Thinktrain has moved! Redirecting…

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Encouragement from abroad

The New York Times has an insightful article this evening on international response to yesterday's election results. I found this story encouraging because it indicates to me that other nations may be willing to embrace an America that is not so insistent on calling all the shots. It may yet be possible to restore some of the global goodwill that our nation had once possessed. Here are a few abridged selections from the story:

As word of the American midterm election results and, later, the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld spread across the globe, criticism of the United States turned less shrill, less gloating, more textured than in the past.

It was not, of course, a presidential vote — though some thought it should have been. But the tone of criticism seemed more conciliatory than on previous occasions when President Bush has stumbled, in part because his power is now seen as waning irrevocably.

For Europe, it’s good news, because America will be forced to be less of a solitary aggressor.

As the Italian foreign minister, Massimo d’Alema, put it: “One cycle is over — the cycle of preventative war, of unilateralism, has ended in great failure. That’s the truth, and that’s how it is perceived by the American public opinion.”

“Europeans have tended to look at the U.S. as being synonymous with Bush,” said Karsten D. Voigt, the coordinator of German-American relations in the foreign ministry. “This shows that the reality is far more diverse and multi-faceted. I hope it will lead to a diminution of anti-American prejudice.”
I hope so, too. As the story makes clear, there are pitfalls to and obstacles in this new moment in American politics, but I still can't help but feel that we have made at least one step in the right direction by acknowledging that America is a nation of many voices and (indirectly) that the world is bigger than America's view of it.

(By the way, it's free all-access week at the New York Times, so you can see the full story without registering.)


egonomics said...

I enjoyed your post (and thanks for the heads up on the NY Times), and your "lessons in humility" post.

Humility's extremely undervalued as a trait in business--and in politics. Some would say the elections yesterday were a hard lesson in humility for the GOP. I hope the Democrats don't adopt a "payback" mentality and treat Republicans as they themselves were treated over the last few years. The Democrats now have a unique opportunity to change the tone of politics in our country right now.

I've spent the last three years researching and writing about ego and humility and your comments/awareness about the topic are rare, but right on.

We need more humility in business and government--not just for the sake of humility itself, but because we're more effective and innovative with when we have it.

Thanks for being a voice for it.


Rob Robinson said...

The Democrats now have a unique opportunity to change the tone of politics in our country right now.

Thanks, Steve. I think the effect pride (specifically the lack of humility) has in all our lives is both profound and easily overlooked. It is so easy for us to see it in other people, and so easy for us to ignore it in ourselves.

I agree about the opportunity the Democrats have. The temptation for them will be to retaliate, but I hope they can ignore their egos and seek out ways to collaborate. Things might really begin to change if they can find a way to do that.

I will definitely check out your blog. This is a fascinating topic to me, and your research sounds intriguing.