

      l'audace! l'audace! toujours l'audace!

      by zeke L on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:10:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not ashamed to say (0+ / 0-)

      that I got a little choked up by your last sentiment. I am honored that my fellow countrymen have your respect and I promise that I will do all I can to ensure that we earn it yet again.

      The true Ben Franklin quote from Poor Richard's Almanack is "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."

      by Andy30tx on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:44:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Respect your opinion, but you're Goddamn deluded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Lighthouse Keeper
      I'm a proud American (happy Loyalty Day!), I've been in Cambridge (yes, Cambridge, England) for five years, and I'm here to tell you that the current sentiment among the man on the Clapham Omnibus is distinctly and occasionally personally anti-American.

      You may speak for the Grauniad reading middle classes, but you don't speak for the majority.

      Walk in my shoes for a month, and then tell me different.  I'm eligable for a permanent visa now, but I haven't taken it up yet.  Can you guess why?


      The President is not my master. He is Chief among my servants.

      by DemCurious on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:16:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Impeachment IS atonement enough (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to regain much of our savaged honor.  Not blocking any attempt to try the lot of them for any international crimes they have committed, washes us clean as a new born babe morally.

      But we have to do it.

    •  Nope, Unless bullseye is breaking the rules (0+ / 0-)

      PS-What'd you think of Liverpool Chelsea?

      If the Republicans promise to stop telling lies about us, maybe we'll stop telling the truth about them..

      by Romaniac on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:46:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (16+ / 0-)

    This is a heartening diary both for the realists in America and the plain old neurotics.

    We will right this ship.

    This sentence has threee erors.

    by MouseOfSuburbia on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:00:24 AM PDT

  •  I've been trying to insert the fact that this (11+ / 0-)

    blog is about getting Democrats elected, not banging on candidate who aren't YOUR favorite candidate into various diaries.  Unfortunately, too many have drank the kool-aid of their fav candidate and just CANNOT help themselves from bashing the candidate they think most likely poses a likely defeat of their candidate for the Democratic nomination.

    It's silly, it's juvenile and it's harmful.

    These are good candidates and they all have much to offer.

    I would ask again, please keep your discourse above board and positive.  Cheer your candidate, but don't go into a positive diary of other Democratic candidates and bash them.  It's beneath you.

    Now, back to work! -6.00, -6.21

    by funluvn1 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:01:33 AM PDT

  •  Democratic (17+ / 0-)

    I was appalled and angered yesterday by the diary that took the words of one of the Democrat candidates...

    just sayin'...

  •  Well.. (15+ / 0-)

    No, that is not so. That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is and what its policies are "in the eyes of most of the world."

    There is this thing called "voting". Bush did win two elections, the GOP was also successful.

    -The Gulag? Check
    -Corruption check (for me and my corrupt friends)
    -The war that has killed hundreds of thousand of civilians? Check
    -Global warming denial? check

    That isn't an "image", that is the reality. Sadly too many European counties are part of the problem.
    And no I'm part of the extreme European left. Great to part of something :)

    We should remember that this "progress" has been going on for a long time. "free trade" under Clinton was a very pro-corporate, very GOP-like policy.

    Health care? Not quite there, and the problem has been there for a long time. Bush isn't a dictator, he has received support from the Senate and form the house.

    The democratic part is not anti-GOP, it does have many common policies with the GOP. Perhaps they could have less in the future?

    "I have a dream" King Jr.

    "I have a book deal" Perves Musharraf

    by allmost liberal european on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:13:50 AM PDT

    •  you have to remember (30+ / 0-)
      that after 9/11:

      a) a lot of people were genuinely traumatized. we would hope that our political leaders would have the wisdom and maturity not to succumb to irrational responses, but they are human. they failed, on that, in a big way.

      b) the media made bush out to be some cross between lincoln and fdr. it was news when politicians even began to openly criticize bush again- on anything.

      c) clinton's corporatism is not at all isolated to the u.s.

      d) bush enjoyed republican congresses that not only completely shut democrats out of policy-making, but also refused even a semblance of oversight.

      these are all excuses, but they do temper the condemnation the dems deserve for whatever role they played in enabling bush.

      oh, and- e) bush only won one election.

      •  Thanks. This explains it well (12+ / 0-)

        I think that I would ask the diary to be read as a defence of certain statements that have been made and not just as a blind eulogy to the United States.

        Heck. I live in the UK. I know what we need fixing here and a lot of it is not to follow blindly paths that the US has taken  :)

      •  Yes, that is true (12+ / 0-)

        But this doesn't explain Reagan-democrats,, in fact it doesn't explain Bush sr.

        • 9/11, yep, two options. Very few did stop and think. Easy to understand, but only an excuse (a good excuse, yes). A different President could have done something good.
        • It was quite funny, before 9/11 Bush was a clown in the media. After )/11 he was a "leader".
        • Nope, Bill's policies are used globally, but he was in charge of the biggest operator back in the 1990's.
        • One could argue that the democrats are not willing to challenge Bush, the ugly way, but they will wait for him to leave. I think they should attack, he is weak and unpopular.
        • And Bush did win two elections, the supreme court did vote :) (can the dems complain, didn't JFK play the same game?)

        "I have a dream" King Jr.

        "I have a book deal" Perves Musharraf

        by allmost liberal european on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:31:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  jfk the same game? (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          itsbenj, boofdah, bee tzu, Allogenes, Rob Cole, I

          he'd have won even without illinois.

          i don't disagree that they need to be increasingly aggressive- and i think they've been methodically ramping it up!

          reagan democrats are easy to explain: after he got the civil rights and voting rights acts passed, lbj told some of his closest advisors that they'd lose the south for a generation. he was right.

          •  for real, Reagan 'Democrats' my ass! (4+ / 0-)

            the vaunted Reagan Democrats were nothing other than racist midwestern and southern whites who belonged to Labor Unions.  they were used to voting Dem. due to the labor issue, but threw it overboard once they were paying more than they wanted to for gas, and once Reagan was out there saying "States' Rights!"

            ...i felt my pants' warmth as my legs became string and my arteries burst into song...

            by itsbenj on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:20:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  you know nothing (10+ / 0-)

          no Kenney did not play the same game.  Nixon never protested the vote in IL.  Why?  Because his complaints were groundless and in addition, had he won  IL he still lost the election.  But thanks for the regurgitated republican lies.

          •  So very true (0+ / 0-)

            Even if Nixon had reverse the IL result, Kennedy would still have won the electoral vote.  To win, Nixon would have also had to reverse at least 2 more states of 15 electors or more.

            So yeah, even if IL had switched Nixon would have lost.

            All your vote are belong to us.

            by Harkov311 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:16:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  As Obama (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          itsbenj, berith, Welshman, Allogenes

          has said himself, we suffered from "9/11 fever" which now appears to be breaking....unfortunately, all humans are group animals and rally to their leaders when attacked. If the wrong leaders are in place they can use human nature for great evil, just as Bush did.

          •  No, some kept our heads clear (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk, highacidity

            unfortunately, all humans are group animals and rally to their leaders when attacked.

            This simply isn't true.  I forgot the figure from a relevant psych-oriented piece I read on a study of groups who experienced disaster or attack, but I believe it was 16% of humans that do not fall into groupthink.

            That would explain why I immediately became worried about how BushCo would manipulate the masses, while I myself along with others tending towards critical thinking didn't believe a word he said about anything.

            I was especially disturbed at how the media manipulated the country and knew all my worst predictions would come true.  And they have.

            But I do acknowledge the majority as sheep.  I may not understand, but I do know it's a problem.

            Everyone is talking about crime... Tell me who are the criminals. - "Equal Rights," Peter Tosh

            by Nastja Polisci on Tue May 01, 2007 at 01:39:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  But we didn't - we know he didn't win in 2000 and (8+ / 0-)

        evidence is growing that he didn't in 2004 either.

      •  All Vadid Points (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Nastja Polisci, Turkana, ainwa

        I guess what concerns me the very most about what has happened in the last 6 years is how willing Americans as a whole were willing to go along with what has occurred. Numerous times I have read this question on the blogs or by some of the more courageous journalist: Where is the outrage?

        With few exceptions, the press in the U.S. has been complicit and the public accepting, the majority party cheering or silent, the opposition party not actively opposing, as this administration has systematically gone about destroying the very fabric of our Constitutional government.

        The illegal attack on a sovereign country - No outrage. The President admitting he broke the law - No outrage. The President explicitly stating either by words or deeds that he is above the law - No outrage. Torture - No outrage. Kidnapping and disappearing people at will - No outrage. Eliminating the need for warrants - No outrage. Eliminating habeas corpus - No outrage.

        The willingness of so many Americans to aid, excuse or accept these actions really makes me worry that the next attempt at one party rule which eliminates all our rights and freedoms will be successful. I am also convinced that there will be another attempt.

        •  No outrage (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nastja Polisci, MO Blue

          Americans are outraged when a racist on the radio finally goes too far during a slow news week - or when a white woman disappears in the Caribbean.  But the 1.5 million people (mostly of color) locked up in our criminal "justice" system and the third world levels of rape there?  No outrage.  A criminally neglectful and discriminatory health care system?  No outrage.  935 bases around the world, most of them "secret?"  No outrage.  We could go on and on.

          The fact is, Bush does NOT run the United States. To do the damage he has done to justice, to the economy, to New Orleans, to the environment, to Iraq has taken tens of thousands of dedicated partners in industry and government and media, and millions of willing accomplices around the country.  After Bush goes, they will remain.  The problem is not Bush.  He is the same cheerleader he was back at Andover.  

          Watch the game, people, not the cheerleader.

          •  Yes The Underlying Infrastucture That Supports (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the agenda that is CURRENTLY being promoted by Bush will remain long after Bush is gone. The fact that it exists frightens me but not as much as the fact that it goes undetected and/or unopposed by too many frightens me even more.

      •  He has a point though. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Not enough Americans vote. They don't pay attention to the issues. There is a huge segment who still believe in our savior-in-chief, and many of those that don't still believe we should wall off the country, kick out the non-Christians, and bomb Iran into the 4th century. Half the country would be happy to see a repeat of the last 6 years, just with a more competent leader.

        Too many ignorant Americans, and the state of the country is reflected by their inability to pay attention and do their part.

        And the Democrats really haven't reigned in corporate america in quite some time. You still need big, big money to stay in office and the Dems know they can't rock the boat much.

        -6.00, -7.03
        "I want my people to be the most intolerant people in the world." - Jerry Falwell

        by johnsonwax on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:51:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Bush probably stole both elections (0+ / 0-)

        Evidence coming from Ohio is looking more and more like the GOP cheated on that one, too.

        Even if they didn't, the 2004 election should not be read as an affirmation of Bush. Normally a reelection is exactly that - a referendum on the president's first term. But the Rove machine knew that they would have a hard (impossible?) time winning on that basis, so they did something unique in American political history: they turned the reelection of the incumbent into a referendum on the challenger, thus making Kerry the issue, not Bush. Then they went after Kerry with all the lies and false charges, and Kerry let them get away with it until it was too late.

        Even with all that, Bush won with the smallest margin of any reelected president since Wilson. Then he claimed a mandate to do what he pleased, and the only reason he got away with THAT for the next two years is because the GOP-controlled Congress wouldn't do its proper job.

        If Bush really did have the reaffirmation that he claimed from the 2004 election, the country would be behind him in his current fight with Congress. But he doesn't, because his "mandate" was always smoke and mirrors.

        "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

        by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:18:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We're trying. (12+ / 0-)

      The democratic part[y] is not anti-GOP, it does have many common policies with the GOP. Perhaps they could have less in the future?

      One of the long-term goals (maybe the long term goal) of the lef-blogosphere and grassroots in America is to make the Democratic party less "GOP-lite" and more of a genuinely left party.

      Perhaps none of the current Presidential candidates qualify as genuinely left -- although some Kossaks could make good cases for one or another candidate.  Or, perhaps, America is so far right on several issue that there is no way for any candidate to shift policy to world-normalcy in one cycle.  Or both.

      I consistently defended the original diarist's reading of Obama's speech -- because I thought it was a point worth listening to, and someone has to defend these things.  And I also note that, in the past, the original diarist has been particularly blunt about the consequences of the Bush years on world opinion of the USA.  

      However, I also note Welshman's correct point that "blunt" does not mean /"correct"/.  

      In any case, I find this discussion fascinating.  It gets at, or ought to get at, our comparisons between where the candidates are, politically, and where we would like them to be.

      "Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you." -- Fry, Futurama

      by LithiumCola on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:31:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True... (0+ / 0-)

        In any case, I find this discussion fascinating.  It gets at, or ought to get at, our comparisons between where the candidates are, politically, and where we would like them to be.

        I think these two diaries (Jerome's and Welshman's) and the associated comments have been very valuable and interesting and definitely worth it. We have to have these kinds of debates, and now before the primary is the right time.

    •  aspparently you do not understand (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vcmvo2, Dianna

      our democratic system.

    •  Democratic Party's common ground with GOP (6+ / 0-)

      What's hilarious to me, as a liberal American, is that our GOP and conservative pundits think the Democratic Party has moved "hard left" since Clinton was in office.

      Yeah, I had a great laugh over that one. If anything, Clinton moved the party more toward the right in terms of economic policies, esp. ones that favored corporatism and deregulation.

      But of course, with hard-right conservatives in our country, "hard left" means anyone who approves of same-sex marriage and abortion rights, even if you're Lincoln Friggin' Chafee (former U.S. Senator, R-RI).

  •  As an American living in Europe (34+ / 0-)

    I'll cut this down the middle best I can. I live in "New Europe". I work in a country that loved (and I mean loved!) America and all things American a few short years ago. As a result of BushCo. our nation's reputation has greatly suffered, we are no longer held in awe or particular esteem, and everyone understands that years of good will and massive political capital have been lost. But this is more than the Administration. There is indeed a large segment of American society that has little to no knowledge of the outside world, and has even less desire to try and understand how we influence the globe. As Americans can certainly get back on track again in the large framework of foreign policy and diplomacy, but if the "European view" is cynical or nervous these days I can certainly understand why. Hell, I'm frightened about my nation's future, why shouldn't they be?

    The Book of Revelation is not a foreign policy manual.

    by Dont Just Stand There on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:15:08 AM PDT

    •  I also live in Europe (26+ / 0-)

      Could we please not use "New Europe/Old Europe" language?  For starters, the part called "Old Europe" by Dick Cheney was settled after the part called "New Europe".  But mostly, I hate to see anybody adopt the language of Cheney for anything.  What Cheney calls "New Europe" is just "poor Europe, willing to sign anything to get American money".  Not that I blame them, but the basic thrust of the Cheney framing was to denigrate France and Germany, and those are both countries I like more than I like Cheney.

      (Actually, I'm not sure I live in "Europe".  The Brits seem to include or exclude themselves from "Europe" depending on their mood.)

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."--Mark Twain

      by RickD on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:31:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps one thing the Bush Administration (20+ / 0-)

      did was bring out the portion of the US population that really fits this description:

      But this is more than the Administration. There is indeed a large segment of American society that has little to no knowledge of the outside world, and has even less desire to try and understand how we influence the globe.

      You say a "large" segment.  Yes.  I would divide that segment in two though: among those who have little knowledge of how America affects the globe, there are (1) Those who don't even care and (2) Those who do care and hope that American leaders know more than they do.

      Bush represents (1).  Avowedly so.  Remember when he contemptuously refered to "International Law" during the run up to all the war-making after 9/11?  That was not just hot-headedness after the al Qaeda attack.

      (1) is, I would guess, about 25-35% of the population.  I would also guess that 25-35% of the population of a lot of countries would fit a similar description.  Unfortuately, the US version currently has a President representing them . . . and unfortunately, US ignorance has larger effects than most.

      "Space. It seems to go on and on forever. But then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you." -- Fry, Futurama

      by LithiumCola on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:46:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ignorance is universal, that's for sure. (6+ / 0-)

        The tragedy is when you get the perfect storm of an ignoramus drawing strength from an ill-informed public, at the same time as selfish corporate interests benefit  from unleashing the world's most powerful military. If some idiot in Holland elects another idiot to office there, the world stays safe. Not so in the case of the US.

      •  To true, (5+ / 0-)

        but a real shift is happening. As American's reject Bush they are turning in a new direction. Another reason many are so drawn to Barack is his international experience. Bush never left the continental US before becoming president, even though he could have. Now, the hottest candidate from either party is a guy who didn't even grow up in the continental United States. That in itself is quite amazing.

        •  Could have?!?!?!? (7+ / 0-)

          Bush never left the continental US before becoming president, even though he could have.

          This is one of the things that simply astounds me about Bush. His dad wasn't an insurance salesman from Des Moines. Pappy was the U.S. Ambassador to China, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and the Director of the CIA. Jesus Christ! And Jr. never went abroad once? This simply isn't an accident. It can't be. This is a mind hardwired to willed ignorance about the world.

          The Book of Revelation is not a foreign policy manual.

          by Dont Just Stand There on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:56:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ALmost but not quite (0+ / 0-)

            Bush did travel to Mexico and he may even have gone to Spain at one point.

            But in general you are correct; Bush did not travel outside the US, and had/has little knowledge of the complex realities there. I remember in the second debate in 2000 when he brought up Chernomyrdin (the one-time Russian official with whom Gore had been dealing) and I thought at the time that he probably practiced for 2 weeks to pronounce it properly.

            For that matter, in the 2004 debates he boasted of his relationship with Putin, whom he referred to as "VLAdimir." Condi should have told him it's pronounced "vlaDImir."

            "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

            by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:23:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pronunciation of Vladimir (0+ / 0-)

              really depends on where you are.  Not just which city or region, but which part of the city.  I was surprised at what I didn't learn either from tapes or immigrants, some of whom taught the language.

              Everyone is talking about crime... Tell me who are the criminals. - "Equal Rights," Peter Tosh

              by Nastja Polisci on Tue May 01, 2007 at 01:58:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, well (0+ / 0-)

                On the Russian tapes I studied it is "vlaDImir." I still remember that because it sounded odd.

                And since that was standard Russian, I'll go with that as Putin's name until confirmed otherwise.

                At least he didn't say "Pyutin" as I've occasionally heard.

                "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson

                by DanK Is Back on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:34:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  About that American Knowledge (0+ / 0-)

      There is indeed a large segment of American society that has little to no knowledge of the outside world, and has even less desire to try and understand how we influence the globe.

      Remember the 30% in the US that neither has nor sees the need for internet connectivity.

      Could it be the same 30% still supporting BushCo?

      •  no offense (0+ / 0-)

        but that looks like a pretty dumb survey, and not a great conclusion you're drawing from it.  If you don't ask at least basic demographics, you miss pretty much the whole story.  I'd bet a good portion of that 30% is low-income.  Another good portion is probably much older folks, who in general (there are of course plenty of wonderful exceptions here) are less likely to adopt new technologies (or see the need for them).  

  •  Which November elections? (16+ / 0-)

    A substantial majority of American people have shown that they have rejected this administration and these policies, or did the November elections pass unnoticed in that particular corner of Europe from which the diarist writes?

    Bush was elected twice, yes? I think that says more than anything (as far as global opinion is concerned).

    Also, Obama asserted a right to use force unilaterally. In a worst case scenario this might prove necessary, but haven't we learned anything? Isn't this entirely the wrong language to be using? The option of using unilateral force always exists, even when you haven't asserted it. So why assert it?

    There is a violent streak in American society which all the major candidates are guilty of pandering to. Attacking our candidates won't help them get elected, but if we don't nothing will change. The Republicans aren't going to listen. As least in criticizing our own we stand a chance of being heard.

    •  Is this supposed to be helpful? (12+ / 0-)

      I disagree with:

      There is a violent streak in American society which all the major candidates are guilty of pandering to.

      It's not a violent streak - at least not these days.  It's a culture of fear and a willful ignorance of the consequences of our military action.  Americans are not, for the most part, gleeful about bombing Iraq.  

      Your points about Bush being elected twice really do not trump any points about the latest election.  For one thing, back in 2000, Bush famously ran on a promise that his foreign policy would be "humble".  Basically he lied through his teeth.  You can make the point that the 2004 election was a sign that Americans were supporting Bush, but I don't think that's a sign that Americans have a "violent streak".  But given all the lies and chicanery surrounding the war in Iraq, I think the opposite point has more support.  Bush, Cheney & Co. knew that an honest case to the American people wouldn't work.  Because, fundamentally, Americans don't want to be at war all the time.  

      It's just that the American foreign policy was hijacked by nimrod neocons for a few years there.  

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."--Mark Twain

      by RickD on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:36:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not gleeful? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Asak, Roadbed Guy, PsychoSavannah, jfadden

        "shock and awe" was FOX News' Fourth of July fireworks display.

      •  respectfully disagree... (17+ / 0-)

        it takes increasing mental gymnastics to justify the conduct of the american populace. just the fact that so many feel the need to explain away our collective behavior with stuff about americans being traumatized and unwittingly duped by lies speaks volumes. to me, it is evocative of the excuses given by germans and vichy french after WWII; NOBODY knew about the concentration camps, although they were right down the street, and EVERYBODY was a member of the Resistence once Paris was liberated.

        rather than identifying americans and their pathologies for what they are, we're playing plausible deniability games, giving people a pass for being sociopathic and stupid - a pass they don't deserve. sorry, it's not cool with me. When Charles Graner's and Lynndie England's Abu Ghraib snapshots were made public, America shrugged and went to the mall. When news emerged that hundreds of POWs had baked to death in container trucks in the Afghan desert, America shrugged and watched TV. The response to the fact that this nation has killed 2/3 of a million people in its unjustified war of aggression on Iraq has been that America has shrugged and played XBox.

        This is a sick, sociopathic nation packed to the gills with self-serving narcissists. This is not to the exclusion of all other species of human, but the narcissists have held sway, and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

        Capitalism is the most barbaric of all religions. - Mark Stewart

        by RabidNation on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:38:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh, I'm not happy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kpardue, ivorybill

          with the slothful ignorance of war supporters from 2002-2004.  That wasn't my point.  My point was:  is this supposed to be helpful?  

          Bad-mouthing the electorate is simply stupid politics.  Indeed, it's hard to imagine anything more childish and unproductive than badmouthing the electorate as a whole.

          "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."--Mark Twain

          by RickD on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:07:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is true (0+ / 0-)

          It is accurate that most Americans went to the mall and cared not at all for the abuses of Abu Ghraib.

          It is equally true that most progressives cared little, read less and acted not at all during the Southern Sudanese genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Congolese civil war, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and certainly didn't care much about human rights abuses in Iraq for the decades before 2003.  

          I think Americans deserve condemnation for not responding to the human rights abuses of the Bush Administration.  However, one may want to back away a little from the blanket condemnation of the narcissists of middle America when our record as a nation on genocide has not been very good - including that of progressives.  Most Americans ignore American crimes.  Many if not most Progressives ignore crimes perpetrated by those who are not Americans.  I remember well many "progressives" complaining about the intervention in Bosnia, and I know as a fact that most "progressives" never paid much attention to the Congolese civil war - which is still claiming lives, after more than 3.5 million dead.  

          I might also add that a sure way of losing elections is to tell the American people that they are a bunch of overfed narcissists.  People do not pay attention, and they are easily manipulated.  But with the right information, most Americans can make decent choices and will reverse the abuses of the Bush Administration.  

          In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. ...Thomas Jefferson

          by ivorybill on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:10:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Excuses, excuses... (4+ / 0-)

        It's always someone elses fault.  The American public never has to take any responsibility for its actions.  That kind of nonsense might fly in this country, but I doubt it will be matched by opinion around the world.  

        Don't like XOM and OPEC? What have YOU done to reduce your oil consumption? Hot air does NOT constitute a renewable resource!

        by Asak on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:29:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So violence is mainly a military problem? n/t (0+ / 0-)
      •  wish is could agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but back in 2003 people were gleeful.  it was fucking disgusting.  

        ...i felt my pants' warmth as my legs became string and my arteries burst into song...

        by itsbenj on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:27:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think this isn't the best way to look at it (7+ / 0-)

      I am inclined to think that Bush being elected twice says more about American fear and gullibility than it does about the attitude of American citizens about the world. Perhaps this is unduly optimistic.

      As far as global opinion is concerned, I have only my own experience to draw on, but have found that since I left the United States in 2005, non-Americans that I have spoken with have been overwhelmingly willing to accept that the problem with the United States’ posture toward the world is a Bush Administration problem more than it is an American problem.

      Also I think Obama had to assert that the option of unilateral force in cases of immanent threat exists in his foreign policy speech. The legitimacy of the Bush Doctrine is the question that must be addressed by any candidate in the realm of American foreign policy. Bush says that America has a right to attack, pre-emptively, any country that he feels might develop into a threat. This is very different from asserting that a right to self-defence exists in cases where an enemy has not attacked yet, but is about to... that is, the attack force is basically on the way. Obama must define himself on this question in order for his candidacy to be taken seriously by people like me, and in doing so, he must show that he understands that the Bush Doctrine is different from the right to use unilateral force to defend against attack or immanent attack. He has to show that he understands that rejecting the Bush doctrine does not mean that the United States is rejecting its right to self defence, even in cases of immanent threat.

      I am pretty sure that every country on earth will claim a similar right. Bush might have tried to conflate "immanent threat" with what he called the "grave and gathering threat" of Iraq, but that doesn’t change the fact that "immanent threat" is a term that has an accepted definition in foreign policy and international politics.

      Obama has a lot to overcome before I would become a supporter. Basically, he needs to show that he knows what the hell he is talking about. This speech actually did that fairly well, I think.

      Alan doesn't live in Phoenix anymore.

      by Alan in Phoenix on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:01:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oops (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vcmvo2, Fabian, Allogenes, brione

        well, I confused "immanent" with "imminent"... not in meaning, but in spelling. Sorry... I hate when people do that!

        Alan doesn't live in Phoenix anymore.

        by Alan in Phoenix on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:05:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Defense against real threats is rarely unilateral (4+ / 0-)

        'Unilateral' is the word I have a problem with. There's really no reason to use it. Again, there may be a worst-case scenario that emerges that demands unilateral action, but it's not very likely, and the notion has become associated not with defense but with ultra-violence.

        When people from other countries hear Americans talk about using force unilaterally, they cringe. So do I.

        •  I think I understand what you mean (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moodyx, bee tzu

          And I don't necessarily disagree with you. At least, I do agree that candidates need to use language that doesn't make people cringe.

          It might be that I have to accept that the word  "Unilateral" has recently come to mean more than it did previously, or at least it has a different tone.

          In the context of this discussion, the word in its traditional sense might be used to declare that a country has a right to defend itself even if defending itself requires acting before consulting the international community. This is how I understood Obama's speech. But then, I just finished a political science degree, so my understanding may be more academic than most.

          In its unfortunate new sense, the word brings to mind the case of a nation undergoing some controversial and bloody action in spite of objections from its allies and perhaps without actual necessity. (Thanks, Bush for fucking up the English language)

          So, even if Obama shouldn't have used the word, can we agree that as a former professor addressing a crowd of foreign policy wonks, he almost certainly meant "Unilateral" in its traditional, normal sense, free of the nasty overtones that Bush has brought to the word?

          It would have been nice if he would have figured out another way to say it.

          Alan doesn't live in Phoenix anymore.

          by Alan in Phoenix on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:23:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think Obama meant it in a Rorschach sense (0+ / 0-)

            Which is what bothers me. I mean, I think it was intended to appease those who favor a hyper-aggressive foreign policy, without necessarily inflaming those who don't. It's actually somewhat ambiguous. Exactly under what circumstances would we act unilaterally--he doesn't say (and it's probably impossible to define). I don't like this kind of vague politicking--especially when it attempts to appeal to our aggressive nature.

            If JP's attack on Obama was unfair, it's simply because this style of politics has become the norm and candidates are practically required to embrace it to remain viable. I still think Obama should scrap the word 'unilateral' and soften his tone. More-or-less, same with Hillary.

            In principle there's nothing inherently evil about using unilateral force, as you've described it. But the way I see it, that's beside the point.

        •  I also had a problem with the asserted right (0+ / 0-)

          to use force to protect America's "vital interests".

          With diminished resources worldwide, this is  not a pretty scenario.

          Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

          by cumberland sibyl on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:43:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Welshman, I read your Diary yesterday titled (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, blueoasis

    "Breaking: The Power of UK Nightmares Worsens", which was refresingly realistic about the threats facing the UK.  So I am a bit surprised to see you worrying so much about what the rest of the world thinks of the USA. You know, if the UK starts dealing with its "nightmare" problems like you discussed, then England's approval ratings in other countries may go down too.

    •  A bit of a non sequitur (12+ / 0-)

      I appreciate your comment about yesterday's diary and you make a valid point that does concern me. How we react to the UK bombers is going to be very important.

      That said, I can't quite relate the two diaries. I am concerned for America because the USA is in the position to lead the free world. To lead us all. If it can recover its position. The UK has just minor ambitions and these are in regard to the EU  ;)

      •  If Britian realized its influence (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brione, TDE

        ... on the US, things would be quite different I think.

        •  It has been said... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Welshman, pamelabrown, brione

          that Blair may have been the only political leader who could have stopped the Iraq war. As time goes by I find that less convincing than it was, especially as we see just how single minded Bush and Cheney are.

          The Labour party got it right with Vietnam but got it very wrong on Iraq...

          (as a Brit) I do think we underestimate our influence in the US.

          The Pendulum "All movements go too far" - Bertrand Russell

          by TDE on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:49:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not entirely convinced (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Welshman, highacidity, Ritter

        Speaking as a Briton, I don't entirely agree with what Welshman has said. On the one hand I believe forgiveness will come swifter than many Kossacks think. A new, non-Republican president will make a world of difference in rehabilitating attitudes. We'd like to see adults back in charge. I believe a fresh guy (or gal) will be treated as a fresh start by much of the European polity.

        On the other hand, I think some considerable caution will remain. Even before BushCo came along, questions were being asked about the costs of US leadership. The Clinton Admin did a lot to ameliorate concerns (his apology to Latin America was seen as a wise step), but after Iraq I'm not sure America will ever regain its previously trusted position.

        There is a further thing. I don't believe it has yet become common currency, but I see America now as a nation in decline as a world power. I don't see that actual situation reversing as we head into the future. The dollar is collapsing, the US economy is a basket case and it seems inevitable that the ability (and willingness) of the US to project military power will decline. I believe the view of the US as a leader may erode as this view becomes more commonplace.

        •  Your comment seems realistic to me. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Caution is likely to remain for quite a while, even in Europe, and a rebuilding of trust in other parts of the world will be harder.

          The amount of damange that the Bush administration has done is simply stunning.

          Nonetheless, Welshman's diary was a welcome additional voice, showing more of the range of feelings toward this country in Europe.

          As for the US being a nation in decline, there is some truth in that, but a relative decline in power will still leave the US wielding a lot of influence for some time.  It's terribly important to get responsible people into leadership here, both in order to play a decent role in dealing with the major challenges the world faces, and so we start coping with our fiscal/economic and other troubles.

          •  The End of America (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            highacidity, KiaRioGrl79

            I agree that the US will continue to wield power for a long time. But it will be the power of late Tsarist Russia or the last of the Ottomans: the power of a dysfunctional giant on the wane. An examination of the decline of great nations shows that toothlessness does not come overnight. It is a gradual dimunition, until a key moment in history comes when that power is tested and everyone comes to realize what a paper tiger the nation had been. There is also the threat, as Emmanuel Todd has identified, that a failing power may go rogue. America has plainly showed it has that capacity.

            So my point is this: US leadership will be tested again and at some point in the future it will be found wanting. I am cautious about hitching the European wagon to such a fading force. I'd want rather more of a partnership chaired by America than the US presuming to speak for the West, as Welshman seem to desire. I rather hope that a future Europe might have the clout, through the soft power of economics, to rein in America's worst excesses.

            When Welshman speaks, he represents part of a spectrum of opinion that ranges from true love of America to deep suspicion. The truth is complex in that most Britons I talk to admire some of America, but rarely all of it, and it's interesting to see which bits they admire and which they don't--the subset is rarely the same. However, all people I speak to, at some point, agree that there is a point at which Americans become truly alien and incomprehensible, even irrational. That's where the deep caution comes into play.

            •  "rather more of a partnership chaired by (0+ / 0-)

              America than the US presuming to speak for the West, as Welshman seem to desire" -- that seems perfectly appropriate to me. The extreme dominance of the US, militarily and economically, after WW II is a "moment" in history that by its nature can't last indefinitely. Stable democracies are the nations that the US should naturally be looking to as primary partners in an increasingly multi-polar world, and our cultural ties with Europe are strong.  So let's hear it for fuller partnership.

              As for the eventual decline of America into "toothless" decay, that depends on choices not yet made, or in process of being hashed out in the political and cultural arenas.  

              This country is in a long-term economic crisis that hasn't really become obvioius yet, rooted in the imbalance of trade and fed by war costs and the fiscal brainlessness of Bush. All the same, we have the natural and human resources and the technological base to solve our problems and renew our society if we can marshall the clarity and will.  The "end of America" isn't already written in some playbook on Great Power decline and fall.

              I respect your wariness, based on historical patterns.  And I appreciate your comments on the spectrum of opinion in Europe as regards America. Still, I would not assume that the US has no greater capacity for self-renewal than Tzarist Russia or the Ottomans.

              It's not an argument that can be resolved in the short run, of course.  Perhaps by the ends of our lifetimes we'll have a better perspective.

  •  I like this quote about the insanity of neo-cons (21+ / 0-)

    "There was a dangerous innocence to thinking that we would be greeted as liberators, or that with a little bit of economic assistance and democratic training you’d have a Jeffersonian democracy blooming in the desert," he says now. "There is a running thread in American history of idealism that can express itself powerfully and appropriately, as it did after World War II with the creation of the United Nations and the Marshall Plan, when we recognized that our security and prosperity depend on the security and prosperity of others. But the same idealism can express itself in a sense that we can remake the world any way we want by flipping a switch, because we’re technologically superior or we’re wealthier or we’re morally superior. And when our idealism spills into that kind of naïveté and an unwillingness to acknowledge history and the weight of other cultures, then we get ourselves into trouble, as we did in Vietnam."

    Who's quote might this be?

    Yep, you guessed it. It's Barack Obama from the New Yorker.

  •  I hadn't read the other (4+ / 0-)

    diary, so I cannot comment on it.

    But I think that the vast majority of Europeans are like the vast majority of Americans.

    We don't judge an entire nation or group by the actions of a few.

    Thanks for a good diary.

  •  The person sitting in that oval office (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    redstar, blueoasis

    is "America" to the rest of the world.  To those of us who reject their actions and policies it is not.

    I have some news for the diarist. No, that is not so. That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is and what its policies are "in the eyes of most of the world."

    That is what the previous diarist conveyed. "That is not who we are"  "We" being the people not occupying the oval office.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:28:02 AM PDT

    •  Don't fully agree, nupstateny (9+ / 0-)

      I do not accept that the rest of the world is incapable of seeing the Bush administration as being separate from the American people.

      There are many historical examples in relation to other countries to support this point.

      Even if I did accept this, I do not accept the pessimism of the diarist that suggests that a change through a new Democratic leadership will not enable the United States to recover much of its position and standing in the world.

      •  It's just common sense (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity, vcmvo2

        You're absolutely correct.  The way forward is with new Democratic leadership.

        I believe that is exactly what we will get in '08.  The world will then breathe a sigh of relief, myself included.

      •  I almost fully agree with that diarist. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        A mere change of personnel in the WH will not change our standing in the world, particularly if policies do not change.

        Until and unless this "if you're not with us you're against us, and we will not negotiate" approach to policy is abandoned and a place at the table is made available for dissenters, we cannot recapture our former position-which wasn't all that great to begin with.

        The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

        by nupstateny on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:39:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I I ever get enough pennys saved (7+ / 0-)

    to visit europe, I hope you will do me the honor of buying you dinner at your favorite restaurant in Wales.
    I am no particular fan of Obama and I reserve the right to critcize him for the faults I think he has.  However I find that there are a lot of anti democractic party leftist morons on this blog.  Unfortunately they occasionally make a point that gains them friends here.

    Leftists hate liberals even more than they hate conservatives because liberals are preventing the country from being miserable enough to bring on the great world wide socialist revolution.

    The diarist you are talking about thinks we are doomed as environmentalists unless we put windmills in one of our most beautiful historic places to thwart the Kennedys and other rich people.  He has no sense of this country at all.  Putting windmills in non discript places or places already made ugly by industrial ports isn't good enough.  That tells me about everything I need to know about this person.

    I know you didn't do this diary to bash the other person. I appreciate your sentiments and your thinking.

  •  Why I don’t care (4+ / 0-)

    In all honesty this is the only diary on the Obama – neocon hubbub that I have read.  It seems well enough written to understand both sides.  And I fall in with those who think the Americans are overly self infatuated.  And that is why I don’t care.

    Obama, like every single politician is playing to the view among Americans that we are special. Feelings of patriotism are very often used to sway people’s opinions.  I don’t blame Obama, it’s just the way it is.  And I suspect it is a world wide phenomenon.

    What does matter to me, is what we do going forward.  You won’t find the answer to that in such speeches.  Yeah, the vision thing.  I know.  But I look for specific example of policy choices to generalize from.  Not the vision thing.

    •  Voting records are great (0+ / 0-)

      sources of information about specific policy choices - what people actually did, not what they say they'd do.  All candidates are repleat with "what I'll do when President" - can they get it done once they're there?

      Just sayin'...

      A little about me here. -8.63, -7.44

      by sick of it all on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:46:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Fiona West

    An uplifting read.  Rest assured many of us have roots up in your corner of the world.

    We'll get the current matters straightened out.  We've pretty much already figured out the general direction we're going.  It's just a matter of throwing the current twats out and putting the mechanisms in place so that it doesn't happen again.

  •  Guilty (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    highacidity, vcmvo2, Joelarama

    I recc'd the diary in question without reading it as carefully as I should.

    Thanks for bringing this smear on Obama to our attention.

  •  Welshman, you're usually worth reading in full (9+ / 0-)

    but excuse me for skipping the latter half of this diary of yours. I couldn't stand the taste of it, sorry.

    Jerome a Paris quotes a passage of Obama's speach where he (Obama) denies 'America' being what 'America' to the letter has been for the last four years. Saying that 'America' isn't so doesn't erase these last four years. And Jerome a Paris tells it like it is: "The problem is that yes, this is precisely who America is today in the eyes of most of the world ". And then you've "got some news for the diarist." Well, you saying 'America' isn't what Obama tried to deny doesn't erase the last four years either.

    What could, if not erase, then mitigate what 'America' has brought the world the last four years is if Obama, and 'America', recognized what 'America' really has become and mandated to do some soul-searching and show it will hold itself accountable.

    A new president in 'America' doesn't start from scratch, rather he/she inherits what the previous presidency of 'America' has brought.

    For Obama, or anyone else, to be able to say that 'America' isn't what it has been for the last four years he or she must first be able to acknowledge it's very recent history and make the appropriate amends.

    Restore Democracy! Denounce the GOP (Georgie's Orwellian Party)!

    by high5 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:04:35 AM PDT

  •  There's a genuine wish in Europe to 'forgive' (9+ / 0-)

    the US for the wrongs of the past few years, i think. In fact, if the Americans can return to playing the role of the benevolent giant, if they ever truly did, there might even be an increase in esteem for them, now that we know what the alternative is.
    I think Jerome is plain wrong in assuming that Europe demands a prolonged period of atonement from the US. After all, who are we, as a continent, to tell them? We have screwed up far worse, far more often, for centuries, than the US could ever conceivably do.
    If the aggressive behavior is changed, if the lessons absorbed, couldn't it in fact be stated that the Americans proved to be faster learners than us?
    Having said this, the next US President should maybe make a point of making his first foreign visit to, let's say, Paris?

  •  There's a difference between (22+ / 0-)

    the American people and the American Beltwaycrat Establishment.

    The two are increasingly at odds, and Bush's tenure has highlighted how far apart they've drifted.

    However - in an informed and functional democracy, Bush would never have gained more than 20% of the vote - rather like the ultra-right Le Pen in France.

    In an informed and functional democracy, 9/11 would have brought out a firestorm of 'How the hell did this happen on your watch, dipshit?' instead of a sea of waving flags and a mandate for two psychotic wars.

    In an informed and functional democracy, the Iraq war would never have had traction as a talking point. Because it was obvious to so many people elsewhere that the set-up was a naked lie.

    In an informed and functional democracy, IranContra would never have been allowed, Chilean death squads would never have happened, the lies that created the Cold War would never have happened, Vietnam would never have become a fiasco, and Delay, Abramoff and K Street, Enron and so many, many more military, commercial, legal and diplomatic disasters would have been prevented.

    Bush is a symptom of a deeper illness, which is a solid core of militaristic American exceptionalism, maintained by ignorance about the rest of the world and contempt for the European Social Model.

    The point here isn't whether individual Americans are or are not nice people. The issue is the Washington establishment, which has a reliable track record of suppressing human rights in South America and Africa, of feeding off and promoting sweatshop wage levels, and of waging economic and propaganda wars to support its resource extraction empire.

    Anyone who thinks Bush is a magical one-off exception is being naive. The political choices are brutal aggression from the likes of Bush, or more subtle aggression from the likes of Hillary, Bill and Barack.

    And it's not good enough. This isn;t politics any more, it's life and death. The stakes are so high now that the wrong decisions over the next decade or too will at the very least rip a thousand years of civilisation into shreds, and may lead to the extinction of the human race in its entirety.

    Really. No hyperbole.

    So anyone who quotes those old 20th century talking points as if they still matter is well behind the game.

    If that's offensive - too bad. Don't argue with me - argue with physical reality. Because it's physical reality that gets the final veto here. And it doesn't care what colour ribbon you'll have on your car in the lead up to next year.

    "Be kind" - is that a religion?

    by ThatBritGuy on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:22:51 AM PDT

  •  It would be interesting to do a poll in Europe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Welshman, pamelabrown

    who is the most popular Dem primary candidate. From regularly watching Swedish television I must say that Obama gets a lot of love. His appeal reminds me of persons like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan who are also very popular worldwide.

    Hillary is like Joe Biden, only unelectable.

    by Joe B on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:40:54 AM PDT

  •  wonderful diary, thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, TDE

    I spend a lot of time talking with conservatives, and I repeatedly have to defend my criticism of this administration and Democrats in general by saying that criticism of our government doesn't mean you're unpatriotic.

    The diary you referenced and many of the comments there made me briefly re-think just who and what I'm defending. However, this diary encouraged me again. Thanks again.

    "This...this is the fault of that Clinton Penis! And that powermongering wife of his!"

    by CaptUnderpants on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:45:25 AM PDT

  •  Would Obama (or HRC, JE) Ban Food From China (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miriam, tobendaro

    It appears that Chinese contamination of grains might

    not be limited to pet food. This could involve human

    grade food as well.

    Which of the Democratic candidates

    who trumpet Globalization (Obama is a big supporter)

    would have the integrity to ban all foods from China

    until they get their act together.

    Not gonna happen. The profits of big companies are more

    important than Americans health.

    'It's deja vu all over again"-Yogi Berra

    by frandor55 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:54:59 AM PDT

  •  Both of your diaries are valuable! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floja Roja, tobendaro, Fraggle

    Thank goodness for Jerome and thank goodness for Welshman!  We need your perspectives, your willingness to engage, your commitment to the debate!  
    I really appreciate both of you and thank you for coming here fearlessly and with such good will.

    Memo to James Carville: sit down and shut up! You too Begala!

    by Radiowalla on Tue May 01, 2007 at 05:58:30 AM PDT

  •  You have a very unhealthy obsession with Jerome. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ritter, redstar

    I suggest you get over it and move on.

    Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

    by kd texan on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:00:01 AM PDT

    •  Since I guess I don't rate rating (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RickD, LynneK, CPDem81, brione

      I find your comment flat out offensive. Sort of like the dips in power like to tell those of us they perceive not to be in power. A constructive comment: comments like yours eat space, maybe gain you cool points and need to be thought over and then not sent.

      •  You have not followed this issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        as I have.

        Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

        by kd texan on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:25:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  are you (0+ / 0-)

          the famous comic writer of the "Non Sequitur" daily strip? Or are you you just telling me to shut up. Again, you sound a whole lot like the other side and I know that's not so. But you have made some strange assumptions about me. You seem to assume that I don't spend a lot of time at dKos and I don't read much. Wrong. I don't always agree but I spend a lot of time reading here. Especially as I just moved and am between jobs. I would never claim to read more here than you; but right now it might be possible. And this issue is very relevant to much of my cuurent political thougt so maybe I haven't "followed" it as much as you, whatever followed means in your thinking, but I have read everything I could find about it. As it happens one of my primary work skills is research of this sort. It's really not good to make assumptions like you're one-liner I'm responding to unless you're really sure of the reality on my side.

          Or maybe your thinking and reading is simply superior to mine. That could well be so. I'd never make a claim like that, but lots of folks regularly do. I really don't care. Except when you tell me to shut up.

          Let me share the words of someone MUCH smarter than me with you:

          "Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard."

          It's from the majority opinion in 1943's 319 U.S. 624. If you need a copy of the opinion or background on it I'll be glad to respectfully provide it. I believe all people should be aware of those words. Some of course won't belive them and some might think they provide an action plan, but I doubt if either of those options applies to any Kossack.

          •  fluffy, there has been a long standing (0+ / 0-)

            "feud" between Jerome and Welshman. Since the time of the incident, welshman has gone out of his way to kind of stalk Jerome in his diaries and post diaries making the counter point to Jerome.. As a long time reader of Jerome and welshman I was front and center through the whole thing and wanted to simply point out to welshman that his behavior is juvenile and he should get over his Jerome issues.

            I did not mean to try and stifle discussion, just wanted to tell welshman to mature and move on.


            Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

            by kd texan on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:05:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not really kd (5+ / 0-)

      I think it is inevitable as two Europeans, one to the left of the other and both interested in US politics, that we are interested in many of the same things but may have different views.

      We can discuss without rancour - even if a touch of Agincourt does appear every now and again   :)

  •  I think you're being silly... (8+ / 0-)

    ...and you are mounting an argument mostly based on semantics.

    I don't share Jerome's concerns about Obama, but I think his point was well-taken.

    How can you write with a straight face the world is eager to accept, and needs the United States back in its proper leadership position?

    In any event, because of its own folly, America is going the way of the USSR, so the issue will soon be moot.


    by Lupin on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:01:30 AM PDT

    •  Lupin (0+ / 0-)

      I accept that this is not a view shared on the French left, but it is by far the majority view of the elected European leadership and may even shortly be that of France.

      Please don't think that the phrase you extracted refers to leadership by Bush or even Bush 111 in style or in nature. Now that would be silly :)

      •  No I still think that... (5+ / 0-)

        ...the phrase I extracted from your diary encapsulates why I think youre wrong.

        If the word "silly" is  improper, let's say "obsolete" instead.

        That the majority of European politicians may or may not agree with you (or not) is hardly a convincing argument IMHO.

        America, like the USSR, is on a path of irreversible collapse (or transformation) and your argument sounds like, say, Jaruzelski clinging to the illusion that once Brezhnev is replaced by a better Soviet leader, everything can be well again.

        America can no longer be (nor it should be) the "leader" of anything.

        But I think we got off the subject, which was that Jerome was perfectly justified in pointing out that more forward-thinking people may be justifiably concerned when they hear someone like Obama seemingly endorse what sounds like yesterday's obsolete policies.

        Me, I think Obama is smart enough to adapt, and what he said, there and now, is not necessarily a reflection on what he may do tomorrow.

        OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

        by Lupin on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:34:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, so wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Whether the majority of European politicians agree with Welshman might not be a convincing argument to you, but then that wouldn't be too surprising because most here at dKos aren't too terribly interested in politics as they actually are and not as they would like them to be.  The real-world political dynamics that exist are hugely relevant as they are revelatory of the actual, operational forces that can affect great and necessary changes.  Politicians live in a cynical world that is all about balancing competing agendas and fulfilling the agendas of their constituents.  To the degree that the US continues to be a central player around the world, in determining the course of millions of international agendas, politicians will continue looking towards us like a surly father with the checkbook.

          You can piss all over this country with your talk of "irreversible collapse" but the fact remains that we are still by far the wealthiest nation in the world, and likely will be for some time to come.  We are still the number one consumer of goods, and the number one polluter of the environment. We still command the most powerful military and exercise the most influence around the world.  I could go on but the point is that we are still top dog .. by a pretty decent margin ... and what that means, for better or for worse, is that we still have the opportunity, nay responsibility, to address all of the concomitant issues that will be confronting us and everyone else in the world over the next couple generations ... and only in part because we are one of the principle causes of these problems.

          I don't necessarily agree 100% with his entire thesis but last week Thomas Friedman wrote an article for the NY Times magazine about how the US needs to reforge its ideological place at the head of the class by pioneering a greener ideology and exporting the resultant theories and technology to other countries, say China and India.  Were something like this to take place, were the US to demonstrate that they are once again ready to accept the mantle of responsibility and usher the world out of the dark times ahead then these past 6 years would be more or less confined to the annals of history.

          •  Ditto here (0+ / 0-)

            Well, I think you're completely, totally and utterly wrong, too.

            I'm not going to plagiarize James Kunstler, so I'll simply refer you to his blog.

            I don't always agree with Kunstler on everything, especially his foreign policy views, etc., but when it comes to analyzing the massive clusterfuck that the US will become in the next decade, he is totally, 100% correct.

            I think your pipe dream / ponzi scheme economy is going, gone, and you don't even realize it.

            Actually, I was in Moscow just as Gorbachev came into power and numerous, well-educated Russians thought just like you do: tinker a bit with the political system and we'll be like the West Germans in a year. Ha! I was with some Germans and we all knew it'd take them at least 20 years to get there.

            Anyway. I don't have a crystal ball; neither do you. Time will tell.

            OVER HERE: AN AMERICAN EXPAT IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, is now available on Amazon US

            by Lupin on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:31:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course you just might be right .... (0+ / 0-)

              But please!!!! don't tell me you think that you're French brand of irresponsible socialism, with social welfare run rampant and latent racism driving a wedge socially and economically right down the middle of your country is in any position to be economically condescending.

              I love France, I vacation there every few years, have friends in France and a number of expat friends living in the states including my best friends wife ... and while they all love their country dearly they are equally bemused, nay, flabbergasted at the outrageous extremes with which the French economy coddles its citizenry.  I don't mean to attack your country at all (assuming I read that correctly) only to point out that economic instability is a fact of life ANYWHERE and engaging in doomsday critiques seems just a bit ridiculous.

              I will definitely check out the blog mentioned in your post but I'm just curious if you believe the US is so screwed ... who do you think stands ready to benefit, China ... a possibility but if you think the US is fraught with pitfalls ... the EU, equally fraught but for entirely different reasons.  Name me a country whose economic fortunes look truly bright and clear of frightening obstacles and I'll show you a 2 foot irishman with a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

      •  Oh boy, are you wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        The Bavarian Christian Democrats just signed a economic cooperation treaty with the Cuban government which will considerably augment German direct investmets in Cuba.

        When Christian Democrats in Bavaria defy Washington politics and their dictats you know what time it is.

        So please stop the 'You are a European leftwinger' baloney - it is downright stupid.

        "The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

        by Ritter on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:33:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boru, LynneK

    Jerome does wonderful diaries and he is a very clever fella, no doubt about it. But i have to say that i  have also been annoyed by his diaries more than once, part of it is maladresse (as we say in french), part of it is blatant leftist bias and i don't like that,  especially when it comes from someone who prides himself in intellectual honesty.

    This is actually something that is making me increasingly worried about the french left. When you see the anti-Sarkozy paranoia\propaganda that is flooding leftist newspapers such as "Liberation" it is really starting to look very suspicious. I am sensing the same kind of intellectual dishonesty you are mentionning. Heck, i'm pretty much a center guy when it comes to french polittics (which is leaning much more to the left than american politics), so i was sitting on the fence, but the viciousness and the emptiness of the attacks coming from the left has pushed me on Sarkozy's side, and i'm sure i'm not the only one.

  •  I am both an American and not (3+ / 0-)

    an American (I have lived most of my adult life in Canada by choice and intend to remain here). I think that Obama or Edwards or Clinton could lift the USA out of the depths that it is in. They could do so by doing a half dozen things starting with exiting Iraq and signing the next Kyoto Agreement and acting with humility and even apologizing to the world on a number of matters -- but mostly by just dumping the pathetic arrogance that has characterized 2000-2008.

    I also think that just in case most of the rest of the democracies in the world should unite and be prepared to stand firmly against the USA diplomatically (including economic sanctions, etc. if necessary) should it ever return to greed, arrogance, and unilateral violence that threatens the stability of the whole world. I won't make a list, we all could make one.

    I actually just finished a book that makes this double point (that there are two ways out of this mess and the rest of the world has to step up as much as the USA has too as well). I'll diary it once I know who is going to publish it.

    At some point there really needs to be a transatlantic left debate about all this -- maybe it has already started. Thanks to both diarists.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:02:17 AM PDT

  •  E.J. Dionne Today on Obama: What a Puss (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RickD, Geekesque, redstar, pamelabrown

    Okay, E.J. didn't exactly say that, but what his column today in the Washington Post says is that Obama gave up ground to Clinton and Edwards in the debate by answering a question as to how he would respond to a terrorist attack by not mentioning retaliation.  The column goes on to note that Clinton and Edwards jumped at the chance to mention military options.  

    I know little or nothing about Barack Obama.  I am still recovering from 2004, and I am resisting my tendency to begin investing emotionally or intellectually into any campaign until later this year.  Otherwise I will burn out.  

    But even a casual observer has to scratch his or her head at the idea that Barack Obama is somehow the Democratic darling of neo-conservatives.  I think our laid-into diarist (who should be commended for provoking a very deep conversation here) is reading the tea leaves wrong.        

    •  I missed making my point. (0+ / 0-)

      Not the first time.

      The point is, is Obama a neoconservative's wet dream, or has he, as Dionne points out, not positioning himself as militaristic enough?  

      And where's my coffe.  I want my coffe, goddammit.  

      •  i think the purpose (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of the neo-con praise is simply to wedge Democrats against Obama.  Republicans are just throwing everything at the wall, in the hope that something, anything, will stick and create a negative impression about any given candidate.  

        "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."--Mark Twain

        by RickD on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:18:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, Welshman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Welshman, NYFM

    Your diary brings hope that the promise made in the Kerry/Edwards campaign -- to let America be America again and allow us to once again be "respected in the world" -- will not only come into fruition but will be noted and revered by the world.

  •  Thank you Welshman (4+ / 0-)

    The diarist you refer to is a respected member of this community and for good reason.  I was one of the ones who tipped yesterday.  

    As a member of this community, he articulated common wisdom on this site and spoke to our greatest fears as Americans who see this administration as an abomination here but our representative there.

    It is w/ sincere gratitude that I read your diary.  It is w/ sincere hope that I pray you are right.

    Thank you your contribution.  

    (btw, I didn't read the other comments because I didn't want my own reaction to be tainted in any way. So, regardless of the consensus view, thanks again)

  •  The theory of a democratic republic is this (5+ / 0-)

    That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is

    I realize taht as someone that lives in a monarchy, you may not really understand what the a democratic republic is.  In this case, however popular and rabble-rousing to the baser American exceptionalism your  opinion voiced here may be, the truth is taht by definition, in a democratic republic a government, a regime, in fact is synonoymous with the nation, that everything the regime does is at the will and behest of the nation.  If we didn't want to be a nation that tortures, invades illegally, kidnaps and holds without justice, then we wold not have elected and reelected a government that does just that.  Remember, the 2004 presidential elections were AFTER the revelations of Abu Ghraib.  There can be no doubt that the 2004 election result was in fact a ratification by the American people taht we are a nation are A-OK with that kind of thing.

  •  The Bush Administration IS America (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FutureNow, adrianrf

    If America can be said to have any role or appearance whatsoever, it is through the policies, domestic and foreign, promoted by the government. The Bush Administration may not be popular throughout the country, but that doesn't prevent it from being the public face of the country.

    While the vast majority of Europeans, Canadians, Asians, etc. can separate conceptually the actions of the Bush Administration from the individual values of most Americans, this can't be done on a practical level at all. What the Bush Administration does in the world IS what America does.

    See my comment here for more.

    -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:31:54 AM PDT

    •  Fine, but if you accept that as true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thingamabob, pamelabrown

      Then you would also accept that a new administration that reflected restraint, embraced international law, and most of all acted with humility in the world would change "the public face of the country" and that that administration "would become America"

      So it actually supports Welshman's view, that we're not doomed until we have a long period of atonement.

      And I agree with it. The world wants to believe the best in us, the problem is we consistantly let them down. If President Obama stands up in front of the UN and says... "we're open for business again -- we reconize that we can't do this without you, and we're willing to do what it takes to earn your trust" in February  of 2009, I think you'd see a lot of Europeans excited for what the future holds.

      Particularly if its Obama, in my opinion. There's a sense of internationalism there. He's also a Kennedy style celeb-politician and a natural "listener/consensus builder" personality.

      •  My comment cuts both ways (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I support both Jerome's and Welshman's views here, and I think that it's logically coherent to do so. And while I agree that an Obama presidency (or an Edwards presidency) which put forward positive policies, strategies and the language of respect (i.e. no "cheese-eating surrender monkeys") would do much to turn everything around.

        No administration will ever "atone" directly for the actions of it's predecessors. But charting a course which in itself repudiates the direction previously taken will send the same message.

        -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:53:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  by CPDem81: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ormondotvos, adrianrf

        "The world wants to believe the best in us, the problem is we consistantly let them down."


        Listen my friend, most European people live their lifes without ever wishing to believe anything pre-conceived with regards to US America and they certainly don't feel to be 'let down' by the US.

        Our cities can withold stormfloods, we don't let people drown in springfloods, and we don't sent our military to kill and to die in Iraq.

        If somebody has been let down - it is you.

        Btw. Today we celebrate the international workers day. I repeat: international... It is a paid holiday.

        US America is not part of this - you rather prefer to stay within the nationalistic borders of an all American ideology worshipping an indigenous bird.


        "The USA appears destined by fate to plague America with misery in the name of liberty." Simon Bolivar, Caracas, 1819

        by Ritter on Tue May 01, 2007 at 01:11:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We do have a worker's day (0+ / 0-)

          We just don't celebrate it in May. Its called labor day. Its in September.

          Spare me your condescension. It isn't impressive in the least...

          And rather indicative of the arrogance you accuse others of.

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      If America can be said to have any role or appearance whatsoever, it is through the policies, domestic and foreign, promoted by the government.

      As an American living abroad, I have to say that this comment is way off.  Almost all contact between non-Americans and Americans is not through the official arms of the government.  Americans travel, trade, conduct business, export movies, music, etc.

      Most people realize that "the Bush administration" is not the same as "America".  Do you think "Russia = Vladimir Putin"?  

      "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it."--Mark Twain

      by RickD on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:21:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Point taken, and NOT (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, FrankFrink

        But the reality is somewhere in between. Do most people think Russia = Putin? No, but most people believe that RUSSIA acts in accordance with Putin's leadership. Do most Poles, Finns, Lithuanians fear that individual Russians will turn against them or try to exert undue influence over their lives? No, but most have a historically-founded fear that RUSSIA may do so, in part borne out by Putin's rule.

        So, as I suggested, the equivalence is between AMERICA (without an "ns" at the end) and the Bush administration, not between the views of individual Americans and the Bush Administration. I totally agree that in individual contact between Americans and non-Americans the only issues (for the most part) are how the individuals in question conduct themselves.

        But you are simply obscuring the real equivalence between what AMERICA represents and what the Bush administration represents. I try to use words carefully in my posts, and although I screw up at times, this isn't one of them.

        -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:35:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have a strong point here. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thingamabob, ormondotvos

          People may retain some good will toward individual Americans and toward American culture, but America has changed in six years from a fairly law-abiding member of the commuinity of nations to a country that snatches people off the street in Italy or anywhere else they choose and sucks them into a black hole of secret prisons and torture.  Not to mention a nation that claims the right to unilaterally attack anyone they see as a threat.

          No matter how different the policies of the next president, the fact remains that this president (Bush) acted in the name of and with the full power of  America, and his actions will not be forgotten.  THe world is left to think over the fact that if America can go that bad that fast, there's no guarantee that the same thing can't happen again.  It's a grim thought.

    •  Don't really agree with this. (0+ / 0-)

      America is so much more than our government, in fact, our culture is the primary source of American 'soft' power in the world.  Hollywood.  Jazz.  James Dean.   Mickey Mouse.  Hair Bands.  The list goes on.

      "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords..."

      by pawlr on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:30:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The list is long (6+ / 0-)

        Planned obsolescence, supply-side economics, nuclear weapons, Britney Spears, Rush Limbuagh, Howard Stern, the other Howard Stern, News Corporation, Enron,...

        I don't see how any of this supports your point. Read my reply above. I am not calling out "everything American" or "AmericaNS" at all. This is mere defensiveness, and it makes it impossible for you to make a reasonable assessment.

        Self-knowledge is key to understanding anything else.

        -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

        by thingamabob on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:06:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't get a nosebleed on your high horse dude (0+ / 0-)

          The foreigners I know are mature enough not to associate "Americans" with "American Government".  Maybe you should get out more?

          "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords..."

          by pawlr on Fri May 11, 2007 at 12:47:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I just want to say thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    From an American with Welsh heritage, thanks for this diary. It is exasperating enough having to live under this regime, wondering how much more damage will be inflicted before 2009, and how long it will take to clean up the mess. Having to hear people from the other side of the pond say that we're done for in the eyes of Europeans certainly doesn't help spur us on to fight the good fight. It seems more like kicking somebody when they're down.
    Most of us here saw the danger approaching and tried to warn others, but were sadly unsuccessful. It's painful for me, personally, to have to listen to my father and sister continue to praise Bush and this rotten administration. I just want this nightmare to end SOON and I want my country and my Constitution back, dammit!
    Thanks again, Welshman.

    "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." --George W. Bush

    by rioduran on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:43:48 AM PDT

  •  thank you for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reminding us (not that we SHOULD need reminding) that there is no monolithic "European view", any more than there is an "American view". Jerome is well respected here, but it doesn't hurt to keep in mind the known biases and predilictions of ANY diarist, no matter how much you like or respect them.

    As for Obama, well, I sense that at root, he's a smart and decent guy, and is certainly not harboring any hidden or open neo-con or Republican tendencies. If some conservatives DO like him, despite this, that's wonderful! It speaks better of his chances to actually win an election.

    On the other hand, the entire political process makes EVERYONE a hypocrite unless they come out at the beginning saying "In order to become president, I must raise obscene amounts of money, politically flirt with people I would not ordinarily give the time of day to, and hope to come out with maybe a quarter of my ideals intact, not to mention that I already know that I'm going to renege on at least half of my campaign promises, partly because they won't be able to make it through the rest of the government"--and that's NOT what we want to hear from our candidates, so it ain't going to happen. Rather than being the hypocricy police, let's hope for good policies and sound judgement when the candidate is actually in the White House.

    On the other hand, the symbolism of an Obama presidency (has a non-white person ever led a "first world country?") would be trifle hard to ignore around the world. It would certainly go a long way toward "atonement" in a way that even the most carefully crafted speeches would not.

    We won--get out of the way

    by JMS on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:46:02 AM PDT

  •  Think twice (5+ / 0-)

    Europe is gradually warming to the idea of Pax American and the American imperial project for reasons I cannot understand other than fear of "the other".

    I don't recommend that Europe should become too chummy with U.S. values which are not what they were.

    It isn't just the Bush administration that is the problem in our country--that administration reflects much of the values of American society. Americans increasingly fetishize violence and easy, quick and draconian solutions to complex problems.

    I suggest you (Welshman) look at the figures on U.S. energy consumption, Military expenditures, waste, prison population, capital punishment, imprisonment and execution of children, percentage of people who believe in the literal truth of the Bible, percentage of GDP spent on medical care, lifespan, vacation time, working hours and income disparity to name just a few metrics where the U.S. is at this time. These trends were all in place before Bush came to office--basically since Reagan. This is a radically pro-Corporation society that you ought to think twice before praising. Some of us are hoping to reverse the trends and they may well change but there is no evidence of that. Having said that I still choose to live and work here and love my country and hope it can get into rehab soon.

    •  Your comment banger (0+ / 0-)

      chills me to the bones.  Not because of the truths you speak but from the pure ideology. Most of us peons are not steeped in ideology which I think is the problem with your comment and Jerome's diary. May I suggest viewing the movie "Reds"? Is there a reason we can't return to Kos's stated purpose of this site:  elect democrats? Pure ideology, on both sides of the spectrum. has unintended consequenses (sp).  

      •  Democrats are the big tent party (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The Democratic Party is for everyone. I'm not that ideological I just know that corporations have aquired increasing power in every area of life--that isn't ideology that is fact. Some, on the right, think that is a good thing. The Wellstone part of the Democratic Party wants to bring some power to the federal and state governments to regulate and tame the power of the corporations who care only for short-term profit--not because they are "evil" but because they are state-chartered organizations who are required to maximize profits for the shareholders and these entities have the rights of people without the responsibilities. We need something to make the planet livable and the Democratic Party may be the only institution in a position to do anything at this time. By the way, I am very anti-communist, if anything I'm libertarian--I just believe corporate power needs to be balanced.

  •  Always appreciate you, Welshman... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Welshman, Fiona West

    ...both your insight and your eloquence.

    There's a fine line between love and hate, isn't there?

    I hope the strongest negative feelings toward us are a sign of potentially equally strong affection, once the profound disillusionment with America's behavior of the last six years can be dispelled, and people everywhere reminded of "the better angels of our nature."

    The ones I'm most concerned about are the young people overseas just coming of age, since this is their first direct exposure to U.S. foreign policy and thus, our national personality.

    You and Jerome are both super.

  •  Whenever I've traveled overseas (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    28th Democrat, NYFM, Harkov311, CPDem81

    (and if I'm asked) I've said that I didn't vote for Bush... and people smile.

    Or you could just look at the welcome Bill Clinton gets around the world.  Or that Africans have posters of Barack Obama on their walls.  Or that many still remember and like JFK.  

    There's a difference between Bush and Americans.

    Just because Bush has twisted things doesn't mean we have to buy into his BS.

    Visit my blog Penndit for complete TV alerts & more.

    by Newsie8200 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 06:56:57 AM PDT

  •  I've been disheartened (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greeseyparrot, adrianrf

    by some of the same old rhetoric of Empire in Obama's speeches too.  Sometimes it seems he's recycling the empty mottos of the American Empire solely to get the conditioned response of the embedded cultural connotations of American English.  It's one of the things that keeps him from from universal admiration despite his great orotorical skills.

    •  He doesn't want to appear feckless, like McGovern (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ormondotvos, adrianrf

      Despite the results of last November--and we hope, November '08--we can't afford to underestimate the lack of respect Independents continue to have for Democrats.  

      They are certain to kick out Tweedle Dum in 2008, but there just isn't any reservoir of respect out there for Tweedle Dee.  It's frustrating.

      There is a glimmer of hope as Reid and Pelosi actually appear to be standing up to the adolescent-in-chief, but the people want to see the brass knuckles come out.

      I've said it before--ideology is secondary to most Americans. If the Democrats would just lead, the Middle will be attracted to their strength alone.  For example, there is no reason at all why we can't have universal healthcare by 2012.

    •  Man, at this point... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ormondotvos, elie

      I'd put up with an imperialist as long as he wasn't swoooping up random Afghan peasants, torturing them, and then throwing these bitter seeds back into the region to metastasize.

      Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

      by ChicagoDem on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:19:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Recced with reservations (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you for your kind words, Welshman. In my experience, about 56% of my current neighbors are as positive as you are.
    There are Americans who care deeply about events outside their borders. The kids who signed up for the RAF before the US joined WW II come to mind. There are however a sizable minority who would be perfectly happy about the war in Iraq if we didn't happen to be losing, because they think that we should be able to interfere (preemptively!) whenever we see fit. There really is a sense of global entitlement that probably comes from living in a huge country that used to have enormous resources, and as those have run out, has learned to exact and sometimes extort resources from others. Obama and other candidates can't admit that Americans are sometimes a little self obsessed, but they shouldn't imitate the Republicans in saying that self obsession is a God given right.

  •  Well, I agree, but... (7+ / 0-)

    This part stuck out at me:

    I would like to see the evidence that "the most atrocious behaviour" was so widely supported by the American people. Is this just erroneously conflating the original support for the invasion of Iraq with all that has subsequently emerged?

    If they were to shut down Guantanamo today, how do you think most Americans would react?

    If we stopped torturing people at black sites, with dire (and probably false) CIA warnings of imminent terrorist attacks as a result, how do you think most Americans would react?

    If we started racially profiling people, or arresting people based on religious beliefs, etc... how do you think most Americans would react?

    I agree that being lectured from outside is rankling, and I rec'd the diary.  But I'm also not THAT optimistic about the feelings of most Americans on the issues that have eroded our moral standing.  I don't think most Americans really see too much wrong with our recent history of torture and brutality.

    Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

    by ChicagoDem on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:18:04 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for standing up for people like... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodasgold, another ex-pat brit who has always loved the idealistic nature of America, and who abhors the current perversion of it that this administration is committing.

    Cheers again, Welshman!

    We are all atheists about most of the gods that society has ever believed in - some of us just go one god further
    -- Richard Dawkin

    by deafmetal on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:20:43 AM PDT

  •  What's funny is that Obama singled out the EU (9+ / 0-)

    as our most important ally--along with Japan--instead of taking the opportunity to pander to the AIPAC crowd at the SC debate.

  •  We are all human beings (0+ / 0-)

    Europeans are diverse in their views, just as Americans are.

    But while there are people in the United States who have an unexplained dislike of say, the French, there are also French who have an unexplained dislike of Americans, apart from any policy considerations.

    These are things we need to work on together, quite apart from the workings of our respective governments.

    It makes me very pleased to know that we have our brothers and sisters overseas who understand that Americans have NOT been well represented by the US government of the last 6 years.

    For their consideration, I offer this: HALF of all Americans still believed, as of the 2004 election, that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. They were lied to. Repeatedly. For years.

    The American people have been the victims of a vicious conspiracy every bit as criminal as the Nazi Conspiracy that overthrew the government in Germany and launched aggressive wars.

    Many of us know this already, and are demanding justice for these criminals, but the majority of Americans are still somewhere between "honest mistakes were made" and "perhaps crimes were committed." There has not yet been a concerted effort to expose the evidence against these racketeers, and connect their crimes in an indicting narrative that gets wide circulation.

    We are trying to make this happen, but unfortunately, the corporations that own the press are unwilling to do something that will implicate THEM. It's obvious to me that we must divest the media, decentralize control of it, and place it under the guardianship of institutions that have skeptical and empirical discernment of facts and truth as their central function: UNIVERSITIES.

    I also favor nationalizing all of the Universities and insulating them from corporate influence.

    Well, corporate power must be checked within a renewed republican framework, and my above suggestion is not the only reform that must be made to save our republic from being subverted by corporate fascism, but it is a necessary reform.

    Thanks for your diary.

  •  I hate to tell you, but that is exactly who (9+ / 0-)

    America is today in the eyes of the rest of the world.

    When you say

    No, that is not so. That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is and what its policies are "in the eyes of most of the world."

    You are forgetting that this President was re-elected, and quite handily, all things considered, given the mess he had already made.

    Jerome has it spot on.

    And when you say

    A substantial majority of American people have shown that they have rejected this administration and these policies, or did the November elections pass unnoticed in that particular corner of Europe from which the diarist writes?

    This is also not exactly true. Oh, we noticed, all right, but we also notice things like that those newly-minted Democratic majorities aren't exactly large. Therefore, we rightfully expect little out of the next two years. Further, it's not like a somewhat sizable Democratic victory in 2006 wipes out the sins of the past, sins of 2000, but more in particular 2002 and 2004, not to mention those glorious years of Thatcherism and Reagan conservatism to which America and the UK treated the rest of the West (and are to this day still trying to export to the rest of us, and importantly, doing so regardless of the party in power).

    So I hope you'll spare me your congratulatory auto-back-slapping for the supposed atonement derived from one election success (and not a decisive one, at that).

    As for your taking issue with his criticism of Irak in saying

    Getting out of Iraq is not a proof of sanity, it's just an absence of proof that you are insane or deluded or both

    Here, I'm not exactly sure what you're complaining about. This is exactly correct on Jerome's part. And as it happens, this is another reason why the US has far to go to repair its standing, and why I am quite pessimistic that it won't: the simple fact of the matter is that the primary reason Americans turned on this war is decidedly not because it is an immoral and illegal imperial war and occupation, but because it was poorly executed. In other words, most Americans either still support the war, or did, but no longer do, because it wasn't succesful.

    You guys want atonement, you want to turn those Pew numbers around, it's going to take more that feel-good mealy-mouthed rhetoric assuring Amerricans that they're still all right even though they've elected and re-elected a bull which has proven quite apt and running around in China shops not just in the Middle East, but also Africa, Latin America, and even Europe.

    Apologies are nice, but it is far too late for that.

    Freedom is merely privilege extended unless enjoyed by one and all -9.50, -5.74

    by redstar on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:39:19 AM PDT

  •  I think this boils down to a debate (16+ / 0-)

    Between liberal internationalists of the Tony Blair sort - a group Obama has quite clearly thrown his lot with - and a more leftist, Henry Wallace sort of vision. Jerome is in the latter camp and you are in the former.

    There are a whole hell of a lot of people around the world who DO share Jerome's belief that the US should not see itself as a "leader of the free world," that we should abandon that kind of Cold War rhetoric for a more consensual and collaborative form of global cooperation where the US must work alongside others instead of going around getting people to support our precast agenda.

    I am glad you're adding another layer to the discussion, but I think you also go too far in marginalizing those with Jerome's views. You cast them as a small minority and I think that's more a reflection of your own personal thoughts on domestic British and European politics than an accurate assessment of the situation.

    I am most concerned, however, with this "shoot the messenger" attitude people are taking toward Jerome. You and Jerome have had a long, long history of back and forth, almost always in a respectful and constructive manner. But I am concerned people here will instead just use your diary as a reason to close their ears to what Jerome said.

    The problem is this: Americans usually do not listen to what other people around the world say. Especially liberal internationalists, which most folks at Daily Kos are - they tend to only find those overseas voices that share their views and listen to them. People like Jerome, still a friend to the US, get marginalized and ignored - somehow, "listening to and working with the world" gets defined as "ignoring those who don't share our liberal internationalism."

    It's one thing to shoot the messenger when it's Jerome. It's quite another to ignore other messengers who are less welcoming of US influence than Jerome has repeatedly proved. Obama and others here think that America can just go around spending money making projects that will make everyone love us again, make them forgive and forget our transgressions.

    I think that's a hopelessly naive belief. There really are a lot of people out there who are fucking pissed at the US, and not because we're not leading the free world, not because we've failed to provide humanitarian aid, but because in the name of global leadership we've undermined their democracies, propped up bad dictators, bombed the hell out of civilians in the name of doing something about rogue nations, allow multinational corporations to rape their land and their wallets and their women.

    Jerome's ultimate point was that liberal internationalism, the "leader of the free world" rhetoric that you and Obama both engaged in, is NOT going to be enough to win over the people around the world you really need to win over in order to truly rebuild positive American relationships.

    I respect what you're saying, but I wish you wouldn't shoot the messenger in the process.

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:51:25 AM PDT

    •  Eugene (8+ / 0-)

      I don't, of course, agree with all that you have said but the quality with which you have presented your arguments is reason enough for mojo.

      In exchange, can I be labelled by you as being a liberal internationalist of the Liberal Democrat sort? Not even the broadest of brushes makes me feel comfortable about any association with Blair   :)

      Seriously, though, your quality of argument enhances the diary.

      •  Fair enough (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seaprog, KiaRioGrl79, Geekesque

        I don't begrudge your wanting to stay as far away from Blair as possible - puts you in the majority of the British electorate as far as I can tell!

        I am deeply skeptical of liberal internationalism, but I am happy to start having the discussion shift to that ground. I think Jerome is right to point out the links of neoconservatism to liberal internationalism and to raise the issue of whether the issue of American foreign policy is really a discussion Americans should be having in isolation or whether it should be in conversation with often critical voices around the globe.

        And I also think you've done a good thing in raising these issues here, in engendering a debate, even if I don't agree with your conclusions.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:43:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks you for saying this Eugene. I agree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, fhcec, pioneer111

      And thanks to both Welshman and Jerome for their diaries - certainly thought provoking.

      Buy a Boat. Save the Seed.

      by cumberland sibyl on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:58:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "I dislike the implied dismissal of hope (0+ / 0-)

    that the United States can regain in reasonable time its position by changing its policies to that of a Democratic leadership."

    Spot on. The amazing thing is that, more than any other candidate, Obama's message is one of hope.

    (By the way, I haven't made up my mind yet.)

  •  The crimes by CheneyBush have been buried (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueInARedState, adrianrf

    in the floorboards, the media put a rug on top and the Republicans furnitured the room.  The emanating stench from years of rot cannot and have not been ignored. The Dems have cleared the room and are yanking up the planks.  Like a commenter said yesterday, it is a crime scene. We need to carefully dust for prints, collect suspicious fibers, and swab the blood splatters to build the case.  Then CheneyBush should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    Sorry if this is too graphic, but it's true--there has been a lot of real blood spilled and thousands of victims.

  •  WTF does the "European" view mean.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Ritter, adrianrf, percyprune

    I can't really even understand what your point is with this diary...but

    bullshit, over-simplified fairy tales like

    Then followed an equally threatening Soviet dictatorship, with ambitions that went beyond its icy grip of the control of many European countries and had ambitions for an ideological and military dominance of world proportions. Through steadfast defence, at great risk to its own people, the United States faced down that threat that could have destroyed the world. You can travel across Europe, across the destroyed Berlin Wall and through Poland and on to the newly freed Eastern bloc and you will find gratitude to the United States. Does six years of Bush undo this history and the gratitude that is felt to your country?

    I'm from Slovakia and have traveled the "newly-freed Eastern bloc" (what a crock, your naive phrasing speaks volumes)at some length, and let me tell you that unrest towards the US is quite powerful. I've personally had a knife pulled on me by a 14 or 15 year old, had many other intimidating altercations, and my sister's been through equally dangerous situations.

    I don't have time to post at length here. I'll just summarize and say that whatever stories of America's holy benevolence you want to spout here are fine, but the reality is that this nation's foreign policy  is a nightmare that is at present directly destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people. And every Wal-Mart shopping, Fox News Watching, SUV driving, American Idol spewing mutherfucker has a little bit of blood on his/her hands from it.

    I make many inconvenient and culturally alienating choices to cut down my human footprint and effect some marginal social good when and where I can. Choices people, we have them. Some people ignore the obvious becuase it is easier.

    I don't want America to save or police the world. Getting a few more people to not vote sick megalomaniacs into power (twice I might add), to facilitate not actively fucking it up would suffice.

    Anti-War is not a protest, it's common sense.

    by Janosik on Tue May 01, 2007 at 07:59:15 AM PDT

    •  Christ man (0+ / 0-)

      You can keep your nausiating rethoric.  That was enough to make me puke. You are totally free to have your own opinions but that crap just makes me ill.

      •  Really? What part? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KiaRioGrl79, adrianrf, Janosik

        Americans are (generally speaking) complicit in the Bush disaster. That's the main point the poster is making, minus the cursing. Do you disagree with this?

      •  Sorry for the Nausea... (0+ / 0-)

        I'll admit I was a bit heated when making the comment; I do stand by it.

        I'm a bit exhausted with the laissez faire attitude down here in the dirty south where I live. The diarist merely set off the spark with what I thought to be a head in the sand approach to nationalism and exceptionalism.

        You did manage a mildly inflamatory remark of your own, do you have any specific issues with what I've said...I'll be glad to discuss. Otherwise your comment is just fluff, filled with verbiage like "Christ man", "nausiating", "puke", "crap", etc....

        Anti-War is not a protest, it's common sense.

        by Janosik on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:03:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need to pay capitol one to do a primary season (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greeseyparrot, ormondotvos

    ad for DKos. It's like a clock strikes and all you crazy mofos start getting all restless and nutso again.

    The plurality of people on this site don't want your candidate to win. Frig, I just donated the legal limit to Gravel's campaign, how do you think I feel?

    Gravel 08, because he's afraid of the other candidates and he has a gun in the house!

    Ok so I ripped that off from Colbert, shoot me, no not you Mike.

    But seriously folks. Neocon backhanded insults are the nicest things you're going to be reading for the next year. Just shrug it off, no one actually picks a candidate based on your thread comments. Really. If they do they're really gullible.

    I mean look at me, I have a two hour conversation with Bob Johnson's dog and now I'm a Gravel supporter.

    Don't let this happen to you.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by Windowdog on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:06:16 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Welshman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I found the particular diary in question to be not only incredibly hurtful, but also a shameful and disingenous attack on the one candidate who could, potentially, help our country to heal from all of the damage done over the past 6 years both domestically and internationally. No small task; I am surprised that anyone is willing to try and proud that there are several outstanding Americans willing to. But of all the candidates the diarist could choose to attack, the one he did was an ironic and strange choice.

    If ever I was tempted to put in a comment berating the diarist in the strongest and foulest language possible, I was tempted to do so yesterday. I refrained. But I greatly appreciate your rebuttal here and offer you my deepest gratitude.

    We are already depressed and demoralized. The attack diary yesterday only served to deepen these feelings, in my opinion. Your support is helpful and appreciated, friend.

    This message courtesy of an American of Welsh, French and Irish descent who takes pride in her heritage and hopes to take pride in her country once again.

    •  Really? (4+ / 0-)

      I found the particular diary in question to be not only incredibly hurtful, but also a shameful and disingenous attack on the one candidate who could, potentially, help our country to heal from all of the damage done over the past 6 years both domestically and internationally.

      Obama is the only Dem candidate capable of doing this? If this is really the case (which I believe it isn't), we are in a world of hurt.

      Obama's playing with the big boys now in a high-stakes, bare-knuckled presidential campaign. If he didn't want "attacks" like this to happen, he shouldn't use language that mirrors neocon talking points. Like other posters have said, he's an eloquent guy who chooses words carefully.

      I also fail to understand why you are "hurt" by the diary in question. If it's false, then there's nothing to be "hurt" by. And if it's true, then it's true, and Obama is the one who hurt you.

      I don't really have a dog in this hunt, it just irritates me that people who think legitimate criticism of Obama (not necessarily VALID criticism, the two concepts are different) is somehow illegitimate and should be banned.

      •  How is a cut and paste job by a neocon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jennifer Clare, ormondotvos

        remotely relevant to Obama?  Plus, Kagan's tone was condescending.  All this "mojo" rewarded from supporters of other candidates, is IMO, anthithetical to what I perceive as the purpose of this site.  I am a newbie, granted, but this is NOT why I decided to become a nonlurker.

        •  See again... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ormondotvos, adrianrf

 think that "supporters of other candidates" are principally behind this "attack". You appear to think that the main people involved in this thread are people who are attacking Obama because they are motivated by getting their own candidate elected instead of him. By extension, you think the merits of this case are bs and that everyone attacking Obama is doing so because they have ulterior motives.

          I assure you, at least with me, this is not the case. Unlike all of those who feel we have a "strong field", I am actually unimpressed with all the major Dem candidates, and, if you must know, this includes Obama, and Obama doing stupid things like this doesn't help matters.

          Now, on my part, this isn't some kind of ignorant statement on my part i.e. "a pox on all their houses". I have carefully examined each major Dem candidate and found them each lacking in some way that makes it difficult for me to enthusiastically support them for the primary. Edwards, Clinton, and Obama each have weaknesses that make it difficult for me to go put a bumper sticker for one of them on my car.

          My only hope is that they improve, and the only way that's going to happen is with positive feedback when they do good things and negative feedback when they need improvement.

    •  I thought Jerome's diary to be very measured (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oceanspray, ormondotvos, Dianna, adrianrf

      Certainly from my perspective as a Briton, one of the great disappointments about American politics is that on foreign policy it is very difficult to separate the parties. Only in the past six months has it been possible to discern clear water between Republicans and Democrats. I'm inclined to agree with Jerome that Barack Obama's rhetoric in many ways appears to differ only in shaded, nuanced ways from those of the Bush admin. If nothing else it borrows many or most of the same frames.

      I understand enough about Obama to know he is a different animal altogether from Bush and his gang of criminals. He is more trustworthy. However, he is pandering to a US polity, and as such he is taking only baby steps away from that hawkish strand of American foreign policy that has been dominant since the age of Reagan.

  •  I was thinking double false flag. (0+ / 0-)

    The reasons the Neocons say they love Obama is to get certain members of the more sheeple persuasion of the Left to turn against him since their most viled opponents, said Neocons, are false flagging for him.

    A rather old trick, a hack version of the LBJ Pig kisser gambit, but always good for wool and flies in the eyes of sheeple who think they are zeigeist trend readers.

    2 cents.

  •  Terrific diary, Welshman (0+ / 0-)

    We are already looking beyond this unfortunate 8 year run towards a better future here.  One of the great things about America is that we stumble a bit sometimes but we have always regained our footing.  So it will be this time as well.

  •  I'm not an Obama 'fan' myself (3+ / 0-)

    but I found that diary a gross mischaracterization. It was not a pretty diary: some attacked the author based upon the fact he comes from a particular country.

    I am disturbed by some aspects of Barack Obama's campaign, but the label neocon is one I would use very carefully. It was wrong, the diarist was wrong, the attacks on the diarist were wrong as well.

    A total mess.

    •  Agreed. I was very put off by the anti-French (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moira977, pamelabrown

      sentiments in some comments.  It seemed really juvenile.  Jerome has done some excellent diaries here.  If he did a poor one, or a mistaken one, criticize it. But getting all huffy about his being French is completely unwarranted.

  •  I dont care (0+ / 0-)

    I love Euros either way.

    Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

    by kwestone on Tue May 01, 2007 at 08:23:04 AM PDT

  •  criticism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, Nastja Polisci, adrianrf

    IMO, its important that the Dem presidential candidates are criticized when they perpetuate Repub and even worse neocon frames.

    GWOT is a good example. This is a complete Bushite neocon frame. During the debate both Clinton and Obama among the leading candidates subscribed to that frame. That's dangerous! It implies that the leading Dem presidential candidates are also of the opinion that America needs a "militaristic" approach to foreign policy.

    Terrorism is a tactic and has been used for centuries. How can there be a war against a tactic and can that tactic be defeated by even more use of violence?

    I would have hoped that the Dem candidates would have identified radical Islamic jihadists as a threat to world stability and suggested approaches to solve that problem that included both soft and hard power. Why their approach is different from the Bushite neocon approach of shoot first and why it would not exacerbate the problem as Bush has done with the unilateral invasion of Iraq on false pretenses.

    Obama's Chiacgo speech on foreign policy definitely got my attention. He and Hillary are trying to out hawk each other. That's dangerous for America and so yesterday IMO. Candidates that identify problems and offer a new and different approach than what has been  the model over the past 6 years would have an opportunity to bring more stability and focus to the world.

  •  You don't GET it (4+ / 0-)

    Quit trying to defend Americans with the:

    "That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is and what its policies are "in the eyes of most of the world."

    If Americans weren't WITH Bush (yes, even today), there would be massive protests in every American city.  Are there protests now?  Yes.  But are they accurately portrayed on teevee?  No.  Do Americans object to this coverage?  No.  And are they overwhelming in size?  No.

    Americans are moving there, but they aren't there yet.  Everything with Americans is selfish -- they don't like Bush because of the cost of gas, their mortgages, their health care, etc.  It is all selfishness.

    •  So (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      keirdubois, Harkov311

      The Chinese support the Chinese government?  The Jews in Germany before the war supported Hitler becasue they didn't hold massive rallies?  The Soviet citizens supported the USSR?

      I see what you're saying, but I think you may underestimate the ability of the citizenry to make itself heard and overestimate their ability in a mass-media dominated society to really understand what's going on.

      The Cubs WILL win the World Series in '07. I'm not saying which century, though.

      by nightsweat on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:03:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously (0+ / 0-)

        Just because you aren't throwing Molotov Cocktails at the government's property doesn't mean you approve of or endorse what it does.

        All your vote are belong to us.

        by Harkov311 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:28:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But neither can your vote for Gore or Kerry (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          absolve you of any association with the shrub's crimes.  Sad, but true: you and I are as tainted by the shrub's war crimes as the most die-hard wingnut 33% dead-ender.

          The unfairness lies in the fact that the dead-enders don't feel the pain, we do.

    •  Why are you here? (0+ / 0-)

      You obviously don't like or understand anything about America or Americans.

  •  I apprecicated some of Jerome's observations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and I recommended his diary, but was APPALLED by the anti-Obama pile-on/feeding frenzy in the comments section. It seemed like a toxic combination of electioneerers for other Dem candidates and of camoflaged trolls - but if any of these people think that kind of hateful rhetoric is going to succeed in quashing support for Obama - well...all I can say is it aint' doing anything for me.

    Personally, unless somebody I already know and really like is running (I would probably be leaning towards Feingoldif he was in the race) I don't bother making a decision on Dem candidates till I've watched them in action the primaries for as long as possible (in my case, that is the New York Primary). I think the process of butting heads in the primaries allows the candidates to work out their final platforms, which is especially true in the case for a newbie like Obama.

    In other words, I don't know if what Obama said in the speech cited by Jerome is necessarily 'set in stone'' yet - although obviously if he repeats it 5-10 more times, that is something else.

    For what its worth, I think its unwise to take what any neocon commentators have to say at face value. These people live for intrigue and dissembling, and its just as likely they are saying good things about Obama as an underhanded means of supporting Hillary (whom some likely assume would lose a Presidential election) as it is that they are genuinely 'heartened' by Obama's words.

  •  Oh **** (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This asterisk thing is getting silly.

  •  When it comes to America's Standing (0+ / 0-)

    In the rest of the World, I think the relevant question here is this:

    Is the rest of world incapable of discerning a difference between a Neo-Con and Obama saying the same thing?

    I suspect there is a large part of the rest of the world that can not.  I suspect there is a large part of the world that can.

    The large part of the world that can't is the 20 - 30% of the folks in those Polls above that will always say "America sucks."  They never change their minds no matter who is President.   No matter what happens.  An American President can negotiate Peace in No. Ireland.  An American President can depose a Dictator in Eastern Europe putting a stop to Genocide.  And yet any nation with that much power no matter who leads that Nation is a priori bad.  Any leader with that much power is bad.  Because it's not what you do that makes you bad or good.  It's how much power you have.

    And the other group who can perceive a difference is the 40% of the rest of the world that changed their mind over the course of the last 7 years.

    I wouldn't expect those Polls to change to day after Obama (or any Democrat) takes office.  But the second group of people I've described above.  I think, just my opinion, that they're not worried about Obama saying something like "America will defend itself."  They know every leader will say that.  But they are worried about Bush saying something like "America will defend itself."  Everyone is at this point.

    More time is being spent trying to create agreement in the Dem Party than is being spent trying to exploit disagreement in the Republican Party.

    by Edgar08 on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:03:54 AM PDT

  •  You sorta BOTH spoke for me (8+ / 0-)

    And to me as a, yes, European with deep family ties to America.  

    I share Jerome's disgust and alarm, and sadness, I am sure of how the US has changed from a freedom-loving, free-thinkers paradise into a fearful and authoritarian country.  As a frequent trans-atlantic flier I feel targeted each time I fly into-or out of the US.   Al Quada is chiefly responsible for this, but the administration's response was pitiful, wrongful, unacceptable and it seems, much of what came after 9/11, was totally planned.   My wife and I remember well that night in Nov 2000 when G.Bush got elected but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought Americans capable of supporting a government that vicious, rather, it gave him an unbelievable encore in 2004...I assure readers that IF  Europeans were to have been subjected to crime-laden government, and deprived of their civil liberties, spooked upon, their sons and daughters sent of to war for a proven lie - they would have been out into the streets and that gvt been deposed.  Hitler is FAR TOO present still in our minds.  
    I love America, found the love of my life there, and it hurts what has happened to the country - am now more distrustful of Americans where in the past, maybe I was too trusting of the good nature of its people, too optimistic that (whatever happened) its attachment to FREEDOM and RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS would not be trashed so ruthlessly.
    I suspect Jerome too of a great love for America, can't find another reason for him to post that often and even contributing in no small part in - maybe, and fingers crossed - a new energy policy.  

    I come from Belgium, originally, the Flemish speaking part of the country.  Do feel that opinions of America in Europe differ somewhat wildly - the British Isles are more favorable towards the US, while France has been historically a cold lover.  My country falls somewhat in between. The opinions held are often based on partial knowledge, headline news mostly and do please take any of these polls with a big grain of salt. There is no one "European Opinion" of the US. Please.
    Nonetheless, it is way past time for the Congress and the American people to stand up and impose on this administration a strict adherence to the Constitution and if that means impeaching wrongdoers to do this forthwith not only to safeguard Democracy as it existed  prior to 2001 but also to show the world that your nation has not lost its Democratic zeal, its humanistic bearings.    

    America isn't lost at all, I do find myself agreeing with Welshman on this. Am also very thankful still for helping us get rid of the evil twosome that were fascism and communism.
    He is again right that 8 years of Bush doesn't destroy everything.

    However, Friends of America all over the world ARE extremely worried, and as someone that recommended Jerome's diary yesterday, really, Welshmen, I don't really feel there's much difference between you and Jerome.

    •  Marvelously stated (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Welshman, oceanspray, churchylafemme

      As a world-changing force American possesses the best and the worst of absolute power.  England was no better or worse in the hey day of it's global power, nor France.  One can look back even to the Romans, or Alexander the Great to see how power is frequently intertwined with great achievements and sorrowful travesties.

      I think both diaries are valid discussions of the role American occupies for each European who has written a diary on the subject.

      And that's really it.

      Were 420 million Europeans asked to write a DKos diary on the same subject, the opionions and deeply held beliefs about America's potential and reality would be diverse and compelling.

      But 420 million diaries would probably crash the servers DKos runs on.

      Question authoritarianism

      by m00nchild on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:58:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Regaining our Role (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't think the US can hope to regain any credibility until it apologizes for it's Indo-China atrocities including (but not limited to Vietnam) Cambodia and Laos. Also the people responsible for the Vietnam war and the war criminals involved need to be brought to justice. How can we speak about "terrorists" without including ourselves and finding and hanging the principles involved? What about all the "covert" actions that have been funded and carried out in our name for the past 60 years? Like Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatamala, Chile, The Congo, etc, etc. We can hide behind the secrecy act, that "protects" us from knowing precisely what our minions have done and are doing in our name.  We are all guilty of all the murders, rapes, torture and lies perpetrated on other countries and people for our "benefit" and in our name. Our propaganda has made "Democracy" a dirty word for what it really means is any government that holds elections and that we can buy or influence into our web of lies.
    Watch carefully as our minions stir up trouble in Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Venezuela. And remember that peace doesn't sell weapons or keep Intelligence and Military budgets full.

  •  He's doing Karl Rove's work for him (0+ / 0-)

    As I posted on the original diary; the neocons don't have to start their usual whispers campaign, like Barack Obama as a radical ideological Muslim, Debunked on; they merely have to sit back and let so-called Progressives do it for them (I question whether the diarist is really on our side).

    Even though I haven't decided on whom I will support, I certainly will not allow a mantra like "Neocons love Obama" to hold sway over me. I hope others do the same.

  •  What's the beef? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moira977, poemless, Nastja Polisci

    Why does Obama have to mention restoring America's leadership role in the world in the same breath as the use of military force?  If there is a kernel of truth in Jerome's diary, it is the exposure of that particularly American affliction of conflating leadership with the use of force.  And, my Welsh friend, there can be absolutely no denying that past administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have been guilty of using force in illegal, immoral and unjustifiable ways.  Vietnam has Iraq beat by a mile in terms of its criminality and destructiveness.  The simple fact is that the core of US foreign policy, and especially its military policy, has never been forged or applied out of hope, commitment to humanitarianism or anything else approaching a commitment to principles we should want our government to follow.

    And as for what really galled you, are you thus saying that a commitment to leave Iraq IS proof of sanity?  If so, then there a lot of former war-supporters now turned anti-war "realists" who, amazingly, have become "sane."  I don't think so, and am certainly not ready to trust them again with the ship of state.  It is quite possible to be simultaneously a believe in a muscular and unilateralist interventionist policy and against this war.  That is the only point that sentence makes.  I hardly see how you can quibble with it, much less be "appalled" and "angered" by it.

    "When the intellectual history of this era is finally written, it will scarcely be believable." -- Noam Chomsky

    by scorponic on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:40:34 AM PDT

  •  Thanks Welshman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was born in England, myself, and my opinion speaks for nobody but me.

    I personally don't read the diaries of several "star" diarists, there are people who just have a following, I suppose.

    I like clammyc, though, and everything Unitary Moonbat writes.  You're pretty good, too.  

  •  I would like to believe you (0+ / 0-)

    that Euros distinguish the administration from the good-hearted of American people, but my experience as a tourist among so many Germans and Brits in Jamaica was colder than I would ever have imagined.

    Or that I recall from many previous visits.

  •  Thanks, Welshman. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I respect jerome's fervent pacifism, but the way he concluded WHAT he concluded about BHO was reactionary, and pretty dishonest.  

    There is a honorable and appropriate way to use force, which has been something I associate w/the Democrats, when they remember the party's values.  That can be argued for or against, of course, but BHO is on the right track, intellectually.

    And us Americans are a hell of a lot more than the Bush crowd stands for, the only way we can truly prove it is with just AND proactive foreign policy.

    Well done, sir.

    Coimhead fearg fhear na foighde.

    by IrishCatholicDemocrat on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:51:47 AM PDT

  •  Didn't read the original diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Dem

    but based on what I read here I'd have to agree with you.


    To my American brethren I'd also say that we need to be aware of the "cat out of the bag" possibilities. I think many of us are scared of what has happened. Scared of attitudes and behaviors of some of our American brethren. A "some" that has turned out to be larger then the fringe element we already knew existed... and thought existed only on the fringe.

    My fear is that the sort of things you quoted from the original diariest may well come to pass because we will not be successful in putting the evil cat back in the bag.

    I am an optimist and therefore ever hopeful of our greater, gooder nature. But we've seen something happen here that many of us didn't think could or would happen... and it is frightening. Like Nazi Germany we will defeat this fringe element politically... and indeed have already begun the process in a strong and authoritative way... but the effects will be seen for at least 2 generations and probably 3. The battle to put this cat back in the bag will have to be won successively over those 2-3 generations else it'll rear it's ugly, ugly head again and again.

    If... IF... America is to regain the moral authority that it's leadership in the world is based on then we must defeat the fascist, the imperialist, and the neocon impulses residing in more of us then we care to admit.



    "Parlimentary inquiry Mr. Speaker... does whining come out of my time?"

    by Andrew C White on Tue May 01, 2007 at 09:55:04 AM PDT

  •  I'd round up all the Neocons (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Dem, pamelabrown

    And ship them to Europe for war crimes trials if I could.  Is that enough atonement?  

    I wish the world would remember that Bush is not our elected President, he is a criminal and he's in power because of Republican conspiracies to steal elections.  America is a victim here, of Republican criminal elite  facilitated by corporate power (or maybe it's the reverse?).  Have a heart and take note - this can happen to you too if you let your corporations get out of control.  

    •  Brzezinski in "Second Chance" (0+ / 0-)

      made a most salient point:  (paraphrasing) the best thing to come out of this Iraq catastrophe is it's the cemetary of the neocons.  NONE of our candidates are neocons and we should educate Ms. Jerome to the nuances of american electoral politics instead of gleefully supporting a particular candidate.  Talk about counterproductive.

  •  Please, don't say "Democrat candidate" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's "Democratic candidate".  You slipped into the Frank Luntz-style slur of Democrats by using the noun instead of the adjective.  It's in your paragraph under the tsunami Pew graphic starting with "More than 200 people on Daily Kos awarded mojo to this diary...."

  •  The View of the US Abroad (10+ / 0-)

    I have a little story that I think sums up both diaries. Last time I was in Japan (for the Japanese Society for Cell Biology conference) I was walking around in park area near Osaka. I saw an old Japanese woman eyeing me with some hostility. This is NOT a common thing at all in Japan. No one eyes you at all, generally, let alone with hostility and let alone an old woman.

    This elderly 0-baa-san came up to me with determination and asked in very broken English, "Where you from?"

    I responded in my best Japanese that I was American. Her glare deepened and she searched for her next words carefully. She then shook her fist and shouted, "Kill George Bush!"

    In some bemusment and amazement I explained in Japanese that I really hated Bush (Watashi mo Bush-san ga DAIKIRAI yo.)

    She broke in to a huge smile, bowed slightly, and said good-bye.

    This whole exchange was almost completely beyond my experience of Japan where any kind of direct confrontation is avoided and strangers either ignore one another or act extremely polite to one another. This is what George Bush has done: pissed off little old ladies in Japan to an almost unheard of degree. And yet, when she heard I was an American who hated George Bush, her pleasure couldn't have been greater. Therein lies both the condemnation and the redemption of America today. The world hates what we have done under Bush's "leadership," but they are willing to forgive if we reject that "leadership" in no uncertain terms.

    •  I Wonder If She'd Settle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, adrianrf

      For impeachment...

      "They are trying to steal our minds." - Buddhist monk upon arriving in Times Square and seeing all the billboards

      by Near Vanna on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:43:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This gets back to my point in another thread (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mole333, Dianna

      That someone took the time to be condescending to me for.

      If you think about it, what other country would someone say something so... ostensibly rude about? Lets face it, if I were Zimbabwean, and someone, upon learning that I was, said, "Kill Robert Mugabe!" I think that would be, well... pretty fucking rude.

      But, bear with me here. The fact that people, even in countries like Japan, say things to us that they wouldn't say about some other country is a GOOD THING. Why? Because they expect more of us. They aren't really bothered by a Putin or a Musharraf because as leaders go, they are relatively par for the course for their countries.

      Conservatives look at this higher expectations placed on us and they whine, saying that the world is unfairly biased against America. They look at it with anger and resentment and self-consciousness. They use it as a justification to turn inward and write off what the rest of the world thinks.

      But we should know better. Those higher expectations mean, that rather than hating us, the world wants to like us -- but they are profoundly disappointed and angry when we don't live up to our own values.

      Anybody who has lived abroad can attest to this. When we follow our ideals, even moderately closely, and embrace the world, the world embraces us.

      All is not lost.

      •  We are indeed held to a much higher standard. (0+ / 0-)

        I know it from talking to people.  It makes me said we don't live up to it.

      •  Very good point (0+ / 0-)

        I think there is something to what you are saying. America is held to a different standard...and we do not live up to it by any means, but we do have the chance of living up to it. And the world WANTS us to live up to it at least moderately.

        During the Clinton Administration world opinion was quite high about America. They didn't care if Clinton got a blow job. They liked what we represented. That is what we CAN be: the nation whose leader gets a blow job and STILL is respected world wide. Or something like that : -)

  •  Lord, It's Nice (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It certainly is nice to have someone take up for Americans in such a cogent, intelligent way.  I think Americans are pretty exhausted and there is always the possibility of isolationism.  Americans sometimes just bow out of world politics to lick our wounds and recover.  I would rather do that than continue the heavy-handed Ugly American methods we have used since WWII.  We have a bad record of propping up right wing dictators and now our administration has decided to simply conquer the world because, in neo-con thinking, Americans and democracy are morally superior to other people and other political systems.  The incredible stupidity and hubris of this idea goes beyond saying, but I don't know if I have the energy to correct the awful things this administration has done.  I think it will take years, and I'm not completely convinced that America should lead the world.  Are we really good enough to do that?  Still the alternative is China and I don't think they are exactly morally pure either.  It's a conundrum that I can't solve.  But I appreciate the Welshman's support and I'd like to say that while Welsh sheep have really wiry wool, I like them a lot.  I met some while I was in Wales.  They wouldn't let me pet them, but they came up to talk.  Maybe we should follow the Welsh sheep example.

    •  I'm replying to my own post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Because no one else did.  I guess those of us who actually have lived awhile, been through the post-WWII period, the 60s, the Vietnam War, stagflation, the first gasoline crisis which wrecked the economy, etc., really have nothing to say to young people who all know better.  (I don't feel well, and that's making me cranky.)  But people on this site actually think a draft is a good thing. Are you crazy?  You want to cheat me out of the social security I've paid into for 40 years, and you don't care about Welsh sheep who are generally more intelligent than many of the folks posting here. I am a professor and I have some brains, or I don't think they'd have given me that Ph.D. I think I'd rather talk to Welsh sheep.

  •  I Think Joni Mitchell Captured This Well in '69 (5+ / 0-)

    And so once again,
    Oh, America my friend,
    And so once again,
    You are fighting us all,
    And when we ask you why,
    You raise your sticks and cry and we fall,
    Oh, my friend,
    How did you come,
    To trade the fiddle for the drum

    You say we have turned,
    Like the enemies you've earned,
    But we can remember,
    All the good things you are,
    And so we ask you please,
    Can we help you find the peace and the star?,
    Oh my friend,
    We have all come,
    To fear the beating of your drum

    "The Fiddle and the Drum"   Joni Mitchell.

    Who was Bush_Horror2004, anyway?

    by Dartagnan on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:20:40 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for embolding us west of the pond-siders (0+ / 0-)

    America does have to work to regain her stature in the world.  And she will have to do so, despite continued neonsense spewings by the neokook corps.  Those people are best ignored, even if they occasionaly say things which can be used - with some imagination - for momentary political advantage.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it". Ben Franklin 1787, regarding the new Constitution. "Challenge accepted." George W. Bush, Jan 20, 2001.

    by Quicklund on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:32:41 AM PDT

  •  As a military spouse, considering (5+ / 0-)

    how the American public in general has allowed this President to hijack it's military and continue to add to the death of innocents every single day even after Democrats have taken back some control, I think this whole country is in the toilet not just the Republicans!  I think every single one of us has a ton of crap to answer for ranging from outright murder to enabling and apathy, except for Julia Ann and maybe a few of her friends ;).  I find nothing wonderful about Obama but of course my husband leaves for Iraq in October and I am so sick of Obama's shit and everybody elses on the Iraq issue it isn't even funny!

    In the Pajamahadeen I'm Scooby-Doo!

    by Militarytracy on Tue May 01, 2007 at 10:42:44 AM PDT

  •  huffington post post on this topic today (0+ / 0-)

    whats up with huffpo posting this crap this morning:
    (on the same issue as this diary)

    Is this the huffpo editors trollposting or whats the deal here?

  •  I for one am ashamed to be American. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, WI Dem, Janosik

    It's not knee-jerk, it's a well-considered opinion formed over three decades in the face of massive resistance and anger on the part of other Americans whenever the topic is discussed.

    Sorry, but the diarist you cited is too weak in his assertions. America is quite likely insane, collectively, and a danger at least as many people as it is a boon. Its criminality is exceeded only by those regimes and criminal elements about which it is most vitriolic as a public and as a government.

    -9.63, 0.00
    I'm not a bleeding heart liberal—I'm an extremely angry leftist.

    by nobody at all on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:30:11 AM PDT

    •  Good luck (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, Dianna

      you'll just be lambasted as an America hater like I always do...

      I've moved around a bit, after a long time of reflection, I think I've stricken all nationalist tendencies from my psyche. Most people can't wrap their heads around the fact that their nation as a political body does terrible things.

      to me un-American, simply means "without nationalism"...something we could all practice a little more

      Anti-War is not a protest, it's common sense.

      by Janosik on Tue May 01, 2007 at 11:49:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm very much in the postnational camp as well. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Of course we need segmented geography for administrative purposes, but the notion of "nation-state" is a modern one that has been nothing but destructive. These are not natural categories (despite the incredible amount of effort that is spent mythologizing them to be such) and have no basis in anything but hate (the "us" vs. the lesser "not us").

        One world, one nation. That's my position.

        -9.63, 0.00
        I'm not a bleeding heart liberal—I'm an extremely angry leftist.

        by nobody at all on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:03:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for your diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    churchylafemme, illusionmajik

    I am one of those who recommended the diary yesterday.  I really appreciate your diary today, and believe it is true for alot of Europeans, especially those in the UK.  But after living in London '99-03, I think that yesterday's diary is also representative of alot of European people's feelings.

    Thinking back to the fall of 2002, when the case was being made for the Iraq war, and before Blair committed troops, I felt alot of anti-American sentiment in London.  More than once riding the train  into work I heard some very open discussions that made me quite uncomfortable.  Even at a protest outside Parliament, I hesitated to give away my nationality by speaking.  What I heard was not just against Bush, but against the Americans (or a caricature of American culture).  But there was a huge change in attitude when, against the will of people, Blair supported the war.  

    I think that folks in continental Europe don't think Americans have done enough to reign in Bush, especially since we (well, not "we" at Kos) reelected him.  This is anecdotal,  having worked with so many Europeans, and being married to a Russian.


  •  Jerome has earned a lot of cred around here, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myriad, poemless

    I think it's fair to say.  And his criticisms of Obama are spot on, in my opinion.  Thanks for your concern, I suppose, but you have no more  right to speak for Europeans than Jerome has.

  •  Cute franco-phobia (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myriad, Ritter, adrianrf

    This is clearly one of the most clear examples I have ever seen of how pervasive are the main stream conceptions in Anglo-saxon society, being dominant even in one of the supposed bastions of the anti-establishment collectives.
    Just a few points.

    1. It is utterly ridiculous to assume that the majority of the people don't associate the policies of the American government directly with the overall concept of America. Such a conclusion is not present in the statistic evidence presented and it additionally defies the logical assumption, that people around the planet generally understand that the US government is supposed to be the legitimate representative of the people under democratic theory and that therefore, the people are quite directly responsible for the government's actions.
    1. I observe here this preposterous conception of America as a beacon of peace and justice right until the evil Bush came and destroyed everything, creating a different country, this time one that is not so just. Please, my friend, you are a smart man, open your eyes. This is not the first global war on terror, it is simply a 2.0 version of Reagan in the 80's. The american government has been an overall agressive and destructive force in the world for several decades now. This shoud not be controversial to anyone informed in the very documented record of American policies in central america, lebanon and else where.

    To the specific topic of Obama, I will refer later in a diary.


    "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." Howard Zinn

    by Chilean Jew on Tue May 01, 2007 at 12:20:55 PM PDT

    •  Sorry but you are wrong, CJ (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nilocjin, pamelabrown

      Some massively assertive opinions from you in your first point have no evidence attached to them.

      There is quite a bit of statistical evidence that people differentiate between American policies and the American people.

      Forgive me if I have only done a quick Google search for you, but you might like this BBC survey:

      The sample of over 11,000 respondents also showed negative attitudes about American initiatives, such as the war on terrorism and US efforts in the Middle-East.

      Attitudes towards America as a whole, however, were a lot more favourable, with 50% expressing fairly or very favourable

      or this one from the Guardian:

      It appears to be personal because the public draws a sharp distinction between its view of the United States' political leadership and Americans in general. The British are quite clear that they still like Americans as a people; only 21% say they do not like them.

      To be honest I have just quickly grabbed a couple from the top of the Google page. It is getting late over here in the UK. There are plenty more there. Use the search words "World Opinion of USA"

      I hope that this will put to rest your misconception that people are entirely incapable of differentiating between George Bush and his policies and the American people.

      Your second point has much more validity but was not really being addressed in the diary.

      •  Opinion Polls (0+ / 0-)

        I do think you are overemphasizing the importance of these polls.  First off, outside of the US these polls are far less accurate, reason is (I think) that they haven't been around as long in Europe and also, Europeans don't easily share their political beliefs with strangers.  They are less outgoing than are my experience and I travel between both continents and have family on both ends.   Second, even if they were an accurate reflection of the opinion du jour it would still not be of any consequence in where things really matter: trade flows would scarcely be affected and by extension neither would any European government be tempted to act contrary to our many shared interests. Though I will admit that, in the case of Iraq, Spain, Italy and Germany's elections were affected by a deep anxiety over the war.  This is one issue, however, and though massively important now, will be all but forgotten by Europeans once America is out of there and Bush is out of the White House.

        As long as Americans do not repeat this sorry experience with Bush, and puts its house in order, Europe and America will find their way back again, together.

        •  To wit (0+ / 0-)

          Their knowledge of American politics doesn't extent beyond some screaming headlines. Few would know John Edwards, for example.  They would Clinton and Obama because, hey, they're the first woman to run for Pres, and the first ever black guy to have a real chance on getting there.  Perfect headline stuff, but most will not read any further.  

          Then Gallup comes along and asks them of their opinion of the US...and you expect an answer that is meaningful and well thought out??

          Heck, their view of the US that day will likely have been influenced by the American sitcom they spent watching the night before.   Color me cynical, but that's how I feel about it.

      •  I don't think (0+ / 0-)

        this statistics disprove my point. Perhaps the section of the world population that makes the direct government-nation association is not so absolute, but I think this is still a majority or at least a considerable minority.
        Furthermore, most of those that distinguish between the government's policies and the American people still hold the population somewhat responsible for them.
        There is no question that this republic and its citizens have lost the position of moral leadership they once enjoyed in most of the world. This is what usually happens when powerful nations start looking excesively beyond their borders and when they start applying to others principles that they don't apply to themselves.
        Obama is far better than the neo-cons and any other republican candidate. But he is still part (at least publicly) of the rotten establishment that is condemning this country to disaster.

        "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." Howard Zinn

        by Chilean Jew on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:50:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Remember (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that to many of the posters here the Vietnam war and the Central American wars are ancient history. Most young Americans do not study or even read about ancient history, especially politics, so they know next to nothing about America's history of militarism (mass murder), colonialism and lies.

  •  thanks for the pep talk! (0+ / 0-)

    Americans need to hear that some people are willing to forgive our nation with a change in government.

    Obama could well lead that change.  

    In fact, at this point, it would not be too farfetched to say that if we do not have Obama as our next president in '08, we will have another Republican in the White House, and we shall all dispair like Jerome in Paris.

  •  Utter crap! (0+ / 0-)

    This was the response of the diarist:  "The problem is that yes, this is precisely who America is today in the eyes of most of the world ".

    I have some news for the diarist. No, that is not so. That is not who America is today; it is what this Bush administration is and what its policies are "in the eyes of most of the world."

    And the shrub is not your president, no doubt?  Well, I have news for you: the shrub was re-elected, and this time with a majority of the popular vote!

    Maybe there was election rigging; if so, let's wait until there is some strong and clear evidence of it before we go down that route.  Meanwhile, it's long past time that all of us Americans acknowledged that which is so cyrstal clear to the rest of the world: we, a democracy, have supported human rights violations, war profiteering and the like.  Our "independent" judiciary has repeatedly ruled to continue the indefensible, indefinite and illegal detentions of hundreds of people--who, in the eyes of the law, ought to be innocent since they are not proven to be guilty of anything.

    Yes, I agree viscerally that this is not what America is about.  But it is what America has allowed itself to become.  50+% of voters did so in 2004, and our judiciary and legislatures have rubber-stamped this rape of our morals.

    Only by acknowledging the truth can we begin our recovery.  So repeat after me: "I am an American and I have a problem."

    •  Ignoring the title :) (0+ / 0-)

      You do make an important and valid point that was the subject of a recent diary of mine. This is that we have to take ownership of what our countries do. On this, we are in agreement.

      This is not what this diary or that quotation is about .

      It is concerned with whether or not the USA can regain its position in the world by changing its administration.

      I provide evidence from Pew Research in the diary and from some other quickly gathered surveys posted a few posts above this that shows this to be possible.

      I hope this helps in understanding the point being made.

  •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Very well done.

    Be good to each other. It matters.

    by AllisonInSeattle on Tue May 01, 2007 at 02:48:11 PM PDT

  •  I'm an American living in England (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and whenever I admit where I'm from in a sheepish sort of "I'm  from America, but don't hold that against me," I generally get a response akin to "well, we wouldn't want to paint you with too broad a brush."  At least in the UK (perhaps because of a shared embarrassment of our national leaders), Americans don't seem to be personally seen as bad or evil, but rather Bush and his cronies are hated.  I'm pretty impressed, frankly, with the ability of people here to distinguish between a person and his/her nation of origin.  That's all I have to add, frankly.  Good response... I found that diary you refer to a little discomforting.

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

    by nilocjin on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:22:45 PM PDT

  •  Rats, I came to this diary rather late (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Welshman, nilocjin

    But I agree wholeheartedly with Welshman.

    Always have I felt kinship with America and Americans (well, not Chimpy and his criminal cadre, but I'm sure that's understandable.)  I should point out here that in a poll taken just before the Presidential election in 2004, 74% of Britons said they would have voted for John Kerry, in spite of the fact that very few of them would have known who John Kerry was.

    Now then, my Transatlantic brethren/sistren, how about a nice cup of tea?

    Oh, wait a minute, perhaps not tea.


    We've been raptured. Daily Kos is Heaven.

    by TruthOfAngels on Tue May 01, 2007 at 03:33:03 PM PDT

  •  GREAT DIARY! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That sounds so good coming from a European! I hate being lumped into the same category as neocons just because I happen to share a nationality with them. The United States, its Constitution, and its people are good.

    Serenity now, insanity later.

    by chicagovigilante on Tue May 01, 2007 at 04:01:48 PM PDT

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