John Edwards' essay for Foreign Affairs - Reengaging with the World - is the sixth in BritainAndAmerica's series of summaries of the worldviews of leading presidential candidates.
The Iraq war was one of the greatest strategic failures in US history: "We must move beyond the wreckage created by one of the greatest strategic failures in U.S. history: the war in Iraq. Rather than alienating the rest of the world through assertions of infallibility and demands of obedience, as the current administration has done, U.S. foreign policy must be driven by a strategy of reengagement."
America must reverse its low standing in the world: "A recent Pew survey showed the United States' approval ratings plummeting throughout the world between 2000 and 2006. This decline was especially worrisome in Muslim countries of strategic importance to the United States, such as Indonesia, where approval dropped from 75 percent to 30 percent, and Turkey, where it fell from 52 percent to 12 percent. Perceptions of America's efforts to promote democracy have suffered as well. In 33 of the 47 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center, majorities or pluralities expressed dislike for American ideas of democracy. We need a new path, one that will lead to reengagement with the world and restoration of the United States' moral authority in the community of nations... There was a time when a president did not speak just to Americans -- he spoke to the world. People thousands of miles away would gather to listen to someone they called, without irony, "the leader of the free world." Men and women in Nazi-occupied Europe would huddle around shortwave radios to listen to President Franklin Roosevelt. Millions cheered in Berlin when President John F. Kennedy stood with them and said, "Ich bin ein Berliner." Millions of people imprisoned behind the Iron Curtain silently cheered the day President Reagan declared, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Even if these ordinary men and women did not always agree with our policies, they looked to our president and saw a person -- and a nation -- they could trust. Today, under the current administration, this is no longer the case. At the dawn of a new century, it is vital that we win the war of ideas in the world."