Monday, November 19, 2012

The Presidential Suite



The dust has settled on the US presidential elections, finally to the relief or agony or many other contradictory feelings of people, a President is in place at the White House. As the frayed nerves are put at ease I wanted to share a few observations I had during the course of the campaign leading upto the elections and declaration of result.

Firstly Globalization should have meant that a part of the world is present in every other part of the world, like fractals. The exchange of information, cross cultural corporate environment and access to information via Internet or television should have made it easier for this to happen. What seems to have happened though, is that the World has got closer to USA rather than the other way around. So events such as US Presidential elections are no longer watched and monitored only by US citizens but by many ordinary citizens, like me, world over.

Secondly, while it is indeed amusing to see so much dinner time or cocktail party debates on US Presidential candidates in countries that are thousands of miles away from US, there is no doubt that the person who gets the job has an immediate effect on foreign policy involving these far off countries. The policies of ‘father Bush’ administration or ‘son Bush’ administration or Obama administration has not only had repercussions on their own populace but in far off places like Iraq, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China to name a few. Hence political leaders world over keep a close watch on the proceedings.

Thirdly due to the strong ideology based politics US political parties are so easy to identify with; . You have a set of belief about abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage or China or outsourcing, you automatically become part of one or the other political outfit.

Fourth, elections are, apart from everything else, also about money. The advertisements, the travel for campaigning, entourage, accommodation, dinners; all cost money. Wherever there is a question of money there is a high chance of misdoings and illegal methods for raising funds, US elections show, how it could be kept clean by bringing in transparency into the funding process. Everybody knows where all the money came from and tries and keeps it as clean as possible.

Fifth, televised debates between the presidential candidates. This, I think, is the hallmark of the US Presidential elections. Two matured gentleman going hard at each other but with dignity, grace and entirely on the basis of facts, figures, policies and strategy. No raised voices, no rising temper, no backbiting. Everything in public view to live audiences, so everything is on record and available for repeated viewing and any goof ups or mistakes impossible to escape from.

Sixth,  the developing economies world over have nothing to learn directly from type of politics of US. The situations are different, demographics are different hence these countries are better left to themselves to work on their own type of politics. Any attempt to blindly adopt some of the methods could lead to disastrous consequences.

 Seventh, Last but definitely not the least, the biggest learning for all is about grace in defeat and humility in victory. Romney and Obama both demonstrated this perfectly, one conceding defeat without losing dignity and the other claiming victory without being condescending.



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1 Comments:

At November 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raja,

here are my thoughts:

1. "So events such as US Presidential elections are no longer watched and monitored only by US citizens but by many ordinary citizens, like me, world over"

This is true. But I am not surprised. I cannot find another country where we have a better example of people's democracy. Obama or Romney didn't get tickets (aka nomination) from a central high command of their party but they were truly chosen by the people, even before they actually started fighting official election.

Another example: Florida Gov Rick Scott was "recalled" and forced to fight a mid-term election just because enough people signed a petition -- in a true testament to "right to recall"

Since all over the world people yearn for people's democracy and US provides the finest example of it, they are fascinated by it.

2. "developing economies world over have nothing to learn directly from type of politics of US. The situations are different, demographics are different"

I disagree. We, in India, have a lot to learn and assimilate from the politics in US. Specific issues or demographics or wealth gap maybe different -- but people of India are not different than people of US in their desire for a good, transparent, effective and limited governance -- one which is driven by the people and not to the people.

I feel that libertarian thread of politics, as practiced in US by likes of Ron Paul, be urgently introduced in India. The libertarians advocate limited power of government, limited spending and more powers to individuals.
Benjamin Franklin (the guy who did that thunder with kite experiment; he was also one of the "founding fathers" in US) said: "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and would ulimately lose both"

3. "What seems to have happened though, is that the World has got closer to USA rather than the other way around"

In some way we can say this is true, but in some other way it is not. There are probably more non-Chinese Americans who know Mandarin or learn Mandarin than there are in India. Every time I go out to eat with some of my friends from America, I am amazed that everybody knows how to use chopsticks. Only people who don't includes me and some of my Indian friends.

Even about US politics, I think the rest of world (RoW) may not be fully aware of all the nuances and may indulge in stereotyping. For example there was a Presidential candidate fighting for nomination who was a Republican and believed that sending drones to other countries or killing terrorists in foreign lands or having so much US army outside US or to blindly supporting Israel are *not* right things to do for US. That candidate was Ron Paul. I may be wrong but I didn't see any Indian news coverage on him or his unusual views for someone who consider himself Repblican


Thank for your writing. Its a nice read. Please keep it up.

-Arup


 

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The Presidential Suite



The dust has settled on the US presidential elections, finally to the relief or agony or many other contradictory feelings of people, a President is in place at the White House. As the frayed nerves are put at ease I wanted to share a few observations I had during the course of the campaign leading upto the elections and declaration of result.

Firstly Globalization should have meant that a part of the world is present in every other part of the world, like fractals. The exchange of information, cross cultural corporate environment and access to information via Internet or television should have made it easier for this to happen. What seems to have happened though, is that the World has got closer to USA rather than the other way around. So events such as US Presidential elections are no longer watched and monitored only by US citizens but by many ordinary citizens, like me, world over.

Secondly, while it is indeed amusing to see so much dinner time or cocktail party debates on US Presidential candidates in countries that are thousands of miles away from US, there is no doubt that the person who gets the job has an immediate effect on foreign policy involving these far off countries. The policies of ‘father Bush’ administration or ‘son Bush’ administration or Obama administration has not only had repercussions on their own populace but in far off places like Iraq, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and China to name a few. Hence political leaders world over keep a close watch on the proceedings.

Thirdly due to the strong ideology based politics US political parties are so easy to identify with; . You have a set of belief about abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage or China or outsourcing, you automatically become part of one or the other political outfit.

Fourth, elections are, apart from everything else, also about money. The advertisements, the travel for campaigning, entourage, accommodation, dinners; all cost money. Wherever there is a question of money there is a high chance of misdoings and illegal methods for raising funds, US elections show, how it could be kept clean by bringing in transparency into the funding process. Everybody knows where all the money came from and tries and keeps it as clean as possible.

Fifth, televised debates between the presidential candidates. This, I think, is the hallmark of the US Presidential elections. Two matured gentleman going hard at each other but with dignity, grace and entirely on the basis of facts, figures, policies and strategy. No raised voices, no rising temper, no backbiting. Everything in public view to live audiences, so everything is on record and available for repeated viewing and any goof ups or mistakes impossible to escape from.

Sixth,  the developing economies world over have nothing to learn directly from type of politics of US. The situations are different, demographics are different hence these countries are better left to themselves to work on their own type of politics. Any attempt to blindly adopt some of the methods could lead to disastrous consequences.

 Seventh, Last but definitely not the least, the biggest learning for all is about grace in defeat and humility in victory. Romney and Obama both demonstrated this perfectly, one conceding defeat without losing dignity and the other claiming victory without being condescending.



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