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.
— Medea Benjamin, Americans Take Anti-Drone Stance Directly to Pakistan via Antiwar.com
— Ye Hailin, Asian affairs analyst at the China Academy of Social Sciences, a government-linked think tank in Beijing.
As the United States and other Western nations prepare to withdraw their military forces from Afghanistan, China is growing nervous about the prospect of chaos after they have left. So, after years of standing in the background, Beijing is starting to show signs of closer engagement with its strife-torn neighbor in a bid to ward off disaster, say Chinese and foreign analysts.
When Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao here on Friday, they will raise their countries’ bilateral relations to a “new strategic level,” an Afghan official told reporters in Kabul this week.
But after leaving things to the Americans for so long, warn others here, Beijing may not be well placed to exert influence. “We cannot play a significant role because we do not have a sufficient presence in Afghanistan,” cautions Ye Hailin, an Asian affairs analyst at the China Academy of Social Sciences, a government-linked think tank in Beijing.
The one thing China will not be doing as Western soldiers leave Afghanistan is get involved militarily there itself. With scarcely any experience of peacekeeping operations abroad, the Chinese Army would be stepping into uncharted territory in a potentially very kinetic situation,” points out Raffaello Pantucci, a scholar who follows China’s relationship with Central Asian nations. “It would be a huge jump for them.”
— Hillary Clinton at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue opening session in Beijing. May 3, 2012
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.