On the foreign policy front, Italians should be very concerned about the results of the American elections. Syria is in the middle of a civil war and Lebanon is once again on the brink of one. The Mediterranean is a small place and what happens in one corner affect the others, especially when there are Italian peacekeepers in the region. Obama’s policies are cautious and interlocutory while despite a moderate Mitt in the last debate, Romney says he wants the US to be respected once again. A change in American policy will change the reality for Italy. A Romney victory would increase Italian security risks.

In the same neck of the woods, Iran is an important trading partner for Italy. Obama is seeking some sort of negotiation while Romney seems in thrall to Bibi Netanyahu. A military confrontation between Israel and/or the US would have serious economic repercussions for Italy quite apart from the major regional consequences.

Much closer to home is Libya where Italian interests are even more direct; before the Libyan crisis, Italy depended on Libya for 23% of its oil and 10% of its gas. An aggressive American Libyan policy would have greater effects on Italy. A Bush-style invasion would be disastrous while negotiations, reconciliation and an attempt to build a stable and democratic Libya (or at least one or the other) is the Italian aim and that of Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador killed in Benghazi. Again, a Romney victory would have direct and immediate consequences for Italy.

But apart from the few specialist broadcasts and columns, the Italian media, and as far as I can judge, the Italian public are not thinking about even the direct consequences of the American elections for Italy.

The Washington Post put it very succinctly – most Europeans have still not realised that there is a serious competition in the US and that Obama might not win. The German Marshall Fund pollshowed that Italians still massively approve of Obama’s handling of foreign affairs, even though the approval is down from 91% in 2008 to 74% in 2012. In practice, in Italy, there is no question. Most of the country, right and left, think that “Obama is the best for us and Obama is going to win”. There has been precious little debate on what the two candidates have actually said and although Obama’s policies are certainly better for Italy than the probable Romney ones, this is a given rather than an argued point.

Not even the Italian far right has any sympathy with the Tea Party (they actually want more state intervention than the left, an anathema for the American right) and Obama is sufficiently centrist to satisfy most of the Italian centre and centre-right.

Even after the first terrible performance by Obama, the idea that he might lose hardly touched most Italians’ consciousness. “We know Obama, we don’t like him quite as much as we did four years ago, but he’ll do”.

The immediate economic problems facing Italians trump any concern about the future US leader. To the east, Greece sinks into chaos and to the west, Spain is on the verge of seeking help from Brussels. Italy might be next. With these problems at the door, the American debates over job creation over there, seem very detached from the real, Italian, world. After the risk of losing one’s job or having to pay more on a lower budget, the next most important item are the Italian elections and the crises engulfing the whole political system.

Italy will have a general election almost certainly in April. The Sicilians voted over the weekend for their regional assembly after near bankruptcy brought down the previous government and two of the other biggest regions, Lombardy and Latium will vote very soon after major scandals forced early elections. Some of the other regions are wobbling. There is a whiff of the US in the centre-left Democratic Party’s “primaries” (and now the centre-right too) but not many of the party activists really know how the Americans conduct their own primaries, but it sounds democratic.

It is curious that Le Monde has an “Elections américaines” link on their banner while no Italian paper does. For the Italian media, it is not that interesting – a competition which has lots of colour and noise, interesting and fun to watch but not really relevant.

If Obama wins again, it will be business as usual. If Romney were to win, it would take some time for the real consequences to sink in.


When it comes to drones, Americans and Pakistanis see the world through different lenses. Americans are looking through the eyes of remote-control pilots safely ensconced in bases in the United States, while Pakistanis are at the receiving end of the bull’s eye. Polls show to the two peoples as polar opposites: 83% of Americans support the use of drones against “terrorist suspects overseas”; in Pakistan, among those who say they know something about drones, virtually all—97%—oppose them.
We are not qualified to play a military game in Afghanistan. Only empires can do that, and neither the British, nor the Soviet Union, nor the Americans have won.
In Sudan and South Sudan, China and the United States are working together. In fact, with me today is the U.S. special envoy to Sudan who is in regular contact with the Chinese special representative for Africa. And I’m pleased that China and the United States joined with a unified international community just hours ago to support a strong UN security resolution that provides unambiguous support for the African Union roadmap.
via Glenn Greenwald

If Obama doesn’t end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, close Guantanamo, and STOP Bombing Pakistan, we swear to fucking God we’ll vote for him with slightly less enthusiasm in 2012

Well, we just have to wait  until they get back from their staff meeting with their Boss in Israel,  apparently Papa Netanyahu is pretty pissed about something.
Obama - the guy has created more wars than bush, created more tax  breaks for the rich than bush, enacted more draconian legislation than  bush including state sanctioned assasination, has pardoned more  criminals and fraudsters than bush, enacted more secrecy laws than bush,  removed more freedoms and liberties than bush, legalised state spying,  destroyed the new deal,  ………………………………………………..
But yeah - he’s called a democrat so ill vote for him…Fuck ME  people - get over the guy, he is the Eddie Murphie of the Political  World - he is DEAD !!
I agree with his fierce  strategy for showing the world that the usa is still strong I just hopes  he doesn’t back down to Russia or Iran : additionally I wish he would  increase our safety at airports with everyone having to go through  scanners or pat downs : thank god for Obama / we need more stimulus Amd  unemployment as well
was hoping for a joke on the naivety of saying that Obama should be doing this as if he has the capability to begin with. we need  to quit attacking this guy/that guy, democrat/republican and just  realize that the government is a machine, a system; the system is flawed  intrinsically, not Obama or McCain or Sarah Palin(insert parenthesized  joke excluding Sarah Palin from otherwise rational, understanding  sentiment).
It’s an interesting trade  off.  On the one hand, the Republicans will nominate someone worse than  Obama.  On the other hand, Obama gives in to the Republicans anyway.
At this point, I’m leaning toward voting third party, even if it  means President Romney.  (Mitt is the nominee, I hope you all realize  that.)  The only thing that worries me is foreign policy, since the  president has much more unilateral authority there than in other areas.
It’s  such a difficult decision.  Either don’t vote for him because he has  gone back on his word and face the possibility of a much, much, much  worse Republican president who would run the world into the ground, or  vote for him again, and if he wins continue to watch him go back on his  promises and give in to the fucking tea party.
I  am actually very upset. I paid taxes in 2010, even though I made little money. It was not a lot  after all breaks, but I still paid something, not like GE. Fuckers with jet planes are still getting a tax break. Bush’s  special  terms for wealthy are prolonged.
I can’t vote for Republican. You see, I am a female, pro-choice and an atheist. But how can I vote for Democrat like Obama?
How  about you vote for the best candidate for the variety of offices on  your ballot, even if that candidate is a Dem or Republican.
And when politicians job performance is to the level that they have  to go and nobody else is running, find someone to step up. Some of the  states actually have sane ballot access provisions. Some, not so much.
For the overall picture, don’t confine yourself. But at the same  time, don’t think there is no room for 3rd party thinkers in the  Democratic and Republican parties. And remember that the road to a 3rd  party (or more) society is probably gonna come from Democrats and  Republicans opening the door to it (either by mistake or mistake or  intention or mistake).
I think the process for getting ballot access and figuring out all  these logistics isn’t widely enough known to people who might actually  have some use for it.
Just some ideas.
Ok. so after watching cave after cave after no show after fucking CAVE, I’ve had it. I quit.
We need to hit the reset button. I am seriously considering voting  for Bachman and pushing for others to do the same. “But wait!”, you say  “That woman’s fucking nuts!”. Yes. Yes she is. Nuts enough to finally  bring this shit down hard. Then, we can rebuild it. It’ll suck total ass  for about 10-20 years, but when we get towards the end, when we get out  the torches and pitchforks, then we can build it right again.
Seriously, Let’s give the tea party what they want. No EPA, cause God  said birds love toxic waste. No abortions ever, so that more and more  kids get put into foster care. and MOTHER fuck those immigrants (except the ones working at our factories, k?). We’ll just have a big right wing paradise and… OH WAIT!!!
IRAN. BEST. IDEA. EVAR!!! So we invade Iran, right? that’ll go AWESOME. You saw how we freed the  shit outta Iraq, right? So we default on our debt to China, we bomb Iran  (which is one of their allies, iirc.) and we take all of the oil. and  there’s NO WAY russia would stop us!!!
Seriously though, we won’t recover until we hit rock bottom. Bachman would just make the fall happen sooner rather than later.
TLDR: to prepare for the next 5 years, learn Spanish, to prepare for the next 20 years, learn Chinese.
I  was born and raised in Pakistan but came to the U.S. when I was 18 so I  never got to vote there. Now, after 17 long years, I am finally a U.S.  citizen and will be eligible to vote here.
In 2008, I felt sad that I was unable to vote for President Obama in a  historic election. I am disappointed in how the bombings in Pakistan  have increased under President Obama. But, as the cartoon pointed out, I  will still vote for him.
My choices are to either vote for President Obama or vote for a  Republican. I just can’t bring myself to vote for the latter because  they all seem to not understand that it is very important to keep  religion separate from politics. I have seen firsthand what happens when  those two mix, and I can’t contribute my vote to it. If I decide to not  vote at all, that will be one less vote that President Obama gets.
So, yes, the cartoon is true. I’ll vote for President Obama but not with a whole lot of  enthusiasm.
The  lesser of two evils… sad state of affairs.  Although I think people  are more concerned with the economy so people see it as a choice between
1) Obama - Austerity, an economy left in life support mode, privatization & social safety net cutbacks, status quo
2) Generic Republican - Even more austerity, economic contraction,  less investment in education, knee-jerk reaction foreign policy,  anti-gay rights, socially destroying policies with the ‘war on drugs’,  xenophobic immigration policy.
Now would be a good time for the disillusioned left who voted for  ‘change’ originally, to realize that ‘change’ doesn’t come from one  politician but it comes from a wider movement that has a coherent &  appealing message.  The teaparty was the manufactured response to the  weakened political position Obama and Democrats inherited via the Bush  economy.  The sheer perversity of American politics is so transparent  that it could make anyone jaded. The entire Republican party & it’s  subsidiary Teaparty tout vague and ambiguous terms such as,  less-government, free-markets, and low-taxes. Each term is used as a  proxy to less regulation, more overreach, and more privatization at the  middle-classes expense .  The response by the left and rationally based  Americans has been largely mute, waiting for Obama to lead the way.  I  think it is evidently clear that the movement needs to reboot.
Obama  supporters befuddle me. Most people who support him are pacifist  liberals, and he is nothing like that. I can relate to why someone would  vote for him if Bachmann was the candidate for the Republicans, someone  who literally wants to dumb down America. But against pretty much  anyone besides her or Palin I don’t understand how he is much better  than the standard Republican. He is pro war, for the Patriot Act, for  the war on drugs, has protected the tax cuts for the rich, is for huge  deficits, bailouts, and has a cabinet full of Wall Street influence  (just look at how many people from Goldman Sachs are in his  administration).
You can’t just keep voting for the “lesser of two evils” forever,  eventually you have to take a stand. I’d rather vote for someone like  Nader or Ron Paul any day over Obama, even if I “wasted” my vote.