Breaking The Mindset

If you really want to know what a candidate would do once in office, so says Spencer Ackerman, you have to look at their foreign policy advisers.  When one looks at Obama’s foreign policy advisers and what they are attempting to accomplish, one sees incredibly good things.

Ackerman pens a piece for the American Prospect that is an absolute must read that illuminates the key thing that Obama is offering on foreign policy that none of the other candidates in the field even come close to: a different mindset completely.

For all of the talk that Obama and Hillary have hardly a sliver of daylight between each other as far as policy goes, this is a wide and gaping chasm.  When compared to McCain, this chasm grows to a virtual ocean of difference that can’t be ignored.

At the heart of these disparities lies a single question; was Bush wrong, or was he simply stupid?

In a way, this has been the primary foreign policy question facing Democrats in some way or another for decades, though the name in the question has changed as time has passed.  Indeed, we saw Kerry get hooked into this very same web when he faced Bush back in 2004.

If the answer to that question is that Bush is wrong, that the neoconservative ideological approach to foreign policy is wrong, then you have to make the logical conclusion that it’s not just a matter of finding someone more competent, but finding someone who comes at the problem from a vastly different angle.  If Bush is stupid, if the Republican approach to foreign policy is simply plagued by poor execution time and time again, then the only option left available is to paint the Democratic candidate as a more prudent observer of the same school of thought as the Republicans.

This has created the phenomenon that we have seen in modern politics where Democrats become torn between not upsetting their leftist base, and trying not to appear weak to the rest of the electorate.  What has further complicated this is the fact that you can’t toss a stone in DC without hitting a dozen Republicans that imply anything short of having an itchy trigger finger is too weak to be the Commander of Chief.

In the era of the Politics of Fear, no one wants to risk being too weak, and it is this fear that continues to stymie any efforts to pull the breaks on our venture in Iraq.

But Ackerman rightly hints at the most important question no one seems to ask: What happens after Iraq?

Because the Iraq War’s popularity has sunk appreciably since the last time we gathered to choose a president, there is little risk in saying that we need to put an end to the war; especially when the target audience is the core Democratic base.  This was proven when the Democratic party regained the majority of both houses of Congress in the fall of 2006.

But, in case you might have missed it, Iraq is only a small slice of the world after all and there are more than plenty other countries with which we can repeat the mistake.

Iran immediately comes to mind.

As for anti-terrorism strategies, there are many of us on the left that are still waiting to be validated in our opinion that the most effective way of combating terrorists is not to drop bombs or engage in urban warfare, but to focus on the fertile recruitment grounds that terrorists can easily turn to time and again.  And when I mean focus, I do not mean that in a combative sense, but instead constructively.

Eschewing all of the fancy foreign policy mumbo-jumbo, it boils down to choosing to be a scapegoat, or choosing to be a helping hand.  Team Obama denotes it as the difference between “Democracy promotion,” and “Dignity promotion.”

But on a more metaphysical, or at least meta-political, level, Obama is again challenging America where his opponents continue the same pattern of dumbing things down to easily digestible, bite-sized morsels.  The old way is, “Those are the bad guys–we shoot the bad guys,” the new way is a much more complex philosophy that America’s national security best interests could be better served through philanthropy than through the old “big stick” philosophy that seemed to have forgotten the “walk softly” part a very long time ago.

But it all comes back to that same question.  Was Bush wrong, or incompetent?

McCain, I suppose, to a degree represents a more competent version of Bush, and I would bet a year’s salary that within a year of McCain’s inauguration we will be at war with Iran while at the same time still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We will continue to sell off massive portions of our National Debt to China to fund these wars, and we will likely incur much more global animosity that will have a real world consequence of increasing the threat of terrorism and making us weaker on National Security.

That’s not just incompetency, that’s having the wrong mindset completely, and it is about time we had ourselves a little change.

2 Responses to “Breaking The Mindset”

  1. Shari says:

    Great article!!!!It’s so nice to hear the truth from someone who sees beyond partisn lines. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much Shari. I would still consider myself very partisan, but I still appreciate the sentiments. Please don’t be a stranger and feel free to join in the discussions any time.

    Thanks again.

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