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Iraq Coalition: Eritrea, State no

US citizen could find on a map?


Re-elect George Bush based on World Leadership?

September 7, 2004 - One cannot help but listen with amusement as the President continuously insists he must be re-elected, so America can continue to “lead” the world.  Such a statement causes a person to wonder just whom it is George Bush intends to lead?  In order to lead there must be those willing to follow, and of that there are only but a few and even then without enthusiasm. 


Bush speaks proudly of his so called “Coalition of the Willing” but it was a group that made up less than 15% of the worlds 193 recognized nations.  Last anyone checked it was pretty hard to lead anything and especially the world, when all you have is the support of a small minority. 


Of the 30 original members of the Willing, Spain and the Philippines have had all they could take of Bush’s leadership and they bolted.  Neither waited for the door to hit them on the way out, nor did they bother with the formality of saying “good bye” when they went.  Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Norway and Kazakhstan have either, or are in the process of withdrawing their troops.  So now, Bush’s world leadership applies to about 12% of known nations. 


Of the remaining:  Eritrea, no U.S. citizen could find it on a map, ratified a constitution in 1997, but never bothered to put it into effect and elections have been put on hold indefinitely.  Albania is almost, so it seems, a democracy?  It is listed by the CIA as an emerging democracy.  Uzbekistan doesn’t even bother to pretend to be a democracy.  Their leader often makes Stalin look like a liberal.


Even two countries that some in the United States might actually be able to find on a world map -- Britain and Italy – do not want to be around, much less led by our nation.  According to Pew Research Center, only 48% of British people have a favorable view of the Untied States, which is down from 83% in 1999.  A stunning 34% of Italians view us favorably and that too has decreased since 1999, when 76% held that view. 


As for maintaining joint security and diplomatic ties, only 40% of British people believe they should remain close to the United States and 48% think they should be more independent.  In Italy, 30% think they should have strong security and diplomatic ties to us and 63% prefer to be more independent. 


With results like those found in Britain and Italy, it doesn’t seem very likely that those two countries will be following Bush too far for too long.  All told, Bush is able to lead about 16% of the world’s democratic nations and 11% of all nations.  Not exactly an overwhelming display of enthusiasm for Bush’s, or our world leadership.  These certainly are not the sort of figures that would lead one to proclaim him-self leader of the world. 


Bush is fond of saying nobody should speak poorly about the countries he managed to lead into war, because doing so is disrespectful of those nations.  Well, nobody knows for sure what it will cost U.S. taxpayers for countries like Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Tonga, Moldova, Macedonia, New Zealand, Latvia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Portugal, Georgia and the Czech Republic – a full 40% of the coalition members -- to contribute their symbolic average troop force of 99 people.  What is likely however, is that it will be too much for the token gesture that allows Bush to claim those nations as being under his leadership. 


If Bush thinks the American people need to re-elect him so we can lead the world, he had better find a world that he can lead.  Maybe that is why he is in such a hurry to get us to Mars?  Somewhere out there in the Universe there may be a world willing to be led by and follow George W. Bush, but it certainly isn’t this world. Commentary by August Keso, Washington Dispatch.

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