The phrase, May the better man win, is commonly used with regard to sports, making choices and most famously in connection with elections. Never before has the term seemed more relevant than with the forthcoming US elections. It almost seems as if it is an election that the whole world is participating in. Sometime back there was a worldwide poll on the preferred choice for the new US President and John Kerry won hands down. A leading Indian paper has asked its readers for their choice of candidate, Bush or Kerry, with reasons, and the results are to be published on the last day of the month.
All the media hype, the public debates and the advertisement blitzkrieg will culminate in one of the twain getting a few more votes than the other and being pronounced the Best Man to lead the US government for the next four years. As to whether he will indeed be the best man, is a matter of debate. As of now, it appears like a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee and one really wonders how the most powerful democracy in the world could throw up such a dilemma for its voters!
On the one hand, there is the sitting President, George Dubya, who orders the criminal occupation of a country in the name of liberation and when the locals fight back, as they have been doing in Fallujah since April this year, he speaks of the retaliation as being basically thrust upon innocent Iraqi people by gangs, violent gangs and adds this violence we've seen is part of a few people trying to stop progress towards democracy. Nowhere has there been a soul-searching or an admittance that those whom the American media unfairly terms as insurgents might actually be freedom-fighters fighting with the last drop of their blood for the liberation of their country from foreign invaders, namely the Americans and their allies.
On the other, we have Presidential aspirant, John Kerry, who first supports the war against Iraq and then uses the same war to raise the ante against the present incumbent. He also does flip flops on several issues including the one that is most likely to affect India, outsourcing.
If Bush returns, the rewriting of the Middle Eastern map is likely to continue with American guns being trained on Iran, Syria and whichever country that the Neo Con dart falls on. If Kerry comes, he has to set right the tangle that is Iraq and smoking the peace pipe may hardly be his choice, considering the quagmire that the country has turned into. Also, being the flip flop man that he is, what is the chance of him standing up to corporate America when it comes to global issues like environment, dumping and nuclear proliferation.
While America might suffer from amnesia, it is hard for the rest of world to forget that Frankensteins like Manuel Noriega (of Panama), Osama-bin-Laden and Saddam Hussein were American creations. These men were trained and protected by several US administrations whose short sighted and self-centred policies have given rise to groups like the Al Quaida and other offshoots who have become a threat to the whole world.
On September 28th, Prince Moulay Hashid, brother of the King of Morocco, conveyed a message to America when he was called upon to deliver a lecture at the Wharton Business School. Wonder how much of the American mainstream media picked up on this message rendered so close to the American election. Hashid spoke about Iraq and then the Middle East being turned into a zone of compliance with US interest. He warned America against its blind support of Israel and the backlash with regard to Arab and Muslim opinion. He said, at some point, of course- and not so incidentally, perhaps- Palestinian rage would be aimed directly at America. The Prince made a plea to the US to change its policy and its direction, both in Iraq and in the war on terror. The most leading statement is the one that has the utmost significance with the US election around the corner: The political leadership with the will for these kind of changes does not seem to exist in the United States today.
This brings us back to the Tweedledum and Tweedledee question and whether there is the hope of seeing a change in the way that the new leader will looks at America's role with regard to the world. As Chief Seattle once said to the people who threw America's original inhabitants out of home and hearth: We did not weave the web of life; we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. May good sense prevail in America and may the better man win.