While I haven't been writing much lately, I have still paid close attention to recent world affairs. There has been an interesting thread running through many of these widely diverse events that has gotten my attention. That thread is the decline of the popular will in governance.
Two world leaders that are involved in these happenings are barely getting noticed by the domestic media due to the frenzied American primary coverage. Yet IMHO these two are setting a political behavioral precedent that is being followed in said primary.
The easier of the two to discuss initially is Silvio Berlesconi. In order to gratify his greedy self-interest, he has (and will again if returned to power) subverted the rule of law to advance his private portfolio or to silence his critics. His "L'impresa riservata domina il governo per il buon di impresa riservata" approach is essentially the policy promoted by Benito Mussolini, but narrowed down for the personal benefit of Berlesconi and his immediate circle of friends. A case can certainly be made – especially in light of the deepening economic crisis facing the nation – that this is the path blazed by Ronald Reagan and followed to varying degrees by all of his successors, including Bill Clinton (see: NAFTA & GATT). So to honor the rise of world neo-fascism, all citizens will immediately turn and face The White House and repeat after me, "Il Profitto Riservato È Supremo!" until you are instructed to desist.
Crossing the divide from the business-controls-government side, it's time to take a look at the other combination embodied by Vladimir Putin and his personal Pinocchio known officially as Dmitry Medvedev.
Maybe when George said he'd looked into Putin's soul and found a kindred spirit, maybe he wasn't too far off! But I digress.
I was watching ABC television this morning, and the comment was made on the "news" that the Russian people were OK with not having much of a say in who leads them as they have other interests which they consider much more important. They are completely OK with someone handling all of those nasty details that make participatory government so distasteful.
Considering that there are reports that Putin's political opponents are in the streets protesting the one-sided "election" of Medvedev, it just goes to show two immediate things: our domestic media is once again acting as the propaganda organ extraordinaire, and that Putin and Bush are closer than we know publicly.
The problem (for Bush) is that his personal governance philosophy is closer to Berlesconi's than to Putin's "Правительство преобладает частные предприятия для хорошего правительства" (Government dominates private enterprise for the good of the government). Just look up Boris Berezovsky, and then Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and then check out how the Kremlin dealt with Murtaza Rakhimov. Once you've completed that little task on which I did the research for you, attempt to convince me that the Bush regime has done anything similar to the likes of insiders like Ken Lay.
(Dennis Kozlowski didn't play ball, plying Republicans with portions of his vast resources to garner favor, so he doesn't count. Neither does Bernie Ebbers, because he stole from the rich and gave to himself.)
As Time reported a while back, "Russia's super-rich oligarchs have been frequent political targets over the past decade… [Putin] proved himself less committed to modernizing Russia's economy than to consolidating his own power. Those Russians with a lot of money threatened his achieving that goal, so they had to be dealt with. "Длиной Живет Новое Сталин!" (Long live the new Stalin!)
But then, when one considers the continuing erosion of civil liberties by an American regime that thinks the application of the law is only for the little people, Bush may well be evolving toward Putin and away from Berlesconi – but that may be a thought for another post. Assuming that nothing happens to disrupt the coming domestic election and keep George in power as the emergency ruler for life, the American people are being asked to make a choice on two levels that parallels the disparity between Berlesconi and Putin.
The first is represented by the Hillary-Obama slugfest, in which the same old "go along with capital's plans for globalization and world dominance to get along" is being challenged by the rise of a candidate who talks a strong populist line to a country which is tired of seeing the good things in life go to a select few while they lose everything they had that made life worth living.
Hillary is, as Obama admitted at the "debate" in Cleveland, a formidable candidate. Where she falls off her high horse is seen in the broad chasm between her words and her actions. We've seen her act for many years, and she just doesn't inspire confidence in those that expect positive results. Her supporters are either largely corporately-oriented – and thus similar in some ways to Berlesconi's – or they believe in the political realization of gender entitlement. Considering that no other candidate still in the race has much more to offer, that is as good a rationale as anyone is likely to hear to justify her continued candidacy.
This lack of substance is the weakness affecting Barack Obama. He speaks well, but his words lack the definition necessary to convey more than the emotion of hope he offers. He is going to have to show more ability than merely sidestepping Hillary's roundhouse blows until the round ends to demonstrate that he deserves the job. But even so, while he leans toward tolerating Berlesconi's stance concerning political activity, he's as close to a middle ground as we are going to see this year.
This leaves Lame John McCain, who has publicly promised to continue the disastrous Bush-Cheney policies if he manages to convince the American voters that dreams of an improved national commonweal should wait until the terror war against terror can be won sometime in the next hundred years or so and elect him to lead it. The effort necessary to see that ambition realized would mean that some of Putin's practices would have to be added to the existing Bush playbook designed to eliminate popular interference with the conduct of the terror war against terror.
So here We, the People sit. We're between a corporatist Iraq and a Stalinist hard place. The only potential leader in sight has yet to be truly tested, and yet the need for a leader to take this nation to a new and better place isn't going to cease any time soon.
I'm reminded of the concluding scenes of Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade, in which Indy is advised to "choose wisely" before taking action. While that movie was fantasy, the reality facing Americans today is no less dire. Making the wrong choice now will prove fatal to our American way of life. I'm not ready for a stiff right arm or a gulag for those deemed in need of "re-education" or a new status of "non-existence", but I'm not yet convinced that the Cathedral of Hope is anything more than a Potemkin facade.
I can only hope we make the correct choice.Powered by Sidelines