With this change, will it be any better?
There's a great deal of jubilation at the result of the American elections – with the Democrats winning control of Congress and scraping-in to sieze the Senate with a two-seat majority. It is particularly apparent in the blogs I read, including Barista and Emunctory, and the coverage of the elections in The Age treats it as a trouncing of the Republicans, and a strong rebuke to Bush's policy on Iraq.
For me, however, the initial satisfaction at the Republican's loss gave way to missgivings as I wondered if things would be very different with the Democrats in power in Congress. Mike at Peasants are Revolting shares some wariness as well, including a concern that the Democrats will fall prey to the lure of power.
My concerns are that the Democrats are still a mainstream political party with only some semblance of a social welfare/pro-labour platform. Yes, they may be against the war in Iraq, they may act more quickly to tackle global warming, and they may reverse the decline in working conditions and social equality in the US. Our jubliation that they are NOT the Republicans, and NOT under Bush's thumb should not cloud our capacity to assess them critically. Somehow, the Democrats' record on foreign policy does not fill me with great hope.
After all, the Democrats – under Clinton – gave us the US prevarication over Somalia (which led to the half-aresed invasion and withdrawal, leaving a crazy situation there), ignored the bloodshed and genocide in Rwanda and Bhurundi (until it was too late, virtually), and the NATO bombing of Kosovo and Serbia (because they couldn't think of how else to tackle Milosovich before he went on the warpath). And if you look at it closely, the Democrats, under that much lauded Kennedy, are the ones who go the US into the intractable messes in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina in the first place. And the Cuban missile crisis!
I'm feeling better already.