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Thu. June 13, 2024
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International Affairs Forum

Around the World, Across the Political Spectrum

On the US Presidential Elections


As a woman, the belief that it is unnecessary to vote for Hillary Clinton is similar to the belief that African Americans did not have to vote for President Obama. It simply does not make sense. It is imperative for the United States to have a female president, and it is high time for women to claim their place in international politics. Those who believe that we have already reached an end to gender oppression are simply deluded. In the UK, there is speculation that, after former Prime Minister Thatcher, women are no longer trusted in government. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel has proven this is wrong. Further, the argument itself is not logical. If we made decisions based on single cases, countries would have never again elected a man into any political office after the rules of both Hitler and Stalin. Instead, governments would now only be run by women. Maybe that would indeed be for the better. But I am not of the opinion that women should hold more power than men.  I believe that the sexes should have equal powers. A matriarchal world would perhaps be more peaceful, but since we have never tried it, we have no grounds to base this on. While such a world would be a beneficial experiment for women, I do not believe that it would be ethically just. Rather, it would be as unjust as patriarchy is now. Women must realise this injustice and fight for their equal rights. The first step in this fight would be to vote for Hillary.   

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders seems quite innocent. Although Marxism was not presented as a safe policy where I grew up in the Eastern bloc, I do appreciate the good a Socialist in power in the US could do and how necessary it is to have greater left wing influence. I believe that Sanders could face the pressing task to reduce inequality in the US, but I am not so certain that he would be able to achieve much towards global inequality reduction. In all likelihood, he would help the cause, taking an important first step towards more peace in the world. However, traditionally, Marxism has been weak in formulating a workable foreign policy towards engaging with the world at large. I see that as a danger, because an isolated US under Sanders would be counter-productive for progress in the world. Due to this, there might be more beneficial ideas and concepts in Liberalism towards foreign policy, hence in Hillary Clinton.

Liberalism also needs some reforms. The past decade has taught us that Liberals need to understand that democracy cannot be spread by force. But Liberals have a great track record in creating peace in the world by establishing international organisations and promoting international integration and cooperation. These are strong forces for peace in the world. This is the great achievement of Liberalism, an achievement that they can claim for themselves, as no other approach has had much contribution. We need more of that, not less. It would be both beneficial and welcome for Liberals to use some Marxist ideals in creating policies toward inequality reduction. But these ideals alone might not be sufficient in creating or maintaining peace in the world. Many more factors contribute to conflict, propelling factors of violence and misery above inequality. Of immediate concern would be a possible membership for Russia in NATO as well as a Marshall Plan for Syria, and maybe other countries affected by war. The Islamic State should be engaged in negotiation with the aim of a cessation of violence and human rights violations in return for authorised control over some territory. Furthermore, the idea of a UN Parliament, directly elected, should be made a topic of discussion in the General Assembly of the UN. Finally, it would maybe make sense to create sort of a Hippocratic oath for politicians and political scientists.

Liberals also have an advantage over Realists. While Realists attempt to understand the causes of war, and are maybe better at this task, Liberals focus on the solutions to war, and hence the conditions of peace. While both is necessary, the latter goes further in its capacity to create a peaceful world.

I believe that therefore the two Democratic candidates are both an excellent choice for the American people and for the world. It would be preferential that, whatever the outcome of the Presidential elections, both individuals share power in the future government. Certainly, these candidates give much hope for a peaceful and prosperous future.   

Dr. AC Beyer is Senior Lecturer at the University of Hull. Her main publications include: Inequality and Violence (2014 Ashgate) and Violent Globalisms (2010 Ashgate). 

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