Thursday, January 28, 2016

Election 2016

The coming election is the most participatory and as such it is the most democratic election in my memory and I dare to say in anybody's memory who is alive today. Am I divulging my age? It is also probably the noisiest U.S. election in the modern times. Both aspects of this election have their pluses and minuses.

It is the most participatory because of the broad means of communication. Innumerable news and discussion outlets makes it noisy. To cut back on the noise I follow these principles.

1- As the leading country in our world the central question for the U.S. in the election is the foreign policy.
2- The internal policy choices emanates from the above.

What is the central foreign policy challenge for the U.S.? In my view the primary challenge continues to be the Islamists, the Islamic Republic in Iran and ISIS foot holds and their offshoots in the Middle East and North Africa. The pivotal aspect of the Islamists opposition to us is the question of women. Islamists' radicalism and the reason they are resorting to terrorism as a means of asserting themselves is their drive for the suppression of women. The axis of the foreign policy of the U.S. confronting the Islamists should be women's rights. This question alone excludes any Republican candidates from consideration. Republican opposition to abortion right for women essentially means that they want to follow policies to control women's reproductive organ. The Islamists are clamoring to control women's entire body and the Republicans are pursuing an agenda to control the lower half of women's body. In this election the choice should be clear none of the Republican candidates pass the basic test of being considered.

Among the serious Democratic candidates only Hillary Clinton has a clear and strong foreign policy experience. During her career she has been a clear advocate for women rights. She is open and willing to follow and develop internal reform policies that the turmoil of our time require.

Bernie Sanders so engrossed with his meaningless "political revolution" has little to say about foreign policies that he would pursue. His campaign focus has been on the internal policies, a radical agenda of providing free services for everyone taking the Scandinavian countries as his model. His outlook is popular and simply ridiculous. Scandinavian countries have been able to follow their welfare state policies only because the U.S. has been leading and they did not have to develop an independent comprehensive foreign policy system. They could until now pursue welfare policies because at the international level they have been subsidized by the U.S. Cuba could pursue welfare policies when it was subsidized by the Soviet Union. Venezuela could do it when it was subsidized by the high price of oil, i.e. by the international market. Welfare as an overall policy is unstable by its nature. Sanders is a late arrival to the welfare state experience. All the Scandinavian countries are under pressure to cut back on their welfare system and they have been cutting back. Taking them as a model and promising to implement similar policies will only put Sanders in a political dead lock paralyzing his administration. He admits that he cannot implement what he is promising and his hope is to create a "political movement". A movement that in the long run might achieve what he is promising. What that means is anybody's guess! I do not think he is talking about instigating a "civil war" in this country. That would certainly be pleasing to the Islamists!

We do not know who the candidates are going to be and whether an independent candidate would enter the race. For the moment the airways and the Internet channels are filled to capacity by the rightist and leftist supporters of Trump and Sanders. We have to wait and see how far their enthusiasm can carry the day.

No comments: