Currently Showing: The U.S. Election Spectacle
By Thierry Meyssan
October 22, 2012 "Information
- Every four years the U.S. presidential election becomes a
planetary spectacle. The dominant press attempts to convince
international public opinion that the American people are
democratically designating the leader who will direct the
affairs of the world.
In certain countries, notably in Europe, the media coverage is
at least as saturated as the election of their own leader.
Implicitly, the press is inferring that while these states may
also be democracies, their citizens have no real voice in
determining their own future which is subject to the good will
of the occupant of the White House. So how can it be said that
these states are really democracies?
The problem is that voting has been conflated with democracy.
This remark also applies to the United States. The electoral
spectacle is supposed to be the proof that they are living under
a vibrant democracy, but this is all smoke and mirrors. In
contrast to the widespread conviction that the president of the
United States is elected directly by the people, he is not, not
even secondarily. The American people are not sovereign and the
citizens are not electors. The president is chosen by an
electoral college of 538 people, designated by the States which
are the true sovereign bodies. Over time, it became the practice
for the States to consult their citizenry before appointing the
electoral college. The Gore vs. Bush election of 2000 was a
potent reminder that the voice of the people plays a purely
advisory role and is not what counts. The Supreme Court decided
that it was not going to wait for a recount of votes in Florida
before proclaiming the winner. All that mattered was the
decision of the delegates, not what the voters said.
The illusion doesnít stop there. When George W. Bush resided in
the White House, no one seriously imagined that so uneducated
and incompetent a man could actually exercise power. It was
thought that a team of advisors discretely exercised it for him.
When Barack Obama succeeded him, and since he was thought to be
more intelligent it was believed that he was truly in charge.
But how can it be assumed that the team that exercised power
under Bush would spontaneously renounce it under Obama?
Observing the daily agenda of the U.S. president, it consists of
ceaseless audience appearances, speeches and ceremonies. How
could this individual find the time to really familiarize
himself with the topics of his speeches. He is no more president
than the newscasters on TV are journalists. They share in fact
the same profession: teleprompter reading.
Yet we vaguely sense that there is more to the Obama-Romney Show
than meets the eye, that something really is being decided. And
it is. In the constitutional system of the U.S., the primary
function of the president is to name over 6000 appointees to
public office. This political rotation effectively entails a
vast migration of elites. In the current context, thousands of
high-level functionaries and tens of thousands of assistants and
advisors could possibly be discharged and largely replaced by
appointees from the Bush era. The presidential election
determines the personal careers of all these people and brings
with it the corrupt bidding process that favors this or that
multinational. Indeed, there are real reasons for investing
money, a whole lot of money, in this contest.
Where is international politics in all this? Over the last two
decades, major changes never took place in the midst of an
electoral campaign; they emerged instead during the presidentís
term in office. Bill Clinton (1993-2008) pledged to reduce
budgets following the disappearance of the USSR and bring about
economic prosperity. Instead, in 1995 he commenced an expanded
program of military rearmament. George W. Bush (2001-2008) was
going to rationalize the Pentagon and wage "war without end" but
by the end of 2006 he had stopped the privatization of the
military and begun the pull-out from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Barack Obama (2009-2012) was going to continue the retreat and
"reset" relations with Russia and the Muslim world. What
occurred instead was the continued construction of the missile
shield around Russia, U.S. support for the color revolution in
Egypt and wars on Libya and Syria. Each time that these
teleprompter readers did such an about-face, they betrayed their
constituents and did so without qualm or hesitation.
The ongoing dilemma of the U.S. ruling class is to find the
right teleprompter reader, the one who can most convincingly
explain away the upcoming political turnarounds. In this sense,
Romney represents a new kind of rhetoric. He ceaselessly
reaffirms that America has the vocation to rule the world while
Obama maintains that the world should be governed by
international law. The current president is trying to resolve
economic problems by significantly reducing military
expenditures and transferring the war banner to the allies, for
example by subcontracting the destruction of Libya to the French
and British. By contrast, Romney asserts that the U.S. economy,
to function, has to have its armed forces patrol the air and all
international waters. To do so, he intends to maintain the
current level of military expenditures, despite the crisis but
also as a way of resolving it.
Whatever option is chosen, the basics will not change. The U.S.
wants to disengage from the Middle East on which it has become
less dependent as a source of energy. It can only do so by
sharing the region withRussia. If he remains in the White House,
Obama will present this course of action as as multilateral
progress. If Romney replaces him, heíll seek to carry out a
Reagan-type strategy and chain the foot of the Russian bear to
enmesh it in interminable conflicts. Clearly, in this regard and
in others, the only outcome of the U.S. election will be the
choice of arguments employed to convince us that America is a
democracy which acts with both power and good intentions. What
are we complaining about?
Translated from French by Michele Stoddard
Meyssan, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis
for Peace Conference. Professor of International Relations at
the Centre for Strategic Studies in Damascus. His columns
specializing in international relations feature in daily
newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian.
Scroll down to add / read comments
Support Information Clearing House
Search Information Clearing House