Non-US citizens: What do you want from the next US president?

I’ve always been happy that Just World News has attracted a considerable readership, and numerous contributions to the Comments boards, from outside the United States. The policies of the US have a disproportionately strong effect on the situation and wellbeing of that 95% of global humanity who are not US citizens, but y’all “out there” outside the bounds of our citizenship don’t get to vote in our election here next Tuesday.
So I’d like to invite all of you who are not US citizens to submit a comment here in which you tell the next US president what your top requests of him are. Also describe how US policy has been affecting– and continues to affect– your family, your community, or your country,including some concrete examples, if possible.
Please try to keep your comment to within 300 words, and tell us where you’re from.
(If you haven’t commented before, the easiest way is to go to the archived version of for this post, scroll down to the bottom of the page, fill out the ‘Name’ and ‘Email’ boxes there– the one for ‘URL’ is optional. Type your comment in the box provided. You can insert hyperlinks if you know how to. Then, type in the verification code in the box beneath that one and click on ‘Post’. It may take a minute or two for the comment to be published on the page.)
I hope as many as possible of you will send in your requests. Also, send this post on to as many other non-Americans as you can, who you think would be interested in having their voices heard, too!
Once these comments come rolling in I plan to write a series of posts here in which I pick out some of the main themes– and I have a number of other ideas of ways to get these “Messages from the disenfranchised 95% of humanity” heard in the US discourse over the weeks ahead. (If any of you US-citizen readers have some good ideas of how we can all do this, please let me know!)
Finally, know that the comments, like everything that’s on the blog here, will be published on it under a ‘Creative Commons’ license. This means, basically, that anyone is free to republish what is published here with due attribution, and a hyperlink— provided they do not do so for profit. If anyone wants to use the comments for potentially profit-making purposes, they need to negotiate a specific agreement to do so.
So send ’em in!

    Update Sunday morning, Nov.2: Thanks to everyone who’s commented so far. Tomorrow morning I’ll put some of the comments submitted into a main post (with attribution to the authors), and I’ll try to distribute that as widely as possible inside the US. I may make one or more other compilations later in the week. So carry on sending this post to your friends in the non-US world, and keep the comments coming in. And commenters, please put in what country you’re from. Thanks!

33 thoughts on “Non-US citizens: What do you want from the next US president?”

  1. Thanks so much for your great blog, Helena !
    I am French. I leave in Paris where I am a schoolteacher.
    I expect the next US president to “re-engage” in world peace. My president, Mr Sarkozy, will have to be re-engaged in the pursuit of humanism, too.

  2. First of all Obama should put things right in America, i.e. turn back the neocon wave of privatization and deregulation (including the privatization of the military). That will be a very difficult task after the ‘après moi le déluge’ of the Sun king Dubya; restoring the economy is his first task.
    Then he should demilitarize American foreign policy.
    Well, that’s enough for a whole bunch of presidents.
    And, to make his job easier, he should put Bush on trial for war crimes and treason.
    I wish Obama, the next president, all the best and good luck.

  3. Will my wish come true Helena ?
    My wish is beneficial for ours and yours .
    If Barack Obama’s title changed from Senator to Mr. President, I will want Mr. Obama to do as he promised the Americans , rather than spending a billion dollar a day in Iraq, he will invest the monies in their beloved country The United States of America in finding alternative energy and creating thousands of jobs, they will not only become self sufficient, but back on track, as THE world leader .
    My wish will save innocent lives and further destruction, it will put a smile on what is left from the Iraqis, Afghanis, Somalis, Sudanese, Palestinians .
    Humanity is at stake after 8 bloody years of the Bush administration.
    We all need change, hope is what keeps us going…

  4. he should demilitarize American foreign policy.
    Alas, that is very unlikely. On the contrary, he has stated his intention to increase both the size and the budget of the military, which does not foretell demilitarization. On the contrary. He has also stated that he thinks the U.S. should be involved more in “humanitarian” military actions. Setting aside the fact that “humanitarian” reasons are a very common pretext for imperial aggression (recent example: Iraq), humanitarian war is an oxymoron.
    Unfortunately, demilitarization of foreign policy is one area in which I have no confidence in Obama, and the advisors he has chosen so far do not inspire confidence.

  5. I have been living in the US for the past five years. After following the US politics closely, frankly I’m not optimistic about Obama’s (potential) presidency or the *single* party system. The fundamental issue as articulated by Amy Goodman is it’s just “Change Big Donors can Believe in” :
    Suppressing my cynicism for a minute, my wish:
    The US President must support a climate change mitigation agreement as this affects the entire planet and not to start/escalate any more wars.

  6. I would like your next president to finish the job Reagan started, regarding nuclear disarmament. It is long past time to retire the left-over doomsday weapons from the cold war.
    I would like him to stand with us in creating a new climate treaty. And obviously I would like him to get serious on using working methods of conflict resolution.
    I would also like him to take America into the mainstream for western countries when it comes to social spending. Now the US is a beacon and example for all the forces here that want to privatize our health care system and reduce or eliminate other social programs. It would sure be nice if the US could set another example.

  7. Thanks Helena. But i dont believe either candidate is serious about ‘world peace’ or any thing apart from world empire(aka US interests)! Guess who is one of Obamas advisors: Brzenski! The US has invaded and sought to control countries and govts since it invaded the philippines a century ago, while preaching freedom and democracy, and western govts have been happy to support this fraud.
    Id prefer Cynthia McKinney or Kucinich for President, but that would be inpossible when the country is controlled by wealty elites.
    So lets not be naieve. For the US to reenter peaceful relations with the world, it would need to prosecute those responsible for the current war crimes, and dpay for the damages done…Will this happen even under Obama? Not likely.

  8. Helena
    Walking away from the Iraq mess without providing compensation to the unfortunate refugees in Daascus and Amman, and the Internally Displaced Camps in Iraq would be a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.
    Josh Landis has a link to the girls who are being trafficked in Damascus today on his blog.
    If anyone needs reminding of the sad state of President Bush’s democracy agenda, watch this horrifying video: Iraqi Prostitutes – Syria – YouTube: It is a shame that there are not special forces to protect these women.
    The fact that the US has wrecked the international financial system and needs to recover its economy should not be an excuse to allow these five million dragons teeth to be forgotten.
    As they are often the educated elite of Iraq it would be criminal negligence to waste their talent.

  9. Hi Helena – I like your ‘none US’ comments idea.
    Sadly I think Americans have lost control of their governmental system! The next President will simply be the product of a valiant but failed experiment in true democracy – ‘Government of the people, for the people, by the people’
    Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of an “Industrial, military ‘congressional’ complex” was I think the tip of an oncoming iceberg that the US failed to steer clear of, causing the ensuing ‘titanic’ train-wreck that has spilled out across the globe.
    If the next President could dismantle what President Eisenhower warned of, things might start to improve – but as I said, I don’t think the US system has the wherewithal to reform itself now. The Monster is now too big, to powerful and too sophisticated (and too ugly) to be reined in.
    I think Chalmers Johnson’s bankruptcy scenario is the best we or you can now hope for!!! By that I simply mean that American militarism will prove to be financially unsustainable! The political will to rein in US military/economic imperialism is just not there of itself. Your finacial bankruptcy as an imperial power is the only force strong enough to kill the monster!! Sorry, but that’s how I see it.
    I think at the moment the rest of the world is breathing a sigh of relief (albiet behind closed doors)to see the 800 pound gorilla of US ‘Bull-in-a-china-shop’ foreign policy debacle, show its first sign of sinking to its knees – financially! It can not happen soon enough to my mind.
    My advise to the next President would be simply “Bring the troops home – All OF THEM!!! and sort out your own country!”

  10. Helena give this letter to your new president it’s dated 1921.8.21 by Gertrude Bell to her father, may this tell him what Magratiyah!

    And since I’m telling you stories I must tell you one about the Naqib. It hangs on to what I was relating to you last week on the subject of al Damakratiyah. It was the Naqib to his huge delight – he’s by every instinct an aristocrat and an autocrat if ever there was one – who gave currency to the word by announcing in the Council that Faisal should be king of a constitutional democratic state. He did this with his tongue in his cheek, you understand, in order to catch the public. The other day a Shammar shaikh up from Hail drops in to call. “Are you a Damakrati?” says the Naqib. “Wallahi, no!” says the Shammari, slightly offended. “I’m not a Magrati. What is it?” “Well” says the Naqib, enjoying himself thoroughly “I’m shaikh of the Damakratiyah, the Democrats.” “I take refuge in God!” replied the shaikh, feeling he had gone wrong somewhere. “If you’re the shaikh of the Magratiyah, then I must be one of them, for I’m altogether in your service. But what is it?” “Damakratiyah” says the Naqib “is equality. There’s no big man and no little – all are alike and equal.” With that the bewildered Shammari plumped onto solid ground. “God is my witness!” said he, seeing his tribal authority slipping from him “if that’s it, I’m not a Magrati.”

    Salah, Nov 1st 2008

  11. After sixteen years of children running the US, if Obama wins, it will be a relief for the world to have an adult in charge.
    Referring to that old Socialist Bismarck, who in 1884 pushed through medicare in Germany, I also hope that he “takes a leaf” from Switzerland. Basically, in that country, all insurance companies have to offer The Policy at a Set Premium to anyone regardless of their health and in turn companies re-insure these policies with the government. You are free to choose a more favourable policy if you are able. All residents must have insurance. If you cannot show coverage, the canton will enrol you in The Policy with a randomly chosen company.
    Remember: Quod scis nihil prodest, quod nescis multem obest.

  12. Hi Helena
    I check your posts from time to time because I check Jaun Coles’ reports everyday. I feel my understanding of these particular world events is much fuller for them.
    What I would like to see (hope to see)is a break with the military industrial complex. Obama may just have the political clout; because of the current economic conditions, and inclination to accomplish this.
    It has always amazed me that while no Republican President in the past 30 years has balanced the US budget a significant percentage of Americans are sill willing to elect them.
    I don’t view the US as the Iconic leader of the free world …not sure I ever have but in Obama I find my self wondering…
    Best Regards

  13. Frank
    The spectrum ieee article on US military acquisitions is an eye opener! Definitely worth a read. Thanks.
    My own basic thesis though, is that the US military, industrial, ‘congressional’ complex is beyond redemption – probably more on moral grounds than anything else! The financial political managerial debacle is just an aside!
    It is to me, a cancer that has eaten the heart out of the true American democratic experiment,(and blighted the planet to boot), that is I think, no longer in the power of any President to exorcise. Even one who might have the character of say a JFK – after all, look what they did to him! No, it’s gone too far – it’s too big. The words ‘chickens’, ‘home’, and ‘roost’ seem to some up what I feel will be the inevitable outcome! – sadly.
    The US is now it seems, in the thrall of that which it once despised – ‘imperialism’ of a type. And all empires inevitably collapse, for a number of various unavoidable reasons. My prayer is that it happens with the least amount of ‘collateral damage’.
    I wish the next President luck. He’ll need it.
    Doug (Romsey, England)

  14. Helena
    One last comment. There is only thing that I can think of that the next President of the United States could possibly do that would restore to me some semblance of hope that the US could come back from the ‘brink’ so to speak, and that would be the criminal prosecution of Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice and Powel – as per Elisabeth de la Vega’s book ‘The Indictment: The United States v George W Bush et al.
    The fact we all know that is an impossibility, just goes to show how broken and adrift the US is.

  15. I’d like future American Presidents to start fixing America, the democratic non-empire they are elected to lead. I like them to do that instead of trying to finish conquering the rest of us and destroying America too in the process.
    By “fixing” I roughly mean looking back to about this time in that tremendously difficult watershed year of 1968 and this time leading your nation and guiding the world in a ‘mostly right’ instead of ‘mostly wrong’ direction this time.
    The accolade “orator” is set by the media to such an astonishingly lower bar theses days. So long as a presidential candidate doesn’t dribble out the side of his or her mouth reading the auto cue or mix up which countries are “allies”‘ and “axis” too often when he speaks s/he is taken to be an “orator”. Just go to a media archive and try and listen again to the American leaders and visionaries who spoke and were ignored in 1968 at such great personal and global cost. They were likely the last visionary American orators it seems.
    In a genuine democracy there have to be better or worse choices of government and an electorate free to make them. I no longer see a viable presidential candidate who is likely to begin doing what I, for one non-voting foreigner would like, although as a parent of young children and a person not inclined to enjoy human suffering generally I will be both greatly delighted and deeply relieved to be proven wrong. Please start to elect candidates who will bring America back from the brink. When you can and when you do; let it be the beginning of the 4 or more decades of better choices you need to make for all our sakes. E hi noa ana, na te aroha.

  16. Helena – I like your ‘none US’ comments idea and the opportunity to voice our ideas!
    I wish the US President steer USA as it use to be,
    pledge real democracy,stop bullying other country for self interest,pledge fairness as it expect from others and be a leading country as a economic giant,to win respect again and sort out racism,as US is now the most racist country in he world,cut down on Armed Forces spending and invest in people.own people as they vote for him.
    yes this would be a dream and if new President can bring dream to reality he will become Legend as George Washington.
    Correct the 3 generations of Bushes self enrichment Legacy.

  17. I hope that your new president will change the mindset that treats the death and displacement of thousands of innocents as “acceptable collateral damage” whether occasioned by your war on terror or your quest for oil. It is time to recognize that the lives of “others” are just as important as American lives.

  18. I misinterpreted your headline at first – I thought it was areference to the revelation that Sen. Obama has a Kenyan aunt apparently living illegally in the US. And what can you expect of someone with an extended family outside the US?
    So, perhaps I can turn that into what I’d like to see from the next president (hopefully, Sen. Obama) – an acknowledgement that the US is one nation among many, not exceptional, not the world’s policeman, but one of the family.
    John (UK)

  19. My request would be – take a small part of the US war spending and allocate it to solve the food crisis afflicting the world’s poor (about $12.5 billion or approximately two weeks cost for the Iraq and Afghanistan war).
    Millions of people are falling through the poverty trap due to rising food prices, itself the result of a complex combination of speculation, energy deficiency, policy prescriptions of the Breton Woods institutions and rapacious free traders!
    Poor nutrition in a setting of inadequate (read privatized) health care, poor to non existent social safety net, substandard infrastructure and non caring subservient national elites – this is the reality of the globalized world of today where the poor go hungry and die of preventable conditions!
    Mr.President, its about time we all should act, and act fast. Thank you and good luck.
    Mahmud H. Tejwal
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

  20. As a Brit who has spent half his life in the US as a resident alien, I view the States as if through bifocals – I have both a close up and a distant view of what goes on in US politics.
    The bottom line is that we are (globally) in a serious financial crisis, brought on by greed. The needed response will combine altruism and practicality, and one powerful model for this approach can be found in social entrepreneurship. Government should facilitate social enterprise, and make a point of investing in social entrepreneurs who are tacking social problems.
    As president, you will need to encourage a change of both heart and mind both in government and in the public at large – so that the country and indeed the world all can make a shift towards solutions that are both socially beneficial and financially viable.
    A good place to start would be to increase government support for social enterprise, along the lines that the UK has implemented with its Cabinet-level Office of the Third Sector — in line with America Forward’s suggestion of a White House Office of Social Innovation and the conversation about “The financial meltdown – leveraging SE” that just opened on the Public Innovators blog

    Social entrepreneurship allows government to leverage its investment by working with those who are already on the cutting edge of social concern and practical solutions — people for whom social benefit rather than profit is the ultimate bottom life

  21. I hope your next president stops trying to create / maintain an American empire. Ask your European allies, an empire inevitably comes to an end, and when you look back, there’s nothing to be proud of (I’m a Belgian, and nearly everybody here is terribly ashamed of what we did in Congo).
    I hope he’ll be able to throw off the “white man’s burden”; tomorrow will always be appear to be a better day to leave but prove to be worse.
    Finally, I hope the president will try to make the US a beacon for the rest of the world, not a flamethrower.
    I cross my fingers, not only for Obama to win, but also for him to deliver on the expectations he has raised.

  22. What I hope for is something that is not likely to happen: for the next President of the United States to reject and cease the illegitimate “war on terror” – not only for the sake of the rest of the world, but for Americans’ sakes, too.
    As for the impact of the Bush years on me, well, it’s perhaps best illustrated by the fact that I’m posting this comment. My eyes have been forced wide open in the last 6 years.
    That said, I’m not certain, if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t make a better effort to keep my head planted firmly in the sand.
    My eyes have been forced open widely enough to realize that any meaningful change in U.S. foreign policy is unlikely (and by “meaningful”, I mean less destructive).
    A telling sign of these times? This website is amongst only a handful that has written anything meaningful on the attack in Syria, an attack that defies rational explanation and appears to be best understood in purely abstract terms.
    Except by those whose lives were ended or shattered.
    Based on what the candidates have said, I don’t expect such unilateralism/exceptionalism to change under the next President.
    Meet the new paradigm; same as the old one.

  23. America was a great nation ..full of hope.. till when the neo-conservatives put it in the terrible mess that we see now!
    Mr Obama has to bring back that American trust ..and we hope he will do it…It reminds us of the Kennedy era…

  24. Hi. I’m Indonesian. I prefer Obama will be the next President of US as US really affects Indonesia politically and economically. Besides, US needs a President who is SMART. S-M-A-R-T !!!

  25. Hi Helena,
    My hope of the next president, is like most peoples hopes, unlikely to materialise. For starters I hope we see a distinct move away from the ties between religion and politics in the US (pretend it doesn’t exist if you like!) as Bush and his Christian crusades in the middle east, albeit in the name of oil and self economic prosperity, have seriously damaged your countries world image. Perhaps Obama (who it seems will now win) can start the train to reverse that.
    If Obama really is as ‘left’ as so many people keep saying I think this could have some great benefits to the US in the long term. Your healthcare system is quite simply a joke around the world, not for it’s quality which is undeniably good, however for it’s exclusiveness and outrageous costs. This needs to change, and hopefully he is the man who can do something about this.
    There are many hopes I could express, but in short; stop trying to be world police, and sort out your own countries issues before you start worrying about others.
    That said, I don’t believe Obama will be ‘left’ by any stretch of imagination. If there’s one thing the US population is not, it’s liberal, in any way. It is possible to be ‘left’ of Hitler (for example), but still be ‘right’ and this is the position I’m sure he’ll prove to hold – centre right.
    Let’s just see what happens, and hope any change for the better!

  26. I personally think, people are getting tired of 8 years of Bush administration.
    It is time to change the whole idea of “minding people’s business” when you should look out your own window and sorting your own problems.
    By having Obama as the next president, it will not only change US but change all the filthy perceptions non-citizens have about it.

  27. Helena: As an American, born in America,and having lived in America my whole life,I don’t see
    that it’s any foreigners business as to how our elected Presidents’ intrnal politics will affect other foreign nations.I suppose a good many nations of old Europe would love to see the U.S. slide into Obamas’ socialistic views.Which also brings up another question about Obama.
    On innauguration day,will he request that he be sworn in with his right hand on the Koran?

  28. Helena: As an American, born in America,and having lived in America my whole life,I don’t see
    that it’s any foreigners business as to how our elected Presidents’ intrnal politics will affect other foreign nations.I suppose a good many nations of old Europe would love to see the U.S. slide into Obamas’ socialistic views.Which also brings up another question about Obama.
    On innauguration day,will he request that he be sworn in with his right hand on the Koran?

  29. James Corolis,
    Whilst I can see why, as an American, you might get on the defensive about this discussion, it’s exactly this kind of ignorance about your countries position within the world which is why we have these discussions. If your countries government and people understood better about your position as the worlds leading economy and superpower, and how to justly use that power, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.
    You’ll say “I don’t care what you think, it’s not your countries election”, which is true – it’s not our election, however if you don’t care about the rest of the world, why does your country have troops stationed all over the world fighting illegitimate wars? Perception: for self-interest, and that’s why we care about your election and have opinions.
    As for ‘socialist’ Europe, would you mind telling me which countries in Europe are socialist? This ignorance again causes problems. Americans often talk of ‘brainwashing’ in some of the ‘evil’ countries, well here is a realisation – you have been brainwashed. You innately assume that everything in the US is better than anywhere else, and there is nothing that can be learned from Europe or any other place in the world. People in Norway and Sweden pay 50% income tax………. and they live a better life than most Americans!
    These are only opinions, so feel free to disagree as I’m sure you will. Regards

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