US President George Bush campaigned for Christian values domestically. This was mixed with his foreign policy. By accepting the mixture, voters endorsed his foreign policy. Consequently, the world now will oppose Bush and all Americans.
Bush feels vindicated. He could pursue his foreign policy more vigorously. The hawks on his team will bid for promotions. Dick Cheney will continue to call the shots.
Two significant events occurred just before polling. Former vice-president and foreign minister of China, Qian Qichen, strongly criticised the Bush Doctrine in China Daily. He accused America of destroying the global anti-terrorist coalition. Qian had closely served Zhou Enlai. Qian retrieved China's foreign policy after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Zhou had studied in Germany and France. President Hu Jintao is reputed to be Eurocentric. It is reasonable to infer that Qian reflects Hu's thinking. Was his criticism of Bush anticipating Kerry's victory? The very next day the Chinese embassy in Washington clarified that China did not oppose Bush. Had China sensed by then that Bush was winning? The second significant event was the Osama bin Laden videotape first telecast by Al Jazeera TV. According to London's Daily Telegraph, Bush's opinion poll ratings jumped by four points immediately after the videotape broadcast. "We want people to think 'terrorism' for the last four days," said a Bush-Cheney campaign official.
American broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite, once polled as the "most trusted figure" in American public life, told CNN's Larry King: "I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to do this thing."
But how could Rove contact Osama? Circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly suggests that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA), through Pakistan army elements, protects Osama. The videotape reached Al Jazeera in Pakistan. According to Indian sources, Osama was earlier operating between Malakand and Chitral on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. According to the Israeli intelligence website Debka File, between October 17 and 19 an Indian Air Force reconnaissance plane sighted Osama close to the northeastern corner of Pakistan bordering India and China. He was again sighted on October 22 heading east towards the Chinese border. If Cronkite is correct, does the White House have links with Osama's protectors? And on the other hand, are Hu and Qian working in concert or in conflict with PLA?
Most likely Osama will hole up for the winter. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda could attempt a bigger and deadlier 9/11. Prepare for more war and more terror this winter.
(Puri can be reached at email@example.com)