As the United States has been absorbed in the absurd circus that is the Republican Presidential hopefuls, the media have taken a very American focus on the candidates: What does it mean for us? There is plenty of talk about taxes, budgets, abortion, and the GOP big three (God, guns, and gays). What gets largely overlooked, other than the occasional reference to Iraq and Afghanistan, is our role as a major nation on the world stage. We know that Mitt Romney is a Mormon flip-flop robot, Newt Gingrich is a serial adulterer with a temper, Ron Paul is a faux Libertarian who can’t be bothered to read a newsletter published under his own name, and Rick Santorum is obsessed with men having sex with men. What we don’t know is how any of these candidates would deal with international politics.
As Americans, shouldn’t we be also asking how will the President of the United States (leader of the “free” world) interact with other major players and show both diplomacy and leadership? The US took a colossal hit in our world reputation during the George W. years. The world took a collective sigh of relief when President Obama took office.
I’m asking people to think about how any of the GOP candidates will work with Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani, or Prime Minister Wen Jiabao? We also need to look at the very delicate balance of power and influence of Erdoğan on the world stage. The world does not look kindly upon bullies and the GOP have proven through the ad nauseam debates that they are nothing but a bigoted bunch of bullies. What worries me even more is how many of the GOP candidates even know who the world players are. Can they point them out on a map?
When we look at issues of healthcare and how we treat human beings, we need to be willing to learn from our world neighbors. Currently, the United States comes in at 12th place on issues such as: Life Expectancy, Adult Literacy, School Enrollment, GDP per capita. Might we need to look to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for ideas around health care?
While I certainly want our President to be a leader for civil rights here in the United States (pro-reproductive rights for women, pro-marriage equality, work to change the distribution of wealth and power) I also want a President that can show true leadership with a calm and clear head, such as President Obama. We must avoid the shackles of ignorance and isolationism.