November 4 is going to experience the fight for the most covetous and powerful job on the face of the earth, as on this day Americans will plump for the man who will rule them and keep the American flag flying for the next four years. As the upshot of the US election exercises cosmic and far-reaching impact on the planet as a whole, so the unfolding of the entire election process piques the curiosity and interest of the people across the globe. The US election process stands out as being the most peculiar and arduous one in the world. Its trademark is that first candidacies are declared sometimes three years before the vacancy in the White House becomes due. This process entails hard-fought battle as a good part of time of the campaign is spent on fund-raising, since the initial viability of a candidacy is established by the dollars raised rather than any votes won. Some candidates get knocked out before a single vote is cast, if they lag behind in the public opinion polls that prospective donors read. Another factor that flag up the otherness of the US election is that even Election Day does not bring the curtains down on the electoral process. The victor is only certified when the Electoral College meets on December 15, on the basis of the votes cast in each state in November, to formally elect the president of the United States. November 4 election will see Obama pitted against McCain. Obama is an athletic 47 and his oracy is noteworthy. People turn up in his rallies agogo as he stirs their passions and his eloquence does not leave a dry eye in the house. He comes at the policy questions with a delightful mix of intellect and pragmatism. His partisans get their jollies out of his capacity to size up the situation with aplomb and pick solutions that seem both sober and politically workable. He has got a big wish list: he would pull out troops from Iraq with dispatch and send more troops to Afghanistan; he would close the prison at Guantanamo Bay of which the people across the world have been highly disdainful and dismissive; he would work out the prevalent economic meltdown sensibly and bottom out the situation etc. The alternative candidate is McCain. McCain, a war hero who endured years of torture in Vietnam, is not on a par with Obama both in intelligence and oratorical skills. The odds are also stacked against him respecting age. He would be the oldest first-term president if elected and he has had recurrent boots of cancer. He has a fiery temper and is a warmonger at worst. He is at best a prickly individual with neo-conservative tendencies who will do little to build bridges with the world at large. He has hawkish stands on Russia, Iraq and just about everything else. His grasp of economics and finance is also shaky and tenuous. Undoubtedly, it is the military-industrial complex comprising of arms companies and oil corporations in the US which determines the direction of the policies to be followed by the White House as it has the moxie enough to browbeat any president into submission but be that it may, the personality of the president reflects itself in multiple ways on various fronts. So let us have a brief run-down on how the US will look under Obama or McCain. If Americans will opt for Obama as president, it will achieve racial reconciliation in the US. His election will also help the US to mend fences with the rest of world, as he gives countenance to international cooperation and not aggression. Some people try to confute this point by quoting his inflammatory remarks against Pakistan during the campaign. This is all wet. The point of fact is that this is mere political jugglery to outwit his opponents and so should not be taken seriously. Obama, after getting sworn in, will think better of it and will not go for an attack on Pakistan as Pakistan has all along been the trust - worthy ally of US. How Obama can attack Pakistan when he has declaimed about talking even to Iran and Syria. Deep down, he is a pacifist. What goes more than halfway to prove this is that he had opposed the Iraq War from the word go. His surname is African, his middle name is Arabic, he has Muslim ancestry, he grew up partly in Asia and his skin colour is close to the global average. He finds himself at ease with other cultures. The evidence giving credence to this point is his trip to Asia in 1981. With a Pakistani college roommate, Muhammad Hassan Chandoo, he travelled around South Asia. During the trip, he found himself overwhelmed by Karachi. Obama says, "part of the most memorable portion of the trip was travelling to a more provincial area outside of Karachi, seeing what was essentially a feudal life." Contrarily, electing McCain will lead a lot of people of colour around the world to see Americans as more fundamentally racist than they pretend to be. McCain will also add insult to injury in the relations with other countries of the world as he is a tough-talking guy who visualises the US crossing swords with formidable foes and confronting them. He wants to keep the battle going in Iraq, speaks of bombing Iran and intends to pursue a tough foreign policy with reference to North Korea. He also wants to leave Russia out in the cold and humiliate China on various fronts. His visceral attitude and mercurial temperament will make the matters take a turn for the worse. To put it mildly, McCain is the wrong man for the White House at this critical juncture. The biracial and Hawaii - born Obama's candour and judicious quality of decision making should win him the White House. However, it is the Americans who will make a choice. But they need to think long and hard before exercising their right of franchise. The writer is a foreign affairs analyst E-mail: irfanasghar99@yahoo.com