Roger L. Simon

Jonathan Freedland Wants a Vote

Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland wants a vote in the US presidential election:

There’s a reason every newspaper in the world will have the same story on its front page on November 3. The American presidential election will be decisive not just for the US but for the future of the world.

Anyone who doubts this need only look at the past four years. The war against Iraq, the introduction of the doctrine of pre-emption, the direct challenge to multilateral institutions – chances are, not one of these world-changing developments would have happened under a President Al Gore. It is no exaggeration to say that the actions of a few hundred voters in Florida changed the world.

So perhaps it’s time to make a modest proposal. If everyone in the world will be affected by this presidential election, shouldn’t everyone in the world have a vote in it?

It’s easy to understand his point. America is the Big Dog. In fact, in many ways it’s the only dog. But Freedland’s solution, in whatever spirit he offered it (I’m not sure even he knows), that American presidential elections be open to the world, is a pure example of contemporary “liberalism” at its most unconsciously reactionary. By acknowledging (and tacitly endorsing) America as the preeminent power, it abdicates responsibility on the part of the rest of the world, and assures that America will remain the only power. Europe is especially culpable in this regard. Almost since World War II, the “Old Country” has ironically taken the child’s role opposite the “New World.” They have made us their parents, not only militarily, but culturally. Then they run around like adolescent children, rebelling. Well, Jonathan, only daddy counts because you Euros allowed it to happen. You didn’t keep up. That’s your fault, not ours. We didn’t stop you or even attempt to do so. We did the reverse (the Marshall Plan). Trying to participate in daddy’s decisions now only perpetuates the situation. Time for Europe to grow up.

UPDATE: Here’s how abdication of responsibility works on a global scale.

MORE: The excellent Normblog responds to Freedland here.