Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Here comes Barack-the speech of a lifetime

Watching and wishing I was in Chicago-just listened to Martin Luther King's daughter saying that tonight proves that her father's death was not in vain-Oh what a night


Ceithearna Coille, Craobh Nua Eabhrac said...

Obama abú!:

Anonymous said...

A major fuss was made last fall when Katie Courac asked vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine. Her confused, rambling answer probably hurt Ms. Palin in her failed bid more than anything and gave us one of the funniest bits in American comedy history: “I can see Russia from my house.”

The Bush Doctrine was a major shift in U.S. foreign policy. No longer was the U.S. going to wait to be attacked; we were going to act preemptively - unilaterally if we felt like it - President Bush told everyone. It was an altogether new direction for U.S. foreign policy.

The Bush Doctrine came on the heels of the attacks of September 11, 2001. It was the antitheses of Clinton’s Appeasement and generally-impotent shtick. Before that we had 4 years of restructuring within the defense community in the aftermath of the long-held Cold War policy of Containment - also know as the Truman Doctrine. More than a century ago Monroe’s Isolation Doctrine had its critics both at home and in Europe for its promotion of a “leave us alone, we’ll leave you alone” defense policy.

So, what of U.S. defense foreign policy in the Age-Of-Obama? Mr. Obama answered that question Sunday in Europe.

* * *

In what clearly ranks as his first major public expression of the freshly minted Obama Doctrine, President Obama yesterday sketched out the broad strokes of his administration’s position in a speech delivered in the Czech Republic. Make no mistake, for all those who trusted Mr. Obama to bring change to Washington and White House policy, Obama’s defense/homeland security, “smart power” foreign policy philosophy has never been denied. One of his closest advisors is Samantha Powers.

In a fitting tribute to the speechwriters’ rule of “three’s”, Obama employed the device to coolly lay out his reasoning. The New York Times opened their lead story with it beginning the second paragraph.

“In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up,” Mr. Obama told a huge crowd in Prague’s central square. “Black market trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear materials abound. The technology to build a bomb has spread.”

There it is, spelled out in pithy, concise language: 1, 2, 3. The rule of three.
1. In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up,
2. Black market trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear materials abound.
3. The technology to build a bomb has spread.

Observe the call and response aspect to his syntax. He sets up a paradox at first. “In a strange turn of history,” he says, “the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.” Sounds dangerous, he’s got our attention.

Then, he gives it to us straight - short, to the point:

What are those risks? As if we need examples! But to nudge home the threat, he let’s us in on some ugly secrets: “Black market trade in nuclear secrets and nuclear materials abound.” When’s the last time you heard the President say abound let a lone use it properly? “The technology to build a bomb has spread.” That sounds scary. Look at the proximity of “technology” to “spread.” We’ve all heard technology spreads stuff. This can not be a good development.

Now, with us fully at attention, with the clear and present dangers set out, President Obama, liberal-Chicago-black, composed, Barack Obama, saying “too few resources have been committed,” declared, because of that threat, he is going to support that left-over, busted, been-hanging-around missile shield, Star Wars boondoggle even though it does not work.

The pre-existing reason for the shield - another Bush Doctrine leftover, axis-of-evil member – Iran, is trotted out as the reason for not already scrapping the malfunctioning, way over-budget antiquated missile shield.

The latter half of the president’s speech was then turned into “Blame Iran.” Again from the Times, “In his speech, Mr. Obama said he still planned to continue with missile defense, but he tied the need for such a system to any Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons.”

The U. S. Defense Budget is expected to be more than US $400 billion this year. Obama promised to tally the total cost of Iran and Afghanistan into one bill, unlike Bush. This will be a big blow for crafty bookkeeping but it won’t make us feel any better; the number could reach $600 billion.

In the Obama administration there will not, however, be a single red cent in reduced defense spending. Conservatives carp on about entitlement programs draining the public coffers. True, entitlements take up nearly 50% of our federal budget annually. Progressives suggest diverting as little as 1% from the defense budget each year so that every person in America can have free access to full medical coverage. Another 1% would boost our education system enormously.

The posturing from certain Congress members that “entitlement-spending-is-too-high” is nothing short of hypocritical when those same politicians vote for increases in defense spending.

Reading Obama’s typically loquacious speech evokes a little sadness and a tad cynical resignation. Since the exiting Eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex, scholars such as Howard Zinn have only confirmed what every noble-intentioned president since Carter quickly found out: there’s quite a lot that can be changed in Washington. Defense spending isn’t one of them.

President Obama is astute enough to know that. Yesterday he let us all know.