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  Global Views
Guest Column
Crucial Dilemma Facing the US President
By Charles Mercieca
Contributing Writer
US President George W. Bush won relection

In spite of the lengthy uncertainty the United States faced in the 2004 presidential elections, the American people have finally decided to give George W. Bush a chance for a second term as president. He made it by a very small margin that amounted to only 51 percent of the total votes. Even here, most of those that voted for him did not approve of his foreign policies that alienated more nations against the USA than any other previous president in American history.

Perspective of Bush's Re-Election
Reliable polls tell us that Americans finally decided to select Bush for a second term because of his emphasis on family values and traditional ethics. That included primarily marriage as an institution between male and female as well as the recognition of the pre-born child as a full fledged human being. Needless to say, it would be incomprehensible on the part of this US president to assume that his re-election was due to the American support of his belligerent foreign policies and the invasion of Iraq.

Anyway, the political struggle in the United States to have a new president that would hopefully earn the respect and win support of the whole world is over. We now need to move forward into a hopeful future that should be characterized by progress, prosperity and peace. In the meantime, George W. Bush has been given the unique opportunity by the American people to decide how he should be viewed in history till the end of times. He faces a crucial dilemma, which cannot be taken lightly.

Anti-Iraqui War, and anti-Bush protest

As everyone already knows, the first term of George W. Bush as President was not a pleasant one. The terrorist attack on both New York and Washington, DC has distracted him from his vital work as president relative to making health care, education, adequate housing facilities, and environmental protection a top priority of his administration. As a result, many Americans suffered miserably.

Regardless of the motives behind the scenes and regardless of what the presidential advisors had to say, the fact remains, as underlined by Pope John Paul II, former South African President Nelson Mandela, and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, among numerous others, that the Iraqi war was a grave mistake. The countless tens of thousands that were massacred and that were maimed and put in a state of depression, in addition to the destruction of the infrastructure of the Iraqi nation raise very serious questions.

Inexcusable Ravages of War
One question that has already been raised may be verified by statistics. In just a period of eighteen months following the American invasion of Iraq, more people seem to have been massacred, more destruction of places of habitation have taken place, and more people have been terrified than in the previous thirty years under the rule of Saddam Hussein. If this is verified to be true, then the lesson the world should learn from the Iraqi War would be identical to that lesson the world learned from the Vietnam War. Like Pope Pius XII warned Great Britain and Germany on the eve of World War II: In a war every one is a loser and no one is a winner.

When President Bill Clinton ended his second term, he left a surplus of some 800 billion dollars. By the end of his first term, President Bush not only wiped out that surplus but he proceeded to put the American nation into some 3 to 4 trillion dollars in debt. His advisors tell us that Bush did this because it was necessary to fight for freedom by waging wars against both Afghanistan and Iraq. The fact remains, as Pope Pius XII asserted in 1939, that in a war everyone is a loser and no one is a winner. The Iraqi war may as well be the initial step toward putting the United States into bankruptcy.

US President George W. Bush

Signs of a forthcoming bankruptcy are already on the horizon. The dollar is going down the hill at a more rapid pace than one may imagine. Today an increasing number of countries do not accept any longer from American tourists the American dollar. Such tourists will have to change the dollar into the local currency or another currency that might be readily accepted like the euro in a number of instances. What is ironic with some US government officials lies here. When American corporations make profit people are told that the economy is getting better. In essence, we are in a situation where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Many Americans in tens of millions do not have any health care benefits, any means for their children's education and adequate home facilities.

Following his first term in office, President George W. Bush has emerged as a unique type of chief executive that may not easily be matched with any other in history. His admirers love him and like him immensely while they view him as a God-sent man to save the American nation and the world. His critics detest him and dislike him enormously while they perceive him as a devil who presents himself everywhere with an angelic garb. Well, actions speak louder than words.

There is no need for Americans and the nations of the world to wait till the end of the second term to see what kind of role Bush will play in history.

Choosing Between Evil and Good
A tragic scene of War in Iraq
During his second term in office, George W. Bush is faced with a crucial dilemma: He will either lead the world to Armageddon with wars constantly fought in various global areas or he will lead our global community to a lasting world peace. If he chooses the first one, then only God knows how many tens of millions would be dying and suffering horrendous pain because of him. Only God knows how many people in tens of millions will suffer amputations and mental depression that may lead for many to suicide.

If he chooses the latter one, then millions of lives would be saved and he will be instrumental in making the greatest contribution that could be possibly ever made in human experience. This will consist of the promotion and the eventual achievement of a genuine world peace, which will be characterized by progress, prosperity, and brotherly love accompanied by increasing inner joy and happiness. The second term of George W. Bush will not be judged by what he says but only by what he does. This time his speech writers, regardless of how brilliant they may be, will prove helpless and worthless.

We stated earlier, that George W. Bush is faced with a crucial dilemma. We said that the choice of his place in history in entirely in his hands. Let us outline briefly two sets of programs that Bush is faced with that constitute his crucial dilemma. What is being stated is not a matter of a personal opinion. It is a tangible fact that cannot be denied under no circumstance and in no way whatsoever. Let us start with the first choice, a program that would hasten the world to Armageddon. The fact that one may not have in mind to take this unfortunate and sad route does not mean that one is immune from it. If we are in the center of the USA, say in Kansas City, and decide to go to New York but we start driving and heading west, we will end up in California absolutely, even though our initial intention was to reach New York by all means.

US President George Bush with his wife Laura

In order to realize the tempting situation George W. Bush finds himself in to decide upon embarking on a program that would lead to Armageddon we have to understand something about his culture and background. He was born and raised in a country that has been termed as a super power. Such a super power country in history, from the Persians, to the Greek and Romans all the way down to the Ottoman Empire and most recently to the Spanish and British Colonialists, tended always to rely on military might for the so called nation's security. Every super power nation felt that such a military might is there not as an ornament but to use it as often as needed by all means.

First Option: Road to Armageddon
Even though George W. Bush prides himself in the open of being a good practicing Christian, a man of God, he seems to forget that the superpower nations all collapsed in history merely through a sling shot. We are all familiar with the Biblical story of the tiny and helpless David facing the huge and powerful Goliath. The great giant Goliath could have pulverized literally David with just one hand. Yet, we know the rest of the story. Goliath was knocked down with merely a sling shot. Assuming that George W. Bush will not learn anything from this Biblical event, then his decision to choose the way to Armageddon during his second term as President becomes a matter of certainly.

If that were to be the case then we expect George W. Bush to proceed immediately to take the following steps during his second term:

US soldiers in Iraq

1. Securing from the U.S. Congress billions of dollars: (a) to develop more sophisticated bombs like the so called smart bombs or the shock and awe bombs, among several others and (b) to put unlimited number of weapons of mass destruction orbiting in space, an event known as star wars.
2. Cooperating with US big corporations to have their products sold anywhere in the world for the right price. This would include, above all, all kind of weapons and military equipment that would be made available to various groups or governments without exception that are ready to pay the right price.

3. Continuing to give priority to corporate financial interests over the dire needs of people everywhere even when proven detrimental to their health. The cancellation and full disregard of the Kyoto Agreement that dealt with vital environmental protection would continue.

4. Viewing struggles and wars all over the world as a good business enterprise particularly for the U.S. military industry, which has now become a lucrative business. Some U.S. government officials believe that most of their constituents make money through the manufacture and sales of weapons.

5. Seeking the expansion of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, thus forcing European nations to shift the bulk of their money from the dire needs of their people relative to health care and education to the purchase of weapons and military equipment in preparation for more wars.

6. Showing increasing disrespect for the United Nations by trying either to boss it around or to ignore it completely. Thus, the United States would continue to act independently of the United Nations except when it deems it is in its own exclusive interests.

US soldiers in night search operation in Iraq

7. Reiterating the United States' right for preemptive strikes anywhere in the world. This is based on the philosophy that might is right and that a super power has the right to dictate to the rest of the world what to do and not to do. This kind of thinking is bound to create turmoil in various global areas.

8. Garnishing support from Christian fundamentalists by telling them periodically the only items they want to hear: (a) abortion is murder, (b) marriage as a union between man and women, and (b) prayer in school and in public places is a human right.

9. Maintaining that those who agree with American policies are friends of the United States, while those who disagree with such policies are enemies. This philosophy has already alienated several countries and it is bound to alienate more. The U.S. foreign policy of Bush did not seem to have much success.

10. Planning for wars year in and year out that leaves no place whatsoever to develop an effective strategic plan for a genuine peace. As the Romans used to say: Si vis bellum para bellum — If you want war prepare for war. Also, Si vis pacem para pacem — If you want peace prepare for peace.

During his second term as President, George W. Bush is presented with this first option, which may be viewed as the road to Armageddon. He does not have to take it especially when he is faced with another option, which is the road to world peace.

Second Option: Road to World Peace
President Dwight Eisenhower
In his farewell speech to the U.S. Congress, President Dwight Eisenhower stated emphatically to the American government: Remember that all people of all nations want peace, only their governments want war. The whole world realizes that the United States is a capitalistic nation where the ultimate goal is the never-ending of piling up money and wealth at any cost. Also, in several books of history and political science we find that the United States is a nation not of democracy but of plutocracy where everything is governed by the elite rich whose ultimate objective is to move forward in life even at the expense of people's sufferings and peoples loss of lives.

Regardless of all this, George W. Bush, who established a reputation of being the corporate president, can still make a big difference during his second term in office. He is faced with an alternative choice, a second option that enables him to put the United States and all other nations on the road to world peace. The choice is entirely in his hands. His decision is vital because once taken the clock of history cannot be reversed. The only way for this re-elected president to follow this option is for him to take immediately the following steps:

1. Developing an international program of disarmament and arms control as make the world safer and more secure. This has been from the outset the primary goal of the United Nations. People feel less terrified and considerably safer with no military weapons orbiting over their heads than otherwise.

2. Requiring of the weapons industry a radical change in its product by making tractors for farmers instead of tanks for soldiers, by developing pre-fabricated homes for the homeless, and by using the human resources merely for positive and constructive purposes.

3. Promoting environmental protection from air and water pollution so that less people would incur cancer and other related illnesses. When people are healthy they enable themselves to be more productive and beneficial to society where everyone will be a winner and no one a loser.

4. Changing military alliances into political, economic and cultural alliances following the footsteps of the European Union. This should lead to the eventual abolition of NATO, which has increasingly become the albatross of its members.

5. Putting top priority on the elimination of world hunger and malnutrition and on the provision of adequate housing facilities everywhere for the poor. As a leading nation, the United States has the responsibility for the welfare of the entire world through positive and constructive means.

6. Supporting the creation of an International Court of Justice that would be empowered to protect the interests of all people of all nations without exception. This should lead to a loose federation of planet earth where the idea of one nation fighting another would become ludicrous.

7. Advocating to the United Nations to make it a serious crime against humanity the manufacture and sales of weapons and the promotion of wars everywhere as a business enterprise. To this end, making money out of these negative and destructive elements should be absolutely prohibited.

8. Encouraging the creation of centers or departments of peace in all colleges and universities all over the world. This way a new generation could be prepared to promote and maintain peace properly and effectively through the exercise of humanitarian work rather than struggles and wars.

9. Seeking all the assistance needed to promote the faithful observance of the divine positive law and the natural law. These two vital laws are found in every religion and in every culture and should be respected for the feasibility of world peace. Academic institutions may play a vital role in this regard.

10. Providing a permanent solution to the problem of terrorism by getting to its source, like Pope John Paul II proposed, and not by waging wars. This way an effective remedy could be provided that would eventually obliterate this sad and senseless malady from the surface of our planet.

During his second term in office as U.S. President, George W. Bush may choose Option One: Road to Armageddon, or he may choose Option Two: Road to World Peace. If deep inside, the financial interest of big corporations precedes the welfare of the people at large, then everything stated in Option One: Road to Armageddon, will be carried out with the precision that it was outlined. If deep inside, the genuine welfare of the people at large precedes the welfare of big corporations, then everything stated in Option Two: Road to World Peace, will be carried out without any hesitation. Whichever way he chooses, he will be held fully responsible and accountable of the consequences till the end of times.

Charles Mercieca, Ph.D., is contributing writer for The Seoul Times. He is president of International Association of Educators for World Peace, NGO, United Nations (ECOSOC), UNDPI, UNICEF, UNCED & UNESCO. Dr. Mercies is also professor emeritus of Alabama A&M University.






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