The Republican attack on Obama's pick for Secretary of Defence is a particularly blatant example of why the outcome of the 2012 US election was so important for the world. Second term Obama will not be perfect, but the alternative would have been catastrophic.  

Having watched the US Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing for America’s next Secretary of Defence, and having watched the political spinning on the weekend talk shows that followed, it is clear that a core of the Republican Party cares more about its own vanity than the direction - politically, fiscally or militarily - of the United States, let alnoe the rest of us.