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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Congratulations America

Americans like to style their president as the Leader of the Free World, and in many ways this is not a bad description. America is the most powerful of the democratic nations that respects freedom of religious, political and intellectual expression. The free world is an informal billion-person family of nations, and as a fully paid up citizen in one of the oldest countries in that family, I believe that we have a responsibility to lead by example, protect those values, and ultimately expand our freedoms to others who wish to experience them.

But the last eight years have been hard. At an important time when Russia has been reinventing itself, and China has ascended, we have seen America retreat into isolationism and a mindset of distrust, leaving the Free World rudderless and adrift. Like a lot of people in Europe I initially had a bit of a chuckle at the antics of George W. Bush, but his presidency has been so damaging that I have long stopped smiling.

This morning the American people elected Barack Obama to replace Bush in January. It's a momentus day for Americans for many reasons, not least of which is that he will be their first black president. But it's also an important day for those of us outside of America, but who share our values with Americans.

Barack Obama is a multilateralist, who believes in the family of free nations. He represents the next generation of politicians who understand America's place in the world, and understand the true nature of her importance. Of course he is just one man, and there are a lot of challenges inside and outside of America that he will have to tackle. I'm sure that not everything will go well. But I share the general sense that a corner has been turned, and that for the immediate future at least, the Free World once more has its Leader.

1 comment:

Clare said...

Well said, Dave! I haven't got around to blogging about this, but I think you've summed it up really well.