The US Presidential election is now heading for the last lap. The conventions of the two main parties the GOP and the Democrats will be held next month and they will in all likelihood put the seal on the election  of the two candidates who will represent the parties. Thus the stage is set for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to confront each other. As things stand Hillary has built up a tremendous lead over Trump as per the Gallup polls. This lead will be sweet music to the supporters of Hillary. 

Assuming that Hillary maintains her lead, there is every chance she will be the president of the USA. Here is the fly in the ointment. Hillary as president will also be the Commander in Chief of the US armed forces. What sort of commander she will be is a question that many want to answer. One must understand that a C in C of the US armed forces is unlike any other commander as he or she also controls the nuclear button and the commander has to take momentous decisions on security matters and deployment of troops. 

Last week I was in the USA and was a guest at a brunch with my American friend who is now out of the army as a Colonel. He in an animated discussion gave me a startling opinion. As per him, Hillary as a Commander in Chief is the most undesirable thing as far as the US is concerned. He pointed out that there is no record in the history of a woman having commanded any army and taken momentous military decisions. One is apt to quote the example of Indira Gandhi and say " look she was a woman and yet led in the war for the liberation of Bangladesh". But in reality, she took only political decisions and despite her exhortations the then army Chief Sam Maneckshaw made it clear that he would launch the invasion only at a time he decided and hence the invasion was delayed by a few months.

In the US such a scenario does not exist, as all executive power over the armed forces is the president. I must also grudgingly agree with my friend that there is no record of a woman taking military decisions in the army. Another friend, however, interjected and asked what about Razia Sultana and Joan of Arc of Orleans( France) ? My answer is the Razia ruled in the company of her lover and all military decisions were taken by him while Joan of Arc was a subordinate commander as the King of France was the defacto ruler.In any case in a history of 4000 wars, these are like flashes in the pan and overall women as commanders have not existed.

War is now more complex and there is the added danger of a nuclear conflagration. This is the real danger as the sole authority to authorize a nuclear strike is the US president and one wonders with the state of her health ( she fainted a few months back) how competent she will be to handle the nuclear button. In all likelihood, she will need an advisor and maybe her husband the ex-president Bill Clinton will chip in. She does not have the best of relations with him after his indiscretions in the oval office with Monica Lewinsky which almost led to his impeachment.

Being a woman has an effect. However competent she is Hillary, has not displayed any acumen that she is fit to handle the nuclear button. Women are associated with somethings soft and beautiful and one cannot associate them with the harsh decisions of deciding the policy of war.  All in all an interesting aspect of politics in the US has  come up. The voters are fickle and vote more by instinct than thought and some follow the sheep mentality. It happens in India also as the real capability of a candidate gets overlooked. 

How good a commander Hillary will be is a question that at present finds no answer. Perhaps one does not question Donald Trump on his capability to handle the nuclear button, but in the case of Hillary these thoughts do crop up.The present election may well be a watershed in world politics.


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