President of the World
By Jerome Grossman
American citizens will vote on November 8, 2008 for President of the United States, choosing an executive who will manage their country for the next four years. Citizens of other nations believe that we are actually selecting the president of the world, an executive with the power to influence and even determine their lives.
Calling the U.S. a superpower, even the only superpower, really understates the dominance of America over every other nation. It is a colossus that cannot be challenged militarily or economically at this stage of history by a single nation or any group of nations.
Militarily, the U.S. spends more on weapons than all other nations combined, possesses the most modern and formidable weapons and has not hesitated to use them. The only nation to have used atomic weapons on people, it has engaged in nine wars in the last 17 years on three continents; it is currently fighting in two countries and threatening others. Its military and political leaders regularly say, “No weapon is off the table,” an implicit threat to use weapons of mass destruction. In fact, it has threatened to use nuclear bombs forty times since Hiroshima/Nagasaki.
Economically, the U.S. with 4% of the world population has 25% of the world production and controls even more with its financial system. The dollar is the dominant instrument of exchange, the World Bank and most international financial institutions are controlled by the U. S. and the United Nations does the bidding of the U.S. most of the time.
Culturally, the U.S. market is dominant, affecting sport, music, art, and even lifestyle. English is the most popular first and second language with every nation, made necessary by U.S. military and economic dominance.
The rest of the world has a love/hate relationship with the U.S. born of admiration of American accomplishments and fear of its potential use of power. For at least a century, the U.S. has been expansionist, driven by its own strength and international weakness, seeking markets and comparative advantage in accordance with its capitalist ideology, believing in the mission to remake the world in the American model.
A prime instrument in this crusade has been the American presidency in which centralized power has been vested, bypassing the slower and more democratic style of Congress for speed and efficiency and in the interest of the business elites who run the system. Autocratic methods are used in the name of democracy.
The President controls intelligence; with the bully pulpit and the monopoly of information, the President is virtually unchallenged when he summons the nation to war. The President now interprets laws passed by the Congress and appoints the federal judges who will support his interpretations. The President exercises surveillance in a variety of forms over all 300 million Americans to protect them from dangers that his intelligence operation identifies.
To survive, foreign governments and their citizens must be alert to the tendencies of American presidents and how they will use their awesome powers around the world. Will they be considered enemies subject to military and economic punishment if they oppose U.S. policy? Must they be with us or against us? Will they be subject to wiretapping and satellite surveillance? Will their citizens be seized by intelligence operatives, incarcerated in secret prisons, sent to nations that torture? Will their currencies be attacked if they fail to buy U.S. bonds in sufficient number? Will they be subject to regime change?
They can't be too careful. There is an 800 pound gorilla in the room, and he is effectively the President of the World. Survival for other nations would seem to require attempts to game the American political system by influencing the choice of President by campaign contributions from their émigrés who have become U.S. citizens and retaining Washington lobbyists in the style of U.S. corporations. For years there has been agitation for world government. It may be achieved in the guise of American Hegemony.
Over the decades, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, the U.S. has amassed 737 military bases in 130 countries. Iraq would be number 131. Has the world already been occupied by the U.S.? Has all humanity already voted for President of the World? As American voters prepare to elect the next president, they should be asking themselves and the candidates about the expansionist policies, whether it is in the long-run interests of the United States and if they are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices of money and blood.