IF Barack Obama wins the election next week, America and the world will be taking a huge step into the unknown.
There will be great things about an Obama victory. Above all, America-haters around the world will be forced to see that the United States is an extraordinarily open society. A black leader in any European state is unimaginable.
But there are troubling aspects to Obama’s effortless cruise to Presidency.
First is that it is accompanied by an almost messianic belief in the man, at home and abroad.
After so much unrealistic hope must come a great fall. Disappointment, if not disillusion, is inevitable, particularly in today’s economic meltdown.
Second, most of the great American papers and major TV networks have abandoned objectivity in this election.
To put it unkindly, they have been in the bag for Obama for months.
The media are vicious about the Republican candidate John McCain and even more so about his running mate Sarah Palin. But Obama is above criticism. They have spent far less time than they should on examining his record. Obama is polished and attractive. But he also displays a remarkable arrogance.
In fact, he is the most untested and most inexperienced politician ever to get so close to the US presidency.
But the Press have skated over his thin CV in the Democratic Party political machine and also over the disagreeable nature of many of his friends, particularly the America-hating pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.
Abroad, his positions have often been been plain wrong and dangerous.
Between 2004-2007, his constant demand for US troop withdrawal from Iraq would have led to catastrophic genocide. He opposed Bush’s 2007 surge of troops in Iraq and has only recently, grudgingly, admitted that the surge has been a great success.
Thanks to American blood and treasure, Iraq now has the nearest thing to democracy in the Arab world. It is imperfect and fragile and needs continued American support. Little in Obama’s statements suggests he understands this.
Equally dangerous is his promise to sit down without preconditions with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, who declares Israel a “stinking corpse” and seeks to destroy it.
French officials, who tried to talk with Iran for years under President Chirac, snort derisively at such naive folly.
Despite all the evidence that America is essential to global stability let alone progress, the rhetoric from Obama and his supporters suggests that he wishes to pull America back from the world stage. This would lead to catastrophe.
Quite apart from existing threats, there is now the risk of economic chaos.
After the economic crash of the early 1930s, America was isolationist and no other country was able to stop the march of the European dictators with, as we know, terrible consequences.
Today there are similar dangers of economic meltdown and a rise in the number of failed states. That danger will increase if America withdraws.
It was a Democrat Secretary Of State, Madeleine Albright, who said that America is “the indispensable country”.
One can only hope that if he wins on November 4, President-elect Obama will quickly come to understand that.