’s eight-year-tenure in office as the President of the United States has come and gone, and it still challenges the mind or, at least, my mind, to enumerate any policies he initiated which can retrospectively be viewed as successful accomplishments. One wonders, if had been declared the winner of the 2000 election, how might America and the world be different today?
To be honest, I think 9/11 likely would’ve happened no matter who was in the White House on that fateful day. Osama Bin Laden and company had been planning the horrific acts of that fateful day for years before the domino-style event took place. For example, the terrorist pilots had learned how to fly planes back in the 1990s. Even if President Gore had been in office during the first three quarters of 2001, it seems quite unlikely that all of Bin Laden’s complaints would’ve been appeased, so he would’ve gone ahead with the plot anyway.
However, unlike Bush, Gore would’ve committed the United States military to defeating the Taliban and either capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden, both in Afghanistan, until the job was done. He would’ve kept a significant American troop presence there because it was known that Bin Laden was in that area. With persistence and thanks to the sheer supremacy of the United States military, America eventually would’ve emerged victorious. As we all know, Bush committed a negligent troop presence to Afghanistan for 2-3 months in the twilight of 2001, but in the back of his mind he was already cooking up plans to invade Iraq. According to Richard Clark, the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism, Bush never committed a strong troop presence to Afghanistan, so the chances of capturing Bin Laden were slim to begin with. Despite lacking any definitive proof thathad a hand in the 9/11 or that he was building weapons of mass destruction, Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq in March of 2003, and the rest is mostly melancholy history.
Had Gore succeeded President Clinton, the United States likely would’ve signed on to the International Criminal Court, an independent criminal court system based in the Netherlands that is responsible for bringing dictators and other tyrants who have massacred their own people to face justice. To do this, which seems like such an obvious move to anyone who bears half a conscience, would’ve maintained the United States’ upper-hand as a morally just entity and a model for the world. Bush, however, declined to add the United States’ presence to this judicial body, citing the potential for American troops to be unjustly prosecuted. The importance of the court immediately plummeted. Though it did form sans the United States’ presence, the former’s supremacy is diminished by the latter’s absence.
Lastly, had Vice President Gore been declared the winner of the 2000 election, the American conscience would’ve been much more concerned about the environmental degradation which is unleashed here and abroad on a daily basis. Air pollution from the hundreds of millions, maybe more, cars on the road, the conservation of natural habitats where faunal symbols of our country have lived for centuries, and water pollution which threatens the lives of many Americans, to name just a few of the potential catastrophes, would’ve been combatted or at least definitively addressed. Under President Gore, the United States would’ve signed onto the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement under which industrialized nations who agreed to the covenant will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% by the year 2015.
Some of the disastrous changes which took place under President George W. Bush (for example, the lives lost in Iraq) can never revert to what was once the status quo, when America was respected by other nations and took care of its natural resources. Because of the genius of our Constitution, though, Bush’s time in office dwindled during the days of his lame duck presidency (January 2007-January 2009), and a real sense of order and purpose was restored with the election of Barack Obama. The question will always remain, though, how much better could things have been during the first decade of this new millennium if Florida’s votes had been properly counted and Al Gore was declared the winner of the election?