Those who look to Washington for direction and protection need to look again because - as the 2012 race for the White House reveals - the political landscape there is itself in a state of disarray. The Republican Presidential candidates present a sorry spectacle. Newt Gingrich is openly mortgaged to corporate interests and displayed his moral timbre when discussing divorce terms at the hospital bed of his first wife, Jackie, while she was fighting for her life after cancer surgery; Herman Cain is involved in accusations of Eve-teasing and is so unknowledgeable that he confused Libya with Afghanistan, suggesting that the Taliban were dominating Libya; Rick Perry frequently fumbles during debates and has a provincial mindset stuck in his home state of Texas. Frontrunner Mitt Romney is spurned by many conservative Christians because of his Mormon faith. According to a New York Times letter of November 11, the bleak landscape is an inevitable result of elevating the unlearned, unqualified and uninterested to positions of authority. Obama is fortunate in facing such opposition. Indicators are that the Republican Party is becoming an angry white party centred in the old slave-owning States of Americas Deep South. The Republican presidential debates remain inflexible in their lack of intellectual honesty. It has been the same old tired attacks on Iran, the hollow praise of Israel, the shirking of self-critique, and the pandering to anti-Muslim hate and fear. Absent from the picture are the names and faces of Muslim grief and suffering. Washington may itself need a strategic shift in its own political culture. A favourite Republican target - under the garment of enforcing laws and curbing the influx of undocumented migrant labour - has been the immigrant community. It has the potential dual impact of not only devastating the US economy, which is heavily dependent on cheap Hispanic labour from neighbouring Latin America, but also fanning the embers of racial exclusion and bigotry. This is happening because the 50 million strong Hispanic community, out of a US population of 300 million, remains timid, disorganised, and leaderless. In contrast, the Republican Party, which used to criticise the gay community for undermining family values, is now afraid of them. As the influence of the gay lobby in the power centres of America has grown exponentially, Republicans now feel compelled to solicit gay support. There has been a misplaced belief that the Republican Party is more pro-Pakistan. This has been dispelled during debates on foreign policy, where, as never before, Pakistan came under withering criticism, with none of the front-line candidates opposing drone attacks or bothering about the innocent victims. In this connection, Islamabad has to be held accountable for the bankruptcy of its planners and diplomacy, which exposes the Pakistani nation to easy targeting. Despite the military misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan, top Republican presidential candidates feel no shame in advocating a yet another attack on a Muslim nation. Headlined in the conservative daily, Washington Examiner, of November 14, was a commentary: Obamas best act could be striking Iran. Missing from the picture is the realisation that violence against Muslims will instigate more violence against the West. The writer is an attorney-at-law and policy analyst based in Washington DC. He is the first Pakistani American member admitted to the US Supreme Court Bar.