UPDATE 5 NOV 2008: Below post is made more relevant because Obama is now President.
As the U.S. presidential campaign gets underway, it is a common assumption that Barack Obama as the next U.S. President would be better for us – the rest of the world apart from America.
A McCain presidency is viewed as merely a continuation of Bush’s two terms, with more aggressive posturing and military hawkishness. Whereas, an Obama presidency looks to be one of gentler diplomacy and dovish dialogue.
Thus around the world, many are hoping that Obama will win the U.S. presidential race this year.
However, I believe that an Obama presidency will actually be detrimental to the rest of the world, including Malaysia in a direct way. We have to look beyond the singular military power aspect, and focus on the many bread and butter issues.
Speaking on behalf of Malaysia and the world, here are the simple and clear-cut reasons why an America that follows Obama’s policies will be bad for us. (And please, don’t try and paint these as attacks on Obama’s race – they clearly are not.)
FIRST, Obama wants to withdraw troops from Iraq just as peace and stability are finally being achieved. This will free up the international terrorists who have been busy targeting (and being killed in the tens of thousands by) U.S. troops in Iraq for five years, who will then return their focus to less well-defended places like Southern Thailand, Bali, Bali again, Madrid, and the London Underground.
SECOND, another destabilization of Iraq would mean that its quickly recovering oil production will drop down to zero again. Just at a time when world demand for oil is outstripping supply, this will cause fuel prices to rise even higher. Iraq has a proven oil reserve of 112 billion barrels, behind only Saudi Arabia as the largest in the world.
THIRD, Obama opposes drilling for oil in and around America itself. If the U.S. opened up just an incredibly tiny, miniscule fraction of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), within 5 years they could begin extraction of a proven 10 billion barrels of oil. This would massively reduce American demand for imported oil, thus freeing up supply and driving down prices for us.
FOURTH, Obama strongly supports biofuels. A correlation has been found between biofuel production and rising food prices and food shortages. It’s basic common sense – food crops are practically being burnt in vehicular combustion engines, while food farmers are shifting to growing more profitable biofuel plants like jatropha. An Obama presidency actively encouraging biofuel demand and expansion would only excerbate this dire and immediate humanitarian problem.
FIFTH, Obama supports various measures to curb carbon emissions in the name of combating global warming. The debate over global warming’s factual basis aside, such measures have already cost several hundred billion Euro in economic losses in Europe. Trying to implement carbon capping schemes worldwide surely cannot help our own growing economies.
SIXTH, Obama has shown protectionist and isolationist attitudes regarding free trade. He has already stated his intentions to abandon the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Obama also supports continuing the U.S. Farm Bill which heavily subsidizes American crops, thus making them cheaper priced than locally grown crops. Such unfair trade practices make it impossible for smaller countries to compete against the U.S. economic giant.
SEVENTH, Obama’s various policies – no oil drilling, windfall profits taxes on oil companies, higher capital gains tax, carbon caps, SCHIP universal health care – are all forecasted by economic analysts to have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. America is Malaysia’s largest trading partner, in 2007 importing USD 32.6 billion (RM 106.4 billion) worth from Malaysia and exporting USD 11.7 billion (RM 38.2 billion) worth to Malaysia. Lessened U.S. demand will deeply impact Malaysia’s economy, as well as most of the world’s.
By contrast, McCain stands diametrically opposed to Obama on all the above policies, except for biofuels and carbon caps. Even on those issues, he is less enthusiastic than Obama is – a fact which gained Obama the endorsement of the biggest proponent of biofuels and carbon caps, Al Gore himself.
In conclusion, though McCain’s stance on Iraq and Iran may seem ominous to some, on the whole his policies actually stand to be far less damaging to the rest of the world than Obama’s.
See also related at this post on why some Americans won’t support Obama.
Tags: Obama ANWR, Obama bad for Malaysia, Obama bad for world, Obama biofuels, Obama carbon caps, Obama global warming, Obama Iraq, Obama oil drilling, Obama Presidency bad, Obama retreat, Obama surrender, Obama terrorism