In March I asked “How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?” Now we know the answer: for the next 4 years, perhaps the next 8, we will be at war. If McCain wins – almost certainly. If McCain cannot complete his term (quite possible), then Palin — probably. Obama — equally probable.
We saw Gov. Palin’s tough talk in her interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News, and her willingness to lead America into war with Pakistan or Russia — perhaps anyone. For the details, see …
- Before we reignite the cold war, what happened in Georgia?
- Stratfor says that our war in Pakistan grows hotter; Palin seems OK with that
Obama’s speeches are equally bellicose. For example, see …
- “The War We Need to Win“, Washington DC, 1 August 2007
- “The World Beyond Iraq“, Fayetteville NC, 19 March 2008
- “Obama Statement on NATO Summit in Romania“, 3 March 2008
In my March 2008 post I described the ferocity of Obama’s 19 March 2008 speech, perhaps rooted in his confidence about American omnipotence. But feeding red meat to the American public was nothing new for Obama. In his August 2007 speech Obama explains how he will wage war far better than did President Bush:
I did not oppose all wars, I said. I was a strong supporter of the war in Afghanistan.
… Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.
… It is time to turn the page. When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.
The first step must be getting off the wrong battlefield in Iraq, and taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
… I will not hesitate to use military force to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to America. This requires a broader set of capabilities, as outlined in the Army and Marine Corps’s new counter-insurgency manual. I will ensure that our military becomes more stealth, agile, and lethal in its ability to capture or kill terrorists. We need to recruit, train, and equip our armed forces to better target terrorists, and to help foreign militaries to do the same. This must include a program to bolster our ability to speak different languages, understand different cultures, and coordinate complex missions with our civilian agencies.
… One component of this integrated approach will be new Mobile Development Teams that bring together personnel from the State Department, the Pentagon, and USAID. These teams will work with civil society and local governments to make an immediate impact in peoples’ lives, and to turn the tide against extremism. Where people are most vulnerable, where the light of hope has grown dark, and where we are in a position to make a real difference in advancing security and opportunity — that is where these teams will go.
I will also strengthen our intelligence. This is about more than an organizational chart. We need leadership that forces our agencies to share information, and leadership that never — ever — twists the facts to support bad policies. But we must also build our capacity to better collect and analyze information, and to carry out operations to disrupt terrorist plots and break up terrorist networks.
Much of the rest are the delusional dreams of reforming the world that I critiqued in “Our metastable Empire, built on a foundation of clay“.
In his statement of 3 March 2008, he equal’s Gov Palin’s enthusiasm for war with Russia — over Albania.
The three current candidates for NATO membership — Albania, Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia–have each made great strides in consolidating their new democracies. … Responding to these efforts with NATO membership at the upcoming summit would add to the alliance military capabilities while contributing to stability in the Balkans, a region still suffering from the ethnic tensions left behind by the bloodshed of the 1990s.
Ukraine and Georgia have also been developing their ties with NATO. … I welcome the desire and actions of these countries to seek closer ties with NATO and hope that NATO responds favorably to their request, consistent with its criteria for membership. Whether Ukraine and Georgia ultimately join NATO will be a decision for the members of the alliance and the citizens of those countries, after a period of open and democratic debate.
… NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. Russia has an important role to play in European and global affairs and should see NATO as a partner, not as a threat.
The last line is esp fantasic, asking Russia to view its encirclement by enemies as does the ignorant American public — not in the realistic view of a state that lost tens of millions defending itself in WWI and WWII.
And Biden, too
He too is willing to ally with Georgia, so long as we are never called upon to cash that check for an unlimited guarantee of security for Georgia. Bold talks by mountebanks or fools (it is difficult to determine which).
- “Stand up for Georgia“, Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar, Washington Times, 27 April 2008.
Every election reveals much about the candidates, but even more about us.
The candidates eagerness to wage endless wars shows their opinion of our fearfulness and aggressiveness. Since they are profession politicos, this is probably an accurate assessment — we are bellicose. Not a surprise for a nation whose grand strategy is build on hubris and paranoia, as I described in “America’s Most Dangerous Enemy“.
But it is not too late to prove them wrong.
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Other Posts about the Candidates enthusiasm for war
1. How the Iraq and Vietnam wars are mirror images of each other, 7 February 2008 — Now we have McCain, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, talking of an open-ended commitment to victory in Iraq.
2. A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012, 1 March 2008 — What is next in Iraq? None of the leading candidates have expressed any intention of leaving Iraq – except in the distant and vague future. McCain intends to fight so long as (or until) we suffer few casualties, then stay for a long time (perhaps a hundred years, as McCain said here and here) ). On the other hand, Obama has been quite explicit…
4. How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008 — The Presidential campaign rolls on in the seventh year since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being in which nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Barack Obama.
5. A powerful perspective on the candidates for President of the US, 28 August 2008 — John Derbyshire expresses what I have said about the candidates dreams of saving the world.
16. Governor Palin as an archetype for our time, 9 September 2008
For interesting articles about the candidates from other sources, see About the candidates for President of the United States.