On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009, after the swearing in ceremonies, the newly elected American president will be struck with the burdens of a world turned upside down! After all of the cheering and congratulations, the president will have to face the reality of the end of an era of prosperity and American world domination.
Thus, essentially this new president will have as his major task restoring confidence and trust in this country. 2008 has been a year of America's decline. The Wall Street debacle combined with the loss of more than 1 million jobs (160,000 jobs losses in September) reverberated around the world and sent stock markets and economies in Europe, Asia, and South America in a tailspin. America's leadership into this economic and financial abyss, on the backs of the now maligned subprime mortgage loans that were bundled and sold off to investment houses around the world, triggered a global economic crisis.
The total amount of these mortgages and the foreclosures that followed will take a worldwide toll of trillions of dollars. The stock markets in the financial capitols of Asia, Europe, and South America failed to buy George Bush's much-hailed $700 billion Wall Street Bailout. One of the major reasons that the rest of the world did not buy the bailout is because the American public did not buy it.
Since George Bush became president, he has placed the country in the greatest debt in history and he plans to spend billions more in a war in Afghanistan and Pakistan in pursuit of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, and the Taliban. Reflecting the American public's lack of confidence in the Bush Bailout, the rest of the world has serious doubts about the ability of the Bush team to demonstrate a clear cut, strategic path out of this financial and economic morass.
Most Americans and the rest of the world's economic leaders believe that George Bush's only real strategy is to play a game of economic patch up and paste up, dumping the burden of clean up in the lap of the next president.
The reality is that Americans will have to downsize their lifestyles and tighten their financial belts as we scale down expectations of government.
The rest of the world have decided to go it alone and began to separate themselves further from the American economic hegemony.
The member governments of the European Union (EU) have decided individually and collectively to find an EU solution to this financial problem in spite of the failure of a first attempt on the part of the four leading economies (Germany, France, England, and Italy) to formulate a collective solution in the week following the Wall Street debacle. Led by Japan and China, Asia has already begun plans to strengthen their banks, investment institutions, and government oversight functions to fight off a major economic disaster.
The financial capitols of South America are now giving serious second thought to the NAFTA-type economic unions that have drawn these countries further into the economic orbit and further dependence of its "big brother" to the north, the USA.
The resulting fallout is more and more resentment on the part of the rest of the world and many asking if America is still capable of economic and political leadership.
Many wonder, can America lead the world in finding solutions to the global dependence on fossil fuels? Can America lead the world in the eradication of racism and worldwide white supremacy? Can America put an end to the uneven exchange that now characterizes the industrialized countries trade with the developing world?
Ultimately, one must ask not only is America capable of living up to this 21st century challenge, but does it have the will to do it?
The coming political movement towards self-reliance and regional realignment that is sweeping the world will force this country to face the fact that it can no longer play the Cheney-Bush Neo-Con hegemonic, superpower games that characterized the last eight years in every aspect of international relations without some serious consequences. Because of the strain in the economy and the American war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, America's military force has become less of a serious threat to any of the declared enemies, real or imagined.
Lastly, the new president will be faced with a crisis in the funding of federal entitlement programs, especially Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and there is a real crisis in the funding of public education. The debate over abortion, capitol punishment, Affirmative Action, national security, and safe imported goods will continue to haunt the presidency.
However, in spite of these encumbrances we have two candidates who are serious challenges each other for the chance to be president.
The November 4th election will decide who will lead the country.