Like all other American popular culture, there's no escaping the US mid-term elections. Aljazeera, BBC and everyone else was covering it round the clock. I'm not fond of party politics, they're too local for me and I don't think they make any difference in the world at large, at least not profound enough. But this particular election was pronounced as significant and marking a "shift" in US foreign policy ... etc.
So does it really matter that much whether democrats or republicans win - particularly for the Middle East or Africa - and the answer is yes and no. In terms of Iraq, many observers think it might. In the US administration, the debate isn't about the horrendous consequences of US invasion and how to salvage the people of Iraq; but how the US can "win" the war. The few thousand dead American soldiers are worth much more than the hundreds of thousand of Iraqis killed and tortured or the welfare of millions of surviving Iraqis. In that respect, both parties are the same. Where the two parties differ, is the administration's refusal to recognize the disastrous consequences of the invasion, on all levels. But the democrats are at least talking about changing course, primarily to appeal to US voters, and that's better than refusing to acknowledge the scale of the disaster. Rumsfeld was the first casualty - though I'll miss his press conferences and his ruthless style - this might be a good signal but the administration's stance remains the same, to stay the course.
It doesn't matter for the Palestinian issue, the Israeli Lobby has a powerful grip on both parties - and public life - so regardless of who is in power the US will support everything Israel does and supply it with all it needs to do it. The lobby's grip is so solid that even a hint of support for Palestine or criticism of Israel is not tolerated particularly in academia and politics, in fact, there's more freedom to criticize Israel in Israel than in the US. The US elections make no different for Africa either, both parties have similar level of interest in the continent, none.
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