The perspectives of foreign commentators on the issues and public choices of another nation are much more problematic than the usual citation of the brilliant (but rare) example. For every de Tocqueville there is some number of superficial commentators whose observations are best ignored. Even the truly useful reflections can be annoying if presented with unvarnished certitude. The sensible posture of the cross-national commentator, then, would appear to be restrained certitude.