Hope for the election (pt 1)

For quite some time I’ve been quite the pessimist when it comes to the next election, both here and in the US. I cringe to think what things will be like if little Johnny Howard, or President Shrub get back into office, but there’s something in me that’s holding on to hope that change is coming.

Although I’ve not been commenting on the races of late, I’ve been keenly watching. Josh Marshall has been providing some excellent coverage of the race in the US, although of late his focus has shifted somewhat to events in Iraq more directly. He has also pointed to Bush slipping in the polls (although not much weight can be put on polls in isolation); Bush’s slide in key areas is particularly promising. One can only hope that the deepening scandal over human rights abuses by US troops in Iraq is reflected at the ballet box. If Bush gets re-elected after this debacle, I have little hope that the US will be able to retain its credibility in the international arena…

I recently read an article by someone that I remember being a US military serviceman (I have unfortunately lost the link – I may be mistaken) in which the author stated that he hoped Rumsfeld would be brought to justice. I was struck by this wishful thinking, for two reasons. First – the Bush administration was ushered in by the Supreme Court – and has the unwavering support of Attorney General Ashcroft. So, it seems to me that any “justice” for Rumsfeld will not be coming from within the US justice system.

Which brings me to the second thought – the US has refused to sign, let alone ratify, the International Criminal Court. Worse, the US is using all diplomatic efforts to implement unilateral agreements with countries, including Australia, that will provide immunity to US nationals from court decisions. Without this external authority, IMO there is no chance that Rumsfeld will be brought to justice, nor any US national that is found to have broken international law. The US government seems to want to position its country, through its military and economic might, as the world policeman, but only when it defines the rules, when it defines who the enemy is.

For more great insight into US politics, be sure to check out American Dynamics.