"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

Thursday, July 05, 2007

In Rebuttal to Barack Obama’s Essay – “Renewing American Leadership” – Part III and the End (at last)

Combating Global Terrorism

In continuation of my reaction and comments to Obama’s essay (wouldn’t want to erringly refer to it as an analysis); the focus moves to combating global terrorism.

I hope for the sake of Senator Obama that former Senator John Edwards does not also consider Baracks terminology too bumper-stickerish.

I cannot disagree with the importance of Obama’s opening point “From Bali to London, Baghdad to Algiers, Mumbai to Mombasa to Madrid,” as appropriate to the all the locations on the planet that have or have had terrorism thrown in their faces firsthand. I would however add that it might be appropriate to recognize other attacks elsewhere on their anniversaries as we do here in the U.S. on 9/11.

The media does a poor job of reporting on the worldwide plight of people that must live in the face of the terrorist scourge and if they did, perhaps it would be easier for all to make the connection that a threat does indeed exist.

According to Obama, “We must refocus our efforts on Afghanistan and Pakistan -- the central front in our war against al Qaeda,” to which we likely are focusing there as well as in the Iraq the candidate discounts. More can certainly be done, but as Obama says we must “act quickly, judiciously and decisively,” by pursuing “an integrated strategy that reinforces our troops in Afghanistan and works to remove the limitations placed by some NATO allies on their forces;” we would likely ‘act slowly, too judiciously and indecisively.’

Perhaps one tactic he will employ is “aggressive diplomacy,” as the candidate says he will “join with our allies in insisting -- not simply requesting -- that Pakistan crack down on the Taliban, pursue Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, and end its relationship with all terrorist groups,” as well as get Pakistan and India to settle their Pashtun border issue.

Homeland security must be buttressed and strengthened to include “checking all passengers against a comprehensive watch list,” which hopefully will not include a certain senior senator from Massachusetts who goes by the name of Tedward.

Finally, “America must make every effort to export opportunity -- access to education and health care, trade and investment -- and provide the kind of steady support for political reformers and civil society that enabled our victory in the Cold War.” A very fine example of applying old tactics in an historical era; from someone calling for new angles and a fresh look at today’s problems.

Rebuilding Our Partnerships

This is good:

To renew American leadership in the world, I intend to rebuild the alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to confront common threats and enhance common security. Needed reform of these alliances and institutions will not come by bullying other countries to ratify changes we hatch in isolation. It will come when we convince other governments and peoples that they, too, have a stake in effective partnerships.

I like this as “convincing” others has been the problem all along. Convince France to forget about the economic advantages of doing business with Iran or better yet convince Russia and any number of other nations.

In an aside with regard to Russia; an interesting tidbit in the most recent issue of National Review (subscription necessary):

“When Ronald Reagan proposed sharing missile-defense technology with the Soviet Union in 1986, Mikhail Gorbachev scoffed at the idea. More than 20 years later, however, Russian president Vladimir Putin is showing more interest — or so it would seem, based on his surprise suggestion that the United States incorporate a Russian radar in Azerbaijan into a missile-defense system whose main purpose is to protect NATO countries from an Iranian nuclear threat. If Putin hoped that his proposal would persuade the Bush administration to step back from building our own radar in the Czech Republic and basing ten interceptors in Poland, then he badly miscalculated: Defense secretary Robert Gates has made clear that these plans will proceed. Russian cooperation in a missile-defense system would in fact be welcome, especially if the Russians finally have decided that the ayatollahs pose a geopolitical threat to the civilized world, themselves included — in which case Moscow might take helpful diplomatic steps right now and suspend all nuclear cooperation with Iran, sever some of its commercial ties, and support tougher sanctions at the United Nations. Let’s hope they get around to it before another two decades pass.”

A sure thing? Nothing ever is, unless you’re a candidate for president like Obama. Although it isn’t a “sure thing” until Obama takes charge.

Bottom line is Barack Obama will work with everyone and get everything done which will bring the U.S. back to the world stage and viewed passively.

Building Just, Secure, Democratic Societies

“Finally, to renew American leadership in the world, I will strengthen our common security by investing in our common humanity. Our global engagement cannot be defined by what we are against; it must be guided by a clear sense of what we stand for. We have a significant stake in ensuring that those who live in fear and want today can live with dignity and opportunity tomorrow.”

“People around the world have heard a great deal of late about freedom on the march. Tragically, many have come to associate this with war, torture, and forcibly imposed regime change. To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law.”

There is not much that can be said to this section, although a continuation of the reaction could go on and on. It like the entire essay is an example of seeing threats that for almost seven years have been pooh, poohed by the Left; but oddly are entirely realistic now that someone from the far Left is talking about them.

Apologies for the lack of citations, facts or anything else one might expect in a college paper, as this is not a college paper; it’s just what it is so you make the call.

Restoring America’s Trust

Confronted by Hitler, Roosevelt said that our power would be "directed toward ultimate good as well as against immediate evil. We Americans are not destroyers; we are builders. It is time for a president who can build consensus here at home for an equally ambitious course.”

“Ultimately, no foreign policy can succeed unless the American people understand it and feel they have a stake in its success -- unless they trust that their government hears their concerns as well.”

When confronted by Hitler and Japan we remained on the sidelines for two years. One thing necessary to make Obama’s vision a reality is an opposition party that is more of a thoughtful one that adds to the debate rather than just tears down. This rhetoric filled post is in response to a rhetoric filled essay by a candidate. The willful dismissal of anything offered by the present president due to partisan politics has taken a huge upswing in this first decade of the 21st century; at a very sensitive time.

Japan attacked the U.S. as al Qaeda did, however Japan was a recognized nation in a more or less text book definition of war. Our challenge today is asymmetrical and without national affiliation, although we certainly know where many come from. When it suits, the opposition party can refer to a moment in history citing a war that fit our understood definition. When the president does this, all manner of attacks ensue. This has to stop to Barack and this is to both parties, (all real easy to say, no?)

I believe that it has been with the persistent rhetorical flair of the Democrat party that has done more damage to this nation’s standing than even President Bush’s war-mongering ways. Kicking in doors in the dead of night, new management at Abu Gharaib, worse than Stalin or Pol Pot, quagmire, Vietnam, etc. All old arguments or rhetoric, but a share of the damage done is due.

We live in an age where rhetoric makes the most complicated of things seem simple, which implies that so and so is doing everything wrong. There is nothing simple about anything going on out there, certainly the least of which cannot be resolved by a really swell and (self) well meaning essay will repair.

Our politicians are used to passing it all on, through garbage legislation that does nothing but perhaps obfuscate the fact that a given problem still persists. Legislation shaped to fix an imagined wrong followed by loud self congratulations. Immigration reform pointed to the reality that most of the electorate is growing tired of the same non-fixes that self-anointed lifer politicians use to remain in D.C.

If for no other reason, the threat of Islamist terrorism should call us together; hopefully sooner rather than later. The enemies of Western ideals have a three decade jump on us that our self-shackling exacerbates; making our victory in it more unlikely the longer we play games.

A spade is a spade, Vietnam is Vietnam and all the rest. Sorry Professor A.

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

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

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