US election impacts us all [Archives:2004/787/Viewpoint]

November 4 2004

The US elections are now over. The winner was still unknown by the time we went to the press, but it is essential to note that whoever won, we are all affected.
Being the most influential country in the world, the USA has a say in the affairs of many other nations. Whether with its political influence, its economic contributions in international organizations, its massive consumption of energy, and other arenas, the USA is no doubt the single most dominant country in world affairs.
This means that the elections in the USA will define many policies throughout the world. This is why Arab countries anxiously waited for the results of the election, to know how they would prepare their agendas and strategies.
It is a fact that both Kerry and Bush are not admired greatly by Yemenis and are both not up to the expectations, especially when dealing with the Middle East conflict and the occupation of Iraq.
Nevertheless, I cannot but acknowledge the fascination of my Yemeni friends over the level of competition and overall democracy standard of the USA. They see that the advertising campaigns, the meetings with the public, the speeches, and the debates as a healthy indicator of a functioning democracy.
“It is something we can only dream of here in Yemen,” was what my friend Ahmed told me the other day when comparing with presidential elections taking place in the Arab world, including Yemen.
On the other hand, Yemenis complain that the US has turned a blind eye to our agonies and frustration as Arabs under brutal dictatorships that have been kept in place with the support and encouragement of the West, topped by the USA.
“If it were not for the support the USA had been giving our regimes, I believe we would have been much better off today,” Ahmed added.
It's obvious that George W. Bush is disliked by the majority of Yemenis due to the wars he launched in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, there is one action that most Yemenis liked about Bush, and that is his focus on helping democratize the Arab world after decades of negligence to this important element.
If there is one thing that Yemenis and I believe most Arabs would want to have continue in the US administration, is its persistence on continuing efforts to help reform the Arab world, to help it get out of stagnancy and have a better position in the world.
Let us hope that whoever comes out as the winner in this election will be a driving force for assisting reformists in the region and the world, to bring about a better future for each individual country, and the world as a whole.