Saturday, 3 November 2012


I'm a European and I'm not going to tell US voters how to vote on Tuesday.

I'm certainly not going to stand back and defend the performance of Mr Obama, he chose to continue George Bush's tax cuts (40% of your budget deficit) and when he had the choice to rebuild the US economy the way FDR did in the Great Depression, he chose to spend all his political energy instead on a botched compromise in health reform (kind of like FDR getting voted in and making a total hash of repealing Prohibition - "booze is legal if you are over 50" say).

So I'm  not defending Obama, and I'll steer away from the Republicans behind Romney who seem to want to turn the United States into some Rape themed amusement park.. I wont go into that.

I'm a foreigner and I'd just like to bring one thing to your attention which is plainly obvious to anyone on Planet Earth viewing Mr Romney from outside your borders. If you vote for Romney you are voting for EIGHT YEARS and not the usual four.

One thing we do know about US politics, that has been established without doubt in the last 15 years or so, is that US voters don't like to change Presidents in the middle of a war. I believe the phrase is "Don't change horses in mid-stream".

We know this is a very strong impulse because we know the US voter will vote for an incumbent war time president even if he is fairly obviously a total incompetent (and world wide laughing stock).

If the US is in the middle of a war the tradition is to keep the incumbent president. Even when that President started the war. Two wars in fact, and then cut taxes, a strategy so fiscally daring that no other leader of a major nation at war has tried in 5000 years of recorded history.

Such is the respect for the incumbent war President he will be returned to the Oval office, even though he dodged war service himself, when the challenger is a confirmed war hero.

So how is this relevant to 2012? Well it is not so much the relevance to 2012 as the relevance to 2016, the date of the next election, as it is obvious to any foreign observer that Romney will have the US at war again by the time 2016 comes around. I would guess either Syria or Iran.. but who knows.. you (and the UK, this is why I'm paying attention) may have troops dying in Korea or perhaps even Iraq. These are best case scenarios obviously, the worse case would be Russia or China.

I'm not saying this is conscious policy on Mr Romney's part. I'm observing that he famously has the diplomatic skills of a drunken marine (US or Royal, take your pick) and despite his weirdly low key performance in the foreign policy debate his backroom staff is stuffed with Bush era neo-conservatives.

We know Romney and Ryan will brutally slash government spending back to 1890s levels in every area except one.. a gigantic increase in military spending beyond even what the US military are asking for.

You know what most scares the rest of the world about politics in the US? In every other country the most hard right wing institution is the military (that's why you have military coups). In the US the military vote and opinion (Colin Powell etc) is staying where it is as Romney's party lurches to the right. The US military is not stupid - after the Bush era it can't afford to be.

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