Where were those Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, Brian? The war left 35,000 American dead or maimed and 400,000 Iraqis -- all because of ex-U.S. President George W. Bush’s neocon conspiracy to punish transgressions from the first Gulf War, and give defense contractors hundreds of billions (including ex-U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton).
That's not security, that's not toughness; that's stupid and criminal. Rearm? America spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined, and spending is at record levels!
Republicans dealt and traded with our enemies in the Iran-Contra deal, and twice subverted peace agreements: Ex-U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1968 on an end to Vietnam (the same as what he got four years later), and ex-U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1980 delayed the release of the Iran hostages…both to get successfully elected. Ex-U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson called it treason at the time.
We see similar treacherousness in Republican challenger Mitt Romney's unpatriotic hysterical attacks on U.S. President Barack Obama after the murderous attack on the U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens -- before he knew what the facts were, what the truth was. That didn't matter- the president was at fault, said Romney, with the same tired and empty charges from a man with no new ideas. When foreign tragedies happen even presidential opponents are circumspect and respectful, but not Mitt, whose upper-class upbringing often doesn't reveal much class.
Obama has done what he said: ended the misbegotten Iraq War, surged troops in Afghanistan, hunted and killed Obama bin Laden and most major Al Qaida leaders, defended Libyans against a possible slaughter in Benghazi, ended Cheney torture by US soldiers. He has stood up for American values and postures around the world. His result-oriented firm decisions are based on facts and evidence, though sometimes buck accepted wisdom. In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, he made the case for war. Under him, the hatred that Bush engendered has generally been replaced by admiration and respect.
Romney wants to fight another war in Syria, another in Iran, threaten the Russians and Chinese, but he and Mefford seems to live in the 1980s, when the Russian/Soviet bear threatened the world. Obama's “reset” with Russia had admittedly produced few results except access to our troops in Afghanistan- but America has very few levers to use on Russia- they are competitors for influence with a kitty of hundreds of billions, while America has to borrow trillions, partly because Bush blindness and Republican (and Democrat) deregulation allowed criminal speculators to break the world's economy.
NATO enlargement is fine, but as a military alliance, members must be defensible- Georgia or Azerbaijan aren't. They border Russia, not Rhode Island. In Georgia's ill-advised war with South Ossetia, Russia was sure to weigh in like the behemoth it is.
Should America have dropped paratroopers to go up against Russian tanks? Or blasted Russian jets from the skies? How hot would Mefford's War get? Russia, with 2000 odd strategic nukes, is still the only country that could destroy America. As far as Ukraine goes, NATO was never a real option: 35 percent of the people owe more allegiance to Russia than Ukraine (including several top administration leaders), membership was never popular in Ukraine (61 percent vs. 24 percent for), it is home to a huge Russian military base so risky to NATO itself, and Russia would have done crazy reckless dangerous things to prevent it -- Ukraine unfortunately is deeply ingrained in their idea of Greater Russia- it was the Mother of Russia.
The European missile plan was deeply destabilizing- any anti-missile system is never only defensive in strategic calculations (despite them not being under Russian missile flight paths to America). These antimissile missiles have never worked: even with fraudulent tests on missiles that broadcasted their position, they almost all failed. Hitting an incoming ballistic missile with a missile isn't like hitting a bullet with a bullet- they both move 10 times faster. "Shooting down an ICBM is like hitting a hole in one when the hole is going 15,000 mph," says former Assistant Secretary of Defense Phillip Coyle.
And sadly, Ukraine made its bed by electing President Viktor Yanukovych. They decided to move towards Russia, which he certainly has. There are only so many things America can do when Ukrainian voters throw themselves back into the arms of their former captors and killers. The Russian natural gas extortion is devastating, but if this country wasn't run only for the benefit of the corrupt oligarchs and bureaucrats, it could have had a Black Sea liquefied natural gas terminal within one year (built by China) and paid only 30 percent for Algerian liquefied natural gas.
Russia's support of Assad in Syria is because of their last remaining foreign naval base, not Obama's weakness- the whole world hasn't been able to change Putin's mind, though I agree some punishment is in order. If the rebels win, their reward will be to be quickly cast into the sea. “Neville Chamberlain-like foreign policy”? Tell that to Bin Laden, who is dead... while General Motors is alive. Sadly, for Obama, as well as Europe, the former Soviet Union isn't a priority.
Romney is pitifully unequipped to be president, a cartoon plutocrat, he was born on third and thinks he hit a triple. Amid the extremists of the Republican contenders and base, he moved into uncharted crazy territory- vowing to effectively destroy ObamaCare, Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, confirmed by his choice of extremist class warrior Paul Ryan!
He wants to steal from the poor and give to the rich – something even conservative US Catholics have said was immoral. His only prescription for the Repub devastated economy is more tax breaks for the rich and deregulation for the criminal speculators who will break the world again. He has changed his mind on every issue of importance, from health care (Romney-care was Obama-care), to abortion, to military action in Africa- he has shown no principles but expedience, and no character or integrity when attacked by the baying jackals of the media right.
He has no rational foreign policy, no domestic policy, no plans to control the run-amok financial giants- once he's through starving the 47% “parasites” (as his famous video ridiculed) who accept some government aid, America would be a damaged crippled shell of itself. He can barely open his mouth without sticking his foot in it, and nurses a deep contempt for anyone “below his class”.... or 99% of America. He is a deacon in his church- his election would breach the Church/State wall.. and Mormons have some exotic beliefs most Americans don't know, understand, or approve of. So far his Party's extreme beliefs have alienated women, seniors, Hispanics, Blacks, immigrants, college students, many religious- how much of America is left?? His tough talk about a new roster of “enemies” is just that- adolescent empty talk by a careless former governor who is way out of his league.
Obama is hated by Republicans partly because of their racist beliefs, so they generated insane controversies about his U.S. birth, “socialist” policies, “Muslim” beliefs, “radical” ideas.... but ironically he is going to win because he is more honest, more patriotic, more American, and less alien than Mitt Romney.
Michael Hammerschlag (Hammernews.com) is a freelance journalist and commentator living in Kyiv.