How U.S. consultants changed the face of world politics

By Andrew Hammond

With less than a month until the crucial November 2 U.S. mid-term elections, the eyes of much of the world are focused upon how many extra seats the Republicans will win in Congress. Should the party win back control of the House of Representatives and/or Senate, President Barack Obama's agenda will be further stymied.  This could have profound implications not just for U.S. domestic policy, but also foreign policy issues, especially those which require congressional ratification, such as arms reductions treaties, or indeed any climate change deal to replace Kyoto.

At the heart of the battle for Congress is an army of political consultants, ranging from campaigning specialists to media relations experts. While global publics have long been attuned to the ramifications of US policies in their own countries, what is not commonly recognised is the role that many such consultants have also played in changing the face of global politics and indeed international relations in recent decades.

Already, it is estimated that US political consultants have worked in more than half of the countries in the world, and that tally will only grow as globetrotting firms reach out to more uncharted territory. In many far-flung parliamentary and presidential elections this Autumn, ranging from Bahrain (October 23), Brazil (October 31), Azerbaijan (November 7), Jordan (November 9), and Chad (November 28), U.S. or other foreign political consultants will probably be there.

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