Should the United States Have a Say in Who Leads the Governments of Other Countries?Randall Holcombe • Friday August 19, 2011 11:10 AM PST •
President Obama has called on Syrian President Assad to resign, not too many weeks after he said Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi should step down. I’m no fan of either man, but it does make me a bit uneasy that the political leader of my country is making public statements about who should hold the position equivalent to his in other countries. In his position as president, I would say this is an issue well beyond his scope of office, and he should stay out of it.
News articles like this one from “Voice of America, A Trusted Source of News & Information,” even attribute the president’s demand as our nation’s, referring to this as a “US Call for Assad to Resign.” Because Voice of America is run by the federal government, this lends credibility to the idea that our government believes it has the right to weigh in on who should hold government power in other countries. Why is the political leadership of other countries the business of the United States?
If the head of state of some other country called on President Obama to resign, would the president view this as a legitimate demand? Is there any reason to think that the United States has more of a legitimate right to pass judgment on who should hold political power in other countries than other countries have to pass judgment on who should hold political power in the United States?
I’m not objecting to President Obama having an opinion on the matter. I’m objecting to his projecting his opinion as the official opinion of the United States, and the implication that the United States government has the right to weigh in on who should hold government power in other nations.