The news of an Alaskan dark horse as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 US election was two days old when the presidential candidate’s wife told the world over the ABC network that Sarah Palin’s international credentials came from living near Russia. John Bolton, a former Bush appointee to the United Nations who never won his country’s confirmation to the post, later strengthened the endorsement by pointing out that Alaska was also next to Canada. A Palin spokesperson then affirmed that Alaska’s geographic location presented an advantage in gaining international expertise. With that, the world has an opportunity to adopt a radically new standard of “proximity” for heading into revolutionary directions.
The groundwork is laid for introducing the new standard at the global level through the United Nations, the global forum where the world’s 200 countries routinely air views as presumed equals. There, Kazakhstan can now assert its right to lead the world because of its expertise on the affairs of two of the world’s great powers, Russia and China, on the grounds that it is sandwiched between them. Of course, Mongolia will make the same claim. A corollary to those assertions will be the granting to the winner of a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, the elite organ of the global Organization monopolized since the Second World War by Russia and China, along with France, the United Kingdom and the United States. The powerful right to veto decisions of the others will also devolve to the new world leader.
Kazakhstan and Mongolia, however, will enter fierce battles to establish preeminence for leading the world on the basis of geographic proximity before claiming victory. Mexico will argue that its proximity to the United States makes it an expert on global finance, military intervention and industrial innovation. Greenland, at present a province of Denmark, will proclaim its independence and win the right to lead based on its strategic position between Canada and Iceland, the European outpost. The dysfunctional Somalia, in turn, will point to its location as one country away from oil-rich Saudi Arabia to affirm its eligibility for world leadership based on familiarity with wealth. Africa, as a whole under the African Union, will claim the right to lead because the United Kingdom-owned Island of Gibraltar is a springboard between itself and Europe through Spain.
In short, the United States has reclaimed its right to lead the world after eight disastrous years of alienation by resuming its quintessential global role through its 2008 presidential campaign. Whether by accident, irony or willingness to give free play to freedom of speech, the United States has energized the world and opened up prospects for moving forward in global relations.