What Does Bush's Victory Mean for the Arabs, Muslims and the World?
By Ed Corrigan
Published in Al Bilad, November 2004
After a long night and morning of watching the November 2, 2004 election results come in Democratic Candidate John Kerry conceded the election to George W. Bush. The British newspaper, The Daily Mirror, asked on its front page How can 59,054,087 be so dumb? New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote, The Loonies Have taken Control. Yet despite the shock, the realization is sinking in that George W. Bush, a U.S. President, held in contempt by most of the world, was reelected bya majority of US voters.
To be sure George W. Bush has his supporters, notably Ariel Sharon Prime Minister of Israel and Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, who like Bush's War on Terrorism. Bush's war coincides with their own wars against the largely Muslim Palestinians and Chechens. However, most of the world population including the majority of Canadians and Britons hoped George W. Bush would lose.
The Republicans under Bush are in clear ascendancy in American politics. Bush won 286 votes in the electoral College to Kerry's 252 electoral votes. Unlike the last US Presidential election, against Democratic Candidate Al Gore, Bush won a clear majority in the popular vote 59,422,689 to Kerry's 55,902,001 votes. Only 60% of the American electoral voted but this was the best voter turn out since 1968. Unfortunately Independent candidate Ralph Nader received only 1.3% of the popular vote.
The Republicans gained 4 seats in the Senate increasing their total to 55 compared to 44 Democrats. A former Republican Senator sits as an independent but generally votes with the Democrats. He left the Republican's in protest against their rightward drift. Democrat Senate Minority House Leader Tom Daschle was defeated by an anti-Abortion Christian Conservative in South Dakota.
In the US House of Representatives the Republicans gained 4 seats increasing their lead to 232 to 202 Democrats. There is one Socialist in the US House of representatives, Bernie Sanders, who sits as an independent. Sanders won with 67.7% of the vote and is Vermont's only Congressman in the House of Representatives. Republicans have clear control of all three levels of Government in the United States.
Bush will also be able to expand right wing influence in the fourth level of government, the Judiciary. Bush should be able to make at least two appointments to the United States Supreme Court. This will consolidate right wing gains and extended national security powers of the Bush administration under the Patriot Act at the expense of suspect groups including Muslims and Arabs and any other so-called terrorist suspects.
There were only a few bright spots for Democrats in the election. In Colorado state Attorney General Ken Salazar defeated right-wing Republican beer magnate Pete Coors. Cynthia McKinney, who was targeted by the Zionist lobby in the 2002 election and was defeated in the democratic primary in 2002, was elected again in the 4th District in Georgia, winning 63% of the vote. Barbara Lee, a Democrat in California representing the 9th Congressional district, was reelected with over 86% of the vote. Lee was one of the few members of Congress to oppose the war on Iraq. Clearly the Democrats will have to rebuild and expand their support base.
The Political Right has consolidated its control over all elected levels of the US government. How did they accomplish this feat? In a large part the Republican victory was due to the reliance on Christian evangelical support and their organizational base. The National Rifle Association organizational structures also assisted in delivering the vote for Bush and the Republicans. Bush and the Republicans adroitly played the God, Guns and Gays cards to their advantage and delivered a slim majority of the national vote to their side. In the crucial battleground states Ohio and Florida the Republicans out played the Democrats on the ground delivering their vote to the polls.
Issues such as the fabrication of evidence to support the Invasion of Iraq, the killing of 100,000 innocent Iraqis in the Iraq war ( as recently reported in the medical journal Lancet), the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib Prison, the use of depleted uranium and the resulting exposure of American troops and Iraqis civilians to harmful radiation and the death of more than 1000 American soldiers in Iraq and the wounding of thousands more played little role in the campaign. While Iraq was clearly an issue in the election, it was one that did not harm President Bush in the key electoral states. Bush wrapped himself in the American flag and argued that he was the better candidate to fight the war on terror. Kerry's distinguished war record was assailed by right wing groups and the fact that Bush did not complete his National Guard service and used connections to avoid the war in Vietnam was lost in the election rhetoric.
The continued American support of the onslaught against the Palestinians by Israel also played little or no role in the election campaign. Both Democratic and Republican campaigns were careful not to offend the powerful Zionist lobby. The excesses of the Homeland Security measures and suspension of civil liberties and the mistreatment of Muslims and Arabs in the United States all in the name of National Security also were not factors in the election.
The next four years of George W. Bush's rule will bring more of the same. Bush has declared that he has a renewed and expanded mandate for the war on Terror, continuation of the Homeland Security measures that have sharply curtailed civil liberties in the United States particularly for Arabs and Muslims and political elements that oppose the war in Iraq.
One important point is that Bush can pursue his agenda without fear of any electoral consequences. He cannot seek reelection due to the Constitutional Amendment which prohibits a President from running for a third term. Vice President Dick Cheney is quite old and has serious health problems. It is extremely unlikely that Cheney would be in a position to seek the Presidency in 2008. Neither man has to worry about facing the electorate in the future and this democratic check on their action is gone.
Since the American campaign to bring democracy to Iraq and to secure the oil there for American corporate interests is faltering, and according to most analysts has been lost at the strategic level, more troops will be required to pacify Iraq. It is almost certain that Bush will bring back the military draft to meet the demand for US soldiers needed to impose Bush's agenda on the parts of the World that America has interest in. Pressure will be placed on oil rich Venezuela which has a socialist and nationalist President in Hugo Chavez who has been already subject to a failed American backed military coup.
The American right-wing and the powerful Cuban exile community in Florida would also like to be rid of Fidel Castro and reestablish the American protectorate in Cuba. The Americans are already building a huge military base in Equador from which they can project military power against the leftist and nationalists regimes in Brazil and Venezuela and to help suppress the powerful leftist insurgency in Columbia.
Given the lack of checks on the power of the Republicans, who have a majority in the Senate and in the House of Representatives and who control the Executive Branch, there will be strong pressure from powerful American corporate interests, who will have many friends beholding to them in Washington, to negotiate from a position of power when dealing with various Third World and perhaps even First World countries.
This election does not bode well for the planet in a host of areas including the environment and conservation of scare non-renewable resources like gas and oil. It will no doubt require extensive American military power to enforce the new order. Bush of course has a renewed and stronger mandate for his war on terrorism and his doctrine of pre-emptive strikes. A slim majority of the American electorate seems to relish this use of American power. Bush with his renewed and validated mandate will seek to expand his policy and support his corporate friends in the Oil Industry and in Haliburton.
The pro-Israel Neocons who were the primary architects of the invasion of Iraq and the Bush Administration's support for the hard line policies of Ariel Sharon will push their agenda further in support of imposing American dominance in the globe and push their right wing pro-Israel agenda with few constraints. Using Bush's preemptive strike doctrine there is a high probability of attacks against Syria and Iran. Just like in Iraq where no weapons of mass destruction have been found and because Iraq did not have any WMDs could not defend itself against an American attack. Syria and Iran will be attacked before they develop a deterrent military capability to resist an American or Israeli assault. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is seen as a moderate, will most probably be replaced with an individual who is more in tune with the Neocon agenda.
Israel wants to be the only power in the Middle East with nuclear capability and to be the only country to have WMDs so it can protect itself. This position of power will allow Israel to dominate the region and pursue its strategic goals. These objectives include a population transfer of Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan, pacification and control of Gaza, seizure and control of the water resources in and around Israel, especially the Litani River in Lebanon, and to control Syria's water resources. The Israelis already have control of the aquifers in the occupied West Bank.
Israel is facing a critical water crisis in the very near future. The Israelis have made the dessert bloom but at the cost of depleting nearly all of the water resources in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The Bush Administration will not seriously challenge this Israeli expansionist agenda which is strongly supported by the Neocons in the Bush administration. Sharon will be in a position to pursue his agenda by military means without any serious restraints. There is no power in the Middle East that can stand up to Israel let alone the United States.
The American Midwest, which strongly supported Bush in the 2004 Election, is also facing a critical water supply crisis in the near future. They have made semiarid regions of the American Midwest become agriculturally productive by taping into the underground aquifers. But just like in Israel the ground water is being depleted at an alarming rate. As a result these American farmers are looking covetously at the water in the Great Lakes and other parts of Canada as a solution for the impending collapse of their multibillion dollar agricultural industry. Bush as the predominant power in the world will pursue America's Interest with little regard for competing interests.
Clearly the evangelical Christians were a crucial part of Bush's electoral victory and his ground organization and vote delivery machine. The creation of Israel is seen as the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy and a portent to the second coming of Jesus and Armageddon. The Evangelical Christians support Bush's aggressive policy in the Middle East. Palestinians are seen as interlopers living on land given by God to the Jews.
There is a convergence of interests between the Christian Right and the Oil Industry in the Middle East but for very different reasons. Evangelicals believing that they are part of the Elect, and as born again Christians, they will ascend directly into heaven. Those Christians who not are born again or who are Jewish, Muslims, Hindu or other religions, or nonbelievers, they all will be damned to eternal hell. These true believers do not put a high premium on sustainable development and conservation of non-renewable resources like oil since many believe that end times are coming soon and therefore these earthly concerns are not important.
The picture is truly dismal. The only hope is that Republicans who show an independent streak and are not caught up in the evangelical movement, like Republican Senator John McCain, will be able to act as a brake on the excesses of George Bush's administration and his Neocon clique who are intent on pursing their Project for the New American Century agenda which is to maintain United States dominance and their support for right wing Israeli policy. Without checks on their ideologically driven power the Bush Administration and its policies will make for dangerous times ahead.
It is important to get organized to protect the community interests politically and legally. It is vital the North American Muslim and Arab community must become much more serious about politics and defending their rights. Much political work needs to be done and alternative communication vehicles must be developed to combat the narrow right-wing agenda that is being fed to a largely uniformed and disinterested American electorate.