The world has a schitzophrenic attitude to the U.S.A. Its popular culture - Friends, Desperate Housewives and Eminem are devoured the world over by people in thrall to the glamour, even in France. Meanwhile over half of French people believe America to be "the greatest threat to world peace". This is the reality of Power - you can influence attitudes more profoundly than any other nation, but you'll be hated for it. There is a Legacy of Anti-British feeling in a lot of the world (as well as some genuine goodwill) as a result of our Imperial project.
It is tempting for a future American president - especially one from the Europhile East coast elite brought up with the existentalist novels of Camus and the music of Chopin, to try and buy favour with the world by abandoning the American Empire to chaos and withdrawing from Iraq before the job is done - to the applause of the Quai D'Orsai and the Left-bank and the sound of explosions of Civil War - not just in Iraq, but probably Saudi Arabia and Syria too.
America will remain the Worlds' largest economy for some time. It is unlikely that any Military will seriously challenge the U.S. for power and reach for decades. American Hegemony will remain and therefore so will the influence - people want to understand the big beast and will be drawn to the popular culture. They will also resent the power, hower lightly it touches. America though has the responsibility as worlds policeman, and can't shake it off.
American presidents must therefore be leaders in the real sense - and be prepared to do what is right and often unpopular - like topple Saddam hussein. While they are attempting to bring liberal democracy to the world, the U.S. will have my support. Maybe they'll do it better next time. More often than not, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand will be alongside too. Remember Kipling's advice (if you'll forgive the paternalist racism of his ninteenth century Language). He's talking about the Phillipines, but he might as well be talking about Iraq or Afganhistan:
Take up the White Man's burden
The savage wars of peace
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden
Have done with childish days
The lightly proferred Laurel
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
The French state, which is always most willing to offer that judgemet, is the poster-boy for dirigiste state-run interventionism, so beloved of leftist intellectuals since the fall of the Soviet Union. The Nation that brought us the first Communist revolution and Totalitarian terror, caused the First global war and is already on its fifth republic (about one every 43 years) is in no position to lecture anyone about how to run the world. They can't even make drinkable wine anymore. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, leftist bien-pensants chose France to Lead the Non-American way. This was a fucking silly choice as the French have never got anything right. Let's start with the revolution - when they cut the head off their king, and give you some of the Triumphs of French diplomacy and statecraft:
- A reign of terror leading to mass murder and famine across the whole country.
- The Rise of a Military dictator who plunged the world into a war lasting on and off 13 years.
- Bending over for the Germans 3 times is 70 years.
- Despite the fact the French were defending their own territory - they were the ones to mutiny in 1917
- Leaving the British Empire to do the work.
- Despite this and against American and British advice they pushed harsh reparations onto Germany at versailles, leading directly to the rise of Hitler.
- They Manged to lose WWII twice.
- Then Refused to give up their empire graciously leaving a mess for others to try to clean up
- They then refused to support the most effective military alliance in History
- They are Responsible for the CAP and the worst aspects of the EU.
- They were complicit in the Horror of Rwanda
- And were Saddam Hussein's largest western trading partner.