Wednesday, November 12, 2008

France looks to Obama for leadership

The recent letter from the French president to Obama caught my attention:

"At a time when we must face enormous challenges together, your election raises immense hope in France, Europe and beyond: the hope of an open America, characterized by solidarity and strength, that will once again lead the way, with its partners, through the power of its example and the adherence to its principles.

France and Europe, which have always been bound to the United States through their ties of history, values and friendship, will thus be reenergized to work with America to preserve peace and prosperity in the world. Rest assured that you may count on France and on my personal support."

I agree that the US should lead the way - and that we are uniquely positioned to do so, being the richest, most powerful nation to have ever existed - but part of this belief is a bit of nationalism. I expect that if I were German (or Chinese, Russian, South African, or pretty much anything else), I would think that Germany should be the one leading the way. As president, I expect I would be inviting Obama to join me in my efforts to lead the way, not suggesting that he lead the way and I could possibly be one of his partners in doing so.

I understand that France can't lead the way in nearly everything the way the US does, but the country must have some strong points that it considers world-leading and important, no?

Is there a general sense of helplessness internationally that whatever the US does, that is just the way things are gonna happen? Maybe France will pitch in, maybe not, but who really cares anyway?

Maybe that why there has been so much international celebration about Obama. As a person from an ethnically and culturally diverse background, he is an appropriately international person to lead the culturally and ethnically diverse world.


leila said...

i'm kindof still of the belief that it's just realism on the part of all these other countries: like Eddie Izzard says, America is the modern-day Roman Empire. There's no one else in the running. and America dominates in almost every sphere of human endeavour, whether good or bad.

so when i hear something like that from a president of another country, i figure that that president thinks that Obama might lead this country in leading the world more responsibly, with more awareness of the responsibility that comes along with being the Roman Empire.

shaun said...

still sounds like giving up to me.