October Surprise

Traditionally, the US goes to the polls in November, every year. Every second November there are Senate and Congressional election, and every fourth there’s a Presidential poll.

Almost all US federal administrations since the second world war have had an exclusive focus on external affairs – be they wars, or one or other crisis, somewhere the world, in which it is felt influence can be brought to bear.

This is more so with the Bush administrator than almost any other. Although Clinton was not significantly different after his attempts at reform at home bogged down.

In fact, the US has been fighting somewhere in every one of the last fifty years.

The party in power often uses these distractions overseas to seem as if it is doing something, to be seen to be pro-active or powerful or even “making America feel good about itself again.” A phrase heard after the first gulf war. Basically, as a big distraction from issues at home.

How does this relate to elections?

What better time to seem powerful, in command, to be taking charge, than just before an election. This has become so predictable as to be almost a cliche, with it’s own name: the October Surprise. Anything organised specifically to happen around October, just before an election, in order to reinforce whichever image the administration is trying to project.

It is October.

It is an election year.

The Republics, this time around, are looking very, very vulnerable and doing a superb job of stumbling around and shooting themselves in the foot. We have a administration which has built it’s image almost exclusively as “tough” and “take charge”, which has worked itself into a huge mess in Iraq.

I think we can expect a surprise.

It’s impossible to predict what form it’ll take. Although if they have any sense, if Dick Cheney still has any of his alleged intelligence left, perhaps they’ll have second thoughts about invading somewhere new, or blowing something up. Hopefully they have got it through their thick skulls that throwing their weight around in the world isn’t working the way it used to. Haiti, Panama – Iraq is a whole different kettle of fish. Which is also using up any resources they could conceivably use to launch a strike of any kind. They are already overstretched, although they could probably spare a few bombers for a few missions.

What they really need is a good capturing of some major “enemy” of the United States. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if they’re sitting on someone already is a secret prison right now, and are just waiting to show him off on the nightly news late in October.

Failing that, a quick bombing run into a budding nuclear power to bomb some installations might do the trick. Much the same as a raid Israel ran in the eighties hitting installations in Iraq. And just think, there’s a belligerent nation just across the border from all those new airbases in Iraq…

It could also be argued that several of the major regimes in the world who have been clustered together in the “Axis of Evil” might actually have an interest in the current powers that be staying in office. It must be nice to have such a touchy enemy with which to tussle and use to rally their own populations behind the glorious leader. They could organize their own surprises to suit their own purposes.

By, for example, conducting a nuclear test…