LONDON – Around the world, America’s presidential election campaign has attracted as much attention as domestic political controversies in each of our own countries. The interest the world has taken in America’s vote is the best example of America’s soft power, and a lesson in democracy from the world’s only superpower. If only we could all vote as well as watch and listen, because the outcome is vital for everyone around the world.
What does the world want – and, perhaps more importantly, what does it need – from a new American President?
Much as some may hate to admit it, anti-Americanism is a sentiment that has been fed and nurtured during the Bush years. Yet the world still needs American leadership.
Yes, we are witnessing the emergence of China, Brazil, and India as important global economic players. Yes, we have watched the humiliating fall of Wall Street’s masters of the universe. Yes, American military prowess has drained away into what Winston Churchill called “the thankless deserts of Mesopotamia,” and its moral authority has been weakened by events in places from Guantánamo Bay to Abu Ghraib.