Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Foreign Affairs

News, Here and There

I've not written for awhile because I've been travelling abroad (so as not to be outdone by Stephen Hayward, who's presently yachting, or boating, or taking a cruise of some sort with the upper crust). I've now settled in South Korea - which is presently suffering the worst monsoon in over 100 years. Almost 50 people have died as a result of torrential rains - which were averaging 1 1/2 inches per hour yesterday, when it rained almost the entire day. Portion of Seoul, where I am staying, are completely submerged. I believe some of this has made the U.S. news.

Over here, news of the U.S. is dominated by the debt-ceiling / default issue. Asian markets dipped in response to the uncertainty and Asian countries are the largest U.S. debt-holders, so there are local angles. Naturally, the perspective is that poor Obama can't get nasty Republicans to let him pay America's debts because . . . well, CNN and MSNBC seem to dominate local news from abroad, so there's no real attempt to explain the GOP point of view. They're just the bad guys. 'Nuff said. It reminds me of when George W. Bush was re-elected, and the world was shocked because the media had given them the impression that everyone in America hated him. European friends asked if he was even going to receive double digits in the election polls.

I hear that Americans are questioning whether the current debates and looming deadline are hurting our image abroad. On the one hand, it is. We, as a whole, are arguing, bickering and failing to arrive at a democratic solution to our fiscal problems. That looks bad. But then, sausages and laws always look bad when you watch them being made too closely. It's not necessarily bad just because it's painful to watch.

On the other hand, foreign observers are consoled that the problems are all the fault of the conservatives. America shouldn't be blamed - the party of Bush should be blamed. The Republicans are the go-to scapegoats. While opinions of Obama have faltered overseas, that is due to his failure to prove sufficiently different than George W. Bush - the latter is still the measure of failure. So, sophisticated foreigners are able to qualify their contempt for American messiness by focusing their disdain on the political right.

Such is the state of the media-informed world. If conservatives care about foreign opinions (which I imagine they largely do not), they shouldn't alter their policies, but rather invest in exporting Fox News and other media outlets which are not dominated by the left.

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