The world’s ins and outs

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

cam­paign, nei­ther facts nor rea­son will dis­suade vot­ers with an “out” mind­set.

As the No­bel lau­re­ate econ­o­mist Daniel Kah­ne­man re­cently ob­served of Bri­tain’s “leave” camp, “the ar­gu­ments look odd: they look short-term and based on ir­ri­ta­tion and anger”. And yet they work.

In the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the choice be­tween Hil­lary Clin­ton, the pre­sump­tive Demo­cratic nom­i­nee, and her Repub­li­can coun­ter­part, Don­ald Trump, re­flects an un­am­bigu­ous bat­tle be­tween “in” and “out”.

In re­sponse to the re­cent mass shoot­ing at an LGBT night­club in Or­lando, Trump boasted that he had been right all along about the threat posed by “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter­ror­ism”.

Clin­ton, by con­trast, of­fered words of sup­port — in English and Span­ish — to the vic­tims, and fo­cused on the com­mu­nity and on the need for gun con­trol.

With his xeno­pho­bic rhetoric and fond­ness for despots like Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin (a dem­a­gogue who bul­lies the neigh­bours he does not in­vade), Trump epit­o­mises the “out” mind­set: hy­per­bolic, ma­li­cious, pompous and hos­tile to all who defy or dis­agree with him (be it the press, which he be­rates and tries to block, or judges who pre­side over his law­suits).

Some se­nior Repub­li­cans, to their credit, have dis­avowed this Pied Piper’s ef­fort to lead Amer­i­cans over a cliff of iso­la­tion and big­otry. But many oth­ers, con­fronted with his steady stream of in­sults di­rected at Lati­nos, Mus­lims and women, seem to have walled off their con­sciences.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, has called Trump’s com­ments racist, but con­tin­ues to en­dorse him. So does Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell and, per­haps most re­mark­ably, John McCain, the party’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, whose mil­i­tary ser­vice Trump den­i­grated, say­ing that McCain re­turned from Viet­nam “a war hero” only “be­cause he was cap­tured”, adding: “I like peo­ple who weren’t cap­tured.”

Clin­ton, on the other hand, though widely per­ceived as a for­eign pol­icy “hawk”, is still of the “in” mind­set — some­one who knows the value of trade, dis­cus­sion and com­pro­mise. She also un­der­stands the value of “smart power” — that bombs are not al­ways the most valu­able tools to use in pur­suit of one’s goals. She would pre­sum­ably seek to ad­vance the legacy es­tab­lished by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, whose trips to Viet­nam, Cuba and Ja­pan this year

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