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The lesser evil: US presidential elections

By Sidra Khan

Before Clinton or Trump of them makes the glory walk to the White House in January 2017, America has to face a tough choice between two very different foreign-policy projects: Imaging a state where the republican candidate Donald Trump is putting up a policy for South Asia. The republicans have a history of making bad choice and strategies especially towards south Asia. Bush, a republican initiated the never ending war on terror which has engulfed US policy makers and thinks tanks in a catalytic cycle of chaos. Trump during his presidential campaign have clearly stated his focus on having large, capable and highly equipped military. Thus handling conflicts with brute force rather than negotiations as happen in Afghanistan during the Bush times.

Trump idea of isolationism is based upon the infamous discourse delivered by U.S Secretary of State John Quincy in 1821, he said that “America does not travel to another country looking for creatures to decimate. She is the well-wisher to flexibility and autonomy of all. She is the champion and vindicator just of her own.”

Nonetheless, Trump’s idea of isolationism does not mean tolerating the rise of different countries and America’s internal advancement, rather it focusses more on expanding and maximizing US geo-strategic and economic interests across the globe: locally and internationally. He concurred with a proposal that his polices can be truly understood by a single phrase “America First.” At the end of the day, the United States won’t be occupied with conflicts over ideas like liberty, freedom or even democracy but will only concentrate its efforts to strengthen America internally. The above argument gives rise to a wide loophole such as why Trump need a well-equipped army for strengthening USA internally.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, is in any case very much suited with her experience with regards to foreign policy and particularly with regards to Asia. Michael Fullilove, executive of the Lowy Institute, said that “the rebalance is Clinton’s signature foreign policy accomplishment as Secretary of State. Moreover, Clinton attests that choosing Trump, as president, would be “a historic mistake” as a result of his “dangerous and incoherent” foreign policy approach including his personality.  Soon after the Republican Convention, around fifty national-security officials who are indeed Republicans cautioned that Trump “would be an unsafe President,” and it would be risky to hand him US nation’s national security and prosperity. Conversely, interventionism asserts that America has an ethical obligation standing up for the right values by authorizing and dictating values of freedom, human rights, and world peace, the thoughts Clinton projected in her presidential campaign. This Realpolitik point of view was materialized during the time of Cold War era when president John F. Kennedy projected the “moral” establishment convincing the fellow American’s of the interests America has abroad. He propagated his discourse in 1961, “We should pay any price, bear any weight, meet any hardship, bolster any companion, contradict any adversary to guarantee the survival and the accomplishment of freedom.”

From this point of view, Clinton is adopting restricted interventionism, a handbook used for formulating US foreign policy since decades. Her foreign policy approach is deep rooted in realism of Cold War era. She is pleased with being guided by Henry Kissinger, the principle draftsman of a few wars in Vietnam, East Timor, the Middle East, and Latin America in the 1970s, whose legacy stays questionable. As for Clinton’s Democratic adversary Bernie Sanders said in one of the TV banters in February 2016, “I discover it rather astonishing, in light of the fact that I happen to trust that Henry Kissinger was amongst the most critical secretaries of state in the cutting edge history of this country.”

In any case, a public survey was conducted by the Daily Wire, assuming either, of the two applicants they would portray as “evil”. 42% voters declared Clinton as evil while 35% voted for Trump. At the end of the day, we have a presidential race in which more than 66% of voters don’t simply observe one of the applicants as childish or bumbling or unfit, or even simply “terrible,” yet as really “malice.”

The tiring US presidential crusades is near to its destination, ending on the same irate tone they started, with Republican Donald Trump calling Democrat Hillary Clinton a “fake” and Clinton blaming her rival for compounding divisions all through the nation.  For being a winner it is important to convince people about the discourse being put forward. The war of discourse amongst Trump and Clinton has uncovered some profound ideological complexity and individual hostility between two extremely yearning presidential contestants. Humorously, the Obama Doctrine remains an impetus figure forming their political and philosophical contrasts and subtleties of America’s future administration. Clinton’s stage epitomizes business as usual legislative issues with some conceivable hawkish corrections of the U.S. foreign policy strategy; while Trump’s vision tries to make fundamental corrections, running 180 degrees opposite of present Obama administration.

For a scholar of international relations, the of presidential elections of US are far important then the domestic chaos happening around the region. Being a minute fraction of the system and the overwhelming influence of US presidential election upon the foreign policy of the South Asian nations, they giving rise to questions like what will be the fate of South Asia if either Trump or Clinton becomes president? Will the new president be able to solve the Kashmir issue or continue to move with the old narratives? Can the new president help reduce tension between India and Pakistan and bring these two towards balance of power? how the new president deal with the vertical nuclear proliferation in South Asia. How the new president will deal with the ISIL dilemma, or the on-going Syrian crisis, the never ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or containing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the geo-strategic alliance with the Gulf States, and the Islamic World and climate change. But most importantly who is the lesser evil among the two.

Sidra Khan is a lecturer at NUML University

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Foreign Policy News is a self-financed initiative providing a venue and forum for political analysts and experts to disseminate analysis of major political and business-related events in the world, shed light on particulars of U.S. foreign policy from the perspective of foreign media and present alternative overview on current events affecting the international relations.

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