America's destiny will be determined within the next three weeks. On November 2, 2004 either George W. Bush or John Kerry will become president of the United States of America.
It isn't the first time the US presidential race is causing major uproar among Moscow's political elite. Russia's capital is rooting for the candidate from the ruling party. It is noteworthy to mention that Republicans Dole and Bush used to be considered "anti-Russian" during previous presidential elections. Today, however, this term applies to Kerry. Main question to be asked today is this: whose victory will benefit Russia the most?
George W. Bush (For)
In the world of big politics personal relationship between people are usually being sacrificed for the sake of some higher interests. George W. Bush is quite different in this respect: his ability to make decisions of tremendous importance is influenced by his personal likes and dislikes. In the course of numerous meetings with Republican political analysts in Washington and New York, I wanted to find out the main reason that led Bush to invade Iraq. The answers varied greatly. Majority of the interviewees however always recalled the phrase pronounced by Bush about Saddam: "This guy wanted to kill my father!"
Leaders of some Western countries have already experienced Bush's tough character on their own skin. As it is known, Bush has been refusing to converse with Chirac and Schroeder over the phone. This is something absolutely unheard of in world politics! AS for the Russian president Vladimir Putin however, Bush behaves quite friendly. Obviously, there is a huge amount of condescension in his good attitude towards the Russian president. In general, Bush and Putin just like their Defense Ministers Rumsfeld and Ivanov understand each other very well. Their worldviews are somewhat similar. Both presidents view the world in black and white colors: one can either be for or against us!
If Putin gets mad over the questions posed by the Western media concerning talks with Maskhadov, American Republican politicians can"t stand questions concerning Saudi Arabia. And this is no surprise. Relationship between current US authorities and the world"s first oil power appears to be one of the greatest, mysterious and evil peculiarities of present-day American politics.
Today, Saudi Arabia"s lobby is the most powerful in Washington. Saudi"s influence in Washington is based on tremendous sums of money. During the last decade, wealthy Saudi leaders have invested hundreds of billions of dollars in the US economy. According to the famous American expert Craig Winger, one billion 477 million of this money had been attributed to various business organizations and individuals who had been somehow connected to the Bush family. When faced with financial difficulties, Saudis have offered their help to save Mr. Bush from bankruptcy.
Despite such tight connections with the family of "the world"s anti-terror fighter", Saudi leadership"s attitude to Islam fundamentalism could be labeled double-edged indeed, to say the least. Wahabism is the official religion of the kingdom. According to this branch of Islam, only wahabists are considered the real people, while the rest either have to stop being infidels or simply be destroyed. Theory does not go too far from practice. Wild notions prevail inside the kingdom. The last official slave market had been shut down only in 1960.
Obviously, one should not expect Bush Jr. to pressure his Saudi friends should he get re-elected. Kerry, on the contrary, could start talks with the kingdom authorities in a different way. Saudi and democratic relationships have been far from pleasant during the past few years. When Clinton was at power for instance, things used to heat up pretty badly.
There is also another issue that is of no lesser importance: will Kerry have enough strength to get total control of the situation? Saudi government is a victim of its own former mistakes. The authorities used to be quite active in the past in providing help to extremists abroad in order to keep them away from the royal family. As a result, extremist forces within Saudi Arabia have gained so much power that they can easily overthrow the country's leadership.
Today, state officials often mention that the decision to start war in Iraq has been made because no one presumably had any idea at the time that Sadam Hussein would not possess weapons of mass destruction. However, such talks are intended to support the poor. Even Papa Bush was against the second Gulf war.
The worst of it all is that George W. Bush, it seems, is destined to make new mistakes in the future to come. First of all, according to experts in Washington affairs, he is one of those people that, due to his personal characteristics, never admits his own mistakes. And second of all, Bush Jr. knows just as little of the world that surrounds America as he did in the beginning of his presidency.
John Kerry (For)
Despite his numerous appearances on TV and his growing popularity in political Washington, John Kerry remains a rather mysterious figure nevertheless. Unlike Bush, whose actions are quite predictable, it is rather hard to guess Kerry"s next move.
At the moment, one thing is clear: slogans of the democratic presidential candidate concerning foreign affairs suit Russia the most. Our country will definitely benefit in case Kerry keeps his word to pay closer attention to America"s partners and to think through his actions. The problem however is such that it is still unclear how Kerry"s slogans will be implemented in reality if he wins. This candidate from the democrats has absolutely no work experience in the system of executive power. In addition, Kerry is famous for his habit to change his mind quite frequently as well as for his innate inability to provide concise answers such as "yes" and "no".
American political institution that to a large extent forms public opinion could be divided into two unequal parts. The first one is comprised of experts in particular specialty. These people know nothing but their subject. For instance, one can be an expert in Georgian politics, yet, it is highly unlikely that this man will have any idea of the current state of things in Russia. The second part, it constitutes an overwhelming majority of people are specialists in broad spectrum of things. These people possess enough knowledge about many different things, yet they know nothing in particular. Some of these so-called "experts" are even proud of their ignorance. Therefore, these peoples" comments could be quite shocking at times.
This American "political cesspool" could be divided into two parts in terms of its ideologies: Republican and Democratic. Republicans mesmerize foreigners with their na ve faith in Bush"s genius and his politics in relation to Iraq. Democratic group provides a no lesser shocking impression. Democrats can blab with enthusiasm about Bush"s miscalculations. However, as soon as liberals attempt to explain what actions should be taken, foreigners cannot believe their ears. It turns out, it would be enough to put UN in the forefront in order to solve all world problems.
Let's take Chechnya for example, what liberals have to say about this particular subject matter can be summed up in the following way: terrorism and child killings are of course bad. However, we must urgently start negotiations with someone and those Basaev's militants will momentarily become law-abiding taxpayers.
Such primitive way of thinking does not apply to Kerry or his staff. However, unlike Bush, who treats the term "liberal" as a foul curse, Kerry cannot totally ignore opinions of those leftist intellectuals. This factor in turn, does not promise anything positive even to those Russians who are against Putin's politics in Caucasus.
In America it is customary to fight till the end. Judging by the pre-election rush, this race is unlike any other.
While we still have to wait for the outcome, one thing is clear: the new president, whoever he may be, will be interested in Russia only to some degree. Both candidates will want basically the same from Moscow. They would most likely ask us to stop our relations with such countries as Iran and would also urge us to support any American initiatives. In addition, both Bush and Kerry will most likely agitate Kremlin to construct an oil pipeline stretching from Siberia and straight to the Murmansk seaport. According to the US ministry of energy, in this case Russia could easily become a potential rival to the Arab countries in the sphere of American oil supply.
Overall, Russia should stop worrying about the US presidential elections. We"ve got out own problems and neither Bush nor Kerry will be able to solve them.