Unification News for October 1996


The Surplus Of Know-How & Can-Do Spirit:

by Chris Hays"London, UK

A few thoughts before the US and UK elections for head of state.

International responsibility is one of the core areas in the latter 1990s, in a time many nation-states do not have such a stomach for foreign policy. International instincts are key to maintaining balances of power which shape our human planet; indeed Israel and Palestine are making progress, slow yes, as is Kurdistan. Economics matters, too. In our post cold-war era, where the dominance of the Warsaw Pact is history, capital H, 24 nation-states have enough purchasing power to maintain and acquire ballistic missiles.

As both American and Britain are in the final months of a head of state and general election, it is good to pause and reflect on our collective surpluses of know and can-do spirit. As President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister John Major campaign, their respective rivals, Bob Dole and Tony Blair, work hard trying to be inclusive of all in their parties. Dividing rather than uniting slogans is always tougher, and a real challenge to the challengers; the onus is on Tony and Bob to prove a "big tent" ethos, taking that inclusive spirit to the towns and boroughs, to the villages and barrios.

International responsibility is central, is core here. The track records and the platforms are a good indication of which way to vote. Campaigning themes tend to be nothing short of infomercials, where forceful sales pitches by Bob Dole and Tony Blair make us want to buy now. Yet, talk or chat show charisma does not replace classic debate on the issues of the day; being values-driven, all of our lives in Britain and America are bound together by much more than political views. Linked by technology like the World Wide Web, culture, the Olympics, Oprah, aspirin and a shared affirmation of religious faith.

But international instincts and affairs, as British historian Timothy Gorton Ash noted, "there is more peace, more prosperity, less of a fear of the end of the world, than for many years! To be sure, the planet is still a moderately dangerous place; Communists increasing in Russia, China and its role, the Middle East"

More than ever Olympian values are needed and oddball rhetorical moments by any of the candidates just won't do. A little blood sport in campaigning doesn't wash anymore. In America and Britain the voters are saying, "No more podium posturing with sound bite brevity! Debate!!"


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