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The International Writers Magazine
: US ELection Watch '04 October

James Skinner

‘I hopped into a cab the other day and the first thing the guy said to me was, ‘I hope they get rid of that cowboy Bush so that we can all go back to living in peace!’

Most Spanish taxi drivers are staunch conservatives and generally support ‘right of centre’ ideas, yet the general mood throughout Spain reflects his instantaneous outburst. In fact, the majority of the Western world, barring the USA is hoping that John Kerry will win the forthcoming elections and reign in the aggressive and bellicose attitude of the present housekeeper. This is understandable for two reasons. The first is that nobody outside US borders understands America and the second is that, at least in Europe the general populous is living in a sort of false delusion of pacifism. To tackle both assumptions there is no better example than the opposite ends of a political magnet reflected in the outcome of the recent Spanish elections. Spain, under the right wing leadership of Jose María Aznar was firm and somewhat authoritarian. Spaniards felt they were being bullied and did not like it. In the eyes of Americans, this spelt out ‘firm leadership’ no different to that exerted by George Bush. The newcomer, Jose Rodriguez Zapatero is completely the opposite and the electorate love him. So far he is proving to be a real ‘pussycat’. Yet across the Atlantic, he is viewed as a future European disaster, specially in the fight against terrorism. America respects strong leadership, Europe prefers the ‘softly softly’ touch. Hence the enigmatic difference in opinion on the choice of the future leader of America and the world.

But back to the forthcoming US elections, how about a quick look in on the Republican campaign.
‘These figures coming in from Iraq are frightening. We’ve passed the thousand mark on casualties and now these decapitations. None of this is good news,’ said one of the aides during the morning session ‘think tank’.
‘Sure, yet Allawi has come across just fine in Congress and the UN. This should boost our image on the positive side. You know, recovering democracy, a free world and all that jazz.’
‘OK, but how about health care and more jobs for the unemployed,’ muttered another as he poured over the updated polls, ‘the budget deficit is climbing and God only knows what Greenspan will come up with next.’
‘The key issue is,’ butted in yet another supporter, ‘security. This is what we have to keep on hammering into the minds of all those jerks who still think otherwise. We must make America safe even if it takes blowing up the world. That’s what’s going to win votes!’ There were smiles all round.

The Democrats meanwhile:
‘That was a good punch. Yes Sir! Hitting Bush where it hurts, and it’s hurting real bad.’ One of the Democratic presidential party ‘speech writers’ was referring to the recent, yet desperate poisoned dart from John Kerry that accused the President of ‘getting it all wrong’ in Iraq. ‘Thanks Bill, it may get us a few more votes but we still don’t have the answer to clean up the mess out there. I’ve got to convince America that the world’s safety is also our safety. That’s the real challenge to win us the Presidency!’ John Kerry raised his hands with fingers pointed in the usual fashion. ‘Get me an answer, gentlemen, get me an answer.’

Both the above simpleton dialogues could sum up the tension and uncertainty building up in the brawling camps as they each fight for sufficient votes to take over the White House. Yet neither address the overall problem facing America in the future. Isolationism!

America was hit hard and below the belt on September 11th 2001. There is no doubt in any civilised human beings’ mind that the most notorious terrorist attack in modern history convulsed the world. Millions and millions of people the world over mourned and many sympathised with the anger and thirst for vengeance that eventually led the Bush administration to go after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Sadam Hussein in Iraq. But a year on, events have gone dramatically wrong and the situation in the Middle East, championed by the set up in Iraq are far from the ideal built up by the Pentagon when the 7th cavalry first invaded the place. The international community has turned against America as increasing television images and media coverage of human carnage, specially of Iraqis, continues to plague every household across the globe. Every time pieces of human flesh are strewn across a Baghdad avenue or a hostage is beheaded before our eyes by some human animal from the dark ages dressed up as Genghis Kan, the gulf between the USA and the rest of the world deepens. Uncle Sam grows angrier whilst Little Bo Peep points a never ending ‘I told you so’ finger at George Bush. Will the bursting point hinge on the forthcoming US elections? If George wins, will he soften his international aggressiveness? If John takes over will he produce a miracle and slow down the hurricane to a mild winter storm?

But hold on! We are referring to one of the most important and influential political events in the world. We are staring at ‘THE’ single event that may transform the future destiny of humanity and civilisation. We are talking about the presidential elections of the United States of America!

Lets start with George Bush. When the Texan burst into Iraq, apart from the obvious, he did accomplish one thing. He drove a lot of other ‘rats’ back into their holes to rethink their nastiness towards America. Libya went all soft, Iran reviewed its antagonistic policy towards the Atomic Energy Agency. Most Arab states closed their eyes. North Korea subdued and reverted to a ‘nobody is listening to me’ mode. Nevertheless, except for Russia, who has a very similar security problem, the rest of the freedom loving democratic world was outraged. But so what, America proved a point: ‘Don’t mess with America’. If George and his team win again, that same message will be driven even further into the pacifist households. On the other hand, if a second term international policy does not open a true dialogue, specially with the United Nations, the underlined prospect will be less rather than greater security in the world.

On the other hand, if John Kerry takes over the Oval Office, despite being an unknown factor, his international policy will have to continue down the same lines as that of the Bush administration. He has no choice. Although he has accused his opponent of blundering the invasion of Iraq, it does not mean that under his leadership America would have done the opposite and left Saddam Hussein to continue with his murderous regime. It is not a message to the rest of the world that the USA would have stayed at home playing pinochle. However, Kerry has no yet come up with an answer to solve the problem. Thus, from a domestic viewpoint, that is, the US electorate, the choice between Bush and Kerry lies in the perception of who can offer greater security and thus economic stability. From an international dimension, the outside world is hoping, erroneously, that John Kerry will offer more appeasement and detante a thus rid the world of a warmonger in order to bring peace and security to a troubled world.

Effectively fighting Islamic terrorism is the answer. It may sound obvious but the main obstructing factor in this war is the discrepancies between US international policies and those from other countries, mainly Europe. These are hidden somewhere in the bowls of the US election campaign and are overshadowed by the overall search for homeland security with political rhetoric from both sides claiming to have the answer. Europe, on the other hand, specially the politicians and media, must appreciate that the American people are genuinely scared stiff of an attack and that the election result will reflect this fear. Those accusing America of creating the problem and thus inciting the populous to raise against them are wrong. It only feeds more fuel to all the fundementalist thugs.

I have gone on record on this web-site time and time again stating that the democratic world should unite and support America in their search for a solution to rid us of Islamic terrorism. They should not consider the US elections as a McDonald’s outing and view the result, regardless of its colour, as being the most important event that will have an impact on world stability. Americans, on the other hand should appreciate that through their choice of leader, the key to international peace will emerge. Their homeland security will automatically follow!
© James Skinner. October 2004.
See also
Summer Blues
Why Terror Wins
Surviving the Golden Age- Life in the Third Age

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