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Who is the Elephant and who is the Donkey?

April 6, 2008

The Moroccan people are a bit different than the rest of the Middle East in terms of International relations. For example, International news has a very small place in our Press and TV. People don’t really care about what is happening. They are becoming more like Western people who are busy making a living. Yet, Moroccans still react sometimes when there is a psychological geography feeling with some countries like Palestine or Iraq. However, the 24 hours channels hammered a lot these subjects to the point that everyone sees these conflicts now as daily routine. Even in universities, we still don’t have strong International Relations’ departments or analysts, like the Egyptians or the Palestinians. In this mix, Moroccan young public opinion is still very reactive instead of well informed.

Even if the US Elections are very crucial for Morocco, Young Moroccans don’t seem really to distinguish between Democrats and Republicans or Donkeys and Elephants, apart from some rare elite or International Studies’ students. Morocco needs the US support not only in its big battle for the Sahara issue but in all development and military affairs now on. Therefore, the modern Moroccan kingdom is still more concerned about what’s going on in France more than what’s going on in the US. I have even experienced a fever of enthusiasm among the supporters of Sarkozy and Royal during the French 2007 elections. I may suggest that the Transformational Diplomacy of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hasn’t been well implemented in Morocco. One can just visit the US Embassy’s web site http://www.usembassy.ma/ to notice that nothing have been done to inform the average Moroccan about the US elections! The truth is, the revolutionary diplomacy of Rice about going to the normal people and explaining to them what is happening, and making diplomats like field people, is nothing but wonderful dreams.

I really think, it would be good if I can make a small opinion poll among Moroccan youth on the US elections battle. From what I know and have been discussing with my friends, Moroccans favour the Clinton family. Hilary Clinton has good ties with Morocco. She even created in my University a Centre for Women Empowerment which operates in the Atlas region http://www.aui.ma/VPAA/hrcwec/index.htm. Hilary Clinton also received an honorific Master degree for her work. Moreover, Bill Clinton has a reputation of a man of peace in the Moroccan mind after what he did in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The ex-president visited Morocco and was the architect of the free trade agreement between the two countries, whereas, President Bush just sent a letter of apology to the Moroccan king for not being able to come to Morocco in his Middle East tour.

Yet, the US has impregnated for the last years an image of a “Macho” & a “Racist” state. Therefore, I often hear my peers saying that “even if Americans look very democratic, but they are still a patriarchal conservative state, which won’t allow a woman to rule them”. Furthermore, young Moroccans also may tend to think that Americans won’t accept an afro-American president like Obama, even with Operah’s support.

From another perspective, young Moroccans are big consumers of the American film industry. Thus, American serials like “24 Hours” or “Commander in Chief” have contributed to make the idea of having a female or an afro-American president of the World’s greatest power more acceptable for the world’s mass.

Waiting for the Transformational Diplomacy’s revolution http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2006/59306.htm to gain more concern about the American political matters, the young Moroccan is still in general lost between the Elephant and the Donkey. But to be fairer with the Moroccan public opinion, let’s wait and see how the mass will react on the elections’ eve once they have more information.

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