Wednesday, 16 July 2008

American exceptionalism

In tomorrow's newspaper, already on www.iht.com , Tom Friedman will be asking "Which world would you prefer?"

One where America is unpopular and weakened or one where Russia and China are the big dogs on the block with too much power?

"There was something truly filthy [my emphasis] about China and Russia's vetoes of the American-led UN Security Council effort to impose targeted sanctions on Robert Mugabe's ruling clique in Zimbabwe," he writes.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/16/opinion/edfriedman.php

His sense of history and perspective is extraordinary in its American exceptionalism.

I think most of the IHT's readers would prefer a world in which America doesn't veto resolution after resolution about Israel's occupation of Palestine and forces the enactment of those that have been passed.

One where the American president doesn't assert executive privilege "to prevent Attorney General Michael Mukasey from having to comply with a House panel subpoena for material on the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity", after all his fine talk of prosecuting those who revealed her identity.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/07/16/america/CIA-Leak.php

One where rampant unregulated capitalism is bailed out and a flurry of regulatory measures are introduced to the US financial system at the very moment its wheels begin to come off, when we are on the very edge of systemic failure of the world financial system. Talk about locking the stable door after the horse has bolted. You're going to curb short selling now?
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/16/business/16short.php

One where the American government refuses to use diplomacy and only sends a senior official to participate in international talks with Iran when its hand is forced by its need to send more troops to Afghanistan (and deal with nuclear- armed-already-Pakistan) putting us back to October 2001.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/16/africa/17iran.php

One where the American government doesn't execute people, and listens to the World Court.
http://www.iht.com/articles/reuters/2008/07/16/america/OUKWD-UK-MEXICO-USA-EXECUTIONS.php

That's the world I believe most IHT readers want (all of the above articles have datelines 16 July, 2008), and it needs non-American columnists to reflect those aspirations, writing out of Paris, London, Asia, anywhere but Manhattan.

My sense is that these American (lack of international popularity) polls which Friedman refers to in his piece, and recognizes the truth of, are actually a break on the global growth of the IHT, even more so now it is branded the global edition of the NYT.

It is imperative that the IHT begins to engage non-American voices as part of its line up of key columnists to balance the likes of Brooks & Friedman etc, even with Krugman, Kristoff and Rich, and Cohen somewhere in the middle.


The IHT needs to find its own voice, and it can do that AND still be the global edition of the NYT. Lord knows, the NYT could benefit from some non-American columnists itself.





www.aplaceintheauvergne.blogspot.com
www.ianwalthew.com

1 comment:

Rolf said...

"The IHT needs to find its own voice, and it can do that AND still be the global edition of the NYT. Lord knows, the NYT could benefit from some non-American columnists itself."
Excellent point -- but will the Times allow it?