Gabriel Garcia Marquez said, “A liberal president is exactly the same as a conservative president, although not as well dressed”. While I am not very clued up regarding the fashion style of the US presidential candidates, the rest of the statement are my sentiments exactly with regards to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, especially when it comes to their foreign policies. While the world watches the results of this week’s elections with baited breath, for many countries who suffer under the malignant foreign policy of the US, the results mean little. Whoever becomes president, liberal or conservative, he will be the American president first, before all else. And over the past couple of years an American president means putting the economic and political welfare of the US first, no matter what the detriment to foreign sovereignties.
While some may doubt this stance, one only has to examine the last four years of Obama’s term to be convinced. He made big promises of hope and change running up to the elections, painting a picture of being a true democratic and principled leader. However, what emerged from his actions was in stark contrast to his words. In the week of the 26 October, the Washington Post published an exposé regarding the Obama administration’s institutionalised assassinations, orchestrated from the White House. “Disposition Matrix” (an almost surreal name which sounds like it should belong to a video game for violence-obsessed teenagers) is the operation under which guise Obama authorises the extrajudicial killing of all his “enemies”, on almost a daily basis. While millions put their trust in this liberal and democratic leader, do they know how he violates one of the fundamental human rights, the right to life, so carelessly? From what has been observed in the presidential debates, there is little to suggest that Romney would take any alternative courses of action with regard to these practices.
US drone warfare, which consist of unmanned aircrafts with precision targeting, have plagued the countries of Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and most probably many other unknown locations. In Pakistan alone, thousands of innocent men, women and children have been murdered under the pretence of collateral damage, flattening entire villages in the process. Carrying out these decisions are a combination of CIA paramilitary operatives and military commandos of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, which have come to be known as the “President’s army”. It would be a mistake to think that these attacks are limited to citizens of other countries, as we saw Obama redefine all boundaries and eliminate any sense of democracy when an American citizen, Anwar-al-Awlaki was targeted in one such drone attack in Yemen. Two weeks later, his 16 year old son was murdered too, with his only offence being having a father with thoughts and speech which challenged US unjustness.
Be not mistaken, this entire process undertaken by Obama is in direct contravention of the US constitution, which finds its roots nearly 900 years ago in the elementary democratic rights propagated by the English Magna Carta. It held that no person could be put to death or imprisoned “except by the lawful judgment of his equals or by the law of the land.” I wonder how many people know that the greatest democracy of the world, the US, has started to not only to directly act against its constitution but formally implement laws which will aid these violations. One example is the National Defence Authorisation Act, signed by Obama at the end of last year, and allows the president to throw anyone, including a US citizen, into a military jail indefinitely without charge.
It is with incredulous disbelief that I watch people so enthralled by the politics of the US elections, as if this vote holds the promise of change and a better future. For countries who pose a “threat” to American imperialism, who becomes the next US president matters little to the terror their daily lives are still plagued with. The truth is that we have witnessed the degradation of American democracy and values, which has rather been replaced by a militaristic run country and government, obsessed with capitalistic gains and any means of achieving them.