[Het Parool, The Netherlands]




El Pais, Spain

As Americans Expose their Electoral Divisions, Chinese Dictatorship Powers Ahead


"While this great and chaotic democracy exposes its weaknesses and infighting to the world, in silence and behind closed doors, China's huge and well-ordered dictatorship continues to make decisions that are momentous for us all."


By Lluís Bassets


Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


October 28, 2010


Spain - El Pais - Original Article (Spanish)

President Obama campaigns in Rhode Island, but will it do any good at the polls for Democrats?


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A great and chaotic democracy. That is how Obama described the political system of his country in an interview with Peter Baker of The New York Times (published in El País on Oct. 14). America is great not only for its geographic and demographic dimensions, but for its depth and wealth and its influence as a political model in the world. This coming Tuesday, its citizens will go to the polls to choose the entire House of Representatives (435 seats) and a third of the Senate (37 seats), 6,118 seats in state lower houses and senates, 37 state governors, 26 secretaries of state (equivalent to the prime ministers at the state level) and 30 state attorneys general, plus other minor posts and, in states with systems of direct democracy, voting on 160 ballot initiatives that will decide a range of issues, from the legalization of marijuana to the prohibition of gay marriage. But the midterm elections are also an informal referendum for the president who was elected two years earlier. Chief executives are usually punished by citizens during these off-year polls, especially, as is the case this time, in the middle of a devastating unemployment crisis.


Hence the appropriateness of the second adjective Obama used: chaotic. And consequently, frequently contradictory: citizens will punish Obama for decisions made by Bush, such as the financial aid offered to distressed banks during the crisis. Moreover, a large fraction of those who received such aid are now financing Obama's electoral punishment. It's a chaotic and irrational system of election financing, after the Supreme Court decided to allow unlimited private contributions, treating them as an element of free expression applicable not to individuals, but to corporations. Just as chaotic and irrational, if fearfully efficient, is the radical opposition of the Republican base organized in the Tea Party, a movement directed primarily against taxes and government intervention.


At every administrative level, there's a lot at stake for the United States this electoral Tuesday, but more so for Obama than anyone else. The next day, on November 3, his campaign to be reelected in 2012 will begin in earnest. All of his actions over the next two years will be oriented toward this goal. But what this great and chaotic democracy decides will also have huge repercussions around the world. This is due to the presidency, its range of influence and its capacity to act within the international arena. But also to the ideological attitudes and political initiatives for which the U.S. sets the trend: see how the entire world is watching the Tea Party movement? 



A weakened president and a divided country make it more difficult to exercise global leadership, even if Obama engages himself primarily in international politics, which is what this new right-wing Republican Congress is likely to force him to do. Particularly when the polls close and his legislation is impeded even more than it has been to date. Notably, the better the Tea Party candidates do next Tuesday, the more difficulty Obama will have in Congress; but the easier it will be for him to get re-elected in 2012. For all that the Tea Party contributes to Republicans by being so fiercely anti-Democratic, it also serves to unite and mobilize Democrats around its presidential nominee for 2012.




Global Times, China: The West is Forming an 'Axis of Evil Ideology'

Hispanidad, Spain: How Spain Can Build its Own 'Tea Party': Copy Sarah Palin

El Universal, Mexico: Immigration Reform: Obama's Ace in the Hole

Le Temps, Switzerland: America's 'Cry of Agony' Through the Tea Party

Izvestia, Russia: Evil Obama and China's Yuan: It's About the Midterms

Liberation, France: Christine O’Donnell at the 'Oral Stage'

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: West Must Halt Slide Since 9-11

El Mercurio, Spain: The 'Neo-Nazi' Campaign Against President Obama

El Mundo, Spain: Beck and Palin Search for Mythical 'Paradise Lost'

Der Standard, Austria: In Despair Over Democracy - Both America's and Ours

National Post, Canada: U.S. Democracy Suffers 'Death By Talk-Show Host'

La Jornada, Mexico: Beck and the New U.S.-Right: 'Like a Horror Movie'

Iraq News Agency, Iraq: Sarah Palin: The 'Seductress' of the American Election


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Up to now, Obama has not been a strong president domestically, where it has cost an arm and a leg to get through health care and financial reform - his two clearest successes. Neither has he shown himself compelling in foreign affairs, where it has proven difficult to impose his vision on the world of emerging new powers like China; or on allies and friends that are too weak - like the Europeans; or on the excessively despotic - like Israel. Restoring America's image in the world, a major task he chose to take up, is being eroded by his unkept promises (like closing Guantánamo); his continuation of Bush's policies (see the revelations from WikiLeaks); and the ongoing quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama will have to deliver some meat to ensure his reelection and safeguard his presidency: perhaps Middle East peace, for example, or a definitive containment of the Iranian nuclear threat.


While this great and chaotic democracy exposes its weaknesses and infighting to the world, in silence and behind closed doors, China's huge and well-ordered dictatorship continues to make decisions that are momentous for us all, as it did just 10 days ago at a meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. Although the U.S. remains immensely appealing to many of the world's citizens who would love to have a vote in the election of the American president - and why not? - of representatives and senators, the fact is that what former Prime Minister Felipe González has described as the global fascination with China's mandarins is also on the rise.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US October 29, 11:59pm]






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