“Country first” was the theme of the 2008 Republican Convention and the sentiment continues to be the party’s campaign theme. The choice of a vice-presidential candidate who is a self-described “pit bull” without foreign policy experience as a cheerleader for a presidential candidate known to be hot-tempered is a clear message to the world that America will continue to be an aggressive pugilist with the election of those candidates.
That position is finding support among the American electorate. The reality, however, is a common knowledge fact that somehow has not seeped into the national psyche. The United States in 2008 cannot be cocooned from the rest of the world. In fact, its growth, stability and national security depend on making friends with the world.
A thumb-nail sketch of American interaction with the world since the first Gulf War in 1991 over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait shows a muddle of rising oil costs since 9/11 and a futile war against jihads while the scandals of Guantanamo and outsourced torture are swallowed by a public in whom savagery was raised by shock and fear of a faceless enemy. Misrepresentation of facts to invade another state has been overlooked. Retrenchment from global compacts on basic issues such as curbing of nuclear proliferation and degradation of the environment has gone unnoticed. Measures to promote world trade so as to open global markets to American innovativeness and make available for its use the products of global neighbors are unknown.
The 2008 US presidential election is a turning point for the United States and for the world. In the November election, the country will decide whether it continues putting its resources into defense against faceless enemies or joins with the globally like-minded to build a better world presently hidden from Americans due to fear.
The difference between the Democratic and Republican slates in the 2008 US election is not that of Democrat versus Republican. It is not about Black versus White or about experience with issues. It is about openness to the reality of a global world and about competence to deal with change at the highest level.
America is a maverick to the world, its great beacon for opportunity and its innovator. Even so, America’s fuel, trade, finance, security and well being are tied into those of global neighbors in 2008. With more friends and more allies to cope with global threats, America may not need to drill up its nature preserves to thwart the anticipated plots of national enemies. America could then funnel its resources again into the innovations for which it is known and respected. It could, for example, lead the world on developing alternate energy sources and with that also create new jobs for its people.