"How did it come to pass that an opposition's measure of a president's foreign policy was all or nothing, success or "failure"? The answer is that the political absolutism now normal in Washington arrived at the moment--Nov. 7, 2000--that our politics subordinated even a war against terror to seizing the office of the presidency." - Daniel Henninger - WSJ 11/18/05
"the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." - George Orwell

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In Rebuttal to Barack Obama’s Essay – “Renewing American Leadership” – Part II

Revitalizing the Military

“To renew American leadership in the world, we must immediately begin working to revitalize our military. A strong military is, more than anything, necessary to sustain peace.”

Candidate Obama suggests that:

“We must recruit the very best and invest in their capacity to succeed. That means providing our servicemen and servicewomen with first-rate equipment, armor, incentives, and training -- including in foreign languages and other critical skills. Each major defense program should be reevaluated in light of current needs, gaps in the field, and likely future threat scenarios. Our military will have to rebuild some capabilities and transform others.”

This is much like Obama’s and any candidates picture perfect scenario. Most if not all of the dreams require cooperation from all sides; with self-absorbed bureaucracies this is indeed a challenge, forget about foreign cooperation. But again, this is all failing due to the intransigence of Bush. The Bush administration suffers and suffered from the great push back from the military as well as a lack of cooperation from individuals in the State Department and elsewhere that were and are used to doing business a certain way. Senator Obama should not expect more open arms, excepting of course that he is not Bush…anybody but Bush.

Halting the spread of Nuclear Weapons

In confronting these threats, I will not take the military option off the table. But our first measure must be sustained, direct, and aggressive diplomacy -- the kind that the Bush administration has been unable and unwilling to use.

What is aggressive diplomacy? Sounds decisive, active or action oriented, it certainly doesn’t imply sitting on ones hands. Is the tactic that has been used with regard to Iran, i.e. EU-3, UN, IAEA, what is inferred? Could it be considered “aggressive” to continually return to the same negotiating table over and over; is this forcefully aggressive? Why should Obama or any of the other candidates get a pass, when they bravely proclaim the “military option” will not be taken off the table? Is it only different based upon the reaction or overreaction of the opposition party or media that makes it “war-mongering” and troublesome?

In halting the spread of nuclear weapons, one of the reasons for going into Iraq, is it really wise to use the military? Might that not enflame international sensitivities? “Blood for radiation,” is this really what we want to put our youngest and brightest up against?

The senator writes of rogue regimes developing nuclear know-how (in one instance under the auspices of “peaceful nuclear energy.”) and terrorist groups like al Qaeda that would love to get their hands on the materials or purchase an existing nuclear weapon.

Our present set up is not enough, according to George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn; which I do not doubt, but shouldn’t we check with others on this as well? Perhaps in a more bi-partisan fashion?

It is no lie that poorly secured stockpiles of uranium and “approximately 15,000-16,000 nuclear weapons,” in the former Soviet Union exist, but as Obama declares he will immediately begin providing “$50 million to jump-start the creation of an International Atomic Energy Agency-controlled nuclear fuel bank and work to update the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty” be the answer? Isn’t this just looking for more bureaucratic red tape and international bickering going to remain? Is it really wise for a leader offering “aggressive diplomacy,” to invest in the same IAEA that has failed thus far to curtail Iran’s “peaceful nukes.” We’ve done four years of this to date; isn’t it really time for something else? Perhaps not, as 14 plus years was still not enough with regard to Saddam’s Iraq.

Where will these “strong international coalitions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,” come from? Our we talking about the same group of nations that are presently on our planet? Iran and North Korea could trigger regional arms races,” really, hasn’t that already begun in the Middle East with the forward momentum of Iran’s advances prodding them along?

Active cooperation from Russia is a necessity even though we don’t see eye to eye on everything and we “must not shy away from pushing for more democracy and accountability” from them, but the common interest of nuclear weapons and material is something we should strive for. Good idea.

In the interest of thinking it through, where will we put all these stockpiles of “nuclear material,” Yucca Mountain?

End of Part II

"In Rebuttal to Barack Obama’s Essay – “Renewing American Leadership” – Part I"

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