If The Rest of the World Could Vote

The Nouvel Observateur has an interesting report today: Survey: Obama the preferred candidate in 22 countries. “Twenty-two countries out of how many?” you may ask. Actually, that’s all the countries the BBC World Service ran this survey in: twenty-two of them, and among 22,531 respondents in all. (To be honest, I couldn’t find anything about this on the BBC World Service website, even though these results are supposed to be published today.) On average, 49% of respondents preferred Obama, while 12% preferred McCain (and yes, 39% had no opinion). Further, on average 46% of resondents thought that Obama’s election as president would help improve America’s relations with the rest of the world, while 20% thought that of McCain’s being elected.

I know: All that doesn’t matter a bit. America might get most of its oil from outside its borders; it might overwhelmingly be foreign money which funds the federal budget deficit, the debts (and therefore the continuing existence) of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, and the countless other debt obligations of American private business and all levels of US government; but it doesn’t follow that there is any need for – as one colonial writer put it long ago – a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, or for any concern about improving America’s relations with the rest of the world.

(By the way, the maximum polling-difference between Obama and McCain that that BBC World Service recorded was 82% – in Kenya, of course. The minimum was 9%, in India.)

UPDATE: What’s more, opinion pieces like this one (in English, from The Guardian), which seem to bear the message “Elect Obama as your next president, or else!”, naturally can have no other effect (if indeed they are noticed at all) than to erode Obama’s support among American voters further. After all, as its writer Jonathan Freedland rightly points out, “that large Berlin crowd damaged Obama at home, branding him the ‘candidate of Europe’ and making him seem less of a patriotic American.” Still, it is a viewpoint well worth checking out.

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