05:21 GMT +328 September 2016
Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton greet one another as they take the stage for their first debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S. September 26, 2016.

US Presidential Debate: Why the American People Deserve Better

© REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst
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John Wight

The hugely anticipated first US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump left no doubt that the American people deserve better.

Make no bones about it, with the world engulfed in crises from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and South China Seas, crises that have come about and intensified under the Obama administration — considered one of the most progressive in US history — whoever enters the White House next, will be faced with a clear choice of either continuing down the path of US global hegemony — a path fueled by the arrogance implicit in the grotesque idea that America is the greatest country on Earth, that it alone is the "indispensable nation," and that therefore, the rest of the world should submit to its power and leadership — or changing course in recognition that stability, peace and security can only be achieved by listening as well as speaking, and by supporting international law and national sovereignty as universal rather than discretionary principles to be determined by Washington.

While Donald Trump has made some positive noises throughout his campaign about resetting Washington's relationship with Russia, criticized the role of NATO and been willing to re-evaluate US foreign policy, he came over in the debate as a candidate who is unsuited to the rigors and demands of political leadership. He was incoherent, overly bombastic, and woefully unprepared for such an important event.

In truth, he displayed all the characteristics of the megalomaniac, a man who lacks empathy, humility, introspection and wisdom.

Consequently, based on this performance, it is almost impossible to imagine Donald Trump as President of the United States.

I say "almost" however, because what he does have in his favor is his status as a political outsider, a candidate whose main attribute is that he is not considered part of a Washington political establishment that is now so discredited among a large swathe of the American people it has given rise to anti-politics as the most common form of engagement in the country's democratic process.

When it comes to Hillary Clinton, though she was measured, assured, calm, and very well-prepared in contrast to her opponent, she came to the debate with a record and reputation irredeemably tarnished by the fact she is a pillar of the aforementioned Washington political establishment.

Her close association with Wall Street, allegations of financial impropriety surrounding the Clinton Foundation (the charitable foundation set up by her and her husband) the secret emails scandal, and her long support for a hawkish foreign policy, all of it adds up to a candidate whose worldview is driven by opportunism rather than principle.

Even more grievously, while secretary of state in the first Obama administration, Clinton played a key role when it came NATO's disastrous intervention in Libya, turning what had been a functioning state into a failed state, precipitating a refugee crisis of biblical dimension and scope in the process.

A woman who is a firm disciple of US exceptionalism and hard power when it comes to foreign policy, the prospect of Hillary Clinton entering the White House is, to put it lightly, a sobering one. 

It should not go unnoticed that this particular US presidential election year is one in which the gulf between the assertion of the US as a beacon of liberty, justice, and human rights has never been greater than the reality of mass incarceration of mainly black people and minorities, the injustice and cruelty of an economic system that has seen the few prosper at the expense of the many, and the attack on human rights at home and abroad.

Irrefutable evidence of Washington's hypocrisy when it comes to its support for justice is the fact that Edward Snowden is currently residing in Russia as a fugitive from American justice for the "crime" of revealing to the world the existence of the covert and illegal policy of mass surveillance being carried out by US intelligence services.

It is also reflected in the fact that Julian Assange, who as founder of WikiLeaks was responsible for exposing the extent of US war crimes in Iraq, remains holed up within the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where for over four years he has received sanctuary and protection from the risk of being extradited to the US.

Finally, the fate to befall Chelsea Manning, who provided WikiLeaks with the evidence of said war crimes, while serving as an intelligence analyst in the US Army, and who is currently languishing in a US military prison, stands as a withering reminder of the disjunction between the beautiful myth of America and its ugly reality.

What the American people desperately require is political leadership with the courage to confront this ugly reality and challenge the vested economic and political interests that have long impeded the glaring need for social justice in a society scarred by its shameful history of slavery, genocide and an addiction to war that has cost not only the American people but millions of people all over the world far too much in blood and suffering.

With Donald Trump in the White House the threat is civil war. With Hillary Clinton it is world war. Based on such a choice there is very little prospect of America's decline being reversed anytime soon.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

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political establishment, wars, voters, mass surveillance, leadership, whistleblowers, elections, election, White House, 2016 US Presidential election, invasion of Iraq, Syrian crisis, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Washington, United States
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  • jas
    This guy sounds a lot like Obama in 2008.
  • jas
    When it comes to Hillary Clinton, though she was measured, assured, calm, and very well-prepared in contrast to her opponent,
    HILLARY CLINTON FREEZES IN FEAR - Secret Agents Tell Her To "Keep Talking"

    (Know Your ENEMY) Hillary R Clinton. We Came, We Saw, He Died

    Ron Paul Didn't Expect This Response From Hillary Clinton

    Very interesting clip with Ron Paul. And now Clinton has lied again and she now refers to enthusiastic supporters of real change as deplorable.
  • Al
    This person is not Hillary Clinton, No way. She lost 25 or more pounds on Sep 11 in about 30 minutes after going to her daughter's house. Her rinkel neck as some how disappeared and appears much younger. Her cheeks are smaller as well. I guess they are going with this one, it's possible that Hillary died on Sept 11. It's quite clear to me that this person is not Hillary it's one of her doubles.
  • quemadoinstitute
    Trump is the honest and capable president-to-be America deserves, and Trump is going to win. New polls show he is likely to take the electoral college (link below), and 27 out of 30 polls show he won the first presidential debate against Hillary (infowars.com).

    Trump is a brilliantly successful man with powerful ideas about how to stop inhumane foreign wars (such as the brutal invasion of Libya so adored by Hillary Clinton along with her pet project---the barbaric murder of secular leader Gaddafi who had made Libya the richest country in Africa and provided women with higher education); how to make all immigrants legal and therefore accepted, peaceful and helpful to America; how to slash bad trade deals, taxes and regulations to make the United States a great opportunity for business and thus create jobs; AND .... how to be friends---yes, friends!---with Russia, a civilized Christian nation that has shown no aggression since the fall of the Soviet Union, despite mainstream propaganda that purports Russia invaded Ukraine, a story designed to cover up the fact that not only did it never invade, but that really the United States destabilized Ukraine via the Maidan coup sponsored by the CIA. GO TRUMP!

    -- I was deplorable before it was cool.


  • affordable.guyin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
    jas, Na, not near as polished, nor supported by the oligarchs.
  • Porkbelly Porkerpig
    [The hugely anticipated first US presidential debate between Hillary Clinton
    and Donald Trump left no doubt that the American people deserve better.]

    How nice that the Commie-Socialist who wrote this opinion piece, trying to subvert the U.S. Election Process will be deported soon, like the rest of the
    a--holes. HUAC to the rescue!!!!!!!!
  • happy1
    Neither Trump nor Clinton offer any real hope for a better world over the course of the next 4 years.
    I'm pretty sure, irrespective of what POTUS says or wants, the US military will continue to throw their weight about like a bullying uncouth slob, to everybody elses cost around the world.
  • michael
    uh, yeah...what is this, a contestant responding on the' bleeding obvious statement' show?
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