By Johan Galtung
March 21, 2016 Washington, DC
Nobody knows. But under US presidentialism presidents matter; close to a dictatorship for one administration. That is where democracy–for, by if not of the delegates, it seems–enters; with a painstaking nomination process, like nothing in the rest of the world. And then the elections in November, after party conventions in July.
There are three parties in the USA: Democrats, Republicans; and Democrats in the South, loyal to the party leadership DNC and vice versa, Southern Baptist conservative, traditionally for blacks, women, working class, minorities (Southern Republicans are white Anglo men). Very different from Yankee democrats up in the North producing Bernie.
So we get a South-North gradient Hillary-Bernie, with exceptions. However, there is also an age gradient for both genders even if more for men: the older the more Hillary, the younger the more Bernie. If, likely, Hillary is nominated, Bernie will leave an imprint on US politics and many states in the North, and more so as time passes. But socialism, age and vague foreign policy rule him out as president.
Then, the Republican story, mainly the Donald Trump story. Again an outsider, a challenge to RNC like Bernie to DNC–Wasserman-Schultz. Whereas Bernie is about class-bankocracy-speculation-inequality, Trump is about race-religion-ethnicity, “demonizing anyone who is not white and Christian–flirting with Ku Klux Klan–stereotyping Mexicans and Muslims” (Washington Post, 17 Mar 2016). The class focus makes Bernie non-eligible, the race-ethnic focus makes Trump non-nominable. So it may be Hillary vs Cruz with Hillary status quo belligerence winning. Both are a disaster for the world; Trump only for the USA.
However, a suspicion: the bipartisan anti-Trumpism is also about his relation to a Putin-type foreign policy: less war, less enemies, “Cuba: fine with me”, “great mistake to bomb Serbs who were our allies in both world wars” (March 7). We will hear much more of that kind.
Whoever wins takes the reins of a failed state. Consider this list, not What Next? but What Now?, badly reflected in the campaigns.
• The war against the blacks, killing young men on sight and making them, like slaves, again forced labor, now through incarceration.
• The highest world incarceration rate (no. 2 Russia); privatized prisons on stock exchange, making more crimes pay for investors.
• Like making more wars pay for investors in arms manufacturers; in the military-industrial-Congress-banking-intelligentsia complex.
• More wars and killing around the world than ever; thoughtless killing of whatever moves, not winning, producing more resistance.
• Suicide terrorism increased from 350 1989-2003, mainly by Tamil tigers, to 1,883 2004-2009, 92% anti-American, -foreign occupation.
• “Revitalizing nuclear weaponry” (INYT, 29 Apr 2014); “mini-nukes” below Hiroshima for not unlikely use to “win”, getting desperate.
• Resolutions against North Korea doing what the veto powers have been doing for years: using nuclear weapons to deter and threaten.
• Since WWII “The Leading Terrorist State” (Chomsky) tried 55 times to overthrow foreign governments they did not like, half successfully, 18 in Latin America-Caribbean (Blum); but not Batista, Pinochet et al.
• The 33 Latin America-Caribbean states Fourth summit of Heads of State in Quito in January welcomed the Caribbean Community Reparation Commission for the “atrocious crimes” of slave trade and slavery. Hardly mentioned in Western media. And USA continues supporting coups.
• “Strategic Engineered Migration as Weapon of War” (Leonid Savin), “calls on Twitter to travel to Germany have mostly come from the US” may lead to reactions in Europe similar to Latin America-Caribbean.
• Aggressive US policy in Ukraine supporting a corrupt and bankrupt Kiev regime against the Russian-Orthodox part mainly in the East has divided NATO on the issues, with USA far away from the arena.
• China’s Belt and Road policies reach others but not far away USA.
• The American Dream fails on three counts: children are not better off than their parents; working hard does not guarantee a decent life as the value produced goes elsewhere; house-car-college unaffordable.
• The system is not even able to replace a deceased US Supreme Court justice; responsible for the disastrous Citizens United ruling that donating money for politics falls under freedom of expression.
• Huge increases in inequality with the three government branches decreasingly able to do anything, also pitted against each other.
• The Walton family owning Walmart where employees make $8 an hour makes $1.5 million an hour, having a net worth of 42% of US families combined (email@example.com 3 Dec 2014).
• The richest 1%, 115,000 households, each increases their wealth by an average $10 million per year while 138,000 children are homeless; as $30 trillion new wealth was created the number of kids on food stamps increases 70%; the food stamp program was cut $8.6 billion, paid to corporate agriculture (www.nationofchange.org 16 Mar 2015).
• The US infrastructure, airports, rail, roads, metro, streets sink to former Third World levels, where the infrastructure now improves.
• A staggering total US multi-trillion debt to be served at the expense of not serving the people and the infrastructure.
• Inequality is also high in China, but “lifting the bottom 400 million up” 1991-2004 created a 58% domestic demand increase to meet the 2008 crisis; with no such US policy the economy gets worse.
• One author’s conclusion: “After I lived in Norway, America felt backward. Here’s Why”, by Ann Jones (The Nation, 15 Feb 2016). Also Bernie’s conclusion, but not the DNC’s, nor the voters’.
Any president will have to come to grips with these 12 + 8 = 20 calamities and more. If not, What Next? Is not left or right: Down.
Unless there is a switch from a foreign policy of war to peace; and people are helped, locally and state-wise, to help themselves.
Originally published at Transcend Media Service here.