Best of Pepe Escobar
In a late night rally in Kissimmee, Central Florida – a strategic area in the Sunshine State, in the so-called I-4 corridor, filled with still undecided voters – former President Bill Clinton, extremely popular in Florida, forcefully exposed the merits of Barack Obama as the best candidate for the Presidency. Obama returned the compliment, showering praise on the 42nd President and making the huge crowd dream of the golden years of the 1990s. Obama’s stump speech though does not take any chances, less than a week before the election. Obama equates McCain with Bush and does not get into details on how he will implement most of his promises.
Will a probable Obama presidency herald the birth of an Obama doctrine replacing the Monroe doctrine – in terms of a new, more equitable relationship between the US and Latin America? Economist Mark Weisbrot is not so sure. He tells Pepe Escobar, Obama in his foreign policy will be mostly absorbed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and by intractable Middle East problems. Although the Obama camp seems to understand slightly better than the McCain camp some ground breaking transformations that took place in Latin America during the Bush years, Weisbrot argues they will have to be really creative to restore US credibility in the region. That means, among other things, a stop to the demonization of Venezuela and an understanding that Latin America is becoming more united than at any point in history.
Elder statesman Colin Powell, a Republican, former head of the Joint Chiefs (under Bush father) and former Secretary of State (under George W. Bush) made a stunning announcement in Washington, endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President. He said one of the key reasons that prompted his choice was the selection of Sarah Palin by Senator John McCain as his running mate. Meanwhile, Palin herself took a break from the campaign not to conduct her first press conference, but to make an appearance on Saturday Night Live, where her world view was mercilessly mocked. Pepe Escobar argues that in a race where all the lines are blurred between what’s real and what’s fake, this is hyper reality gone mad.
In the third and last presidential debate Senator John McCain defended a free trade agreement between Colombia and the US as a "no brainer" and once again derided Senator Obama for never having traveled south of the border. Obama, to McCain’s amazement, actually showed he knew one or two things about the situation on the ground. But journalist and author Forrest Hylton, an expert on Colombia and Bolivia, argues neither candidate is really aware of crucial political, economic and social processes developing in South America for a few years now, and he is pessimistic on the US under a new presidency making up for lost time.
Senator John McCain needed a game changer in the last presidential debate with Senator Barack Obama. Independent voters say it didn’t happen – and once again awarded the debate to Obama. Although McCain came out swinging, Obama’s strategy stayed the same: coolly and calmly explain each of his plans. Pepe Escobar argues this was pure theater; in the real world, the financial crisis rages, and none of the candidates really bothered to address in depth the seriousness of it all.
After a long stretch of ultra-negative campaigning, with his numbers still slipping in any number of polls, Senator John McCain has made another U-turn in a rally in Virginia Beach, and now fashions himself as a Rocky character fighting against Washington, Wall Street and an inexperienced tax-and-spend liberal, Senator Barack Obama. Still McCain blames the media for his problems, and still he has to announce his new economic proposals – which seemed to be the initial idea before Obama leapfrogged him early this week.
World markets on the verge of panic continue to dismiss the Bush/Paulson Wall Street bailout plan – despite White House rhetoric and supposedly concerted action by the G-7, the group of leading industrialized economies. Top economists criticize the mechanics of the plan, which concentrates too much power on Secretary Paulson and his Goldman Sachs’ colleagues; warn of an incoming systemic crisis; and point out the taboo topics nobody is talking about: the US budget deficit and the US military budget.
Senior Editor Paul Jay spoke to Real News Analyst Pepe Escobar after the debate to get his reaction. Pepe believes that the election is all but over and he identifies the "that one" moment as the defining moment of the debate and a clear illustration of the contempt which McCain harbors for Obama.
The financial crisis may be the number one issue on US voters’ minds, but there seems to be no leadership at work in Washington, comments Pepe Escobar. The Wall Street bailout rejected by Congress and then approved by the Senate may not be the solution. It’s up to foreign analysts and economists to tell it like it really is. What is in fact being saved – capitalism or a banking oligopoly?