Europe has spoken
Published on November 2, 2004 By _Martin_ In International
Well, obviously the election is about to be decided and Europe will have to deal with either 4 more years of what we know from Bush, or build a new relationship that will apparently take us in a new direction.

The fact is that in Europe we don't have an informed view unless we take the take and are sufficiently interested to understand all the U.S. domestic politics. Needless to say, most of us (including myself) don't care enough to do this. However, in a recent poll of citizens of European countries, virtually all prefered Kerry to Bush. This was also highlighted on the recent WinCustomize poll comparing the opinions of US and International "voters".

Now, although these aren't informed polls, there is still clearly a consistent outcome which is valid. What is obvious is that Europeans have a poor opinion of Bush. Whilst the vote for Kerry may be more of a vote of "no confidence" than an informed vote, the fact remains.

Now, if Kerry wins time will tell whether he is better than Bush, but the biggest question is what if Bush wins? Do you think he will take note of this opinion?

The fact is that it is not just the French public that prefer Kerry, but most of Europe, including Britain. Bush should see from this that his manner and attitude towards international relations is wholly unpopular and that he is less and less likely to be able to rely on support from Europe going forward.

Personally I think that Bush is an idiot. I see a man who I still believe is fed all is lines via an earpiece on the grounds that his sentances falter every 7 or 8 words as he waits for the next line. To give his script writers credit they are consistent in how they try to cover this up by "manglifying" the English language! Mr Bush, your swagger may be called "walking" in Texas but , to the rest of us it just looks like you've got a broom shoved up your arse. As for your foreign policy, well it's cares as much about the rest of the world as the US Olympics coverage does!

I know this is an opinion that is probably unfair in that it's not a fully informed opinion but the fact is that it exists, and I actually consider myself a fairly intelligent and informed European. Will Mr Bush listen or care? I doubt it.

Comments (Page 1)
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on Nov 02, 2004
Bush , if re-elected, will continue with the policies that he has used during the past four years. First, he belives he is right. Second, he is the front for the conservatives in America that have an agenda that they will not change. They do not care that the majority of Americans want something different.

If you want more insight into George W. Bush, read "Four More For George W?" It is available on and you can see reader comments on the Amazon web site.
on Nov 02, 2004
A very important distinction: It is true that the United States is foolish to try to accomplish major objective unilaterally. The difficulty of subduing a third rate power like Iraq points up the real life limits on what even the world's most powerful military can accomplish all on its own. Thus, I oppose President Bush's outlook on the world.

However, it is quite another thing to cite polls from other countries as to who they want the United States to elect. I doubt that any of those countries would be impressed by a poll of Americans as to who they should elect.
on Nov 02, 2004

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation held a "town meeting" with folks from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and while there were Canadians for and against Bush one woman from Nova Scotia talked about how she had "given up" her citizenship over Bush's election in 2000. She said, in essence, that Bush had a global viewpoint that extended as far as the suburbs of Washington and that countries outside of the U.S. should be "afraid, very afraid."

The people of Wilkes-Barre, at least, thought she was over-reacting. There are very few in the U.S. who understand your reasoning. They think you should be "thankful" that Bush is so proactive against the "world's enemies."

Of course, in a given situation, that might be your country so sit up straight and make sure you keep your hands in plain sight!
on Nov 02, 2004

Just to be crystal clear, I'm not saying that we should have any influence on elections, I'm just demonstating how Bush is perceived beyond the US. I personally don't believe for a second that Bush cares about this fact, but then again Blair doesn't really seem to care what we think either so I'm not unduly concerned!.

Whilst I acknowledge that the US is a major power and that the election has global impact, I wonder out of interest whether the average citizen in the US would even know what parties we have in the UK, let alone their leaders.

on Nov 02, 2004
I think it is interesting that the peoples in European countries want John Kerry as the President of the United States, but I sincerely doubt that most Americans put any real stock in these opinions. I think, as a whole, that Americans are concerned about America first and foremost, and rarely (if ever) take into consideration the needs and desires of other countries and their citizens. Right or wrong, this is (at least in my view) the prevailing attitude amongst Americans, and to a point, myself included. If I thought that citizens of foreign countries really, truly cared about the average American citizen and all of America's problems and issues, I might take stock and listen. However, I seriously doubt that the average European has America's (or my) interests at heart, and therefore, the opinion, while possibly valid, is ignored.
on Nov 02, 2004
Not to be callous, but why should any american care who people in Europe want as our president? You are not apart of our country, and have little to no effect on things that happen here. Now admittedly our standing in the world is important, but sometimes the right thing is the unpopular thing. A true leader should be above things like popular vote. I won't go so far as to say that Bush is a true leader, far from it. I will however say that Kerry is an oportunistic ass, that denouced the vietnam war by giving back some medals that he said were his, but were in reality a friend's... Ok, i digress, I just hate that guy because he is only concerned with what will get him elected and make him likeable to Europeans... When he should be concerned with what is best for the United States. If Americans ran polls concerning who we liked in Europe it would be a political death sentence for whoever won, because in general we are not liked currently... maybe that is Bush's fault, but hey shit happens... I would hope that people both in the States and in Europe would have the intelligence to focus on what is best for them... Now if that coincides great... make the world economy better by making ours better, then woohoo... But who cares what the uniformed from a far away nation thinks of our leaders that they barely know anything about, nor care to know anything about... I couldn't care less who was elected to whatever european nation, unless he is another Hitler, and only then because it will have an affect on me... Do I sound selfish? Hells yes... Why? because I am not sugar coating what everyone thinks anyway. It would be nice and sweet and pretty if we could all get along, but in the real world everyone has their own ideas about what is best, and not everyone can ever agree. So in a world of a bunch of people with different ideas, we get disagreements and people doing what is best for them, and more power to them when it helps others...
on Nov 02, 2004
If I thought that citizens of foreign countries really, truly cared about the average American citizen and all of America's problems and issues, I might take stock and listen. However, I seriously doubt that the average European has America's (or my) interests at heart, and therefore, the opinion, while possibly valid, is ignored.

Well said. I give you an insightful vote.
on Nov 02, 2004

Reply #5 By: Helix the II - 11/2/2004 12:30:31 PM
Col Gene, you do not represent the will of the majority, you are not the majority, how do you continue to preach that you know what the majority wants? ARGH you frustrate me with your arrogance in regards to this. Bah.

Notice that he has not responded to what you wrote?
on Nov 02, 2004
Although I wont use the same words as Martin I agree on many of his opinions. Likewise I don't have an informed view though I do know severel people living in the U.S. today. I live in Denmark and am just now following the election on danish television. As part of the program they are transmitting from an election party for americans living in Denmark. I have previously read about americans living in europe being more pro Kerry than the average in the U.S but just recently they announced the poll from this party. Remember, this is americans living in Denmark but never the less: Bush 12%, Kerry 80%!! I can not but think that maybe the difference in views between europeans and americans is not because europeans don't understand american domestic problems and politics but maybe rather that the majority of americans knows nothing or cares not about what is happening in the rest of the world.
And to Morilen: Yes - Europe is not part of the U.S and may have little to no effect on things in the U.S. But the opposite is not true. The decisions made by the president of America has far reaching effects in the rest of the world. So I will at least fight for my rights to have an opinion about these decisions. If you and the majority of americans don't care about my opinions - fine you have the right to. But as I see it Bush will only keep pushing his allies in Europe away from him. Do you seriously believe that America can fight terror alone? As I see it: If you really want to fight terror you have to keep a strong aliance and that is not happening right now.
on Nov 02, 2004

Reply #10 By: jlohr - 11/2/2004 8:08:06 PM

Do you seriously believe that America can fight terror alone?

If we "have" to, we can and will!!
on Nov 03, 2004
I still can't believe that people are saying why should Americans care about what other people think. I'm not ... I repeat not ... saying that anyone but the American people should vote for their own president.

What I am saying is that the perception of Bush is poor amongst those whom he considers his closest allies. The fact that Britain got dragged into a war is not popular with the British people should not be lost on Bush. You saw what happened to the Spanish support when they were faced with local terror.

Whilst we hear daily of the tragic deaths of US troops and taking of hostages from the US and other nations, I wonder how much coverage the death of British troops gets and the fate of British hostages.

All I am saying is that if Mr Bush is going to do things like drag our troops from their job in the South of Iraq while he sends US troops elsewhere he really should care what British people think, given that this was most likely done to avoid adverse publicity in the election run up.

And before somebody argues that the US troops are doing valuable work where they are going I'm not arguing with this fact!
on Nov 03, 2004
I think the attitude of why American's should care what others thinks is fine so long as America sticks to America and doesn't interfere elsewhere on the globe. When The US however does interfere elsewhere, but still doesn't care what others think then I do worry. The major problem lies not with the US though but with the other governments who still support the US and pamper to it despite this clear statement from Americans that we don't care what you think.

Maybe it's time for governments to let the American people be truely alone and know how upset their peopel are with this arrogance? Maybe they should

- withdraw any troops from any conflict where Us troops are present (Iraq, Afganistan, Balkans). Force governments to choose between US support or rest of the world. Force the US to stretch itself too thin of else admit that it can't do everything and needs assistance.
- implement Kyoto accords and place tariffs on products from countries which don't. After all 92% of the planet has ratified this treaty. Lets say 20% tariff on any product that resulted in greenhouse gas emission. Then lets watch the US economy compete. With a bit of luck the tariffs will result in loss of industry and a reduction in green house emissions
- shun the US dollar and change all Oil transactions to another currency. No point supporting the dollar is there?
- sell all dollar foreign currency and change suppliers where-ever possible to non US companies.

These are all things foreign governments could do without the US having any right to complain. Things that would totally shaft the US economy and maybe make the US realise that it does need foreign countries and maybe should be asking why they are so upset with Bush, and what he could do over the next four years to soothe this anger.

on Nov 03, 2004
Alright, let me put this another way.

No country can bow down to foreign opinion where there security is concerned...

Should we just do whatever China says when it comes to the safety of our nation or the world?

Can anyone truly argue that Saddam was a bastard that was slaying thousands because it suited him? Could you also argue that given the chance he would not have worked to get WMD's and then plunge the globe into WWIII? I think not. Sometimes the diplomatic solution just does not work... You can talk yourself to death, and while no one wants war sometimes you just have to.

As far as Britain is concerned yes we have reports in the states about other's countries soldiers dying. Yes we care about the loss of life. Doesn't it say somethign that inspite of popular opinion several countries leaders went in and did something (War in Iraq) that they believed needed doing, for the greater good of all, including the Iraqi people. Don't you think the Iraqi's will be happier without a leader that kills your family and friends because it suited his whim?

Not everyone will agree with me, but hey thats life. first and foremost people will always look out for themselves... Is it in Europe's best interest to break off relations with the US? Screwing us over in markets and trying to sanction us? Perhaps Europe enjoys all the moeny made by dealing with the US... Perhaps they like being friendly with a nation that they know they can count on should say, I don't know Germany take over more than half of their continent... Would you rather have a leader in the US that would shy from war while some country had troops slaying citizens in London? I think not... Don't make it seem like the US gets everything out of these relationships... Noone would deal with the US if they didn't get something out of it...
on Nov 03, 2004
Should Bush listen or care for Europes concern? No. He is a US president.
on Nov 04, 2004
The arguements about Bush not caring what any foreigner thinks should only hold true for domestic policies. I have big issues with the concept that US troops can go anywhere they want on the planet and invade any country they want purely because Bush wants it to be so. Yes there were good reasons to remove Saddam (I personally supproted the war), but Bush totalyl screwed up in selling those reasons to the world and on planning for after the war. And it does matter how he sold the war to the world because the war was NOT in the US. It was elsewhere.

I expect that many others feel the same way and will pressurise their governments to act. Enough is enough as far as many Britons, Russians, Chinese, Japenese, French, Germans, ... are concerned. Yes people do also benefit from interactions with the US, but there is only so far they'll be pushed before their pride comes before their pockets. People where I work have already strated switching as many purchases as possible to non American good, even if slightly more expensive. That's how angry they are.

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