The American Presidential election this year is taking place in a fast changing political climate of global re-alignment of forces for the first time after the cessation of hostilities on the surface. In reality, the Cold War had never ended- it only subsided in response to the needs of the times. The sole objective of the Cold War was “containment of communism”.
It meant keeping the USSR and China and their satellites in check. Arms race and denunciation of communism as a form of government was the most powerful weapon in the hands of advocates of democracy and free market.
There was freedom of thought and expression, independent judiciary, free and fair elections, equal rights to all citizens, open & liberal society in this format which contrasted impressively with the iron curtained closed society and government in the other.
The advocates of democracy were led by America in alliance with European nations. NATO was created to give the Communist Order represented by the USSR and China a tough fight.
The Afghan problem has its genesis in this clash of the leaders of the two major Blocks of the Cold War, America and the USSR.
Afghanistan’s borders touched the USSR. The Soviets were expanding their influence in this region. Communist influence was visible in the newly independent sovereign nations in the region. They had very bitter memories and a natural dislike for their colonial masters. America being the ally of Europe did not inspire much confidence. The socialist leadership of India was seen as tilted towards the USSR. The Americans patronized Pakistan and exploited its hostility towards India under the Doctrine of Containment of Communism.
Afghanistan only became the sacrificial goat as the anti-USSR front was opened by America in Afghanistan, ill advised by Pakistan. Pakistan has been fooling and exploiting America since then. Pakistan would have continued to play its game with America for long had the Osama Bin Laden incident in Abbottabad in Pakistan’s most secure Military Cantonment not opened the eyes of the American administration and people generally, exposing Pakistan as a dangerous terror sponsoring country. If America is witnessing regular terrorist attacks for some time, it is a part of the larger Pakistani game to bleed America after it got exposed.
Pakistan had launched terrorist operations successfully in European countries, which have witnessed several deadly and barbaric attacks in the last few years. Its operations in America will only grow in deadly proportions in the coming years for reasons so apparent to everybody excepting the American establishment, political parties, presidential contestants, electronic and print media industry like the NYT, CNN and the WSJ.
Either the Americans are intelligent enough to downplay the coming events or have absolutely no idea of Pakistani designs on it. The threats from the new alignments of Pakistan in the region are still to be acknowledged by America since there is little mention of them in the first presidential debate. Mercenary terrorists from the only global terrorist factory pose a real threat to America than anybody else. Jihad is simply a mask to justify these brutalities in America or Europe and develop local cells of citizens to carry out serial bomb blasts in Florida, Boston or New York. Individual attempts of by leaders like Sen. Ted to pass the law on declaring Pakistan as a terrorist state are symbolic and will achieve nothing for years, which is enough for terrorists to execute their plans. By the next presidential election in 2020, the terrorists would have made spectacular progress, as they have done since 9/11.
It makes little difference to others whether America tags Pakistan as a terrorist state or not since they have already punished Pakistan for its terrorist activities and can handle it effectively in the future too. America has to worry about itself.
Pakistan no more needs America. It has great friends in China and Russia besides the support of most OIC, Al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist outfits in the world. Pakistan enjoys the sense of déjà vu among liberal intellectuals of America who deliver clichés like terrorism has no religion. The Jihadists have no shame in unleashing terror attacks in the name of religion. On the contrary, they take pride in it. Pakistan also manages a regular army of mercenary religious jihadi terrorists, whom it exports on a regular basis. It has no other reason to send its citizens to carry out attacks in America as it has no territorial dispute with it.
Pakistan is no genuine democracy but military dictatorship, nurtured by America during the Cold War era. The military brass have got used to power and pelf to such an extent that they don’t even think of becoming subservient to the civilian authority of a democratic government. America might be getting somewhat disillusioned with it, but Pakistan stopped worrying about it long back when it chose to defy America in getting Laden for them and harbored him instead in its military cantonment. Now it has found new friends, whose patronage will embolden it further.
American can delay a clear policy on Pakistan, Jihad and terrorism only at its own cost. The jihadi mindset is not at all apologetic about the barbaric terrorist strikes including 9/11 but is determined to seek revenge on America for killing Saddam Hussein. America has not been forgiven for it and the Jihadis are not going to give up even after hundred years. Is America prepared to face such a challenge? Are its allies going to stand with it in thick & thin? Answer to this depends on assessing the impact of new alignments in global power blocks.
Russia and China are in collaboration not only in the South China Sea affair but much beyond it. They have captured the space vacated by America in Afghanistan. They have befriended Pakistan to expand their influence and hegemony in the region. Through Pakistan they want to bring the Muslim countries under their influence.
Both Russia and China are now what can be called “Progressive Capitalist Countries”. They have picked up all the merits and demerits of capitalism. They use the power of the state in communist regime to perpetuate the rule of the few. World peace has never been on top of their agenda. They too seek markets. Pakistan believes it can manipulate them as it had done with America, but these two will not be easy to conquer for Pakistan. Pakistan can only hope to strengthen the Uighur insurgency so as to create an ISIS like situation in China to start with and hope to convert the rest of China to Islam in this century! Russia has problems with the former members of the USSR. It can use its fire power to control these countries from Afghanistan. It has started joint military exercises with Pakistan. In effect, the whole region is going to suffer immeasurable misery due to the games which would be played by China-Russia-Pakistan in the next 20 years. America would have no option but to completely withdraw from the region.
This year’s election campaign has sharpened all the fault lines in what appeared to be a solidly “united” State of America. Terrorists have already started their jihadi games by creating disaffection between the black Americans and the police. This is a tried and trusted method to win friends and destabilize the government by creating disaffection among different segments of the society, generating social tensions and striking at the very integrity of the nation. The democrats and the republicans are engaged trapped in debates about an extremely narrow field of policy and programs, fully oblivious of the gathering clouds of Cold War-II.
The first Presidential Debate missed these developments!
The Cold War-II is going to impact the world economy, power balance, peace and arms race.
Issues like civil rights, food for all, health care and education have all along been on the table in all countries, capitalist or communist. In spite of that half of the world population is poor and lives in misery. They might improve by a few percentage points but are unlikely to even touch the lowest income and consumption levels of the rich in America, China, Russia or elsewhere. The American election should have spelled out the need and programs to ensure a life free from want or fear of extremist violence. It should have guaranteed the American people that Jihadists would not be allowed to hijack democracy in America. Today all American can possess weapons. It includes Jihadists. Only the ordinary American is under threat of stabbing or shooting in a public place like a mall, railway station, airport or school.
America no more strikes fear in the terrorists; rather it lives under the “fear/threat” of the terrorists. Pakistan knows it closely and is in a position to blackmail it. American secrets, technology and weapons are all freely available to the members of the new alliance of China, Russia and Pakistan. Reverse engineering is in the offing.
It is time for China and Russia to pay back America in its own coin. For these two countries it is time for “containment of America”. So, it is, in essence, a reversal of objectives and targets from Containment of Communism at the start of Cold War-I to Containment of America in Cold War-II.
The reduction in American Area of Influence in world affairs is a fraught idea for the country. It also bodes ill for the world peace, stability and economy. It is unlikely to solve problems like Syria. On the other hand, it may open new war zones in the region. With North Korea itching to go in for war with America, the new combination of forces in the region may have implication for countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and America. The American election gives no inkling of the leaders being even aware of these potent threats to global peace and economy, not to talk of an effective response to counter them.
Can America live in isolation of these developments? It is no more political ideology, but naked economic interests dictating new alignments. The Russian and Chinese oligarchies understand and champion their trade and economic interests. That is the secret of these swift developments, dynamism and bonhomie among diverse groups.
Making American jobs a prominent election issue ignores the reverse of such jingoism, which is bound to hurt America. America has no Divine Right to all jobs, high standards of living and prosperity. Other nations too have the same rights. If America threatens to recall all jobs to its shores, it is shooting itself in the foot, because others can refuse to buy American goods & services. America depends on “others” like India and China to market them. America will not be competitive in price to China. Besides, terrorists are bound to impact its markets in Europe, Africa and the Arab countries. What would America do if isolated economically by the market?
European countries have easier accessibility through land routes to these countries. Terrorists too use the land route besides colonial ties. America is secure comparatively due to distance from the factories of terror. That means the approach of the NATO members would be different from America. It may lead to trust deficit between the NATO countries. America will not be able to dictate strategies any more as it had done during the Cold War times. It will work against American interests as it is fraught with the possibilities of reduction in its sphere of influence. All the same, its domestic policies will facilitate deadly lone wolf attacks since the terrorist states are not even marked by America or others superpowers openly and boldly.
While visibly the enemy might look like the ISIS and other similar outfits, its purveyor shall always remain out of the focus of the American radar.
Outdated slogans like taxing the wealthy no more impress. Neither does the segregation of the society into rich, poor and the middle classes. Politicians have long cashed on these expressions as long as there was any threat to capitalism from communism or socialism. Both are moribund political ideologies today.
Communists as well as socialists are enjoying absolute political power in the name of the poor, the neglected, the underserved, the disempowered and dozens of such attractive epithets by securing their votes but are living like kings and queens of yore, enjoying the best of this world. They are caught occasionally but even then manage to escape justice. There are thousands of millionaires and hundreds of billionaires in these countries. They have ruled their countries since world war-II, but failed to create jobs for every citizen or eradicate poverty or disease or illiteracy. They promise health care and education for all, which has so far proved to be hollow. If people have improved their living conditions, it is not due to the communist or socialist governments in their countries but in spite of them. Millions of unemployed youth suffer the pains of hunger and hopelessness. The politicians exploit their disgruntlement by promising half a million new jobs or 25 million new jobs. How can these politicians create 25 million jobs when they hate the rich and the wealthy? The rich not only pay taxes but contribute immensely to the national wealth, economy, employment and development in the area of their operations. Nobody says the rich should not be taxed. But the taxes they pay should not be misused by the politician. What is “corruption”? Is it not misappropriation of the tax collected from the rich, poor and the middle classes? Politicians, like the malaria mosquito have developed a new strain making the disease incurable, to tell lies without being caught and their show of sympathy for the poor is nothing more than a device to keep the poor and uninformed poor and uninformed as long as they can in order to continue to harvest political power by vote or party dictatorship.
The debate proved to establish a clear edge for Trump over Clinton irrespective of the strategy of media houses like the CNN, which indulged in free propaganda in gay abundance before, during and after the debate. There can be no doubt that it would be the American people who would decide their President and not the CNN or any other Media House. There is an element of “moderation” in determining the merit of each candidate in competitive examinations so that varying standards of marking do not lead to undue advantage one set of candidates over others.
The moderators decide on a criterion for judging the merits of the candidates after discounting such advantages or disadvantages. In the first American Presidential debate, Trump was an “outsider” and Clinton an “experienced” politician. Trump did not have the benefit of notes prepared by experts in government on all the issues from terrorism to taxation. Clinton had the memory of issues handled by her as Secretary of State and also the former First Lady. Her nuanced poised superior persona emerged from this background. It was decidedly an advantage over Trump. Had she added some originality to the solutions, she would have made a personal mark. Had she lent a few initiatives to issues bothering America, she would have established a distinctive lead over her rival. Trump succeeded on the strength of his first-hand knowledge of the market and government dealings from the other side of the table. He spoke from the heart. He gave no impression of being artificial. That is where he scored a few points over Clinton.
Who knows the secrets of governance without entering office? Every new President gets briefing, goes through induction material and then only starts taking decisions. Decisions on pressing the nuclear button are not taken by one person, not even the President of America. So any new entrant to the office of the President of the United States of America is likely to learn and launch herself/himself into the presidency with ease. That is why moderation of marks on grounds of experience and inexperience is justified.
The experienced candidate that Clinton happens to be was expected to trap her rival in areas of complex policy matters where clarity has to be necessarily clouded and which provokes the inexperienced into jingoism. May be the second debate proves to be more engrossing and meaningful.
One point raised by Trump could have been exploited by his rival but she missed it. Trump asked a very significant question most innocently and worse, gave an equally facile answer. He asked: why should America play the world’s policeman? The world never appointed America its policeman in the first instance. Nor did America appoint itself the world’s policeman. For an answer one would need to read millions of pages of news and views in newspapers, magazines and books since the end of WW-II and start of the Cold War. America involuntarily came to shoulder the responsibility of the world’s policeman. It had no choice to discard its responsibility. Can someone predict the next policeman of the world in place of America?
To Trump’s another innocent bite of charging peoples it provides policing and protection, one could not have expected a better solution from a “successful” businessman. His answer is a typical businessman’s solution to state problems of excessively complex nature. Unlike in business where profit and loss influence decision making, the state has any number of considerations for a particular decision. Trump’s mercenary police is no different from the Global Terror Factory practices- it employs mercenary terrorists to attack civilized countries and their cities.
Moral responsibilities can never be substituted by mercenary considerations. Will America provide policing services to the Terrorist State if it agrees to pay? It means the contestants do not have their grip on the ground realities.
It was alright so long as America was playing the world’s policeman. It is now for America to play America’s policeman.
So far the conflict zones were away from the shores of the USA; now the terrorists have come to create the conflict zones inside America.
Unless America revisits its policing procedures to make it inclusive and impartial, it is endangered by more divisiveness than shown in this political debate.
While it is very attractive to talk of freedom of speech and thought, it can create permanent divisions in a society which can weaken it forever. The American identity is the Statue of Liberty. Can the nation suffer any division of opinion on the issue of liberty? But in the current perspective, such issues are being increasingly used to divide society. What is happening in the name of the Black Americans is a fraught.
Clinton can’t continue for long harping on gender differences and misogyny of her opponent. Women need not always try to prove that they are no less than men. Why don’t they assert their superiority to men? It would be in her own interest to cap this man v/s woman theme and raise issues that will direct America in the next 25 years of global de-stability, dithering and terror.
Trump has done well not to refrain from bringing Bill Clinton and Lewinsky in the debate. For one, Hillary is not answerable for Bill’s conduct unless trump is trying to say that instant divorce in such cases is the only remedy. I personally have given Hillary all the credit for showing maturity, Grace and magnanimity in handling the incident at a critical juncture and save the family. Divorce should be outlawed and women can certainly replace it with a “sacrosanct” once in a life-time and till death does the couple part, as is practiced largely by traditional Hindu families and not a “contract” which can be easily broken. Stability in family is the precondition for stability in a community, society, nation and even world. One man one woman is the law of nature in human society. If Trump were to wade into this undefined territory, he may get momentary glory but will collect only flak from reasonably knowledgeable sections of America and outside. Better leave intensely private matters outside politics. In their anxiousness to score brownie points, many politicians commit the blunder to descend to despicably low levels and lose public respect, which they regret at leisure.
This election is different from other elections. This is not a simple ideological fight between the Democrats and the Republicans. It is an election for the very survival of America and its values. Can America go on forever with its policies it has pursued so far under both the Republican and the Democratic administrations? If changes are required, what are they? Should America accommodate Jihadists and carry on with its outdated justice system, which was devised to meet challenges of a different kind than what terrorism and Jihadists have posed?
America needs to redesign its policies in a world that stands changed since the end of Cold War and turn of the century. It can no more look at other nations as inferior members of the comity of nations. It has to treat all the nations as equals. It can no longer exploit others by technological superiority. Its share of arms manufacture, sale and jobs has to shrink if the world has to become a happier place to live. New avenues of employment and livelihood need to be identified. America can’t afford to procrastinate any longer!