Special Reports / The Most Important Election in the World

The Most Important Election in the World

Łukasz Pawłowski · 6 November 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Americans elect their president, but even a few hours before the election no one knows who of the two candidates will emerge victorious. “America deserves someone better than Obama, but Romney fails to meet this challenge” – wrote the editors in the last issue of “The Economist”, and ultimately expressed their support for the current president. Many other influential media has done the same, among others “The Washington Post”, “The New York Times” and “The New Yorker”. Is this a good choice?

“Kultura Liberalna” has followed the American elections for over a year and we did not conceal that our sympathies also lie with the candidate of the Democratic Party. Four years after the historic victory, Obama no longer evokes similar enthusiasm, but his liberal conception of politics is still more convincing than the one proposed by the Republican challenger.

In the current issue of “Kultura Liberalna” in order to summarize the events of recent months, we asked four eminent intellectuals to analyse selected aspects of U.S. political life and explain how they could be affected by one or the other election result.

Political scientist Benjamin Barber, although gives his vote to Obama, does not conceal his scepticism about the president’s record so far. When discussing the Republican Party, Barber claims that under the influence of right-wing radicals, the GOP has become a party of an already disappearing “white, protestant, poor and rural” America, while the new society “is primarily urban, multiethnic, and multidenominational.”

American journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner, Anne Applebaum, focuses primarily on foreign policy and says that the victory of one or the other candidate will have limited influence on its future directions. “Every American president is very much constrained in his actions – especially in foreign policy – by circumstances, by budgets and by previously made commitments”, claims Applebaum.

Sunil Khilnani, director of the Indian Institute of King’s College in London, is also convinced that as far as foreign policy is concerned the differences between the two politicians are hardly significant. Analyzing their policy proposals on India – which do not come up in American political debates anywhere near as often as China – he explains why from the point of view of strictly bilateral, Indo-American relations, “it’s a wash between the two candidates”.

Finally, in the last piece, we ask Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at “Financial Times”, about the consequences victory of one or the other candidate could have for American and world economy. Wolf, who in the 1980s was quite happy to see Ronald Reagan as president, today does not conceal his disappointment with the Republican Party and criticizes Mitt Romney’s economic proposals.

Enjoy your reading!

Łukasz Pawłowski


Concept of the issue: Łukasz Pawłowski
Collaboration: Marta Budkowska, Anna Piekarska, Ewa Serzysko, Jakub Krzeski
Illustrations: [1 and 2] Janek Żusin, [3,4,5] Execution: Antek Sieczkowski; Concept: Łukasz Pawłowski