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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Une hégémonie par la force ou par le dialogue ?

by Michel Muller

Hegemony by Force or by Dialog?

Translated Wednesday 19 November 2008, by Colyn Wohlmut

Barak Obama and John McCain want to restore American leadership, but each has his own method.

The strategy of pre-emptive war to impose global hegemony practiced by the Bush administration has suffered a major setback. The Bush Doctrine is dying. John McCain, as well as Barak Obama, are aware of this. Consequently, they both have called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. For both presidential candidates, however, it’s a question of leadership. For Obama, we must "change America to change the world". Last December, in Des Moines (Iowa), he proclaimed : "Our security is threatened. Our country is at war. Our planet is in peril. The progress of the world, for which so many generations of Americans have fought and died, is at stake". In a fascinating speech several months ago in Berlin, the Democratic candidate sung the praises of a peaceful world where "all the walls" between rich and poor, strong and weak will come down. [1] If the foreign policy of the US is to regain a positive global image, it must be founded on dialogue. "We need a president who wants to negotiate with all nations, allies or enemies." [2]

In McCain’s stated platform, one must, above all, "know how to win wars." This philosophy hasn’t changed for him since his experience in the Vietnam War, because the US defeat was the result of the "incompetence of politicians". Despite claiming not to have an "ideological approach," he considers the US to be a "force for good." He alternately expresses a desire to "evaluate each situation independently" and envisions the United States as the head of a "league of democracies" - which would be the theme of a "renovated" NATO; with five ex-heads of state, made public several months ago and inspired by Sarkozy’s blank check for defense.

Although Obama has begun to advocate a timetable for global nuclear disarmament, McCain insists his country must maintain its military supremacy and respond to "any menace" by force because "diplomacy doesn’t work against those who threaten us". He will not withdraw from Iraq until "the war is won" along with the "war against terror"; "bomb Iran" to stop their developing
nuclear facilities; eject Russia, "which isn’t a democracy" from the G8 and keep China from entering, such is the platform of the Republican candidate.

Obama’s stated platform would bring the troops home from Iraq as soon as possible, but at the same time, increase Western military intervention in Afghanistan supplemented by operations in Pakistani territory, and "keep all options on the table" with Iran. Will these campaign promises be kept by a Democratic president? As usual, they are in contradiction to the general principles he expresses.

Editor’s notes:

[1“That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.
The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.
We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.” Barak Obama: "A World that Stands as One", July 24th, 2008 (Berlin, Germany).

[2"So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other." idem - EAL

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