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Foreign Press Questions U.S. Election

Please note that this is not a statement of opinion, but a news item that communicates the facts as they are being reported abroad. It does not necessarily reflect Whitley Strieber's personal views about the election.

As unofficial recounts of the disputed Florida election make it more and more clear that Al Gore won the state, the foreign press is beginning to question the legitimacy of the new administration. Florida sunshine laws mean that the press has free access to the disputed ballots, so a full and complete recount will be done by any number of different news organizations.

The legitimacy of the recounts will be questioned, but as Florida law mandates a hand recount in close races, and such a recount was prevented by the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court, foreign opinion is already shifting in the direction that the new administration is not legitimately constituted.

This is going to damage the ability of the United States to project its influence abroad, especially at a time when many American positions, such as continuing the isolation of Cuba and Iraq and refusing to join world environmental efforts are perceived as outdated and unproductive.

At the present time, the new administration is only being questioned in the left-of-center press, but as more and more far-right appointments are proposed, the more moderate press is likely to join the outcry. Foreign governments will react to an administration that is perceived to have acquired power by questionable means in ways that will be hard to predict, as such an issue has never before arisen in the context of the American presidency. However, there is a recent precedent among world governments of isolating illegitimate regimes as far as possible, a precedent that has developed, ironically, out of American post-cold war policy toward such regimes.

Domestically, the new administration is likely to be the weakest in history, especially, as now seems the case, that a man voted for as a moderate Republican is going to appoint some of the farthest-right figures in American politics to some of the most powerful positions in government, and this without even a clear mandate to govern as a moderate.

Christy Todd Whitman, recently appointed by Mr. Bush as EPA administrator, has proposed that Florida's sunshine law be amended and that the ballots be impounded for a period of ten years to prevent any unofficial recounts.

Such an action would probably end any claim that the new administration has to legitimacy elsewhere in the world, and would create a constitutional crisis of an unknown kind in the U.S.

For an example of foreign press reporting on this subject, 2763,415400,00.html,click here.

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