Friday 26 August 2016

Trump hatred makes US media go viral (Pakistan Observer)

IN 1989, Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton decided that he had a high chance of becoming the President of the United States and began systematically working towards that objective. In less than two years, he had succeeded against an incumbent President who had navigated the collapse of the USSR besides comprehensively defeating a dictator ( Saddam Hussein) who had marched into another country (Kuwait). Overall, George H W Bush was a competent if unspectacular chief executive of his country, but this record failed to prevent an untested politician from south from defeating him in the polls.

Clinton’s record at statehouse in Little Rock was unspectacular, and his experience of politics and policy at the federal level was close to zero, while Bush had two decades of experience in govt at the central level, and performed creditably in each of the tasks assigned to him. The problem was that he had a personality that was without any of the flamboyance associated with movie stars and modern politicians, while Clinton was charming both to large groups of people as well as to individuals whom he needed in his climb to the top. In a contest where image counted for much more than reality, he raced ahead of Bush. Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, she is very similar to George H W Bush, in that she comes across as stilted and hesitant, possessing not enough of the charm of her spouse. Despite a large and effective political machine, she lost out to Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic Party primaries. Her opponent subsequently went on to win the election. While Barack Obama adopted a Clintonesque set of policies during his first term, filling his administration from retreads from the Bill Clinton years, during his second term, the present US Head of State has made major changes in policy, including towards Iran and Cuba Bill Clinton has fashioned a political machine that is better than that of any of his recent predecessors, and this machine has been placed in service of Hillary. 

The reality is that the Clintons are a team, with daughter Chelsea now forming the third pole of the Clinton family enterprise, which is a mixture of commerce and politics. For the Clintons, political power and money move in unison, and they believe that it is essential to make and to spend vast amounts of money in order to win. In the minds of the Clintons, it was the huge influx of cash into the Obama campaign that gave the first African-American President of the US the oxygen needed to overtake Hillary Clinton. In the battle against Donald Trump, they are relying on the better funded Democratic Party campaign to ensure that the Republican challenger meets the same fate as Barry Gold water did against Lyndon Johnson in 1964. 

It must be stated that it was fortunate for the country that Johnson was elected, for it was the Texas politician who ensured the passage of the Civil Rights Act as well as creating the modern Social Security system. Johnson was considered a bit of a hillbilly by the East Coast media and their West Coast copycats, but the fact is that the issue which tripped him up was Viet Nam. And the reason for this was that he obeyed the commands of the Kennedy holdovers in his team, much as Obama went by the opinions of the former Clinton team members, especially in the matter of economic policy. 

Despite his professions of idealism, Obama consigned millions of homeowners to the pavement, allowing mortgage companies to take over their homes. At the same time, huge amounts of cash were spent on rescuing banks and other financial institutions from the ditch that the greed of executives at the top had cast them into. Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner were preferred for appointment by Obama as economic advisors over those who had been in place during first election campaign of charismatic Kenyan-American who so entranced Nobel Committee that he was awarded a peace rise in midst of pursuing two major wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Had Donald Trump been a bit more diplomatic in his views about two communities that have done so much good to the US (African Americans and Hispanics), he would have easily been the favourite in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton is clearly rehearsed and unspontaneous, while it is clear that the foundation run by her daughter and husband had a considerable say within the State Department. It is ironic that the Clinton Foundation talks of “lowering the cost of AIDS drugs” when in fact it is close to the very pharmaceutical companies that are selling medicines at very high prices and buying up companies producing generic drugs either to shut down entire production lines of low cost drugs for diseases of the poor, or boosting the prices of generic drugs to levels not seen before. 

Luckily, the US media keep away from critical examination of any adverse record of the Clintons, such as the fact that Hillary Clinton’s policies as Secretary of State adopted the line taken by those countries whose nationals made huge donations to the Clinton Foundation. Only during the past few days has the volume of leaks about the foundation been too much to get ignored, although it is clear that media outlets unapologetically taking a pro-Clinton course ( such as CNN or the New York Times) are unhappy at having to devote space to any report which damages Hillary Clinton In a final twist of the truth, it is Donald Trump (who opposed the wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq and who seeks peace with Russia and even North Korea) who is being portrayed as a warmonger (in shades of Gold water). 

As for Hillary Clinton, the individual who backed the war in Iraq and who joined hands with Cameron and Hollande to intervene in Libya and trigger the mayhem that has followed, she has been put in the role of peacemaker by the US and EU media. Their treatment of the Trump-Clinton battle makes it clear that the media in the US and the EU is about as “free” as that in Russia or China. However, even the demonisation of Trump may not be enough to ensure that Hillary Clinton wins, unless she can acquire at least a bit of the charm and charisma of Bill Clinton. 

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