While the Ohio poll turns into a latter-day Florida and the Kerry camp rightly hangs in there until all the votes are counted, it is not looking good for the Democrats. It looks like we are in for another four years of marching towards terminal decline in America. Here is what I see in store:
- At least one more war against a state that the evangelical Christian ideologues of the far right take a dislike to - probably Iran despite the democracy there and despite the strong movement in favour of reform
- Total carnage in the Middle East as the misguided support for Israel's illegal occupation of Palestine continues
- At least one more small country's democratic government deposed in favour of a more neo-conservative-friendly puppet as happened in Haiti
- Another attempt to depose the democratically elected president of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez. Mr Chavez survived one coup-attempt already (and there is plenty of evidence of CIA involvement in that one) and will doubtless be prepared for a second one. The Bush administration has made no secret of the fact that they do not recognise his mandate. A White House spokesman is quoted as saying that "a majority of voters" did not confer "legitimacy" on the Venezualan government. But then they would know after having lost the popular vote in 2000. Chavez is a clever guy though, and it'll be interesting to see if he can thwart any schemes to unseat him.
- More of the Reverse Robin Hood Syndrome, i.e. robbing from the poor and giving to the rich. Stand by for more tax cuts for billionaires while schools close left right and centre for lack of funds. In my area, three schools are closing next year in San Jose, CA. They aren't the first, and won't be the last. Cities all over America are being starved of funds for basic maintenance of infrastructure and public works projects.
- More incompetent handling of the war on terror. Bush let Osama Bin Ladin slip through his fingers at Tora Bora by diverting troops to his misguided adventure in Iraq. He's still out there, still influential, and still agitating for more death and destruction on US soil.
- Skyrocketing debt. The last time I looked at the Federal budget deficit it was around $450 bn, an all time record. Bush, who in his first state of the union address complained about government spending too much, has become the biggest spending US president EVER. He has run up more debt than the previous six presidents combined.
- Lack of checks or balances. With Republicans dominating the Senate, the House of Representatives, the White House, and conservative judges holding sway in the Supreme Court, there is no stopping the right-wing ideologues from doing whatever they like.
- Marginalisation of international institutions, contempt for treaties, and the breakdown of international law as we know it.
America now looks to be out of control, self-centred, and heading for a collision course with the rest of the world in its quest for global domination. There has never been a time when a need to counterbalance this threat has been so great.
Europe has already shown its ability to force the hand of the US on matter such as international trade, when George Bush was forced to rescind his disgraceful and illegal tarrifs on steel imports under threat of retailiatory measures that would have been imposed by the EU and designed to hurt him in key electoral states. It was a rare moment of US humility, but the sort of thing that we need to see a lot more of.
Those who are looking for a way to inspire the people of Europe into getting enthused about the benefits of greater European unity now have the perfect opportunity. A threat is there, Europe can unite against it. For the sake of the rest of the world, we must.