by Richard C. Cook
October 26, 2008
With the presidential election only a week away, the financial crisis has been dominating the news, but behind it is an even larger question of war vs. peace. This article will appear in a forthcoming issue of Eurasia Critic magazine.
World war or world peace is the blunt choice that will face either Barack Obama or John McCain when one of them is elected president of the United States on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.
For a major eruption of violence to be averted, the new president must deal positively with the reappearance of Russia on the world stage, the emergence of China as an economic force, and the aspirations of all the nations on earth for a decent and secure way of life.
Making matters much more dangerous are the ongoing financial crisis, along with what appears to be the start of a worldwide economic recession of as yet undetermined depth and duration.
It is Europe, not the U.S., from which proposals are emerging for a transformative approach to the most compelling issues. But will it be enough?
THE DISASTROUS PRESIDENCY OF GEORGE W. BUSH
In December 2000, at the time the U.S. Supreme Court was intervening in the disputed vote count in Florida to name Republican George W. Bush president over Democrat Al Gore, the stock market began to crash. The “dot.com” bubble, based largely on foreign investment in internet companies and technology stocks, deflated. By the time Bush was inaugurated in January 2001, signs of a recession were appearing.
This did not prevent the Bush administration from initiating a $450 billion tax cut for the upper income brackets that Congress approved in March 2001. A similar cut was subsequently enacted in May 2003.
On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City were attacked by airplanes flying into them, followed that morning by an air attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Terrorists from Al Qaeda, an organization of Islamic extremists associated with the Afghan mujaheddin, and a Saudi figure, Osama bin Laden, alleged to be their leader, were blamed. The wealthy bin Laden family had close ties to the U.S. and the Bush family.
Within a few weeks, the Bush administration pulled a battle plan from the shelves of the Pentagon and invaded Afghanistan. The object was to wrest control of that nation from the Taliban, supposedly Al Qaeda collaborators. A new U.S. Asian land war had begun.