Nov 11, 2006

US Elections, what difference does it make?

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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Indigo Red said...

I must admit that when I saw the subject, my first thought was,"Great. More thoughtless tripe from another America hating blowhard." I've read so many in the last week and most of them were written by Democrats here in America. I was very surprised.

You are absolutely correct in saying yes and no. The Democrats cannot change course too much if they wish to win the elections in 2008. An analyst in Belgium today said this election was not a vote FOR the Democrats program, but was a vote AGAINST the Republican program.

Most of the Republicans who voted for the DEMs whom I have asked why they did, said they didn't like the Iraq War policies. Many of the DEMs I asked said the same. But when asked what they didn't like, it wasn't that too many people were being killed, but the war is not being fought hard enough. They wanted MORE troops, MORE battles, MORE war.

I support the original war aims, but what people are now saying surprised even me. The Democrat leadership has told the Iraqi government they have no intention of leaving Iraq. Hey plan to build many permanant bases outside the cities. Even I see this as occupation. I don't want to stay in Iraq any longer than absolutely needed. THere is no American empire and one shouldn't be started. Dump the dictator, get a new government started, get out. We've done the first two, but no one wants to take the first step out. Especially not the Democrats - "cut and run" will lose the 2008 Presidential election.

Our armed forces today are all volunteer, but the Democrats are again talking about drafting eople into the military to continue and expand the war. This is not good.

You are also right that no one cares about Africa as a whole. On your news feed, today is a story of an African dictators son who has bought a multi-million dollar home in Malibu, California. That's only a two hour drive north of me. Corruption money is buying the property, money that was meant for the betterment of his African home country. Americans allow the aid money to go unaccounted and Africans allow corrupt officials to take the aid money.

No one is innocent in politics.

This is the best post on the US elections I've read. Thank you.

Abdurahman Warsame said...

I agree that the democrat's win will not change much in the big picture, especially foreign policy. The government isn't only politicians but civil servants and advisor who are there regardless of which party is in power. Even if Nader was elected president, he wouldn't be able to do much about the US's over-relience on oil because of the immense influence oil companies have, the same goes for Palestine and else where. Add to this the 2008 elections, the democrats can't do anything original because they fear that it might fail and it will have their name on it and lose them the elections ... etc.

It seems the republicans are moving away from the neocons, and that's why they're bringing back people like Baker and Gates, the good old republicans and back to the center. I think that's a good and if that trend continues the democrats should be alarmed.

No doubt the vote was against Bush's policies more than support for the democrats, what did the democrats do to deserve it, none. But they did well "to get out of the way, when the republicans where shooting themselves in the foot"

I was listening to a talk by Clinton, he said he regretted that he didn't break some of the agreed rules in Washington and one of them was not talking with Iran. It shows you how those in the government who are not politicians can manipulate those elected to office.