Dear Sarah Palin

I hope that you will see this open letter from the United Kingdom – to help you it’s the island just off the west coast of Europe – as it isn’t clear whether you have ever been here. Or anywhere much else outside the US of A for that matter. Maybe you have been able to travel without a Passport – I do hope so because the thought of a prospective President of the United States who at the age of 44 hasn’t felt the need to see the world outside of your national borders is a wee bit scary.

You may say that as a Brit without a vote I should just leave all these things American to you and your fellow citizens. That would be OK if you were standing for election in Bulgaria, or Botswana or even Brazil – and certainly Alaska. But you are not. You are standing to be elected to a position that could really quite likely see you as the leader of the free world. That’s the world that I live in as well.

Is there such a thing as the “world community”? Well yes I think that there is – and that community has a diversity that I would hope anyone presumptuous enough to be a heartbeat from the presidency would take seriously and would have studied. We are not some poor relation of Uncle Sam these days you know – even though we know that if Uncle Sam has a head cold we might shiver a bit ourselves. Senator Obama went down well on his recent trip to Europe and though he is a loyal and patriotic American his very parenthood shows that he has a hinterland. Do you?

If you care for America’s place in the world can you put that place into perspective because you have seen a fair bit of the world that provides the context? Or are your reference points purely American reference points? If they are then I am sorry Mrs Palin it just isn’t good enough. Of course any elected official in high office must care first of all for the people that placed them there. But America has always had an international perspective – it comes from the Roosevelts, the Eisenhowers, the Nixons, the Kennedys, the Clintons and the Bush seniors who have travelled and listened and learned. If you have the ambition to lead your nation and indirectly the free world – to combat the dangers of Russia, the threat of the Islamist extremist world, the challenge of Europe and the potential hegemony of China then there is nothing in your life so far that gives me the confidence that you can do it. And with John McCain in office well into his seventies and with faltering health I would worry about that.


Paddy Briggs

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