Thursday, November 6, 2008

Obama: the view from Britain and France

The rest of the world's highly enthusiastic reaction to the election of Barack Obama as president (well, most of the world - I noticed the Russians have already made some unpleasant noises) has been one of the more wonderful aspects of this astonishingly wonderful event. One of France's preeminent public intellectuals, Bernard Henri-Levy, had this to say in The Financial Times:

Anti-Americanism will not suddenly, magically disappear. But it will have a harder time surviving and it will be forced to revisit its sales pitch. Will there be a planetary shock wave? Another New Deal, a geopolitical one? One thing is certain, the new president will feel a meta-historical weight on his shoulders: never before has an American election aroused in the rest of the world so much wild yet reasonable hope.
"Wild yet reasonable hope." In this respect, we Americans have much in common with the French: we are at once incurable romantics and diehard pragmatists.

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