Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Die Allwissende Müllhalde

In these googlelized times, it is tempting to think that everything important is within reach of a keyboard. Luckily, the summer issue of "Foreign Affairs" shows that some things still evade the all-knowing trash heap (as my co-editor likes to call it with reference to Fraggle Rock).

The issue comes with a long article by Barack Obama on how he perceives America’s future foreign policy. Undoubtedly, a sight for sore eyes. Committed to "show the world that America remains true to its founding values", Obama envisages a retreat from Iraq by March 2008 (much like what the bipartisan Iraq Study Group has suggested), the introduction of a cap-and-trade system to fight climate change and a definite halt to the murky practices of secret prisons, torture and illegal renditions.

All this is good. Yet, I fear that the Bush administration is going to cast a long shadow on the history of the US and its chances of pursuing any progressive foreign policy. It will take time to rebuild trust in America, a recent Pew poll showed that Europeans consistently regard the US as the biggest threat to world stability and peace.

I have written before on Rawls & Me about the present tragedy of American politics and I will try to stay brief this time. But I would like to conclude by quoting a few lines from Obama’s article, if only to spread some hope throughout the trash heap:

"America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, and the world cannot meet them without America. We can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission."


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