Romney? No. Obama? Yes



Just a few days before Obama’s “Yes We Can” Denver convention four years ago, I had told Carolyn Sauvage Mar, a Democrat campaigner in Delhi, that America should allow an international group of eminent citizens to vote for the US president. A bizarre idea but American politics is hardly just about America.

The US presidential polls are a good time to predict how an average Muslim in a Casa Blanca kasba or in an Iranian bread shop will be doing in the next four years or so, or what shape Israel’s policies are likely to take.

Politics in America, the nation that will continue to be at the heart of global affairs, is seldom as insightful as when the presidential polls draw up. Conventions take place, campaign hits streets and people worldwide get a glimpse of what’s in store.

President Obama has not been able to get much jobs back, or get the Israelis and Palestinians back for meaningful talks, two issues that can be the sum of achievement for anybody in the White House.

But President Obama has done better than seems possible. To be sure, he did not let things get worse, on the home front and in the Middle-east too.

Republican Mitt Romney seems to me to be one of the poorest choices in decades. He and his running mate Paul Ryan remind me of the BJP of the Ayodhya movement era.

Romney talks tough on China and Russia without realizing that this is a changed world, where working closely with these adversaries is critical for the new Arab world and a belligerent Iran.

The Republicans tend to charge up hardliners in Israel, who push back the Israeli doves. The Republicans are generally tough on the Muslim world, much less religiously tolerant.

American Jewish don’t vote on Israel. They vote on domestic issues. American politics is divided between religious and secular, and religious Christians largely vote for the Reps. The secular go mainly with the Democrats. Jewish Americans are mostly secular and so tend to be with the Democrats.

Romney’s motivation for the Israel trip, where he took a swipe at Muslim culture, was his Jewish donors.

But it is the American economy that Romney and his mate have mostly got wrong.

President Obama has enhanced the state’s roll in welfare not just because of his faith in social justice but because Americans need it now.

I still think he was right when he said hospitals, health and schools were important, so government paved the way for the American dream. The big guys flourished but they “didn’t build that”.

So, let’s try some crystal-ball gazing. If Obama wins four more years, America’s interests in the Middle-east will still be tied to oil and energy security. But not at the cost of peace. Two, he will not move the embassy to Jerusalem, but still will not push the Israelis and Palestinians if the economy takes longer to fix. Nor will he be hysterical on Iran because he knows Khomeini is neither well nor young. So, it’s better to wait.

Bottomline, four more years for Obama will ensure global stability. Why do I say that? The last four have been the stablest since 9/11, when they could have been the worst.

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