An America that is respected in the world [Archives:2004/761/Viewpoint]

August 5 2004

In his democratic convention speech last Thursday, Democratic Presidential nominee John F. Kerry said that he will make sure that America is strong at home and respected in the world.
I took those words with optimism and hope that he will, if given the chance, work his best to fulfill his promise. It is indeed a desire for millions of people throughout the world, to see the only superpower in the world respect international law and not behave like a bully. It is important for USA's own interests to become a model for its principles of equality, justice and freedom. Terrorism will continue to thrive unless the USA implements steps to be respected not feared.
Kerry said “We need to make America once again a beacon for the world. We need to be looked up to and not just feared.” Those words bring some hope to people across the world who have been disappointed and angered by the unilateral decision making and recent policies of the USA under the right-wing administration of George W. Bush. They are hoping for a change to bring the US closer to international public opinion and to the allies of the past.
Kerry's mission, if he becomes president, will be quite difficult. Restoring the respect of the international community for the USA will require a lot of work and time. It is said that destroying is easy but rebuilding is difficult. It is amazing that in those last four years, the image of the USA has fallen tremendously in the eyes of millions of people across the globe. It is almost impossible to bring change to this reality in the near future.
On the other hand, there are some good points that the Bush administration has which, if noted and built upon, could yield positive results in realizing greater respect for the USA, in the eyes of the world. This includes the promotion of freedom in the long-oppressed Arab countries. Steps taken in this direction need to be complemented and built upon to realize a more stable middle east with less radicalism and hatred to the USA, which for so many decades supported dictatorship regimes that thrived on the bodies of their citizens.
In short, it is possible for the USA to regain its place as a leading nation in the world, not by its military might, but in vision, justice, freedom, and good deeds. It is possible for the USA to reestablish its role in supporting freedom in other countries and looking at smaller and weaker countries with respect and appreciation, not in disgust and discredit.
It remains to be seen whether Kerry will fulfill his promise and deliver his words to the international community, which seems to have accumulated distrust and contempt for the current US administration, especially as the justifications for the war on Iraq fell apart. The International community is probably hoping not only for a change of face in the White House, but also for policies that would promote a United States that is deserving of the respect of the world.