The next four years will now be defined and dominated not only by what George W Bush does for the next four years, but also how the EU responds. The front page of today’s Daily Mirror asks how 59 million Americans could be so dumb? While this is a little unfair, it does lead us to the inevitable conclusion that 59 million Americans prefer isolationism to internationalism. The American people have spoken – that is their inalienable democratic right. But just as we do not have a voice in US politics, so the US does not have to have a voice in ours. The elections has highlighted just how different we are. The British have a proud history of tolerance and inclusivity. The fundamentalism that drives George Bush’s America would never garner serious public support here. Eurosceptics have often pointed to our ‘special’ relationship with the US, and concluded that we don’t really need Europe. I would argue that precisely the reverse is true. Are values are far more European than we imagine. Europe has an historic opportunity to occupy the foreign policy vacuum left by isolationist America. We should embrace the European Constitution, and the EU Presidency. We should seize our chance to set the world agenda on climate change. We should work to build bridges and open dialogue around the world – especially in the Middle East. And above all, we should be proud that we can lead the way. The US claims to be the leader of the free world, yet it still has the death penalty and allows its’ citizens to walk around with guns. It lacks free health care for all of its’ people and shows blatant disregard for human rights (Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib etc). A majority in this country still don’t like or trust the EU, but we would do well to remember that many of the most Eurosceptic media sources in the UK are owned by US media moguls. I remain proud to be European.
Courtesy of Benrik, comes the feedback received from Americans to the Globalvote2004 project. They are split between venomous rants telling us to mind our own business and more broadminded individuals appreciating the importance of world opinion. Whatever, it is starkly clear that there is a large section of the US population who are unable or unwilling to see the “bigger picture”. Speaking for Britain, this will only compound Blair’s resolve to stand shoulder to shoulder with Bush even though that flies in the face of public opinion here. I only wish that the date of our election was fixed and soon.
My thanks to everyone who took part in Globalvote 2004. The results are now in:
- Bush 9%
- Kerry 77%
So, no surprises there then.
A website has been set up where you can cast your vote in the US Presidential Election. I understand they will publish the outcome on the eve of their election to give people there a real flavour of world opinion. It only takes a minute so please go and vote
By the way, before any of my US readers rushes to tell me it’s none of our business – please remember how many countries across the world there are where the US has an opinion about who should be in charge!