The United States presidential election is everything any utopian Eurofederalist dreams of having in the EU one day: an exhilarating round-the-clock event closely followed worldwide and which elects the head of state and commander-in-chief who will be in nearly every newspaper, magazine and TV show in nearly every corner of the globe. The whole process lasts nearly two years, as presidential hopefuls and candidates go though a long and scrutinizing primary which takes them around the country and pits them against other hopefuls of their party until a final showdown in November, the climatic battle of the United States’ two-party system.
As we all know, Europeans – whether the elites or just regular individuals – love to hate American politics and policies. We like to cherry pick specific aspects of policies carried across the Atlantic, compare them to what is done on this side of the ocean and feel better about ourselves because of our less expensive healthcare and education systems and our significant disadvantage in the number of gun-related deaths and injuries. Same thing goes for the candidates to the White House, as we follow them from afar, judge them based on our prejudices and end up rooting for one or against one as we cannot do the same at a European level.
The US presidential election can set off celebrations and/or outrage in places which are located literally on the other side of the world from where the voting is taking place. In the same way, it can also cause fear and panic, given that the rest of the world usually gets a glimpse of what the candidates propose in several issues and a sneak preview of what their country or region can expect from the US (by now, many Iraqis have felt as fearful of American decisions as they have of Saddam’s). It is precisely that raw emotion called fear that sets the tone for this post – what does Europe have to potentially fear from the next POTUS?
To assess how fearful Europeans should feel of the next POTUS, I wrote this handy guide focusing on the foreign policy proposals of the candidates most likely to reach the big election in November. I’m basing this guide on the announced foreign policy proposals of the candidates, both in the Democratic and Republican field – In this regard, I apologize in advance to any Europeans who would like to obtain more reasons to feel snobbish about or afraid of assault rifles being legally purchased by sociopathic teenagers in the state of Montana. It’s not up for a non-citizen and non-resident of the US to say how their healthcare system should be financed or how to prevent government shutdowns. The purpose is to provide a background on the fear that Europeans should be feeling when looking at the upcoming US presidential election.
Notice, however: this is based on proposals from the candidates, either made on their campaign websites or in statements to the press. As we all know, there can be a whole world of difference between what someone believes in, what they say in order to be elected, what they do once they are elected and what they actually accomplish during their time in office.
As I said, I’m only using the foreign policy proposals which have been announced by the candidates and I’m attributing to each of them a score which I call a Fear Scale. The higher a candidate performs on the Fear Scale, the more we should fear their election. Bear with me, as this will be a series of five posts dedicated to the five candidates who are the best performers as of early 2016: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump on the Republican field and Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on the Democratic field.
All aboard the European-perspective prejudice and fear-based assessment of US presidential hopefuls train!