Tuesday, November 07, 2006

US mid-term Elections & the Outside World

The world news is daily dominated by US politics directly or indirectly. Elections around the world are watched or monitored by the US state department. The US opinion of elections around the world is usually a kind of seal on their fairness or lack of it. The US in a way tries to influence elections, especially in third world countries by expressing its attitudes towards key candidates. The presidential elections in Nicaragua is an example where the US is openly opposed to the victory of Sandonist Daniel Ortega, the revolutionary Marxist who fought off a US-backed insurgency in the 1980s and who appears to have won Nicaragua's presidency.

Reciprocally, mid-term elections in the US raise interest in all circles. It’s no wonder American presidents are the most famous in the world and they remain so even after leaving office. On the other hand, there is a common belief that US policy doesn’t change with a change of president or the partisan majority in the US Congress. There are cases that remain unresolved like the situation in the Middle East despite the different approaches by successive administrations. There are policies shared by them as it is the case with Cuba which has been under US economic and political embargo for more than forty years.

Elections in the US can bring changes for the Americans in their daily lives. For the outside world, the US remain the same trying to keep itself as a superpower, protecting its allies economically and militarily as well as sanctioning those who stand in its way by at least imposing sanctions on them as for North Korea or toppling regimes as it is the case in Iraq.

What can some countries aspiring for democracy do is to learn from the American democratic model like limiting the terms a president can have. This is being adopted by a number of countries like Iran- the sworn enemy of the USA and by Mexico its trading partner.

But the voters in the US still have what to learn from the outside world. They live in a huge country where they need a lifetime to explore it. But at the same time they should be curious to know about the outside world as the world keeps an eye on the US. It is not enough to vote on domestic issues. They should use their voting power to influence the decision of their leaders on world affairs, not just those in the news like Iraq but about forgotten corners in the world which they surely can’t spot on the world map because they are so immersed about their state internal affairs which must preoccupy them before their country general affairs and the rest of the world.

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