News & Analysis
Compelling Election or Last Gasp of US Representative Democracy?
As the U.S. prepares to vote, the world watches ... America's friends around the globe are watching the presidential elections with a mixture of horror and hope. They are dismayed by the expense, the duration and the self-indulgence of an election campaign that does more to entertain and polarize Americans than to enlighten and galvanize them. Despite that, they hope the U.S. once again will confound its critics and produce the leadership and political will to confront a historic pivot point that is as crucial as World War Two's immediate aftermath. It is obvious to me, after recent trips to the Middle East and Europe, that despite all the talk about America's decline, the world's thought leaders consider the U.S. vote in November to be of great global significance – even though much of that was absent from President Obama and Governor Romney's first debate last week. – Frederick Kempe/Reuters
Dominant Social Theme: This is a transformative US election.
Free-Market Analysis: Reuters has posted an editorial from Frederick Kempe maintaining the importance of the upcoming US presidential elections.
We've noticed more and more discussion of the importance of this presidential election. It is seemingly being positioned in the mainstream media as a "transformative" one. Strangely, when we queried the word, we found more cites for 2008 related to the presidential elections at the time.
We never considered the 2008 elections transformative because they were held between a big government military man and a big government "community organizer." Also, John McCain was clearly not going to win. He was a polarizing candidate who didn't even appeal to the entire GOP base let alone the large population of so-called "swing voters."
Here's something from Kempe's bio at Reuters, "Frederick Kempe is president and CEO of the Atlantic Council. He previously spent more than twenty-five years as a reporter, columnist, and editor for The Wall Street Journal, where, among other roles, he served as chief diplomatic correspondent, Berlin bureau chief, and editor and associate publisher of the Journal's Europe edition."
The Atlantic Council is a prestigious mainstream think tank. According to Atlantic literature, it was founded in the early 1960s and initially populated by such distinguished American foreign policy leaders as "Dean Acheson, Dean Rusk, Christian Herter, Lucius Clay, and others ... [It] developed an ambitious agenda to engage Americans with their European partners on matters of globalist concern."
From this, we can see the reason Kempe is writing from a globalist vantage point. Heading the Atlantic Council, he is positioned to report on international ramifications of US domestic policies. Here's some more from the article:
American debt has reached perilous proportions at a time when the ongoing euro zone crisis could turn even nastier. Meanwhile, the threat of violent conflict spreads. In the Middle East alone, America's commander in chief must confront Iran's nuclear proliferation, carnage in Syria and the fragility of new democracies in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
Both candidates favor U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan by 2014, but both sweep this issue under the rug for now. Neither has a plan to address the inevitable power vacuum and instability that will result amid the already furious jockeying of the neighboring Iran, China, India and Pakistan.
For all the urgency of those issues, however, what gives this election its historic importance is that Americans will be electing a president who must define their nation's place in a dramatically changing world.
The landscape is driven by factors such as the rapid rise of new powers (in particular, China); individual empowerment – for everyone from terrorists to scientists – of a sort the world has never seen; a growing demand for finite resources like energy, water and food; and demographic shifts that may leave aging societies behind and create ever larger and less manageable megacities.
It was with some hope that the world watched the first presidential debate last week, a refreshing marker in an otherwise desultory campaign. The debate was unusually substantive on economic issues, but it fell far short of addressing the magnitude of the historic moment.
Governor Mitt Romney came closest to referring to such a moment in his closing statement, saying:
"I know this is bigger than an election about the two of us as individuals. It's bigger than our respective parties. It's an election about the course of America. What kind of America do you want to have for yourself and your children."
Governor Romney can make whatever points he wants but for those who follow the alternative media (and there are tens of millions who do) his sentiments will inevitably be contrasted with a larger reality.
THIS reality has to do with libertarian-conservative GOP candidate Dr. Ron Paul who came very close to winning the GOP nomination with positions that were considerably different than Romney's.
The GOP on behalf of the Romney campaign changed rules, disbarred Ron Paul delegates and generally made a brutal mockery of the political process. The people in charge of the Party were so obvious and disdainful in their actions that they have likely alienated the most vital part of the modern GOP, which is the libertarian-conservative wing.
We can see this alienation now that Romney has won the nomination and is appealing to Ron Paul backers to support him. Whenever one of these appeals is made on a high-profile website, the feedback is filled with vituperation and resentful comments generally. People are neither willing to forgive nor forget.
Romney is being represented by GOP supporters and leaders as a principled fighter for conservative positions. But, in fact, these positions are somewhat hard to detect, as he seems to change them regularly. Where he is strongest is on his backing for the military-industrial complex, a political stance shared by his vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan.
One of Ron Paul's signature issues was his perspective that the US should end its wars and bring its troops home. This found a great deal of resonance especially with younger GOP voters but it proved to be most unpopular with the GOP power structure.
In fact, this was the nub of GOP disagreements with Ron Paul and his supporters. It remains the single most important dispute in the Republican Party. Interestingly, Kempe focuses on this issue in his column as follows:
Even more compelling had been former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, which has not received the attention it deserves. It captured the urgent need for stronger U.S. leadership and weighed it against the desire of U.S. voters to shed their global burdens following long conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq:
And I too know there is a weariness...a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough. But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen – no one will lead and that will foster chaos – or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum.
Governor Romney referred to these roots of history in a major foreign policy address to the Virginia Military Institute this week. In his speech, Romney recalled the period after World War Two, when America contributed to the rebuilding of Europe. He said:
Statesmen like [General George] Marshall rallied our nation to rise to its responsibilities as the leader of the free world. We helped our friends to build and sustain free societies and free markets. We defended our friends and ourselves from our common enemies. We led. We led.
Kempe is doing two things in this article. He is making a case for military adventurism and he is propagating the idea that this is a most important election for the US. But neither observation seems true.
President Barack Obama has been just as pliable when it comes to the interests of the US military complex as his Republican predecessor George Bush. And given this, the idea that Romney represents an important alternative is obviously unrealistic.
Kempe's article can be seen as a positioning statement. His colleagues and superiors are all invested in the larger power elite paradigm of globalism, and this positioning remains fiercely defended.
In fact, the powers-that-be have supported and expanded the idea of transformative democracy for more than a century. But the events of this latest nominating process combined with what we call the Internet Reformation are rapidly making the meme less credible.
It is obvious to us that the US and the West in general are moving toward more authoritarian sociopolitical models even as the idea of representative democracy begins to fade. What is troubling is that Kempe's defense of the status quo is probably less-than-compelling for many who follow these sorts of conversations.
Conclusion: Clashes between elites that have set up these dominant social themes and an intelligentsia that no longer subscribes to them are bound to deepen over time.
Posted by laceja on 10/15/12 05:38 PM
"The GOP on behalf of the Romney campaign changed rules, disbarred Ron Paul delegates and generally made a brutal mockery of the political process. The people in charge of the Party were so obvious and disdainful in their actions that they have likely alienated the most vital part of the modern GOP, which is the libertarian-conservative wing."
I hope this statement doesn't mean the good folks at the DB think the Republican Party cares that those of us, who support Ron Paul, have been alienated. Frankly, I do believe the exact opposite is the truth. It all appears to me to be just a charade to split the country apart. What could be better than having the country split in half, against each other? Splitting it into three parts, pitted against each other. Classic divide and conquer, but with a most advantageous twist. The PTB, I believe, likely view this as very good for them, because they can create even more chaos.
Sorry to be so negative, but it all seems so very obvious!
Posted by Jeanna on 10/15/12 06:06 PM
The GOP not only alienated the young Ron Paul supporters, but taught us all that our votes only count the way they want them to count. Many of the DB readers tried to tell me last year, and I was too naive to hear. I labored under the belief that the GOP at least honored the voted ballot. Now, they have shown all of us that a voted ballot just gives the counters another number to play with. So, they have done more than alienate us. They have, at the least, lost this voter's permission. I will not play in their system again.
Posted by Jeanna on 10/15/12 06:08 PM
Further... surely Romney realizes that he will suffer the same treatment he handed out to Ron Paul. The votes will be counted for Obama. Turn about is fair play, yes? There is no election. There is only deception. There is no America. There is only the thought of it.
Posted by Danny B on 10/15/12 08:11 PM
A simple summation of WW II would be;
London Bankers didn't like the fact that British business interests were losing market share to Germany. They knew that they had to drag America into the war to have any chance of prevailing. Following WW II, Anglo-American cartels castrated Germany to renew their grip on the world economy.
If anyone is going to talk about America leadership, postwar, you have to keep in mind WHY there was a war.
While "American leadership" may have helped to contain the U.S.S.R. It can be argued that the U.S.S.R. would never have formed without the war against Germany.
American leadership was just a continuation of Anglo empire building.
American leadership has spread democracy in a world where ALL democracies with universal suffrage fail. American leadership is exemplified by the disaster in Yugoslavia. We bombed them back to the stone age to bring peace.
America leadership didn't bring peace to Europe. Post-war economic integration brought peace to Europe. Birth control and mechanized agriculture brought peace to Europe.
American leadership is exemplified by Viet-Nam where we brought war just for the sake of war. America leadership tried to destroy Bolivarianism and install dictators in Latin America. Same for Iran and many MENA countries.
American leadership may have meant well at some level but, it always came with some rotten bankers attached to the deal.
You saw Confessions of an Economic Hitman.
Click to view link
American leadership used the Reserve-currency status to rob the world.
On-the-ground reality shows that America leadership is disaster politics.
As far as foreigners watching the election, the literate ones have to be laughing and crying at the same time.
Click to view link
Disgusting is the right word for it.
Posted by Bischoff on 10/16/12 01:04 AM
@ Danny B
DANNY: "London Bankers didn't like the fact that British business interests were losing market share to Germany. They knew that they had to drag America into the war to have any chance of prevailing. Following WW II, Anglo-American cartels castrated Germany to renew their grip on the world economy."
BISCHOFF: You gave a pretty astude summation. However, the real cause of WW II lies with the reason for starting WW I. The industrial revolution in England led to the rise and success of Brittain's international trade. The gold standard made it possible for Brittain to realize huge gains in trade with foreign nations.
International Bills of Exchange, reconciled with gold, caused gold to flow to those countries which were most efficient in industrial production. For a long time, Brittan enjoyed the greatest inflow of gold, until the emergence of German chemical and die industries, holding patents to important industrial processes, changed the trade balance and the gold flow to favor the Germans in the early 1900s.
It was understood by countries worldwide that gold finds would be exploited, and the gold would be mined and refined for use as "money". Gold, thus automatically became part of the worldwide trade system which needed gold to reconcile the international Bills of Exchange.
When Brittain found large deposits of gold in the South African Transvaal, instead of making the gold available as money to further world trade, the gold ended up in the vaults of the Bank of England. It was deliberately kept out of circulation by Brittain so as to prevent its flow to Germany in international trade.
Consequently, Germany retaliated by paying their civil servants with "irredeemable currency", using the freed up gold reserves to support their new chemical industries, and to bolster their products in international trade. Soon, the French followed the Germans in restricting redemption of paper currency, and before too long the entire struggle over international trade and gold flows ignited into a World War by the killing of an Archduke in Sarajevo in August of 1914.
Germany lost WW I, and subsequently was settled with reparations which she was entirely unable to pay. Germany lost all her gold to pay for war materials used in WW I. Furthermore, it was severely restricted by the Versailles Treaty as to what it could produce. Germany did the only thing it could do with its monetary system, namely to extent the use of its "irredeemable" Reichsmark for use to the whole of the German population, and then to inflate it which ended in hyperinflation under the Weimar Republik.
The subsequent civil strife, and the chaos caused by the hyperinflation, brought Hitler into power. WW II with all its devastation was a direct follow-on of WW I. The whole chain of events was started with Brittain locking up the gold finds from the Transvaal to cut back on the success of the German chemical and die industry.
Upon capitulation at the end of WW II, the first thing the Americans and Brits did was to take over and break up IG Farben and GAF, two of the largest chemical and die producers in the world at that time. GAF was finally sold by the U.S. Government to private investors in the 1960s.