A recent poll of 22,000 people around the world showed 80% support for Barack Obama in the Presidential election. Now, I don’t know what the exact global margin of error of this poll but I think it’s reasonably indicative that non-Americans want Obama to win. It brings me back to an issue I touched on in my first post – that of how much of a right people from outside the States (like myself) have to give on opinion on American affairs. In that post I intended to give a rather glib justification – because I can – but forgot.

But recent events have made me think further about the influence American policy has on the outside world (as the saying goes “when America sneezes, the rest of the world gets a cold”). Firstly, I know somebody who works for a major UK institution. In recent days his company took over another major bank which, having invested in the US sub-prime mortgage market, had suffered major losses and whose share price plummeted as a result of attacks by short-selling stock traders. As a result thousands of people within the new institution face redundancy. Secondly I think back to July 7, 2005 when London was attacked. On that day I was off work sick but had I gone to work and had the bombers arrived an hour later I may have been caught up in the chaos.

Now in the short-term, not a whole lot can be done. People will lose their jobs as a result of the current financial climate. Al-Qaeda terrorists are out there plotting attacks. We can only hope that our security services can prevent them but unfortunately, in the short term, they may get through. So we must look to the long-term and aim for stability in the economy. We must look to the long-term and peace, perticularly in the Middle-East, so that the terrorists will be ostracized, not supported. This, in particular, may involve difficult actions. Our leaders will have to talk to people we don’t like. They may have to make concessions that stick in our throat. This is what happened in Northern Ireland when John Hume sacrificed his political career to talk to Gerry Adams, and when prisoners were released as part of the Good Friday Agreement. As a result there has been a decade of peace.

There are many, many people around the globe, whose lives have been affected, directly and indirectly, by American political policy – sometimes positively but also, all too often recently, negatively. So that’s why Election ’08 matters to us. I know much Anti-American comment is ignorant and even hypocritical (I was guilty of it myself when younger). I also re-iterate that it is your election and that the final decision should be made by the American people, for the American people. You can take or leave the opinions of outsiders. I only ask that, as you stand in that booth in front of that complicated machine trying to ensure that you don’t accidentally vote for your local Marxist-Leninist (unless you are a Marxist-Leninist), you don’t dismiss our views out of hand.


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