Foreign Policy and US Prez Race

Even after tonight’s late touchdown in a 3 score down game by Camp Clinton, and as the Democratic nomination race moves inexorably to its obvious conclusion (Obama as the nominee), just a moment to say why I supported Obama.

Above all it was foreign policy concerns which are paramount in my mind as to the Presidency even more so now that I am an American Abroad. [I think domestic policy should be handled by the Congress].

Hillary Clinton has in the course of the campaign clearly signaled that she accepts the basic parameters of George Bush’s Middle East Policy (minus the surge in Iraq): her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, her comments about “obliterating” Iran, her crazed interpretation of the reality of Lebanon (with Hezbollah as some Iranian and Syrian plant), and her notion of extending American nuclear shield deterrence to Arab Sunni autocrats is all Bushian. i.e. The idea of an axis of so-called “moderates” Arab regimes against the evil Iranian-Syrian axle of evil. She is a war hawk in essence.

John McCain is sadly not McSame. That title more properly belongs to Clinton. McCain is worse than Bush. An uber-Hawk plus. Bush plus. He not only wants to double, triple, quadruple down in Iraq, he has publicly stated he will start a war with Iran during his administration, and not only that wants to start some “stuff” with Russia and China. He is the neoconservative wet dream. He is calling for the end of the entire post WWII Liberal International Order, which Bush has severely damaged but not totally destroyed. McCain would leave the US even further isolated, in debt, and reduced in its position, relying on military answers to non-military problems. His views are a menacing threat to world security in the 21st century. He is the most pro-military and pro-militaristic ethos of any US President since TR and would like his hero, embroil the US in more foreign imperial (mis)adventures. Even Bush gave up on democracy after the election debacles in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon, but McCain has only seen the need for more democracy.

Obama is the only candidate who has I think correctly realized that the US can not continue an occupation of the Arab heartland and the fault line of the Sunni/Shia divide and not only that but having allowed Shia to come to power keep Iran out of the bargain. Iran is the one brokering the truces between the Iraqi government and Sadr. Both in Basra and Baghdad.

His primary insight is that the US was attacked by al-Qaeda and therefore al-Qaeda represents the real threat to America and the West. I know this seems like it should be a fairly obvious notion but sadly post 9/11 in US policy circles, it has not been (and is not in the Clinton camp, much less the McCain camp).

HIs notion of a “Dignity” Promotion could become excessively idealistic no doubt, but also could be quite shrewd as a middle way between the pugnacious nationalism of Clinton (Jacksonian FP) and the insanely utopian Wilsonianism of McCain. The promotion of democracy agenda could likely end up only isolating and defeating the liberal democrats in many parts of the world–see the failure of liberals in the Middle East post-Iraq, see also the Iranian liberals not taking aid from the US for rightly feared being seen as fifth column for US. Dignity promotion could allow for a means of US aid predicated around the build up of civil society and more importantly basic requirements (food scarcity, energy prices skyrocketing) helping build resilience in communities around the world. That would need to be piggybacked on less of the anti-foreign trade/free trade talk however.

I find his being a community organizer cum politician an interesting thing, but I’m not into all the hype. I find it intriguing to watch him chart a post-Vietnam, post-Iraq liberal patriotism. Nevertheless, the guy is a politician. He’s a better political organizer than the other two to be sure; I think he also is a smarter guy and has a better sense of the lay of the land and where things need to go. It would icing on the cake to end the Boomer reign and have an election finally not decided by the concerns of the 60s/70s. I would love to see the Nixon Southern Whisper Strategy finally defeated and once and for all sent to the grave. He’s already beat it once in the Democratic Primary, now he will face a rougher version of it in the General. But the key piece is foreign policy.

Update I:  But as I’ve said before he can only go so far, particularly in relation to Israel-Palestine.  Very good article on this subject here Jonathan Steele in The Guardian.

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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