November 6, 2012

America's "Choice": Many Votes, Few Winners

A nightmare scenario for Independent voters is unfolding across the United States today, allowing for reflection on the status of its government.

For those Americans who wouldn't vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney if they possessed a real choice in deciding this country's future - upwards of 30% - today symbolizes the perverse structure of a two-party system and its failure to serve the majority of Americans. We are more likely to be drowned out than decide 2012's election, and enjoy no refuge other than our minds, the company of like-minded individuals, and the virtues of patience and determination.

America's reoccurring dilemma of lesser evils, which spans decades at the minimum, has given birth to the two-horse autocracy now being covered by every media outlet in the world.

In terms of U.S. foreign policy, the die has already been cast and nothing save an extreme circumstance can alter its possibilities. Words cannot fully capture the nothingness that blanketed this election's time-line. The Trench sympathizes with America's economic plight and understands the heightened attention over related issues, as a country's economics and foreign policy determine each other's influence. For this very reason U.S. foreign policy shouldn't have been intentionally neglected by America's two presidential candidates. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney expended about 10% of their campaigning on foreign policy, if that. Each candidate's stump speech often devotes no more than one or two paragraphs out of several pages, or else foreign policy is dropped entirely in favor of jobs, health care, infrastructure and education.

The only superficial mention in Obama's final speech takes up a third of a paragraph: "In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And today, our businesses have created nearly five and a half million new jobs. The American auto industry is back.  Home values are on the rise.  We’re less dependent on foreign oil than any time in the last 20 years.  We’ve doubled the production of clean energy. Because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is ending. Al Qaeda is on the run. Osama bin Laden is dead."

What, though, is educational about minimizing a country's relations with the world, or misinforming Americans about the wars fought in their names? Where was this alleged education at an alleged foreign policy debate - a debate so dull and inconsequential that the U.S. mainstream media conspired to hype its importance? The debate's ensuing analysis was dominated by one-liners, Obama's "look" and, to a lesser extent, the many similarities between each candidate's foreign policy. The fact that two candidates adopted parallel agendas has flown dangerously below the popular radar, and Americans are likely to pay a future price for this growing insulation. Meanwhile America's elite will continuing benefitting most at home and drones are coming to greet the many.

Romney didn't mention foreign policy during Friday's last "major" speech: "Real Change From Day One." Out of roughly 4,000 words in Obama's final speech on Monday, these words account for .005% of his focus: "The war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is ending. Al Qaeda is on the run. Osama bin Laden is dead."

Perhaps U.S. foreign policy should take a momentary backseat to America's broken economy, but the total imbalance of forces is clear to all who spend a few moments studying it.

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