All global politics is local

Viewed from an ocean away, the presidential campaign in the U.S. is highly entertaining but of only secondary importance. The principal question was settled months ago: no matter who wins in the U.S. in November, the neo-con offensive of the right-wing ideologues around Bush is over.

The lives of Spaniards, Colombians, Iraquis, Afghanis, Pakistanis, Somalis, Palestinians and others almost everywhere have suffered from Bush's "war on terror" -- which has mainly provoked more terror -- and his flagrant disregard of international laws. In Spain, people hold Bush & Co. responsible for Spanish casualties in Iraq (before Zapatero withdrew the troops) and the 11 March 2004 bombing of the Atocha train station (hundreds of civilian deaths), continuing turbulence of relations with Islam (especially problematic for Spain), the falling dollar (which hurts all European exports), a good part of world climate change, and a generally insulting attitude to the rest of the world. But now, to everyone's relief, Bush, Cheney and their crowd have been completely discredited at home by their failures in war, economy and public security (remember New Orleans!). Once they are gone from the scene, it matters much less whether the new president is McCain, Rodham-Clinton or Obama -- but it sure is fun to watch the turmoil (especially the unprecedented likelihood of either a woman or a half-African man as chief executive) from such a safe distance.

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