Friday, February 1, 2008

Let's Talk Legitimacy

In the post-Bush era, the bottom line is blunt and simple, Dunleavy [a political scientist at the London School of Economics] said. "People all around the world are pretty worried," he said. "They want a president who will restore a kind of U.S. legitimacy in the world."

This from an article on how the world is "captivated" by the Presidential race in the US. Forgive me for taking offense, but just who is going to be the first to presume to judge the legitimacy of the United States. What has the US actually done? Attacked a country that harbored the terrorists who killed thousands in America and wouldn't turn them over? Removed a bloodthirsty dictator and gave the people a shot at ruling themselves? Negotiated with the North Koreans? Refused to commit economic suicide by signing the Kyoto Protocol which exempted China and India from the rules and regulations binding on developed nations?

Perhaps if the United States had illegally traded with Saddam despite the sanctions, pretending not to notice his manifold human rights abuses; sold nuclear fuel to the Iranians, accepting that an oil rich nation with a history of fomenting terrorism is going to use it for peaceful purposes; or taken advantage of an enslaved people by turning their country into a Disneyland of debauchery, then perhaps we might have maintained legitimacy in the eyes of the world.

It would be easy to dismiss their elitism and presumption, but it has consequences. When I read that the Sunnis describe their shift in allegiance as the "Anbar Awakening," I have to wonder how much of our bad press they heard and believed. Self-interest might govern our actions, but we have a heck of a lot more legitimacy than our so respectable detractors.

5 comments:

Martin Garthwaite said...

America has achieved what no other super power in the history of humankind! Managed to make the world a dangerous place to live.

rsnlk said...

The world was a dangerous place a long time before Bush, or even the United States. Surely, you don't mean to suggest that our present government tops Hitler or the Soviets.

Martin Garthwaite said...

US foreign policy has had the effect of destabilizing world politics. To say that the US foreign policy is a joke. Bush "you're either with us or against us", "good or evil", this dichotomous view of the world really underlines this administrations total and utter lack of the concept of international relations.

rsnlk said...

Don't have time right now to respond, but I will. I'm taking your perspective seriously.

Fermi said...

Wake up, Martin! "International relations"? A lot of Americans (not nearly so enlightened as the limousine liberals who gnash their teeth everytime the US takes the initiative and runs the risk of offending our 'neighbors'), wonder what the world would be like if the shoe were on the other foot. Could you imagine a world in which the Middle Eastern nations were the 'superpowers'? Really believe that they'd show the same restraint we have in the past? Yes, I said 'RESTRAINT'. Think about it. And by the way, rsnlk----do you really think the "Martins" of the world take your perspective seriously?