Bush's Challenges and India

An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 05 November 2004

This is the time to do a snap appreciation of the effects of the US Election with George W. Bush reelected as President. Bush had just signed the US$420.6 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which makes up 19.9 percent of the total fiscal 2005 federal budget and 3.6 percent of the gross domestic product. This is interesting from the economic point of view and he still feels he can ride the crest on Defence Spending on the Cornelli Barnett theory so worshipped by the Republican neo conservatives. In India too defence spending has spurred many an economic issue but now defence exports and less corruption hold keys to greater robustness.

The authorization act, which Bush signed on Oct. 28, is the second of two bills that have to become law for the Defense Department to operate, the department said in a statement. The first is the Defense Appropriations Act, which Bush signed into law in August and provides the money. The authorization act gives the Pentagon the approval to spend the money.

"The act authorizes funding for defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs," a White House statement said. The bill raises the end-strength level of the Army and Marine Corps by 20,000 and 3,000, respectively. The Army end-strength will be set at 502,000, and Marines, 178,000.

The bill funds a 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for service members and eliminates out-of-pocket expenses for housing by increasing the basic allowance for housing. The bill also makes permanent increases in hostile fire/imminent danger pay to 225 dollars per month and in family separation pay to 250 dollars per month.

The bill allows the US base realignment and closure process to move forward, and creates a special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, under the joint authority of the defense and statesecretaries, to succeed the inspector general of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

The defense bill that Bush signed in August provides nearly 78 billion dollars for weapons purchases, a 3.5 percent pay increase for troops, and an additional 25 billion dollars for US operationsin Iraq and Afghanistan.

It also allocates 10 billion dollars for continued work on a national missile defense system, 100 million dollars for the Air Force to modernize its fleet of midair refueling tankers, and money for 39 more Army Black Hawk helicopters, a Virginia-class attack submarine, and three guided-missile destroyers.

So let us see the challenges ahead:

What are the chief problems and challenges the President will have to face now?

  • Economic recovery and to deal with record deficits

  • Bring peace to Iraq and the world

  • Mend the country's political divisions

  • Balance the budget

  • Mend international relationships and alliances

  • Learn to make a complete sentence, with a subject, noun and verb

It is great to be an American and Americans felt great to be able to vote and enjoy freedom of speech. It is great to enjoy the election process. And it is great to be able to embrace one another as Kerry has done after conceding defeat and say, we are still Americans in spite of our differences. This site congratulates George W. Bush on his victory and we hope that his new Presidency is good for the United States and the World. As they rejoice in the process and the system, we Indians hope he will do something for us too.

The polls were right. Nearly every poll indicated that George Bush was between 1 and 2 points ahead, and that Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Iowa, and a few other mid-western states would determine the elections.  They were right on target.

After John Kerry gave a short and emotional concession speech, George W. Bush gave his victory speech, with a special nod to Texas, "You have been with me the longest!"  Over 50,000,000 Americans voted against George Bush, but 53,000,000 voted for him, giving him, for the first time, a majority of support from voting Americans.  Studies indicate that while Democrats were successful in bringing young people and new voters to the election process, this was not enough to compete with the millions of evangelical Christians, who overwhelmingly voted for Bush.  Many churches had made this election a holy crusade, and churches created a new "2004" mantra of criticizing the concept of separation of church and state.  Thomas Jefferson surely turned over in his grave, during the election campaign, while preachers in pulpits all across America aggressively made elections and politics their purview.

Democrats had the money, the volunteers, and a good strategy.  But the Democratic Party could not compete with the emotional impetus of "religious zeal".  America has entered a new day of religion and politics, and in the world. 

However one feels about religion and politics, religion has a tangible presence in this world as we can see with Hindutva in India and the zealous Jihad of Islam and this will continue to impact political, social, and even business throughout the world. We must call upon the best intellects of the world, to understand, study and to be able to deal with this new trend. It is critical that the Global Generation do so with intelligence and broadmindedness, instead of blind religious zeal. Otherwise the world will find itself engulfed in religious conflicts and wars like the world has never seen. That is an important message that the Bush election should send to all of us. We must learn to view the world with greater depth and insight to protect us from the dangers of religious zealotry and terrorism which has engulfed us. The leaders of the world must learn to deal with religious zealots in more effective and intelligent ways for the protection of all of us. Whether the zealots are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Islamic, or Atheists all have agendas that must be fully understood and dealt with intelligently. If George W. Bush and his administration had better understood the conflicts between Islam and Israel, we might not have suffered the 9/11 fiasco.

For his part, George Bush by nature has never truly been a religious man. He has never been one to get involved in intellectual pursuits. He knows how to speak the basic emotional language of evangelicals, and how to "push the right buttons" rhetorically. He effectively pushed the buttons of "abortion" and "same sex marriage" to work up the emotions of the religious crowd. This election showed that he knows how to manipulate religious leaders to gain their support. He was very effective in repeating a few coined phrases about prayer and so on. But his personal nature has generally been very secular and more about the ideological beliefs of Republican dogma than about deep spiritual studies.

Documentaries point out his statement years ago that "If we can get the churches behind us, we can win any election." Not long after that he had an almost "miraculous born again" religious conversion and started appearing on T.V. shows of religious evangelists for interviews. The new president also has a huge ego. During his acceptance speech, it was impossible to ignore that he spoke with a backdrop of a giant W hanging from the walls of the Ronald Reagan building atrium, reminiscent of the Caesars of Rome. But days of colonial type of attitudes are over and he better realise it.

So what can the world expect from the re-elected Bush

1. We can expect aggressive efforts to promote his agenda especially on Iraq and Afghanistan and to satisfy his ego that begs for power he has power that few Presidents of the United States have seen in generations. The Republicans control both houses with majority. India must seek all friendship with Bush and invite him immediately. He is keen to come.

2. Expect social programs in America to be further cut, as money gets tight. Indian hospitals will gain in the long term.

3. Expect Medicare, Social Security, and funding for education and schools to be slightly compromised.

4. Expect military spending to increase, taxes to increase, interest rates to increase and military actions to increase. This is seen from our analysis of the Defence bill above.

5. Expect the politics of personal destruction to prevail and continue to destroy political enemies.

6. Expect more conflicts and hostilities with the international community. Tony Blair may not be so happy about the re election but he will try to ride the crest.

7. Expect a loss of civil rights and civil liberties as the new "Homeland Security" type laws like our POTA are devised and passed.

8. Expect the mixing of church and state, and expect the government to get involved in funding (and controlling) more and more church activities.

9. Expect the United States to gradually be more isolated and hated by nations around the world.

10. Expect other nations to create alliances to try to control, or protect themselves from American military or economic warfare.

11. Expect a recession, and possible destabilization of the banking and financial structure of the United States. This is one factor that will help China immensely and in the next five years if Taiwan gets close to China in a reconciliation its technology and money will flow more in to China. India must move ahead faster.

In this scenario India can gain if it liberalises, as the economy is sound but the Left does not allow the Congress led UPA Government to go full steam ahead. These are therfore going to be interesting times!

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