No pos­i­tive out­come ei­ther way

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP - BY ERIC S. MARGOLIS

EN­E­MIES of the US are joy­ously watch­ing its up­com­ing elec­tions that are ex­pos­ing this once great na­tion as deeply cor­rupt. It’s as if a huge rock has been turned over, ex­pos­ing the swarm­ing, slith­er­ing un­der­side of Amer­ica’s po­lit­i­cal sys­tem.

For those who ad­mire Amer­ica, like this writer, this week is a time to weep for the repub­lic.

We see two can­di­dates who are ut­terly un­fit for the high­est of­fice: Hil­lary Clin­ton, en­gulfed by scan­dals, and blus­ter­ing TV mogul Don­ald Trump, a man of pro­found shal­low­ness who ad­vo­cates Is­lam­o­pho­bia, tor­ture and en­vi­ron­men­tal ig­no­rance.

Clin­ton’s core sup­port­ers are black food stamp and wel­fare re­cip­i­ents, and le­gions of women who are vot­ing sim­ply by gen­der. Trump’s core sup­port­ers are tax-pay­ing work­ers who have watched Wall Street loot Amer­ica’s econ­omy and send their jobs abroad.

Like many peo­ple, I’ve been tear­ing my hair try­ing to de­cide for whom to vote. I now favour Lib­er­tar­ian Party can­di­date Gary John­son who gained world­wide fame as a dolt when asked about the de­struc­tion of Aleppo, Syria. “What’s Aleppo?” asked this New Mex­ico Bis­marck.

Now that’s the kind of pres­i­dent I’d like to see. No more regime-chang­ers and em­pire-builders. No more Im­pe­rial Amer­ica. No more cru­saders or world su­per power bul­ly­ing. No more muck­ing around the world and act­ing as the globe’s en­forcer. Let’s for­get Aleppo, Beirut, Gaza, Tehran, Is­lam­abad, the South China Sea and North Korea.

We can no longer af­ford to play Game of Thrones. We’ve got to re­build bridges and air­ports, and clean the Augean Sta­bles of Congress, Amer­ica’s most cor­rupt in­sti­tu­tion. We just spent US$2.8 bil­lion on roads in re­mote Afghanistan while our own high­ways are crum­bling. Such is the folly of im­pe­ri­al­ism. But I fear that who­ever wins the US elec­tion will very quickly face ma­jor prob­lems for which they are woe­fully un­pre­pared. Most ob­vi­ous is the bloody mess the US has cre­ated across the Mid­dle East.

I just learned that Trump re­cently named, as Mid­dle East ad­viser, a no­to­ri­ous Mus­lim-hat­ing fa­natic, who is a Le­banese Ma­ronite Chris­tian fas­cist. His ad­vice will likely be to in­vade Le­banon and Syria and kill more Mus­lims.

For her part, Clin­ton has long been a wholly-fi­nanced sub­sidiary of Wall Street and the mighty Is­rael lobby.

Just have a look at the list of her largest donors. Her pro-Is­rael sup­port­ers are urg­ing her to cre­ate a so­called “no-fly” zone over Syria, which is code for fullscale war against Syr­ian gov­ern­ment and Rus­sian forces. Guess who will ben­e­fit from Syria’s de­struc­tion and dis­in­te­gra­tion?

This supreme id­iocy could lead di­rectly to nu­clear war with Rus­sia, some­thing I’ve been warn­ing against for years.

There has been no men­tion in the cam­paign of re­build­ing the Arab world, rav­aged by western im­pe­rial in­ter­ven­tions.

In­stead, we’ve heard tirades against the phony IS, which is funded by the Saudis, and Clin­ton’s ab­surd claims that wicked Vlad Putin is some­how be­hind Amer­ica’s for­eign dis­as­ters. It’s stupid and shame­ful dem­a­goguery.

At least Trump has the good sense to urge that we end our point­less con­fronta­tion with Rus­sia and scale back the un­af­ford­able Amer­i­can Em­pire.

Be­sides dis­gust­ing many Amer­i­cans, the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has made the US an ob­ject of de­ri­sion and em­bar­rass­ment around the globe. Many an­a­lysts claim that this grand fi­asco marks the be­gin­ning of the end of US global hege­mony. It’s cer­tainly the be­gin­ning of the be­gin­ning.

This week alone, the Philip­pines and Malaysia, two staunch Amer­i­can al­lies, edged closer to China’s camp. Nei­ther Trump nor Clin­ton had a care for Amer­ica’s rep­u­ta­tion dur­ing their ugly de­bates.

My fear is that the elec­tion vit­riol will not end Amer­ica’ shame and mis­ery but con­tinue on, like an acid eat­ing into the na­tional fab­ric.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-win­ning, in­ter­na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist, writ­ing mainly about the Mid­dle East and South Asia. Com­ments: let­ters@ the­

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