This is the second part of the Taketh5th review of NYTimes Roger Cohen’s assessment US Interventionism. Our first take was that despite over 100 years of increasing US Intervention in foreign affairs and despite not just the UN but a whole phalanx international agencies such as Atomic Energy Commission, WHO, IMF, World Bank, and others – the US has failed to enunciate a clear set of criteria for why, when, and how interventions should proceed and what minimum set of costs, risks, and stakeholder participation should be insured to increase the probability of success. Roger’s analysis of the recent action in Libya implies that means analysis and stakeholder participation has at least produced an initial success; but as many TV commentators noted the emergence of a democratic and representative new Libyan government is hardly assured. One only has to look East to Egypt to see the underlying problems.
But if Roger insists that “interventionism is inextricable from the American idea” [or ideals] then at the risk of sounding like Rick Perry, perhaps the US should be looking at some Interventionism on its own ideas and ideals. For example, with US observers posted to insure free and fair elections in Africa, Asia and the Mideast perhaps some Home Intervention is required given:
1)the Presidential election of 2000 when the US Supreme Court decided expediency and past electoral process timing trumped getting the eligibility and count right in Florida;
2)the Presidential election of 2004 saw the state of Ohio vote turn against all exit polls as the computer based tabulations were hacked into providing a vote total in George Bush’s favor;
3)the US Supreme Court has elevated dollars to be the equivalent of free speech so now one man one vote is counter-balanced by the most wealth means closer access to political decision events and decision makers;
4)the US elections are now continuing affairs with no time out period for above political contributions so the opportunity for any partisanship are reduced to nill;
5)in the US Senate majority rule has been replaced by 60-40 vote which is now required for any significant bill to get passed;
6)electoral districts for the US Senate and House are so gerrymandered[drawn up so that the favored party is guaranteed to win 90% of the time]; that means incumbents typically win re-election 90% 0f the time;
7)Many state officials are making it ever harder for people to vote especially lower classes;
8)the US Media have lost the profits, readership and will to investigate deeply electoral misconduct;
9)polling results can influence elections but also can be released before the election, influencing it, and yet still be terribly wrong and error prone;
10)Efforts to automate voting have been defeated by even greater efforts to hack into new voting methods.
So the US has a lot “splainin to do” to the rest of the world on its election and basic political processes.
God knows the above are not popular notions as He specifically Blessed America; but if the US does not get some basic and prudent electoral/political interventions and reforms established then He may change His Blessings.