The Health of Presidential Candidates and Consequences on the World of Politics

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Abdolreza Ghofrani
Senior International Analyst          

The illness, or as a whole the health of nominees of US presidential race, has been the main titles of American and world mass media over the past couple of days. This gained broader dimensions, when former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reportedly, fainted allegedly because of overheating, attending the commemoration ceremony of September 11 at Ground Zero in New York. So she had to leave abruptly by her team and associates. After two hours rest, she left her daughter's residence in New York appearing seemingly quite fine. Being asked by curious reporters of her suffering, she just downplayed the incident and answering that the weather was very nice and beautiful in New York! The US newspapers, however, wrote that she had even problems and needed help lifting into the waiting van after leaving her daughter's apartment. Moreover she had to call off her fund raising trip to California (five hours flight). Reportedly, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would have campaign speeches in one or two states for Hillary. Even Michel Obama and former president Bill Clinton would continue her campaigns on the part of Democratic Party in some other places in Hillary's favor. Though, initially, "overheating" was given the reason for her fainting, the highly circulated New York Times newspaper reported in its 12 September issue that Mrs. Clinton had suffered from pneumonia and an allergic coughing. More over the same newspaper wrote that, "in 2012 as secretary of state, she did have a clot in a vessel of her brain and a temporary injury because of a hit on her head. The injury had been treated. However, her husband Bill Clinton then had said that she would need six months to get over the injury".

Other than Mrs. Clinton, 68, there is Mr. Donald Trump, 70, the Republican nominee who has not so far shared his health detailed records, and his colleagues, however, have tried to hide details of his health from the voters. As far as his health is concerned, reportedly, he has had no specific health problem that keeps him away from his campaign. Given his age, however, there may be some health problem which is quite natural over the years to come. This has not been unprecedented in United States. Former Presidents Woodrow Wilson in early twenty century and then Franklin Roosevelt, John F Kennedy and even Richard Nixon were among those suffering from illnesses. University professors, scholars and political circles, time and again, discussed this and written books on the issue and exploring the solutions, with deep concerns. They are at the conviction that the health problem for this top office in the United States can bring about, both in domestic and international grounds, great problems. In third millennium, given the highly fast news broadcasting particularly about famous and well known politicians, their private life can be hardly concealed for a long time.

Other than medical aspect of the issue, more important is the consequences of illness of a head of state, particularly the leader of the biggest political and economic power of the world and eventually his judgments and decision makings. In present international circumstances, and given the instabilities and crises in some parts of the world and specially the Middle East, the absence of an integrated and cohesive decision making focal point in a world power, even for a short span, can exacerbate the circumstances in sensitive regions. Besides, in this situation, some of US friendly allies in the region may take dangerous actions. Moreover, even the European allies of the United States will face uncertain conditions being unable to take coherent and integrated policies. Having all this in mind, Mrs. Clinton at 68 and her illness (still unknown), and Donald Trump, 70 (his detailed health records not available yet), and given the situation already mentioned, it can be anybody's guess, that their judgments and decisions may have probably unpredictable and dangerous consequences in the world of politics.

At present it does not sound right to come to a rash conclusion because US presidential elections is nearly two months away and we need to wait and see; however Mrs. Clinton will have a tight campaign program and everything depends on her health condition during the next two months. The medical reports of both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump health conditions have reassured that they are pretty healthy, having no problem. Although the full medical details might not have been given to US public opinion despite the curiosity of mass media of that country. At least the details will be concealed for now and probably for some time.

Certainly the leadership, namely the president, in the United States, though apparently the system works in this country, has a tremendous and deep impacts on its policies and the absence of a coherent decision making center will adversely affect the situations. So from now on, all countries in the critical regions of the Middle East and Persian Gulf need to expect fluctuations and even rapid changes in US foreign policies in these areas. Though the probable developments may not be dangerous, they can be challenging for the countries of these regions as well as the Europeans. Therefore the countries, among them our own, need to expect unexpected and be prepared for embracing the problems in order not to be surprised.

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*Photo Credit: Associated Press

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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