With the US elections coming very close, it is time to comment on the way that we, the non-US rest of the world, view it. I remember polls conducted in European countries 4 or even 8 years ago, according to which George W. Bush would never have been elected here. Now, after 8 years of a Bush administration that had quite some (hmmm, let's say not always positive) effect on the rest of the world, how would the world decide?
Some youngsters in Iceland asked this question as well and came up with a world-wide poll on the internet. You can look up the results here. The result is overwhelming: 86.8 % for Obama! The world map that they plot is deep blue - meaning Democratic.
It is interesting to note that McCain has a chance only in some rather peculiar countries: Macedonia, Albania, Venezuela, Iraq (amazing - but with only 13 votes hardly representative), Georgia and so on. Are these people hoping that McCain could bring them freedom and democracy? Anyway, in the large western democracies, from where thousands of votes have been cast, Obama wins dramatically. For example Germany: More than 11'000 votes, 93.4 % for Obama.
So, dear Americans, be assured that the world is watching you. And it has a clear opinion. Of course it does not count, but consider this: A president Obama would have an entirely new chance to change the world's view of the US. McCain might be able to repair the worst damage that Bush has inflicted on America's reputation, but hardly more than that.
I am sure that my American colleagues, environmental scientists as they are, will just as overwhelmingly vote for Obama as the rest of the world would, if it could. But I also know that the voice of science is not always heard in America. Nevertheless, the most prestigious scientific journal, Nature, also felt obliged to give its recommendation in an editorial this week. Here is what they say (Eli has also commented on it):
"This journal does not have a vote, and does not claim any particular standing from which to instruct those who do. But if it did, it would cast its vote for Barack Obama."