When The Walls Come Tumblin' Down
Ever since the end of World War II, the United States held unrivaled power and influence in the world, mainly because America led in the direction the rest of the world wanted to go. This became the inspiration for the meme that America is the land of freedom and something to aspire themselves to being.
In the very recent past, though, I have had separate chats with two former East European residents, one from Hungary and one from what had been East Prussia. Both indicated a serious disappointment that America no longer lives up to the image of being that shining city on the hill that everyone wants to live in. They are even more disappointed that the American people don't see what has happened to their nation.
But it is clear to me, if not to those who live in Red States, and I am going to expose the fact that the world sees this - and they are beginning to look to their own interests. This is important, for these foreign nations are no longer interested in the US leading them. The awareness filament may just be beginning to glow in DC.
I wrote the other day about Karen Hughes botched bid to improve America's image abroad. Unfortunately for La Hughes, she failed miserably:
On world stage, France's role is audience favorite
Karen Hughes should be French - it would make her job easier.
As the US undersecretary of State for public diplomacy returns home from her first foreign trip burnishing America's image in the world, she might feel a touch of envy at the glowing international reputation that France enjoys, highlighted in a recent study by the Project on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). In the survey of people in 23 countries across the globe, a majority or plurality in 20 described France as exerting a positive influence on world affairs..
RICH CLABAUGH - STAFF
"France is seen as a countervoice to the US," says Steven Kull, director of PIPA. "It becomes a rallying point for all those who don't want to follow America's lead."
The most symbolic recent moment came in the buildup to the Iraq war, which France vehemently and vocally opposed. "The very, very strong position that France took on the side of global public opinion explains the figures" in the poll, says Doug Miller, head of GlobeScan, the international polling firm that carried out the survey with the University of Maryland's PIPA. "France was speaking for the world; [French president Jacques] Chirac stood up and that's what leadership is," adds Miller.
Certainly, Paris appeals in part precisely because it is not Washington.
The US, by comparison, is seen as having a negative impact by majorities in 15 countries.
This idea becomes especially significant when this item is added in to the mix:
Venezuela has moved its central bank foreign reserves out of U.S. banks, liquidated its investments in U.S. Treasury securities and placed the funds in Europe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday. "We've had to move the international reserves from U.S. banks because of the threats," from the U.S., Chavez said during televised remarks from a South American summit in Brazil. "The reserves we had (invested) in U.S. Treasury bonds, we've sold them and we moved them to Europe and other countries," he said.
This could begin a 'bank run' on foreign assets imvested in US Treasury notes. Students of history know what happened to the US banks after the stock market crash of 1929. Lack of investor confidence was the main reason banks failed after the crash, because people no longer trusted that their money was safe. Could it be any different on the current financial house of cards that is Bu$hCo?
Will Japan, holder of well over $700 billion in US debt, stay the course? Will China, or South Korea, or any of the other major holders of US foreign debt?
Stay tuned. The rest of the world is already dialed in and watching.
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