Neither respected nor feared

Elihu Root

Elihu Root

In an exalted phrase, the keynote speaker at the Republican convention reviewed the record of the administration, and asked, “When have we rested more secure in friendship with all mankind?” That wasn’t in St. Paul, where the Republicans are gathered this week, but at the 1904 Republican convention in Chicago, when the speaker was Elihu Root, a past Secretary of War and future Secretary of State.

His words were sonorous then, and they are haunting now. They will not be repeated this year, because they could not be. A senior American politician might have said something similar in 1920, or 1945 or 1960. But no Republican now – and no Democrat – could utter Root’s words without inviting utter derision.

Today there might be a more bitter question: When has America rested less secure in friendship with all mankind?

And that explains the intense interest which this year’s presidential election has inspired beyond the shores of the United States. It’s not just Obamania – there’s no point in denying that Senator Barack Obama is the man most people outside the United States would like to win – but he was one of three potential candidates until Senator Hillary Clinton conceded defeat who were all fascinating simply in personal terms: a septuagenarian war hero, a woman, a black man.

The election absorbs us in Europe – and others in Africa and Asia – because we can see that a general crisis spreading around the globe is directly linked to the follies and failures of American policy. In his new book, “The Much Too Promised Land,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which he used to be engaged as a State Department official, Aaron David Miller puts it with lapidary succinctness.

Having stumbled for eight years under the Clinton administration over how to make peace in the Middle East, and then for eight years under the administration of George Bush the Younger over how to make war there, the United States finds itself “trapped in a region which it cannot fix and it cannot abandon.” Still more to the point, throughout that region, for all of her seeming might, America is “not liked, not feared and not respected.”

full article: www.insight-info.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: