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It is said that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. Four years after the credit bubble burst, the world is in the grip of pneumonia while the primary source of the infection is concentrating on finding a home remedy.
At least this is what a watching world sees as the contenders slug it out for the November 6 presidential election.
Last week Mitt Romney accepted the nomination as the Republican presidential candidate. Barack Obama will lay out his battle plan on Thursday at the Democratic convention.
Foreign policy, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11, has been one of the critical platforms on which a candidate is judged. Since then, the man at the helm of the US has made literal life-and-death decisions over its citizens, and those of its allies and foes. The promise to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan played an important role in President Obama’s election.
But this campaign has, so far, been different. At the Republican convention, neither Romney nor his running mate, Paul Ryan, made significant mention of their stance on the world. Instead they have remained fixed on one thing: the quagmire of the US economy.
It was Obama’s misfortune that he took over the Oval Office soon after the start of one of the world’s biggest financial crises. Millions of jobs have been lost globally and the signs of recovery are not promising. The US unemployment rate in has topped eight percent for 43 consecutive months.
It has turned this election into a battle to win the middle class. It is tax cuts for the rich versus health care for all. This is about who will create jobs and nurse the US back to economic health.
There is little room for the rest of the world in this contest. All it can do is look on from its sick room and hope that whoever wins has the medicine to start getting America, and by extension, the world, back on its feet.