The old saying that what’s gained on the swings is lost on the roundabouts could prove to be an apt trope for the US presidential election in November.
Not since the Civil War between North and South has the US been so disunited as it is by deep ideological schisms from issues ranging from racial conflicts to immigration policies, from the handling of the economy to the tackling of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the two contenders for the oval office, incumbent Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden square off against each other political pundits are studying the so-called ‘swing’ states the oscillations of which could help decide the electoral outcome. However, the gains, or losses, on these swings could be negated, or countered, by the roundabouts of foreign influence, which could amount to downright intervention.
According to top intelligence sources in the US, both China and Russia are actively involved in covertly attempting to play a role in determining who wins the race to the White House.
Because of the all-out, no-tariffs-barred trade war that Trump has threatened to unleash against it, China by default is being seen as a Biden-backer, prompting Trumpeters to call the Democratic contender a ‘Manchurian candidate’, a reference to the 1959 political thriller of the same name by Richard Condon, subsequently twice translated onto the screen by Hollywood.
If Beijing is seen to be pro-Biden, Moscow — which allegedly sabotaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign in the 2016 elections — is said to be rooting for Trump as his opponent is believed by the Kremlin to be anti-Putin.
By some accounts, Iran is also working behind the scenes to tilt the US elections in favour of Tehran’s favourite, though it’s not been made clear as to who that is.
What is truly surprising about the entire issue is not that foreign powers should try and direct the course of the US presidential election, but that Americans, and others, should express consternation and alarm about this.
It is said that economics is too serious to be left to economists alone. Similarly, considering that as the Commander in Chief of the world’s most powerful nation both economically and politically, the US president and how, and by who, he gets elected, is too serious a business to be left to Americans alone.
Global trade in everything — starting with oil, the essential lubricant for the engine of growth — is conducted through the US dollar, which the US federal reserve bank can print at will.
It’s not love which makes the world go round but US treasury bonds, a fact of life which has given rise to the diagnosis that when America sneezes the rest of the world can catch a cold — or, in these times of the coronavirus, something much worse.
As the US presidency directly or indirectly affects the lives of everyone in the world, the balloting to determine who gets to be the next resident of the White House should not be restricted to American voters and the arcane system of electoral colleges, which in any case needs to be scrapped, but should include all the adult citizens of the 193 countries represented in the United Nations, plus the two non-member observer states, the Holy Sea of the Vatican and Palestine.
The announcement that Joe Biden has chosen Indian-origin Kamala Harris as his running mate which, if he wins, would put the Chennai-linked California Senator ‘a heartbeat away’ from occupying the US president’s gaddi should spur New Delhi to initiate a campaign to extend voting rights for the White House to the international community, a movement which would find enthusiastic support from Jamaica as Harris’s father is of Jamaican origin.
The increasingly influential PIO lobby in the US should throw its considerable weight behind a project the objective of which is to make the American presidency go global so that the USA stands for the United States of All, and the US in POTUS stands for us.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.