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The American presidential election, and thus the result of the ongoing primaries, will be a large factor in shaping the nature of the world 5 years from now. Affecting countries far beyond that of the USA, the decisions that rise from it will dominate the current turbulent financial waters of the ongoing national debt crisis as well as every other aspect of global politics. The USA is still a world superpower as well as being a leading power in NATO. Additionally the USA has, in recent times, come to influence popular culture around the globe to an unprecedented degree.
In the country with all of this influence, why is the selection of candidates so, and I use the word deliberately, pitiful? At the time of writing there are 4 individuals left in the running for the Republican nomination: Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. One of those four will run against the incumbent Barack Obama for the Presidency. The generally negative reaction to Obama’s presidential term has led to a resurgence in grassroots, in the form of the ‘Tea Party’, and more traditional Conservatism in the zeitgeist. But there is one common thread to the Republican nominees; they would all be disastrous, not only to the US but to the entire world.
Iran is one focus among the Republican nominees with three of them suggesting that if Iran continues its nuclear programme, which is suspected to be military, in the face of UN sanctions they would enter into yet another armed conflict in the Middle East. A war with Iran would likely drag the NATO powers into yet another unwinnable neo-colonialist conflict in a time of austerity. And that’s not mentioning the threatened retaliations, and definite strain on relations with both China and Russia.
The only nominee who does not support starting a war in Iran, the Texas congressman Ron Paul, goes the other way entirely, as a libertarian (mostly) he sees the military’s expenditure excessive and disagrees with America’s aggressive foreign policy. He would pull out American troops from around the globe, the Middle East, Asia, Europe and South America. This too would be disastrous to world security as UN & NATO, of which US troops are a significant presence; security forces do provide stability in many regions, especially by providing training to security forces in these countries.
Economically the candidates occupy a broad spectrum running from traditional conservatism to libertarianism. A general policy shared by most of the candidates is a scaling back of welfare and the repeal of ‘Obamacare’, the effect of both of these will be a reinforcement of the forces keeping Americans out of work, let us not forget that whatever his faults under Obama unemployment has fallen to 8.5% from its peak of 10% in early 2009. The globes economic fortunes are tied to the USA, with it still having a GDP equal to the entire EU and twice that of China, the US cannot be reckless with its economy.
While researching the candidates the bizarre chasm in popular culture that exists between America and many other countries became obvious. Of the 4 candidates none believe in gay marriage or the separation of church and state and the majority do not believe openly gay individuals should be able to serve in the military, evolution, or that climate change is a man made phenomenon. Having these anti-scientific and theocratic views in government only popularises this sort of opinion abroad. For example America exported its Neo-creationism around the globe; with government backing this will only become more common.
Now they’re not all without any good aspects: Newt Gingrich is, when it suits him politically, a fervent advocate of space exploration and the need to fight climate change. And some find Ron Paul’s promises to end the war in Afghanistan a positive point, but overall every single Republican candidate would do more harm than good to the global stage. That is not to say that this is a call to re-elect Barack Obama; he has over his tenure proved himself to be dishonest and without conviction or backbone. However it turns out the world will be in for an interesting four years.