Global response to Bush - and whether it matters
Regarding the Nov. 1 article, "In an anti-Bush world, key backers": President Bush's foreign backing is generally limited to a thin layer of national leaders and members of the elite. Poll after poll shows that the people, as distinct from their leaders, dislike Mr. Bush and oppose his policies.
For example, according to the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) poll of global public opinion published Sept. 8, 43 percent of the Japanese public supports John Kerry and 23 percent Bush. The same poll shows that in China, 52 percent of the public supports Kerry, as opposed to 12 percent for Bush.
By omitting public opinion you failed to put this vital issue in its proper perspective. The US, and foreign leaders who support it, are not likely to succeed long term when American policies are so strongly opposed by the public worldwide.
Finally! Someone with enough of an off-the-couch worldview to catch on to the perspective of people outside the US.
As an American who has lived in various countries in Asia for the past 11 years, I can tell you that most people dislike the paternalistic, if sugar-coated, stance we have taken on various issues ranging from human rights to labor laws and free trade. They call us hypocritical. This stance is more likely to be practiced under a Democratic administration than a Republican one.
On the other hand, foreigners see the same threat from terrorism and see the war on terror as something they can agree with on a strategic level, even if there is bitter disagreement on tactics. What's more, Bush's single-minded focus on this has left policymakers of these countries largely free of the occasional American pedantry and sanction.
A policymaker recently observed privately that there is more likely to be an Asian Union or an Asian currency with a Republican administration than a Democratic one. "Why?" I asked. "Because they are less likely to divide and conquer our countries on these issues," came the reply.
Redwood City, Calif.
This article is testament to the resolve of the current president and the false premise that he or the US should please the world. No American president should ever bow to world opinion when doing so would endanger, diminish, or dilute the security of American citizens. France, Germany, and other nations have excoriated President Bush over the Iraq war. Yet, we have learned that these nations have been compromised by deals with Saddam Hussein before his removal from power.
Furthermore, France and Germany have millions of Muslim immigrants who are more likely to be sympathetic to Muslim-dominated nations and organizations, in action against the United States.
So the "anti-Bush world" you describe in your article requires a bit more scrutiny. In any event, we don't want our presidents to be popular in Paris or Bonn or St. Petersburg at the expense of the homeland.
As the Oct. 28 article "Putin's unchallenged imperialism moves to Ukraine" indicates, Russia - under Putin's leadership - each day slips further away from elected democracy and respect for international law and the institutions that govern it. Just as was feared by many throughout the world, other nations have begun emulating the irresponsible behavior of the US.
What dangerous and powerful forces have we unleashed upon the world by showing so little respect for international law and the institutions that govern it? How many more nations will follow our irresponsible lead?
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