Jika McCain-Palin terpilih, ini isyarat yang kurang baik bagi dunia di luar 
Amerika. Semboyan Partai Republik sekarang ini, "Country First", terus terang 
kurang terasa simpatik di mata saya. Semboyan itu seolah-olah mengisyaratkan 
bahwa Amerika tak peduli pada dunia luar, dan kebijakan luar negeri yang 
unilateralistik akan diteruskan oleh McCain. 

Pemerintah Amerika sudah semestinya tahu bahwa negeri itu sudah menjadi semacam 
"empayar", istilah orang Malaysia untuk "empire". Amerika tidak bisa lagi 
memikirkan negerinya sendiri seperti tercermin dalam semboyan McCain itu. 
Tindakan dan kebijakan luar negeri pemerintah Amerika memiliki dampak 
internasional yang besar sekali.

Saya setuju dengan pandangan Fareed Zakaria di bawah ini, dan saya juga setuju 
dengan cara pandang Obama yang lebih "rendah hati" dan "realistis" dalam 
melihat situasi keamanan di dunia saat ini.

Selamat menikmati kolom Zakaria di bawah ini!


The World Isn't So Dark

Ever since WWII, America has tended to make its strategic missteps by 
exaggerating dangers.

Fareed Zakaria


Updated: 2:18 PM ET Sep 13, 2008

On the campaign trail, the debate over foreign policy has been muted of
late. That might be because more-important topics like lipstick and
hockey moms have taken center stage. But the contrasts between the
presidential candidates also seem to have softened. Their differences
over Iraq policy have shrunk as the place has stabilized somewhat and
the Iraqi government looks for a timetable for a U.S. withdrawal. Both
candidates oppose Iran's nuclear ambitions and Russia's incursion into
Georgia. Both support a vigorous fight against the Taliban in
Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Yet there's clearly a fundamental difference in the way the two candidates see 
the world. The
split might best be captured by asking a simple question: what kind of
a world do we live in? Neither candidate has been asked this, and I
doubt either would answer as frankly as I am suggesting, but here's my
guess-drawn from their writings and speeches-about what each might say.

We live in a very dangerous world, John McCain would respond. In his eyes,
Islamic extremism is the transcendent challenge of the age. Jihadist
warriors-funded and supported by states that adhere to their views-pose
the central threat to the United States. In the rise of China, Russia
and India, McCain sees turbulence. Russia and China, being autocracies,
represent a special danger. Moscow's attack on Georgia was, for McCain,
the "first serious crisis since the end of the cold war." The role for
America, in such an environment, is to aggressively use its power-hard
power-to fight evil, spread freedom and defeat the enemy. Otherwise we
will lose the struggle for the 21st century.

Obama's sense of the world is more optimistic. The dangers are real but not so
all-encompassing. Obama speaks less of Islamic extremism in general and
more of Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups specifically. He points out
that compared with the cold war-when thousands of Soviet nuclear
missiles were pointed at American cities-the threats we face today are
reduced. He argues that most people in the Islamic world want
development and a better life, not jihad. America's promise remains
alive even in these countries.

America's role, for Obama, is to restore its military strength, fight Al Qaeda 
and its ilk,
and deter rogue regimes like Iran. But it is also to stay calm, because
in overreacting to dangers, we often cause new problems and crises. To
lump together all Islamist groups is to exaggerate and misunderstand
the threat. The Iraq War, for Obama, is a prime example of an alarmist
overreaction, one that had the United States launch an unprovoked
invasion of a country and rack up huge costs. If America can keep its
cool and provide the help that countries really seek-in development,
modernization and democracy-building-then we will gain in both security
and legitimacy.

There is some truth to both visions of the world, but in my view the reality is 
much closer to Obama's-more so than most American politicians seem willing to 
admit. We live in
remarkably peaceful times. A University of Maryland study shows that
deaths from wars of all kinds have been dropping dramatically for 20
years and are lower now than at any point in the last half century. A
study from Simon Fraser University finds that casualties from terrorism
have been steadily declining since 9/11. It is increasingly clear-look
at their voting from Indonesia to Iraq to Pakistan-that very few
Muslims anywhere support Islamic fundamentalists. More countries than
ever before now embrace capitalism and democracy.

It's also worth noting that ever since World War II, the United States has
tended to make its strategic missteps by exaggerating dangers. During
the 1950s, conservatives argued that Dwight Eisenhower was guilty of
appeasement because he was willing to contain rather than roll back
communism. The paranoia about communism helped fuel McCarthyism at home
and support for dubious regimes abroad. John Kennedy chose to outflank
Nixon on the right by arguing that there was a dangerous missile gap
between the Soviets and the United States (when in fact the United
States had almost 20,000 missiles and the Soviets had fewer than
2,000). The 1970s witnessed a frenzied argument that the Soviet Union
was surpassing the United States militarily and was about to
"Finlandize" Europe. The reality, of course, was that when
neoconservatives were arguing that the U.S.S.R. was about to conquer
the world, it was on the verge of total collapse.

Since end of the cold war, similar alarms have been sounded several times. In
the 1990s, the Cox Commission argued that China was building a military
to rival ours, citing numbers that soon proved to be bogus. Then
there's Saddam Hussein, who was described as a powerful and imminent
threat to the United States. In fact, the greatest problem that we have
faced in Iraq is its weakness, its utter dysfunction as a state and a
nation. Rhetoric about transcendent threats and mortal dangers grips
the imagination of the American people. But it also twists U.S. foreign
policy in ways that can prove to be extremely costly to the country and
the world.


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