Home / Events / USA – Political and military consequences of the US mid-term election, by GEAB

USA – Political and military consequences of the US mid-term election, by GEAB

Political consequences: Towards an aggravation of US leadership weaknesses (leaders facing a loss of legitimacy, economic context of recession, diplomatic deadlock in Iraq/Iran/North Korea…)

The recent choice by American voters, who have violently rejected the policy followed for six years, is nothing other than a loud cry for help [1] . As much as Iraq, the economic and social questions, and the rejection of corruption in Washington, determined the choice of the voters [2].

This question of corruption is a significant indicator on two levels: . Firstly, it is revealing of a society in a fast process of impoverishment because corruption becomes the dominating topic only when the majority of citizens feel illegitimate the enrichment of its elite, and happening to the detriment of its own wellbeing. Corruption is not a topic found in “sound” societies. It is in the Third World or in countries in economic or polical transition that it is normally found. This tends to confirm the analysis by LEAP/E2020 that the United States is truly a power in transition, passing from the statute of first economic and political power of the planet to something else, the other thing being certainly less enviable. In certain respects, the evolution seen in the United States is comparable to the fate of Argentina a few decades ago [3], at the cost of a descent of nearly all its middle class into the camp of the poor classes.

. In addition, it indicates a very strong discrediting of US leading classes even beyond the types of G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld. In fact the whole Congress is shown to be clearly disconnected from the interests of US citizens and to be used as a privileged club with private interests. Another figure illustrates this increasing disconnection between US leading classes and their fellow-citizens: the turnout in the November 2006 election was only 40% (hardly more than with the 2002 mid-term elections [4]) whereas the polarization of the electorate and the stake of the war in Iraq were supposed to largely mobilize voters. That means that from now on 60% of US citizens do not feel represented, concerned or incarnated by the two key parties, even when the stakes are strong and clear. As much as the 40% of voters who placed corruption at the head of their electoral priorities [5], these 60% of non-voters testify to the growing weakness of the Washingtonian elite in terms of credibility and political legitimacy. A parallel can be drawn in this regard with the European Union facing similar problems.

This political situation will have a determining influence on the evolution of the crisis affecting the United States because it proves that the recent victory of the democrats in the Congress will not do anything but worsen the incapacity of Washington to solve the problems of the country, since they do not profit from any clear mandate nor any strong electoral legitimacy, whereas they sanction a radical weakening of the decisional capacity of US political power. With only twenty-two months of effective capacity in the Congress (since the Democrats will take their functions with the Congress only in January 2007 and the next elections will take place in November 2008), the Democrats will have “to manage current issues” within a framework of a day to day “guerrilla” with the republican executive, with the presidential election of 2008 in their sights (thus making impossible any necessarily unpopular drastic measures), in a framework of economic recession, fall of the Dollar and diplomatic and military deadlocks in Iraq, Iran or with North Korea.

According to the LEAP/E2020 team, and in opposition of what has been said in many media over the last week, it is certain that the two years to come will see an aggravation of all the current weaknesses of the United States, and thus an acceleration of the collapse of the world order born after 1945, in particular of its component known as the “Western world” which resulted from two fundamental reasons: a community of values and a zone of co-prosperity between the United States and Europe. Considering that over these six last years, the existence of a community of values has been most deeply called into question (and it is not the repeated adhesion of the new democratic majority to the concept of “a war against the terror” which will reverse this tendency) and that, far from propagating prosperity, the United States became a vector of impoverishment or of instability, the “Western world” becomes again what it was before 1945, namely the United States on the one side and Europe on the other side.

The next NATO summit in Riga, will probably confirm LEAP/E2020’s anticipation of April 2006 (GEAB N°4) that the Alliance will extend to the whole world under US influence. It will thus lose its Euro-American specificity and will reinforce the increasing tendency of Europeans to get organized among themselves, orienting in the space of a ten-year horizon that transatlantic security and defence matters towards a UE/US dialogue, where the Member States of the EU will have given up the bilateral dimension of their relation with the United States to turn toward a European common level. And Riga will illustrate the fact that having a Democrat or Republican majority will not affect in any way this evolution.

Military consequences: Reinforcement of the autonomy of decision of the US military capacity, anticipation of an increase in military expenditure

In relation to the military, the division of the two branches of the political power in Washington in the framework of the war in Iraq will reinforce the autonomy of decision-making of the military capacity. It is all the more true as the top of the military hierarchy can take pride in directly contributing to the failure of the Republicans in these mid-term elections and “to have had the scalp” of the Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld. The public statements of retired Generals, criticizing the decisions relating to the invasion of Iraq, and the announcements of “bad news” relating to the Iraq issue from the Pentagon a few days before elections strongly contributed to creating doubt within a number of republican voters, to even make them vote democrat in order to oblige President Bush to modify his policy on the matter. There still, the mid-November vote seems more a vote sanctioning the team in power in Washington, than support for the elected Democrats.

The result of all this is that the Generals are from now on the sole in command of Iraq and in fact of the whole of the defence policy of the United States. Because of the political division between the Congress and the presidential administration, they are able to neutralize any initiative which would displease them; and because they are “at the frontlines” of the war in Iraq, they are untouchable. Lastly, having succeeded in “breaking” a Defence Secretary who had tried to impose his will on them, they do not have anything to fear from his successors in the years to come.

This situation implies in particular that the military expenditure of the United States, and its very strong impact on the public deficit of the country, will not be significantly reduced. The LEAP/E2020 team even anticipates that because of a fight to “out-patriotise” each other between Democrats and Republicans, one could even witness an increase in the whole of the expenditure on security (defence, internal security, war against terrorism,…) to the detriment of the American budget balance.

GlobalEurope Anticipation Bulletin.


[1] In this respect, it is revealing that WalMart, the giant food distributor, is compelled to launch a large price-dumping campaign on the eve of Christmas. Observers see this as an indicator of the market becoming aware of consumer exhaustion. Source USA Today, 10/11/2006

[2] Source poll USA Today/Gallup, June 23-25, 2006

[3] The economic history of post-WWII Argentina is indeed very instructive with regard to today’s US economy. For more info: read wikipedia sur on Argentina’s economic history.

[4] Source MSNBC, 08/11/2006

[5] Source Polling Report, 10/6-8/2006

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