Boy, is it getting tougher for Mr. Bush? [Archives:2004/725/Opinion]

April 1 2004

Hassan Al-Haifi
As the presidential elections in the United States get nearer (but not near enough for President George W. Bush), it appears that the most optimistic forecasters for the present White House Administration are hoping for is a very close race with John Kerry, the almost for sure Democratic candidate. In such a case, the experience of the last close race (Bush 2 vs. Al Gore) would be a plus for the incumbent President and James Baker can be counted upon to shift the count towards Bush again. However, it appears that there is still ample time left to make it more and more difficult to assure a Bush victory or even a close count, because with each passing day, circumstances are making it more difficult for the Bush Administration to be assured of any hope for even a close match, let alone a decisive victory. If we just look at the “record of achievements”, if they may be called that at all, we undoubtedly have a lopsided track record of setbacks actually, as far as the majority of American voters can see. This is especially true on the economic front – the front that really counts as far as most Americans are concerned. While the policy of cuddling up to the rich and affluent may be nice for attracting substantial donations to finance the campaign, the fact of the matter is that campaign donations cannot be used to buy votes. Many Americans are gradually showing signs of strong discontent of the misguided economic policies that have quickly turned the country from one of a once prosperous nation at the zenith of its economic strength and well being and fiscal soundness to a country with an unsure and perhaps misrepresented “growing economy” beset by a mounting budget deficit and a stagnant employment picture, if not a moribund one. Many economic analysts are ready to point out that the official picture of the economy not only tries to whitewash the extent of the deteriorating economic indicators, but goes even as far as mislead, with the obvious politicizing of the government agencies responsible for monitoring “objectively and autonomously” the economic conditions of the United States. It goes without saying that the promises and forecasts of the Bush Administration on this front are far from being realized, and efforts to blame the matter on the attacks of 9/11 are not proving helpful anymore.
On the other hand, the Bush Administration's reliance on its track record of “managing a country at war” will not prove to be as effective as the Bush Administration would like to think. For one thing, the people of the United States, for all intents and purposes have managed to put the storm behind them somewhat and carry on with life on a more pragmatic plane, and have now come to even question the “crisis management” of the attacks, which by all counts must be remembered as being shocking and cause for obvious deliberation and swift but carefully planned countermeasures. Admittedly, the Bush Administration had a good start at harnessing full international support and sympathy. The heinous attacks themselves, by their sheer ferocity and heavy toll, in lives, in material and in the psychology of a nation that previously considered itself immune to the calamities that people sometimes engineer against their own kind for one evil reason or another, provided sufficient grounds for such support and harnessing. The Bush Administration may in fact has misread this background of international condemnation for such a monstrous attack to mean that it is time for America to take over the global map and proceed with engineering a world, where the might of the United States is a sound basis of producing a world that must submit to the will of naive policy makers, who sit in their simulation rooms emulating the ground rules for international relations. This backfired to produce a divided world in which the United States and its persevering ally the United Kingdom and its aggressive partner Israel can will proceed with turning those simulations into facts on the ground, while at the same time not forgetting to make sure that their domestic political allies have the most to gain from such radical turn in international affairs. The results are an incomplete adventure in Afghanistan, an increase in the intensity of terror attacks in more than one country and an inexplicable display of power without purpose and rational sense in the Euphrates. This picture has only belatedly began to gain momentum in the United States and the daily reports in all the fronts, where these incomprehensible shifts in American foreign policy are being played out have yet to produce anything that can be called stable if not gratifying, even from an American prospectus. The once uncompromising international support has turned into outright opposition in some areas. This is true even where America once enjoyed unfailing backing for most of its positions on the international theater. This also brought on an increasing suspicion of intent, with the manifestation of a “might makes right” policy and the furtherance of American interests, in their narrower sense.
Furthermore, with the obvious lack of concern for one of the major causes that terrorists are leaning on to justify their maniacal acts, namely the Middle East problem, the United States is increasing the possibility that the kindled flames ignited by such an attitude towards the most pivotal area in the world today could give rise to an explosive situation. Passions in the region are volatile in nature and the almost spoiled child attitude that characterizes present American relations with the Likud demagogues in Tel Aviv are not helping to insure any stability for the region or the world, especially with the miscalculated results that are coming to light of the Iraq Adventure. To be continued