UNITED STATES: Post Election Blues

Mihai Nadin says: Are we incapable of realizing that given the new dynamics of the world a president (even the President of the USA) means quite a bit less than during the nation state era? Before the elections, educated people kept talking about their plans to move (to Canada, to Europe, etc.) should Bush be re-elected. Now, some are coming up with naive ideas (all kinds of possible plots, sinister plans,reward schemes, etc.), or with analogies to Nazi Germany (always a good reference when trying to demonize someone or something). Wake up. We live in a world of extreme integration. Of decentralized exercise of power, of distributed tasks, of global inter-relatedness. A president, regardless of his ideological or religious inclination, is in no position to affect the dynamics of development beyond strict limits. Ever tried to imagine someone trying to drive a tornado?  The scale we have reached makes steering not only impossible, but every attempt to try extremely dangerous. This does not make things always better, or even more intelligible.

Let us try to understand the dynamics, the multitude of forces at work. Let us look at how the Americans voted and assign to their vote exactly what it said: Prefer individual A over B. Period. Actor or singer A over B. Like buying a certain car from among so many performing actually the same function. Like buying anything else...Maximum expectations, not necessarily translated into quality expectations, at the lowest price! The choice is in line with the daily choices people make when they drive their cars (even if there is public transportation), buy their fast food (even if the better food is available), choose a university (for their children or for themselves) based on investment (and entertainment) considerations and not on educational goals,or visit a doctor (hoping to sue, should the headache remedy affect their watching the football game). 56% voted...This is more than in the past. How many were informed voters? 

RH: This is a realistic view of the electorate.  The question  really goes back to the old argument about great men in history.  Can they change history? Mihai argues that in the present world that is increasingly difficult.

Your comments are invited. Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:   http://wais.stanford.edu Mail to Ronald Hilton, Hoover Institution, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.

Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: November 28, 2004