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The Threshold and the Real World

The Associated Press has an article about the supposed worldwide excitement over Barack Obama’s nomination. Let’s just say the reporter’s polling methodology was less than scientific. Here’s the list of global celebrants:

–An international relations professor at the London School of Economics: “He has a very appealing persona – elegant, fluent, strings lots of sentences together into paragraphs . . . But in terms of (his) actual policies towards the Middle East, Iraq, Iran, China, Europe – actually, we don’t know.”

–Obama’s uncle in Kenya.

–Obama’s third grade classmate in Indonesia: “He would play ball during recess until he was dripping with sweat. . . I never imagined he would become a great man.”

–A hairdresser in Mexico: “Bush was for the elite. Obama is of the people.”

–The German government’s coordinator on U.S. relations: Many Germans “find (Obama’s) mixture of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy very attractive.”

The Times of London: “Obama waits on the threshold of history.”

–A Vietnamese real estate salesman: “He seems to be a peace lover”

–The deputy director at the Center of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University in Beijing.

All well and good. But who was less than thrilled? Here are the last two paragraphs of the piece:

Obama, however, has made himself unpopular in Pakistan by saying the United States should act alone on information about terrorist targets within the country’s national borders, leading some to believe he will not be any different from Bush.

“Obama has threatened attacks against us even before becoming the president, and he will be more dangerous compared to Bush,” said Ibrar Ahmad, 34, a lecturer at the Government College in Multan.

There you have it. When it comes to peace-and-love, beautiful sentences, and vague comparisons to adored icons, a handful of friends and family are jazzed up. That would be fine–if we were actually “waiting on the threshold of history.” But in reality, the world’s dangers and complications don’t pause so that everyone can stand around and admire the handsome man with the eloquent speeches, and in the dangers and complications department the world’s candidate has already clumsily placed himself behind the eight-ball.



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