Sunday, November 04, 2007

Quiet Sunday

My wife was reading me parts of a magazine article, and it was a rather depressing view of what the world has become, mostly due to things done during the past seven years of a paranoid dilusional presidency.

From The New Yorker magazine, August 27, 2007 – The Human Bomb by Adam Gopnik

Gopnik discusses how America is being viewed by France.

When Sarkozy was elected president of France, in his first meeting with Condoleezza Rice, she asked 'What can I do for you?' "And he said, bluntly, 'Improve your image in the world. It's difficult when the country that is the most powerful, the most successful – that is, of necessity, the leader of our side – is one of the most unpopular countries in the world. It presents overwhelming problems for you and overwhelming problems for your allies. So do everything you can to improve the way you’re perceived – that’s what you can do for me. 'I think it’s entirely possible; the reservoir of good will has been drained somewhat, but it is far from dry."

When people in Paris talk about ambitious kids going to study abroad, they talk about London. (Americans have little idea of the damage done by the ordeal that a routine run through immigration at JFK has become for Europeans, or by the suspicion and hostility that greet the most anodyne foreigners who come to study or teach at our scientific and educational institutions.) When people in Paris talk about manufacturing might, they talk about China; when they talk about tall buildings, they talkd about Dubai; when they talk about troubling foreign takeovers, they talk about Gazprom. To a new leadership class, it sometimes seems that America is no longer the human bomb you have to defuse but the nut you walk away from.

Its military weakness has been exposed in Iraq, its economic weakness by the rise of the euro, and its once great cultural magnetism has been diminished by post-9/11 paranoia and insularity.

Sad to see what our country looks like from the outside. And sadder still that most Americans are not aware of it, or even that they don’t care.

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