foreign policy

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gemli is a trusted commenter, Boston

It was worth the wait. Obama has rendered the years of Republican obstructionism moot. Their clever ploys of the faux filibuster and the bellicose bullying and the Bibi embarrassments have fallen flat, and while Republicans were patting themselves on the back for their midterm “sweep” of Congress, Obama was planting the seeds for a bumper crop of reforms. Now, in the months preceding the presidential primaries, Obama is reminding people what Democrats stand for.

Republicans, on the other hand, are reaping what they sowed, which is precisely nothing. They’ve doubled-down on the sneering hate-speech and the empty rhetoric that appeals to the slack-jawed, resulting in a three-ring-circus of Republican anti-candidates who must run on negative accomplishments. It’s all about what they closed down, eliminated, blocked, cancelled and squashed. The only thing they built up is the bank accounts of their like-minded multi-millionaire brethren. When Donald Trump is getting buzz, you know the hive is diseased.

Obama has paved the way for a Democratic victory. Nothing is guaranteed, but even a somewhat compromised Hillary Clinton, energized by a we’re-mad-as-hell-and-we’re-not-going-to-take-it-any-more message from Bernie Sanders, gives me reason to hope for change. Come to think of it, that’s what Obama promised all along. He just didn’t say when it would happen. Maybe it’s now.

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Frank Rich’s Op-Ed yesterday in the NYT was especially powerful. Here’s the most popular comment on it as of today, Monday morning. It’s by Jon Jost:


One of our problems is that for most Americans the concept of \”graveyard of empires\” doesn’t ring a bell, as most Americans, as they were taught, don’t think we are an empire, ergo, it can’t be our graveyard. We are instead the champions of liberty, saviors of Europe in WW2, pushers of democracy, and that is sufficient to explain our 700 military bases around the world, our policies of backing whichever corrupt dictator will suit the moment for us, and we’ll bend our perceptions to suit.

As one who spent 2 years in prison for refusing the draft (during the Viet Nam period all of 500 people went to prison thusly), and participated in the draft resistance movement, I must say the best thing for America would be to re-institute a draft that the likes of Cheney and Bush couldn’t evade or otherwise cheat on. This might have some meaningful effect on our foreign policy. It would seem the one thing (I was going to say two, but McChrystal missed on the other – controlling the press, which so far the government has done a good job on doing, unfortunately) the government learned from Viet Nam was that having a draft was to be avoided for political reasons. So now we have a professional military of so-called volunteers (economic refugees many of them), which consumes half the Fed budget, half the oil the US consumes (and hence must have oil wars), and the public sits on its ever broadening butt and doesn’t notice its economic situation is directly related to our Wars R US status.
Very Foxy.

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Recommended by 852 Readers

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It’s probably true, as Minds Erased says, that the Nobel Peace prize is really like a Grammy Award, not based on merit, just a popularity contest, and only meant as a form of encouragement. Hendrick Hertzberg in the latest New Yorker (Oct. 19) pretty much agrees with this view. But that old foreign policy guru, Zbigniew Brzezinski, while admitting that Obama needs to earn the prize, deserves it nevertheless. Why? Here’s what he says:

He deserves it because, in the course of less than a year, he really has refined America’s relationship with the world. He has grandly improved America’s image in the world. He has committed America to a series of policies designed to resolve conflicts and to deal in a non-unilateral fashion with key issues. And he has committed America to grand goals in the area of nuclear weaponry, global problems and so forth.

What do I think?

Well, I think Iran is really not a threat and that if Obama can’t figure out how to talk to them, he’s not earned much, and he really should get out of Afghanistan. At least it appears now that he may drop the idea of routing out the Tailban. That’s a step forward.

But what do I think about Obama getting the prize?

Well, I don’t think he should have rejected it, but I’m sure it’ll be an additional burden for him to carry. It’s good that he at least is donating the proceeds to charity.

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WSJ Down the Drain

Eric Alterman points out that Rupert Murdoch (see Fox News) has now gotten hold of the news pages of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He already had the editorial pages of the great old paper under his wing. Now he’s appointed a “right-wing curmudgeon” by the name of Gerald Baker in charge of the paper’s news pages. Baker thinks Obama is a “dangerous left winger” as he explains here. Here’s a sample:

There is a caste of left-wing Americans who wish essentially and in all honesty that their country was much more like France. They wish it had much higher levels of taxation and government intervention, that it had much higher levels of welfare, that it did not have such a “militaristic” approach to foreign policy. Above all, that its national goals were dictated, not by the dreadful halfwits who inhabit godforsaken places like Kansas and Mississippi, but by the counsels of the United Nations.

Though Mr Obama has done a good job, as all recent serious Democrats have done, of emphasising his belief in American virtues, his record and his programme suggest he is firmly in line with this wing of his party.

HEY! See my previous post! ha ha

Well, seriously, I’d say that that wing of the party is a pretty good wing! It’s just what we need to bring the USofA screaming into the 21rst century and get our economy moving again, and morality brought back into the world! GO BARACK GO!

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Oh boy, some more wonky boring stuff out of SeevsPlace. ha ha Well, what the hell, I think I’ll make a post on this anyways. I just got through listening to what I thought was a very interesting and truthful, as against the bullshitty “truthiness” that we usually get on our media here in the good old USofA, discussion by two knowledgeable persons, as against bullshit artist, mainly Republican, politicians and gutless media persons! It’s refreshing to hear people give facts and opinions uncolored by the usual, oh boy we may have to bomb Iran they’re bad guys we’re good guys better vote Republican things are either black or white and they’re black in Iran so we better bomb ’em right away, vote McCain! ha ha?

Gary Sick (unfortunate name?) of Columbia University is one of the most reasonable and knowledgeable foreign policy experts around, a great personage who has written many books (none of which I’ve read) and the other guy is John Hostettler, a former Republican congressman who was against the Iraq war. So, this isn’t a case of the usual on-the-one-hand on-the-other-hand type discussion, typical of our gutless, corporation controlled media unwilling to point out what’s reasonable and what isn’t. Anyway, this video is a real good discussion of where we are, where the world is, in terms of us, the US, and Iran. The interviewer is a reasonable guy by the name of Riz Khan, not your typical smarmy Tom Brokaw type, which is refreshing in itself! Hey, if you’ve got over 12 minutes, but less than 13, to waste, take a look at this thing. 😀

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEZbbGm1Xak[/youtube]

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No, he’s not taking an aphrodisiac to avoid choking later on a Viagra pill, he’s just confused about who Zapatero, the Prime Minister of Spain, is. He evidently thinks he’s one of those South American bad guys. Josh Marshall proves this quite nicely in this video of the confused repartee between McCain and an interpreter from a Spanish language radio station:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqS_KKORvrY[/youtube]
Josh points out that Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s top foreign policy adviser and full fledged neoconservative, says McCain was not confused at all, and was simply refusing to commit to a White House meeting with Zapatero as part of policy. So, who is running the McCain campaign, McCain or his handlers? Does McCain know what’s going on? Does the rain in Spain fall mainly on McCain? (I read that on somebody’s blog comment today.)

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Here’s Ron Paul on Meet The Press yesterday, December 23, 2007. If only he weren’t for elimination of the income tax! His foreign policy, which he gets into in the later part of this interview is right on! Listen to Tim Russert try to trick him into saying he supports Al Qaeda. It doesn’t work!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saDw03JXigA[/youtube]

UPDATE: Josh Marshall has a worthwhile post on the Ron Paul alternative universe here.

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