The American electoral marathon is near its end; Obama has revealed the name of his running mate, Joe Biden, a controversial name on the international scene. From his side, McCain has nominated Sarah Palin as his running mate, an in-house controversial name in America. Furthermore, political stances and decisions are now in limbo, waiting for the new administration, while the world closely watches the developments of the presidential race.
What is happening inside America as well as the international follow up on it can be described as the most exciting of all American elections. Internally, a candidate not belonging to the white majority is for the first time, emerging. And there are great differences on many foreign policy matters. As to the world watching the America issue, there is, on the one side, a desire to see McCain attain the presidency, with the underlying hope to bring the Iranian nuclear dossier to an end, and maintain the current US military strategy in Iraq. Whereas, on the other side, there is a wish to change Americas foreign policy according to Obamas vision, so as to prevent further wars as well as the exposing of the security of the oil region to a chaos threatening to bring the current political reality crumbling down.
The latter is principally linked to the situation in Iraq. Indeed the Iraq issue is the main controversy in the presidential race fever. And there are two US foreign policy thesis on both this matter and on that of the whole region...There is a conservative thesis presented by the Republicans, and headed by McCain, one that contains many of the visions and positions of the current U.S. administration, such as keeping U.S. forces in Iraq for as long as possible and maintaining an iron fist policy with Iran and Syria even with a military strike outcome. Whereas Obamas vision talks about the need to find a mechanism for a speedy withdrawal of as many of the American forces from Iraq as possible, and the adoption of a style of direct dialogue with Iran and Syria over contentious issues. Furthermore, Obamas selection of Biden as running mate reveals that, should the next US administration be a Democrat administration, it would support the operation of dividing Iraq into three smaller states or confederations, not to mention both the declared and undeclared positions regarding China, the Rocket Shield, Russia, North Korea and finally South America.
But is McCain better for us or Obama?
Some may say that Iraq is in need of continuity of the same U.S. foreign policy, with the assumption that the country needs U.S. forces to stay for the coming few years, whereas others think that the keeping of American forces there will prevent the Iraqi forces from becoming self-reliant.
It is of course difficult to assess how the U.S. positions will develop after the presidential change, as what is being advanced now during the presidential race may differ from the reality afterwards, and a large share of what is being presented is but a part of the presidential campaigns and mutual accusations amongst the two rival parties. And yet both parties follow separate general trends that can already be foreseen. The Republicans are more conservative in their foreign policy and tougher in dealing with crisis and adversaries, whereas the Democrats are more flexible, and their economic orientation, even in foreign policy, is greater than their competitors position.
Nevertheless even these constants could alter depending on political circumstances, and the elements of the future U.S. position towards Iraq will be determined by Iraqi reality as well as by the trends future Iraqi politicians will adopt in dealing with the developments on the American scene. This brings us to call for developing Iraqi political tools so as to deal with American developments with a realism that coincides, at the same time, with both Iraqi interests and the search for strong ties with the US.
The latest developments of the dialogue regarding the Iraqi-American agreement have revealed that Iraq has started acquiring such needed mechanisms. We should, however, remain vigilant, in our dealing with the American side, not to fall in the trap of safeguarding the interests of our neighbors. For, be it Obama or McCain, we must deal with America far from the Iranian or Arab wishes. True, we live within a regional reality which we must consider, but such consideration should not overshadow the necessity of our ties with the U.S., at least on the short-run.
There is also a series of needs we should meet, as we cannot focus only on the political and security side as far as our relations with the future U.S. administration are concerned, especially since the latter issue will be dealt with in the security agreement that is yet to be drawn. There are, indeed, many important aspects such as the Health, Educational, Cultural, Scientific, Services and, finally, Industrial sectors for which we need the U.S. And, so far, these sectors have not had their share of U.S. attention.
In itself, reality has imposed certain priorities that require mechanisms to deal with them as well as obtaining American support and expertise, whether it is the black or the white candidate that gets into the White House.