William Jones: The American voter in 2024: Choosing between two 'evils'


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William Jones: The American voter in 2024: Choosing between two 'evils'


Source: CGTN Published: 2024-03-14

Editor's note: William Jones, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, was the White House correspondent for EIR News Service and is a non-resident fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies.

Now that it is clear that we will have another contest between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, American voters find themselves in a similar situation to the proverbial Buridan's ass or donkey. As the story goes, the donkey was placed between a bale of hay on the one side and a pail of water on the other. He could only choose one of these. So, making his choice, he would either die of hunger or of thirst, according to philosopher Jean Buridan, who posed this dilemma. Facing this situation, the donkey did neither, so he died of both hunger and thirst.

A similar situation is facing the American voter this year as the dust settles over the primaries. The choice before the voter this year is more like a choice between cholera and the plague. Which one would you rather have? Maybe many voters will choose the fate of Buridan's ass paradox and simply not choose, leaving this fateful choice to others.

A continuation of Biden will most likely lead to a nuclear conflict with Russia. The intent of the majority of the U.S. military-industrial complex, whose policy Biden is blindly following, is to inflict a defeat on Russia in Ukraine, even to the point of carrying the war to the interior of Russia, as witnessed by the recent incursions from Ukraine by alleged Russian 'dissidents.' Biden's war-like speech at the State of the Union should have indicated where he intends to go in this, his last 'crusade.'

Looking on the other side, however, one sees a former president, Donald Trump,who shows all the earmarks of continuing that tirade against China which led to those disastrous trade sanctions which helped cripple the U.S. economy. Such a policy of outright economic warfare will also quickly lead to a conflict.

This is not a very bright picture, but it is a realistic one. Certainly, in the midst of tragedy, we could have a 'miracle' in which there is a sudden change of heart, or rather sudden burst of reason, on the part of either candidate. Biden could suddenly realize that we are on the path of nuclear war, and try to find some way of resolving the Ukraine issue without a total defeat of Russia. Or Trump could suddenly realize that China is not a threat to the U.S. economy, but rather a trade war with China is. Unfortunately, in real life, most tragedies end badly.

Faced with this kind of dilemma, what does a well-meaning American do? Whichever way he or she votes, or doesn't vote, the task at hand is to realize that our 'democracy' has failed and that something has to be done about the way it functions. Whatever the final result in November, people have got to be mobilized to influence the real issues facing the nation. Such was the case with the strong reaction to the murderous mass killings of Palestinians in Gaza, where people went out on the streets, including many Jewish groups, finally forcing President Biden's hand in demanding of Netanyahu that food be delivered to the starving in Gaza. We have not yet seen such major demonstrations regarding the conflict in Ukraine as people have been bombarded with a pro-Ukrainian narrative in our media. As things get worse, and it becomes clearer where that war is headed, people may start to wake up to the dangerous reality of nuclear conflict, and will also start to protest.

With regard to China, there is already a clear understanding among most of our business people as well as among American farmers, and, to some extent, among American consumers generally, that a trade war – or worse – with China will be devastating, and all simplistic talk about 'American First' will lose its effect as the rising prices on food and other necessities reach a height that few people can afford.

In such a situation, there may emerge younger people, people who are both 'patriots' as well as 'world citizens,' who step up to run for office in order to restore a democracy that starts to work in the interest of the people. In other words, it will be a new generation that will save the nation rather than these 'old timers' who we will be faced with in November. Our only hope is that the winner of that contest does not destroy that 'long-term solution' by any disastrous short-term goals he may have in mind.