|Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's|
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Non-Americans around the world are hoping that John Kerry will be elected President in the November 2 election, and probably no more so than Arabs, who are furious about George Bush's perceived bias towards Israel against the Palestinians. "There is no worse president than Bush," says a Palestinian in a BBC World Service report. "I want to see a change."
Indeed, Bush's support for Israel, and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, have caused people around the world to hope for a change, and to see the relatively unknown Kerry as a possible savior, or at least an agent of change.
This shouldn't be a surprise. The intense worldwide acrimony towards Bush seems to match the increased worldwide acrimony towards Israel. For example, Europeans' attitudes towards Israel are getting so negative that Israel may be turning into a "pariah nation."
In a joint poll taken by newspapers in 10 nations worldwide, only two would like to see George Bush reelected; the remaining eight favor John Kerry, often overwhelmingly.
The two countries that favored Bush are: Israel and Russia.
The 8 countries that favor Kerry are: Britain, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Korea, Spain and France.
However, although dislike of Bush is a common theme, the underlying issues are different from country to country.
If you listen to the Presidential campaign electioneering, you'd think that the only problem in the world is the American-led occupation of Iraq.
It's true that Muslims criticize America's invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq, and it's true that Islamist hardliners describe them as Crusades against Islam.
But what few Americans realize is that the Palestine situation has deteriorated enormously in the last year, and that infuriated Arabs are blaming this on America's unwavering support of Israel. Furthermore, this fury has caused a domino effect around the entire Arab and Muslim world so that anything that America or George Bush does is treated with anger and suspicion. Anyone who recalls news footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets on 9/11 will not be surprised by this.
The anger over American support of Israel has driven Arab's attitudes towards Americans down to the 10% favorable / 90% unfavorable, as we discussed three months ago, according to a Zogby poll.
Remarkably, Iraqis themselves see American support of Israel as a bigger issue than the occupation of Iraq. CNN reporter Jane Arraf, who has been covering Iraq for some time, reported on a recent poll that said that Iraqis overwhelmingly say that they'll never trust Americans because of their unwavering bias toward and support of Israel.
It has become clear in the last six months that the four-year old Palestinian Intifada has been a disaster for the Palestinians. The Intifada met with initial success when suicide bombers forced Israel to leave southern Lebanon in 2000, but Israeli military actions have killed many more Palestinians than suicide bombers have killed Israelis. Even worse, the barrier that Israel is building around Israel has caused substantial hardship to Palestinians themselves.
The Palestinians blame George Bush and his support for Ariel Sharon for their hardship. Americans don't seem to understand how deep these feelings go, and how significant they are to America's future, no matter who's elected on November 2.
An ironic footnote to all this is that the Iranian mullahs have endorsed the reelection of Bush. Iranian political analyst Mohsen Mofidi says that Bush has learned from his mistakes. "The experience of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the responsibility Bush had, will make it a very remote possibility for him to risk attacking a much bigger and more powerful country like Iran," he said. On the other hand, "Democrats usually insist on human rights and they will have more excuses to pressure Iran."
Unsurprisingly, Israel supports George Bush over John Kerry for President, in view of Bush's support for Israel.
But perhaps it's more surprising that Russia supports Bush even more than Israel does. The ten-nation survey was taken just after the Beslan massacre, and this has had an enormous effect on Russian attitudes towards both America and Israel.
Furthermore, European criticism of Russia's handling of the Beslan massacre has shifted Russian public opinion to be less favorable toward Europe. This indicates that a political realignment is in progress, linking Russia, Israel and America, and splitting the alliance of France, Germany and Russia that opposed American intervention in Iraq.
Indeed, Russian support for Bush has become so strong that Russian president Vladimir Putin has endorsed Bush, and is one of the few world leaders to have done so.
France has led the European Union in opposing the American-led Iraq war, so it shouldn't be surprising that 72% of the French population favors Bush over Kerry. Similar high percentages in Spain and in Britain overwhelmingly favor Kerry.
As a country, Spain took a dramatic turn last March when a large terrorist attack on March 11 caused the defeat in the election three days later of the strongly pro-American incumbent President Jose Maria Aznar, and replaced with the anti-American Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
Most significant is that Spain is dead last in the ten nations surveyed in the people's opinions of Bush and America, with only 13% favoring Bush, and less than 50% viewing America favorably. President Zapatero himself has endorsed John Kerry.
From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this trend is highly significant. There have been massive West European crisis wars for centuries, the most recent one being World War II. Generational Dynamics predicts that another such war will occur in the next few years, with near 100% probability. What the survey results show is that when that war occurs, France and Spain are more likely to be allies, along with the Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims, against America, England, Russia and Israel. This is not a prediction at the current time, but the trends are pointing in that direction.
Australians favor John Kerry over George Bush by 54% to 28%.
However, the Australian view is unclear because Australian Prime Minister John Howard won his reelection battle decisively, on a strong pro-American platform.
South Korea is very far from Iraq, both geographically and emotionally, so it's hard to see why the Iraq war would be the reason that only 18% of Koreans favor Bush.
The Korean dynamic is very different. Korea's older generations have depended on America to protect the South from domination by China and Russia after World War II, but the younger generations have no personal memory of that period, and now blame America for the fact that North and South Korea are divided. This blame was directed more specifically at Bush after he included Korea in the "axis of evil," along with Iraq and Iran.
The Koreans have not forgotten that they were colonized and mistreated by the Japanese for the first half of the twentieth century, until the Japanese were defeated in World War II. Japan in turn has been getting increasingly nervous about North Korean missiles pointed at them.
In the awakening student riots of the 1960s, a constant theme was anti-Americanism -- an insinuation that the older Japanese who had been defeated by the Americans sold out the entire Japanese culture by acquiescing to the Americans' surrender demands.
The Iraq war has created an issue for a renewal of this anti-Americanism, and this has affected the public's attitudes toward Bush, with only 30% of survey respondents favoring Bush's reelection.
However, facing increased hostility from not only Korea but also China, the Japanese realize just how dependent they are still on American protection. That's why Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has been strongly supporting Bush's Iraq policy, despite a great deal of public discontent.
Generational Dynamics predicts that there will be a new major war in the region -- a new war across the Korea/Japan and China/Japan fault lines, a reunification war in Korea, and, of course, another reunification war fought by China over the independence of Taiwan.
In a now-familiar story, only 20% of Mexicans favored George Bush's reelection for President, but once again the issue is much more complex than just Iraq.
Most American's don't realize this, but America has a major fault line in the Southwest, especially in California, where 1/3 of the population is Mexican immigrants, with far lower income than non-Mexicans.
Since the founding of America, Mexico has had two crisis wars: t he Mexican-American war of 1846-48, and the Mexican Revolution took place in the 1910s, and so a new Mexican crisis war is a overdue. When this war occurs, it's going to engulf the southwest, including California.
Unfortunately, we're at a unique time in history: All the countries that fought in World War II as a crisis war are now entering new generational crisis periods, because all the people who lived through WW II and have a personal memory of its horror have all disappeared (retired or died), all at once, in the last few years. All the compromises that ended World War II are becoming unraveled, and those battles are going to have to be refought in the next decade.
Those who favor John Kerry over George Bush for foreign policy reasons are obviously feeling false expectations. John Kerry will favor Israel over the Palestinians just as much as Bush has; Kerry will not pursue the war on terror any differently than Bush has; and Kerry has clear said that he won't "cut and run" from Iraq.
Indeed, a recent article in Foreign Policy Magazine entitled "Meet George W. Kerry" argues that Kerry's foreign policy may be even more aggressive than Bush's, and concludes, "All recent U.S. presidents have learned the hard way that, despite their immense power, they remain at the mercy of uncontrollable global forces that render their personal views and campaign promises largely irrelevant. ... Kerry's foreign admirers would do well to assume that, despite his best intentions, the senator might be unable to deliver on his commitment to a "bold, progressive internationalism." By the same token, Bush's supporters at home would be well advised to realize that, if reelected, Bush will adopt some policies that will break their hearts---and probably his."
The ten-nation survey on Bush's popularity is valuable for what it tells us about people's attitudes about Bush and America, but it's even more valuable for what it tells us about different countries' people's attitudes towards each other, and which sides they're likely to line up on as the "clash of civilizations" world war approaches.