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Dr. Muqtedar Khan is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Adrian College in Michigan. He earned his Ph.D. in International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Islamic Political Thought, from Georgetown University in May 2000.
Dr. Khan's column has appeared in The Wall Street, Dawn International (Pakistan), Daily Times (Pakistan), Outlook India (India), The Muslim Gazette (India), Nagasaki Post (Japan), The Daily Telelegraph (London), Manila Times (Philippines), Jordan Times (Jordan), Aljazeera (Qatar), The Daily Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Muslim Democrat, I Theglobalist.com, Beliefnet.com, Arabies Trends (France), Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), Lebanon Daily Star, and many other periodicals world wide.
This article was published in Counterpunch (Jan 30th), Muslim Observer (Feb 05), Aljazeerah (Middle East, Jan 30) and The Statesman (Pakistan, Feb 03).
listened to the President’s State of the Union address with growing
boredom and a sense that I was being duped. Rather than talk about the
state of the union, which would be delving in depth on the declining
economy and the globalization of anti-Americanism, President Bush chose to
speak about the wonderful things he hopes to do for the wonderful people
of America. He went down the laundry list of domestic issues, education,
health care, economy and touched upon abortion and cloning by employing a
serious of crowd pleasing slogans/promises instead of analysis and facts.
The only exciting issue that he had was his promise to those born
today, that one day they would drive a car run by hydrogen whose only
exhaust would be water. His only achievement seems to be the 674 million
dollar stimulus package that the Congress has yet to pass.
foreign policy, he promised a war against Iraq without declaring a war. He
insisted on maintaining his unilateralist approach to world affairs and
went to great lengths to show that since his previous lecture he has
learnt that there are significant differences in the circumstances of
Iran, Iraq and North Korea. He promised to spread democracy in the world
even if America had to do it alone and by force. Force democracy? Am I the
only one who is puzzled? I however do not understand why someone who is
so committed to democracy would be opposed to global democracy and insist on unilateralism if the vote went against
the US in the UN Security Council. Why is he so eager to compromise
democracy when it does not suit his agenda? How can he be both,
pro-democracy and anti-democracy? Perhaps Professor Rice should explain to
him that unilateralism in principle is antithetical to the spirit of democracy.
only proposal that I appreciated was his promise to help fight AIDS in
Africa. If implemented it will definitely save many lives. Maybe on the
Day of Judgment the lives he saves in Africa may save him from a harsher
reckoning for the many innocent lives he plans to take in the war on Iraq.
George W. Bush, America has made great strides. It has gone from a $250
billion surplus to nearly $250 billion in deficit and the family feud
against Iraq, that has yet to begin, will cost the American taxpayer at
least $60 billion in destroying Iraq and another $100 billion in
rebuilding it. Americans have lost over 1.5 million jobs under his watch,
over 100,000 last month alone, and most States (28/50) are now suffering
from huge deficits in their budgets. President Bush himself has silently
conceded mismanagement of the economy by sacking his financial team midway
(including senior aides such as the Treasury Secretary and the Chief
Economic Advisor). But unfortunately he has not learnt that it is not
people but policies that mess economies. He should be changing his
policies not the people who implement them for him.
Bush has given American democracy a new meaning. It is a place where
people contest elections and the one who gets lesser votes becomes the
president. The USA Patriot
Act passed by the Congress last year at his behest, undermines several
important civil rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Today the idea of
“due process”, which used to be the corner stone of justice in
America, has now become an undue burden to the American legal system. Not
only has the Bush administration violated international law in its
treatment of prisoners of war it has also violated fundamental principles
of the US constitution in its treatment of several people arrested in the
US since September 11th.
tragic attacks on September 11th, this president promised us
two things; he would eliminate Al Qaeda and he would win the hearts and
minds of those who hated America. But this President has succeeded not
only in increasing hatred towards America in most of the Middle East by
making injudicious statements such as, “if you are not with us you are
against us” (tell that to France, Russia, China and UN who are not with the US on the war on Iraq), “Axis of Evil” (it spurred the North Koreans to go
nuclear), and the use of the “Crusade” word which has become the
metaphor for his policies in most of the Muslim World, but he has also
succeeded in making Asians and Europeans also hate and distrust America.
In Germany as well as in South Korea the most vocal anti-American
politicians won elections recently. Rather
than reducing hate George Bush’s policies, style and statements are
contributing to the globalization of anti-Americanism.
home he is determined to generate disenchantment. Immediately after the
Trent Lot affair, who was finally exposed for having preference for the
pre-civil rights America, President Bush decided to appease the haves and
alienate the have-nots, by coming up with a stimulus package that gives
tax breaks on dividends (to fat cats with huge investment portfolios) and
deciding to oppose affirmative action (designed to help underprivileged
minorities). The irony of this position seems to have escaped him and many
of his supporters. He is himself a poster child for affirmative action –
a not so bright guy, with modest grades and even modest SATs who went to
Yale and then Harvard only because he was born a Bush!
To put it bluntly, President Bush has ruined the economy; his management of foreign policy has alienated the world so much so that in a recent Times Europe survey 84% Europeans (our allies) rated America as the state that posed the most danger to the World and North Korea and Iraq got similar votes from only 7% and 8% respondents! The World has lost trust in America and it demands proof, conclusive proof, for every claim we make. In spite of spending billions of dollars on the so-called war on terror, Bin Laden is still free and Al Qaeda still powerful and busy launching attacks (Bali and Kenya). The Taliban are back and the American choice for President, Karzai, has been reduced to the status of a Mayor of Kabul (so much for democracy in Afghanistan). The anthrax bomber is still free to kill. The Middle East crisis continues to rage. Assuming that President Bush’s statements about the Palestinian State were disingenuous and he had no intent to follow through on his promises, he is still letting Israel slowly unravel. The Palestinian uprising will cost America another $10-14 Billion dollars in foreign aid to Israel, adding to the already burgeoning foreign policy bill that US can ill afford.
Bush in two years has amassed a long list of failures. His only successes
are the midterm elections and his periodic handouts to the rich in forms
of tax cuts. He duped Americans in the midterm elections by talking about
Iraq and not the economy. But as the economy declines and the purse begins
to pinch, even the gullible, and poorly informed American voters will know
that something is going terribly wrong.
If I were President, instead of Iraq, Iraq, Iraq and Hydrogen Car, my priorities would be, to create new jobs, fight the deficits (Federal and State), finish Al Qaeda and bolster education. Islamic Affairs