Four more years

So be it. For a few hours I hoped that all my American friends were wrong, but they were right, all those I kept asking, in predicting the outcome a long time ago.

Had Kerry not conceded and, instead, enforced the "every vote counted" promise, this election would have surely ended in a juridical imbroglio reminiscent of the 2000 Florida mess. As Le Monde wrote today in its front column, "What image for a democracy that sets itself as a world example, with voters lining up at night in Ohio, anticipated votes, provisional votes, unreliable voting machines, endless recounts!".

I might lean towards Le Monde in thinking that the US electoral archaism is worrying, because it has an impact far beyond the US frontiers.

Le Monde writes, to explain why the Bush administration has no inclination to concede to America's traditional allies anything that relates to US security, that:

Americans do not understand that for Europeans, 11-9 (Nov 9, 1989, i.e. the fall of the Berlin Wall) is more important than 9-11 (the Sep 11, 2001 attacks on US soil).

For the Europeans, the key date is one of reconciliation ; for the Americans, a declaration of war. The American politics expert Robert Kagan has painted this gap in opposing a Europe coming from Venus and an America coming from Mars.

I do not share the newspaper hypothesis that the second Bush's term will mark a fall of the neocons influence in terms of foreign policy (I might be pessimistic though). But I share their views in both the fact that Europe and America cannot ignore each other in many key international issues (terrorism, Palestine/Israël, vigilance against the proliferation of WMD, etc.), and that Bush's re-election should be an electroshock for a Europe that needs to decide for itself rather than react to Washington's policy.

No system without balance is stable, and a world with just one superpower (from Mars) is not one I feel safe living in.

2 Comments

A few comments, after a few hours of thought:

a) Bin Laden got what he wanted. I think he's going to attack super-tankers. That's the best and cheapest way to threaten US economy.
b) I think we'll see major changes in the world in the two coming years; US is now facing defeat in Iraq, the arab countries are going to help the rebels there to avoid a too strong american domination on the middle east.
c) Europe is not going to change his mind now. Not with a pro-NATO and pro-US president of the european commission and other pro-NATO key executives in the EU
d) the US are going to STRONGLY push on EU to integrate Turkey. This is going to create a major gap between the EU administration and governements and the people, decreasing european unity and therefore power. I predict a total mess on this point.

The only counterweight against this American hegemony that will work, effectively, is the 49% that voted against Bush.

Europe cannot countervail without a rapid reaction force, and the very real threat to intervene. That's a long way off considering a mandate is still required by many countries for the new treaty.

Four years is a real long time.

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