Caledoniyya

The obligatory US election blurb

Just before the witching hour the world will change.

A grand statement perhaps, and one written with more than a little cynicism and wonder.

Wonder, for the global excitement and stake in the US elections emphasises how much the country has become a part of our lives across, above and below borders and oceans.

If the media provides a gauge on the power wielded by a country, then America emerges as a behemoth.

Just behind, territorially tiny yet politically mighty Israel demonstrates that it is will, not weight, that carries an agenda forward.

Last week in class the students were discussing international humanitarian law, the United Nations and clout.

As they named the key players one student – tired from the long day of lectures – erupted at the mention of Israel, ‘it’s too small to have influence!’

The class laughed and the reality of size-versus-actual influence sunk in.

America is a global entity and we all have a stake, be it for peace, business or the making of history.

Who triumphs tonight will determine how events will unfold in conflict zones, regime endurance and foreign relations old and new.

The legacy of overseas relations was uniquely captured last week in a poll by the BBC of 21 countries (below).

Most noticeable was the favouring of Mitt Romney by Pakistan over Barack Obama, who remains the darling of the other pollsters.

On twitter and facebook, commenters marvelled at the result.

But it is not surprising: Pakistan has lost over 800 civilians to drone attacks under the Obama administration and the No More Drones petition taken to New York by the PTI presidential candidate Imran Khan is central to his own campaign.

On a more nuanced level, as The Man put it (hat-tip), Pakistan is a country of realists and has long favoured the Republican stance.

For Pakistan, the Democrats have leaned towards India and when in government, Pakistan becomes a but a menacing footnote.

Thus, when former President Bill Clinton visited Asia, he spent a long period in India, but only 3 hours in Pakistan.

Conversely, when Republicans visited the region their visits were longer and more engaged with the latter state.

In turn, while Obama represents liberal values on the surface, the legacy of the drone attacks and the fissure between Pakistan and India (and the corresponding Republican/Democrat dichotomy) determines a country’s interest in who assumes the mantle later this evening.

As an enduring pessimist, I believe we are damned either way.

But, in a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea, I will be hoping for a Democrat victory tonight.

The refrain that Obama has not had long enough is true; equally so is the notion that he is not a one-man show: as president he must follow the lines of multiple agendas.

In comparison with Romney (whose visit to the Middle East and accompanying quips left a bitter taste of disbelief) then, he comes of better.

But then, I am just as guilty of judging from a MENA-centric standpoint and the multiple other issues (domestic and otherwise) make this as complex a choice as ever.

Thoughts, thoughts and thoughts.

Until midnight, then.

One comment on “The obligatory US election blurb

  1. Haitham Al-Sheeshany
    November 6, 2012

    Well, ri8 u r n using = obligatory!

    ——-
    Pakistan has every right -I guess-

    ——-
    elections for the pres. of the world!!

    I`m on the (very) fence regarding a choice (in lack of a better word!)

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This entry was posted on November 6, 2012 by in Americas, Politics and tagged , , , .
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