To set a new global order which entails a green and peaceful earth, a Hillary Clinton and an Al Gore combination is no more a matter of choice, but an imperative! The choice of Al Gore as this year’s recipient of Nobel peace prize is a pleasant relief for all those who have otherwise given up all hopes about the cause of a greener and better world. In fact, from the very beginning, Al Gore’s contribution and his continuous efforts on environmental issues have posed a striking contrast to the another man who eventually became the President of United States in 2000. From the year 2000 onwards, while Gore and his Intergovernmental Committee on Climatic Change strived hard to caution the world about the ensuing dangers of global warming, George Bush and his coterie have been doing everything possible to make the Kyoto Protocol a non-starter. One just wonders what would have happened if the United States’ Supreme Court verdict of the year 2000 Presidential elections had essentially gone in favour of Gore instead of George. Well, if not anything else, at least the world would have been a much better place to live in. More so because the hundreds of thousands who have either died, injured or have got impoverished by various US ‘engagements’ and the subsequent civil wars, would perhaps have not faced the same. Though the war against terrorism as a whole was not completely unjustified, the kind of collateral that this world has had to pay in damages is surely too big a price, and that for killing a few hundred perpetrators. The comparisons between Bush and Gore, as well as the lists of endless opportunities lost to make this world a better place, never seem to end. The period from 1992-2000, when Al Gore was Vice President in the Clinton Administration, were the years that saw major structural changes in the US economy, many being engineered by Gore himself. He came down heavily on the bureaucracy and brought in major cost cutting in federal expenditure to bring parity between revenue and expenses in the federal budget. All this was made possible by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, in which Al Gore had a crucial role to play. Eventually, the endeavours of the Clinton-Gore duo reduced inflation and incidence of unemployment in the US by a substantial margin. While economic growth neared 5%, the incidence of unemployment came down to below 5% after a long period of time. Contrast this with the condition of the US economy right now – thanks to the camaraderie of George Bush and his version of ‘rights’ and wrongs, the US current account deficit is around $800 billion, with external debt hovering around $12.25 trillion (as on June 30, 2007), public debt is a mammoth 65% of GDP now, while the count of number of grieving mothers who have lost their sons in the so called war on terrorism is countless. Even the US defence budget has increased to an incredible $532.8 billion, which incidentally does not even include the expenditures in long term research and development of new weapons systems. How ironic that the US is still not a secure place to live, eh! Not just this, interestingly, in the year 2000 Presidential elections, while Al Gore was busy promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable development, George Bush was busy preparing American engagements with Afghanistan and Iraq. What more, Al Gore’s integrity as a global leader – and one who is concerned about human lives and welfare of mankind – emanates from the fact that he was even against the US invasion of Vietnam in his early years. The question now is where should the world go from here and what should Al Gore be doing beyond this. Well, winning a Nobel Peace Prize is no doubt an enormous achievement, but in a world where there is a serious paucity of leaders with integrity and genuine concern for the earth, Al Gore has to again lead from the front. At this point in time, the world – and especially Americans – badly need leaders like him, who can once again instil the faith of people in the power of using peaceful means to achieve ends. And in this context, it would not be asking for the moon if the people of the world, and Americans in particular, once again ask him to contest the forthcoming Presidential elections. Though his prejudice (and memories of the humiliations and fraud through which he was defeated in the 2000 election) might still be fresh in his mind, in the greater interest of mankind and to prevent this world from nearing a possible annihilation, it is time that this Nobel Peace Prize winner – a brilliant documentary film maker, and one of the most successful Vice Presidents the US has ever had – should keep aside everything else and shoulder this global responsibility. It is not just for an ideal ‘American dream’, but also to set a new global order which entails a green and peaceful earth, that a Hillary Clinton and an Al Gore combination is no more a matter of choice, but an imperative!
- 28 October 2007 |
- Arindam On America