The World Is Looking For a Signal From America

More than any presidential campaign in my lifetime, this election next week is going to have a dramatic impact around the world, not just in the U.S. of A.

One basic question the Chinese and others are asking is, does American democracy work? Look at how fundamentally indecent and contentious it has become. If we have a botched or contested election, we can count on every dictator in the world saying democracy does not work. Whatever is left of American moral authority will be gone.

Another basic question everyone is, will America seek to remain engaged in the world in a reasonably consistent manner or will it lurch toward America First-ism? Is this the end of the post World War II era, a period of great prosperity and relative peace? We can quibble about whether we need troops in Iraq but we are engaged in a form of warfare against Islamic terrorism in at least five countries. Elsewhere, we are seeking to contain Chinese, Russian and Iranian expansionism. If America goes for whatever benefits America in the short run, and demands that its allies take care of themselves without any help from us, look for a general unraveling of dicey geopolitical situations everywhere on the globe.

Still a third question: will the world’s embrace of refugees continue in any form or will the doors slam shut? There are 65 million people in the world who are refugees from their native lands. Europe is wrestling with its efforts to absorb some of them and there are signs of a political backlash building against it. Brexit is a case in point. To our north, Canada is doing its best, but its population is less than a tenth of the United States and there’s a limit on how many more refugees they can absorb. No other major industrial powerhouse in the world is accepting refugees in any significant numbers except for the United States. They’re not going to Russia or China. If we start building walls and engaging in mass deportations, that’s a mighty clear signal–for you, there is no hope. That would have a destabilizing effect on countries that are currently harboring large refugee populations. More chaos would be the result.

Such as the consequences of this vote.



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