November 04, 2004

George Bush's Responsibility


I am devastated that George Bush has won the American election. Not because I spent hours campaigning - I didn't - or because I loved John Kerry - I don't - but because of what it means for the rest of the world, the UK included. With a second term, an improved mandate (he never actually had a mandate before, did he?) and both Houses on Congress on his side, George Bush has incredible power. It is up to him and his administration to use that power wisely. The problem is that with no mandate the first Bush administration ruled from the right and demonstrated the neo-con philosophy of using America's power to increase their hegemony over the world. This has got nothing to do with democracy per se - its about power, oil, wealth and military geo-strategic security. On the one hand the first Bush administration was an isolationist one - pulling back from Kyoto, the World Court and the UN. On the other, it was an interventionist one - invading Afghanistan and Iraq, and threatening countless other nations with the same. America now has to decide what it is about - it can't be the global policeman if it is not prepared to play by the same rules as the rest of the world. That's called imperialism. So I call on you George Bush, put your incredible power to good in your second term:
  • Broker a final and lasting peace deal between Israel and Palestine that includes a viable Palestinian state
  • Sign up to Kyoto and voice your commitment that the world's greatest polluter is doing something about global warming
  • Resist calls from your neo-con friends to invade any more countries - they don't have WMDs and you need to build bridges with the Islamic world
  • The 'War on Terror' does not mean that Human Rights can be neglected, offer fair and open trials to suspects currently held in Guantanamo
  • Do something about Third World debt - you want to cancel Iraq's commitments so you don't have to pay for them, how about the rest of the world?
Bush would do well to remember this from Martin Luther King, Jr:, "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice." You're either with it, or you'll be forgotten by history. On what is a pretty dark day for the world, we have to cling to that hope at least.