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US elections: conundrum of reviving economy


Americans go to the polls in a week’s time. As usual the campaign trail was full of drama.

Report by Tapiwa Gomo

The last presidential debate on foreign policy exposed America’s skewed view of the world, which is far from reality.

For both candidates, foreign policy is about controlling other regions and not working with them.

It is about imposing American interests not accepting geopolitical diversity.  Political and economic dynamics have changed from the First World War period when America imposed itself as a global super power.

While American thinking has not yet moved with time, it still provides interesting episodes. For example, Colin Powel, a senior republican, has once again endorsed Obama, a democrat, for presidency.

And that would never happen in our Zimbabwean politics where, for example a senior Zanu PF member endorses Simba Makoni or Welshmen Ncube for presidency.

And according to Sununu, Mitt Romney’ political advisor said Powell’s move had nothing to do with issues but race. That now sounds very familiar.

The debate showed that China has caused the United States headaches. First, the US didn’t expect, of all the countries, China to rise to the extent of challenging its global authority.

Second, they never envisaged that the economic rise would “steal” their companies together with “their jobs”.

These two factors do more than just strengthen China’s global political power but weakened the US economy and its global influence. Who cares about US when China can offer better deals?

The two presidential candidates are split on how to resuscitate the economy. For Obama, strengthening small-scale businesses and investment in education and research is the answer to economic revival in the long term.

Obama is aware that attempting to bring back the US companies that left for China is not easy without making some strategic compromises. Investors are no longer patriotic to political power but are lured by greener pastures. China offers what the US can not provide such as cheap labour.

That has created an economic boom which is good business for US companies which makes the US an unattractive business destination amidst a struggling economy.

Of course, they may have one or two options left — conquer the global energy market then offer reduced prices as an incentive to anyone willing to invest in the US or offer tax incentives the African way.

Romney, the republican presidential candidate, has been frugal with the finer details of his promises for job creation and economic revival.

However, a close analysis of the transcript of the last debate reveals some interesting revelations.  Romney is a typical cow capitalist who is driven by Wall Street interests.

He intends to add $7 trillion of tax cuts to the US oligarchs based on the belief that the more money the oligarchs make, the more jobs are created.

Few will get richer and control the economic cake, while the rest survive on the trickle-down employment opportunities.

This is inimical to Obama who is proposing strengthening the middle class similar to the Chinese family-based model.

While George Bush was accused of being a global bully, in my view, Romney’s policies look worse than that.

He has already sent warning shots to China, Iran, Russia and other Middle East countries. His love for power and war is well elaborated in his intentions to increase military spending. Of course, wars have historically been big business for the American oligarchs, including Wall Street mafias. And for Romney, wars will address some of American problems in the immediate and medium term.

They are a quicker way of creating business opportunities for the oligarch in the war supply chain, jobs for the millions of unemployed young people in the US while annexing control over global resource suppliers especially oil.

Each of these policies has its own problems. Targeting the middle class, for Obama, is a sure way of creating a sustainable economy but it will not bring food on the table immediately. Investing in education is a long term programme for a population that is suffering from high unemployment. And such an approach needs patience from the voters.

For Romney, basing economic revival on war mongering is obviously sinister and old fashioned.

First, it will reduce the diverse young American talent and dreams to just holding the gun under the guise of defending the country.

Second, it relegates the majority of the population into labourers and consumers, who can easily be exposed, should be there another investor exodus.

Third, Romney’s condescending attitude on Iran, Russia, China and the Middle East is risky business. Some of these countries have been secretly building their military strength and are itching for an opportunity to test that strength outside their grounds. A united China, Russia and Iran will surely be stronger than the US.

The US election is about these two choices — a choice between one that favours the people but will not immediately bring food on the table, the other that gives a man fish but will never teach the man how to fish.

It is a choice between international diplomacy and global bullying.  For those of us far from the US, we can only hope that common sense prevails in US politics.

The days of global hegemony are long gone; it is time to use brains rather than the power of bullets.

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