The second term

Daily: Pakistan Observer
Date: 08.11.04

Finally, the 51% US voters have declared Gorge W. Bush “a right man at a right place and
at a right time” by re-electing him for the second four-year term with 286 projected electoral
votes and a margin of around half million popular votes. The election has indicated vividly
that pro-Bush voters focused basically, in order of preference, on the three main issues:
God, gay, and gun (religion, morality, and terrorism).

Mostly the conservative Christians, backed by the Church (Protestant and Catholic alike),
voted for Bush owing to his stance on moral issues followed by his efforts on ‘war on terror’,
after having acknowledged his stature as a wartime President. That is how, the factor of
economic constraints encompassing jobs cut, raising taxes, increasing oil price, and heavy
dollar-spending overseas was overlooked, besides his certain mistakes like intelligence
failure about existence of WMD in Iraq, a pre-mature shift of focus from Tora Bora
(Afghanistan) to Falluja (Iraq), and formation of a narrow-based coalition for Operation Iraqi
Freedom, which were highlighted by his opponent John Kerry during the election campaign
2004. Resultantly, the neo-conservatives with the concept of ‘born again Christians’ are to
stay further in power and affect the world with their policies.

At this juncture, message of Osama, through his recent videotape, was interesting that
neither Bush nor Kerry could provide security to the US populace but the issue of security
was in the hands of the people themselves. By saying so, he suggested Americans to come
out of their phase of introversion. That is, the common Americans should now understand
the world more than before and lay off their traditional ignorance about the outside world.
The Muslims do not hate the Americans but the policies of the US governments that come
into power after the voters vote for them. Hence, the consequences of the unpopular
policies (especially in the Middle East) have to be shared by the US voters.

To define the meaning of ‘a right man for a right place’ remain discretion of the US voters
but not the definition of “a right time” which is a relative term bearing a different application
for the USA and the rest of the world simultaneously. Time may remain stalled for US
(during the second Bush-term) but has already been rapidly changing in the Middle East.

The unresolved Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been sliding towards aftermath of the
absence of Mr. Yasser Arafat — a heroic Palestinian figure who held an equal sway over
radical and moderate Palestinians. After his departure, the Middle East is vulnerable to be
destabilized at least for once. The same is poised to bring a political strife amongst the
Palestinian ranks, a show time for the radical militant groups (Palestinians and Israelis
alike), re-alignment of the regional Arab countries, and the assemblage of the Western
European countries under the leadership of US. Hence, it seems that the peace road map
will be laid de novo.

On the other hand, Iran’s commitment to enrich Uranium for the energy purposes holds an
invocation for Israel to destroy Iranian nuclear facility to appease its own security
apprehension: Iran is going nuclear to destroy Israel. Osama has also reminded the viewers
that he attacked US on 9/11 — in fact — in retaliation to Israel’s attack on the Southern
Lebanon years ago after getting a green signal from Washington. Now, Israel may attack
Iranian nuclear facilities, with or without consent of Washington, as the latter seems to have
exhausted its policy of pre-emptive strike. The implication may be a Shia uprising in Iraq
against the coalition forces, which will be unaffordable in both men and material terms.
However, if Israel does not attack, its apprehension will swell with the passage of time that
will in turn put US administration under further pressure. Secondly, the Europeans are also
seriously concerned over Iran’s nuclear facility and its utility.

It indicates that an impasse is looming ahead to bring even the discontented Europeans
(France and Germany) together with US to safeguard the common stakes in the Middle
East: security and oil. Hence, the job of Bush is not just to unite the divided Americans, as
John Kerry suggested, but also to build a united Europe, after following the policy of
“reaching out”.

As near the end of the year 2004, two elections (in Afghanistan and the USA) followed each
other, another two elections (in Iraq and the UK) will follow each other in the beginning of
the year 2005. The US election 2004 has indicated that Bush has been exonerated from
the blame of deceiving the American people on the threat of the WMD; however, it is still to
be seen how does Tony Blair shed the blame of 45-minutes imminent threat, which
remained a prime reason to go to Iraq shoulder-to-shoulder with US? By the time, the UK
goes to elections; the consequences of the nearness of its forces to the volatile areas in
Iraq would have emerged. Further, if Iran is squeezed on the nuclear issue in the coming
times, the presence of the UK forces in or around the Shia dominated areas will also be in
hot water.

During the second term, Pakistan will remain focus of attention mostly because Osama’s
recent videotape has been allegedly found in Pakistan. It means that either Osama is
around or his sympathizers are still in Pakistan. So long as Osama is not captured, dead or
alive, the war on terror will not end and the western border of Pakistan will remain on fire. In
other words, Pakistanis are going to experience further suicide bomb explosions (both in
mosques and on streets), along with that will come showers of more dollars and pounds. In
short, peace and stability is going to be a far cry in Pakistan in spite of increasing reserves
in foreign currency.

Back to columns in 2004