Proof That Campaigns Need to Adapt In A Heartbeat
Opportunity as Audition for McCain & Obama
(August 12, NYC) Perhaps, if this not a hint of what is to come, it should be a potent reminder of what potentialities, possibilities, unforeseen events and the host of unknown variables in our increasingly complex, interconnected world.
Parts of the world are focused on the Olympic Games in China. Others, more concern about the happenings in their own regions and backyards such as residents of Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Africa, Palestine and others locations rife with conflict, oppression and poverty. Some Americans were anxiously waiting to see photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitts’ twins, still others are consumed with other tawdry, banal issues de jour as they materialize. Much of the country is beginning to realize that a very important presidential election will be held here in 80 some odd days. We are in the midst of yet another presidential campaign that, despite the enormity of the challenges facing us as a country and our next president has once again devolved into gutter politics.
Certainly someone had to have noticed what Russia was preparing to do in Georgia. Wasn’t our Secretary of State a soviet expert before she became a useless Cabinet member? Putin’s Russia has been slowly yet persistently, steadily moving more in the direction away from democracy back to a more Soviet styled society and government. While the United States has been bogged down in Iraq and having growing troubles with a resurging Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Russia has been exerting more and more influence regionally and internationally. Despite the fact that George W. Bush claims to have “looked into” Putin’s “soul”, Vladimir has gone from President of Russia to Prime Minister with de facto control of every aspect of the Russian government. His hand picked successor as President Dmitry Medvedev serves basically as a figurehead while Putin, the former KGB operative, pulls the strings. And they are old familiar strings to him and his cabal of hardliners anxious to exert their former strength.
The last 20 years has seen what was thought to be a mighty, super power, the USSR, exposed as a failed nation that had squandered all resources to finance a huge military apparatus. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Soviet Union crumbled and each of their once sovereign states sought that sovereignty again. Some were quicker than others to move forward and old ethnic and regional disputes complicated matters. Their economy was in a shambles and by the time Boris Yelstin staggered his way into the Kremlin, Russia was teetering on the edge of anarchy. Many of the suffering there longed for the days of Communism despite the harshness of their lives during the 60 years of Communist, iron fist rule.
Into the breach step the French, Germans and other European countries to broker a “cease-fire”. The breach was created by George W. Bush, his hapless administration devoid of a coherent foreign policy. An administration that literally ignored the rest of the world and all its evolving complexity to invade Iraq when the United States real battles should have been fought relentlessly in Afghanistan. The atrocities perpetrated by Bush and company have robbed the US of all credibility as an honest broker, a just super power bound by the rule of law and the world has watched as the Mighty America has been rendered bogged down by various insurgents on both fronts were our troops are engaged and dying. They have watched our nation treasure vanish as we become ever more financial indebted to the Chinese, Saudis and others reaping rewards from our lack of fiscal discipline and precarious economic situation.
So now, our presumptive presidential candidates have decided to use this crisis in Georgia as a bat with which to hit each other over the head. McCain is growing more rabidly hawkish with each speech he manages to stumble through. He is intent on rattling sabers we simply do not have and Russia knows we are so military depleted, stretched so thin, we could not become involved. Bush has pushed for Georgia and other former Soviet states to be granted membership in NATO. Obviously, this was more than Putin was willing to sit idly by and observe. John McCain in throwing down gauntlets, drawing lines in the sand and issuing all sorts of bombastic statements that say more about what a McCain administration’s foreign policy would be than any speech he could possibly give.
Democrat Barak Obama is determined to not be perceived as weak and McCain is determined to paint him as such. Perhaps a more Obama-like approach comprised of a robust diplomatic effort globally, a strong , full staffed Foreign Service, a State Department that actually did something, would not have us in the position Bush has left us.
But, politics will be politics and this August Surprise may prove to be an opportunity for the American voters to get a sense how each of these men will conduct our Foreign Policy, how each of them will value our forces, our sons and daughters, our blood and our economic resources. Which is more carrot and which is more stick?
We have a hell of a choice to make and we had better start paying attention and seeing beyond the standard Republican versus Democrat rhetoric that has rendered us unable to accomplish anything domestically of internationally since 2000.
Think. Read. Think some more. Vote.
Copyright TBC 2008 © All Rights Reserved
Copyright Bronwest Consulting 2008 © All Rights Reserved
This is a Special Foreign Affairs Commentary produced by the Intelligence Unit of Bronxwest Consulting.
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