Performing on the World Stage: Presidential or Pratfall?

7 Jan

Not Again!

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.

6 Responses to “Performing on the World Stage: Presidential or Pratfall?”

  1. nevercontrary January 7, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Take a look at the pics on this blog it might explain things a little

  2. Jay January 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Worth mentioning in particular would be a Republican President’s posture toward Iran. A stance that I can only term ‘maximally belligerent’ appears to be the new foreign policy litmus test for most right-wing pundits, and all the candidates except Ron Paul are obediently toeing that line.

    And apologies for quibbling over statistics, but the sources I checked placed the US significantly lower than 12th globally in average life expectancy. The statistics become even more tragically awful when health outcomes per dollar spent are considered, but the enormity of that problem exceeds the scope of this comment.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt January 7, 2012 at 6:21 pm #


      I, too, grow weary of the GOP using Iran as though it were THE litmus test of foreign policy, while neglecting hugely powerful voices around the world. My statistics are from my social work social policy book from 2005. I’m saddened but not surprised to learn that things have grown far worse in six years’ time. As a social worker, I am curious to know your sources, so that I may have accurate data.

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