Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. [1:40]Sage words from a truly global statesman. Rest in peace Jack.
Like General Powell, he would've been both appalled and pleased Monday night.
Both men would have appreciated a poised and decisive President. But I think their reasons for alarm would be quite different. Kennedy, I feel certain, would simply dislike and disagree with Romney right down the line. Call it an educated guess. Powell, of course, isn't so hostile to the incumbent. He simply recongnized the collossal /fail on stage on Monday, and what that failure means for his chosen party long-term.
America saw a remarkable thing in Boca Raton: a Democrat, on a national stage, gave a Republican a thrashing in a foreign policy/Commander-in-Chief debate. I mean a solid, brutal verbal schooling. Governor Romney was awfully successful tacking away from the big scary world, and back to the EconomyTM, but his clear discomfort while discussing the global stage left me with a stark contrast. President Obama is clearly a worldly man. Governor Romney is not. He was completely off his footing.
Not too peculiar for a foreign policy discussion; not for Mitt, and not for the majority of the Republican Party. They've just lost it.
More below the fold.
Mitt gets a view of the world; from the window of his Gulfstream, or from a gilded, stuffy conference room at the top of some Giant Building somewhere. But I don't know that he thinks about it much. The real, gritty facts of the sprawl of humanity below him, that fragmented web of which like-it-or-not America is only one section, those beautiful and terrible things seem to make only rare appearances on Mitt's agenda.
I was convinced with that debate of something I've long suspected, Mitt Romney is pitifully lost in the big wide political world. As soon as the conversation went beyond our borders Mitt didn't know what to do. He just sat back and let the President lead him everywhere. He looked like he had just been dropped into downtown Tokyo, with no translator and no smartphone, after having downed a full pot of decaf a half-hour previous. Seriously, he was no Commander-in-Chief Monday night, he was Commander-in-Nothing. He showed his lightly veiled con-man "skills" in the pivot back home; lying through his teeth about auto bailouts and his so-called "plan for the future". But President Obama deftly called him on most of that, and that wasn't the subject under discussion. It was quite obvious to me that Romney didn't want to talk about the subject under discussion. As soon as the focus shifted back to the big world Mitt was off-balance. It was glaring, and really sad.
Republicans were worldly people once, or at least they have been vaunted as such. In my opinion we have to go back to Ike or even TR to find a Republican President who had a truly global mindset; none of the current crowd really gets it. But Americans seemed to believe they knew what they were doing.
I refuse to praise Reagan's world efforts. In my opinion whatever successes he may have had abroad are outweighed by his supreme failures. But the American people don't generally agree. Nixon's China visit has been etched in stone in our culture as an example of a Republican's unexpected extension of the Presidential hand; and yet there is a coastal country somewhat to the south of China whose name, along with a great many other things, should forever tarnish the Presidency of Richard M Nixon. Yet again as with St. Ronald the failures haven't much altered the mystique.
And of all of them George HW Bush alone honestly makes a good case for himself as an international Republican President; with the modern state of the GOP it's no surprise that HW only lasted four years, leaving aside the Clinton Political Machine of course.
So the meme "Republicans know what's up with foriegn policy" may have previously held a thimbleful of water.
It was George W Bush's hand that pulled down the mask of geopolitical wisdom from the face of the Republican Party. American troops marching on Baghdad showed very clearly W's willingness to forfeit his country and his party's good names before the international community; it was the rubicon his father refused to cross. Yes, yes we ousted a despicable, depraved monster in Saddam Hussein, I get that. But we also invaded a sovereign country and beheaded its leadership. United States Marines were rolling through the streets of one of the oldest and most venerable cities in the world.
Republicans don't even acknowledge that that "regime change" was a bad idea, while God alone can number those maimed or killed as a result. Not to mention the number of American flags burned.
But the mask still in part remained in place. Bush's marginal loss in the first foreign policy debate against John Kerry in 2004, along with his perceived scoring of the "You forgot Poland" zinger, left Americans saying "meh" to the growing meme that Republicans are out-of-touch clods as soon as they step outside the United States. Thanks in part to ceaseless, boundless promotion from the Fox/Rush machine, we still clung to the notion that Republicans could hold their own on a meridian-to-meridian scale, that they are not completely out of their depths even giving lip service to the most powerful job in the world.
Then, on national TV, America saw the mask expertly ripped away by President Obama.
Their standard bearer, their candidate for President of the United States Willard M. Romney, with his evident inability to follow or even thoroughly understand international affairs, demonstrated on Monday night the Republican party's utter incompetence on the 21st-century global stage.
This deficiency is rampant among them; save for a critically endangered few it's the norm. House. Senate. State Governments. Republicans at all levels are scared to death of interaction, or at least peaceful interaction, with the rest of their own world. Sad.
We would witness this rashness and incompetence in spades from a President Mitt Romney. If he wins he will waste little time. He drones on about how "weak" America is, and professionally the man was well-known to be a predator both ruthless and impulsive, plus the crew of neo-cons who would become his cabinet are just downright itching for it, have been for years. All the necessary ingredients are there for a good old-fashioned W-style "preventative war." Finding a villain would be easy enough, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of characters currently in power who would fit the title "villain"; then comes justification for war against the villain. (That last is something which occurs unsolicited. Iraq invaded Kuwait. In 1991 the father had the sense not to invade Iraq. He judged correctly that such would be a disaster. However, in 2003 the son set aside the wisdom of the father, and invaded Iraq, causing disaster.) After justification is established comes bombs and cruise missiles, then an armored division or two. Dismay, death and destruction throughout; ongoing. That's what war is; another subject on which Mitt Romney is completely clueless. But that won't stop him from making one of his own.
The last Republican President was certainly all too eager to play with the heavy-metal toys bequeathed to him. Why would Mitt be any different? Mitt is going to "kill the badguys".
There you have it.
Hell, according to Mitt, Syria is Iran's route to the sea. So he might as well send the Marines to both Damascus and Tehran in one fell swoop, before the mullahs get their nuclear submarines in the water. He'd get to burn not one but two ancient cities this time, and maybe set the rest of the world aflame into the bargain.
Great plan. Maybe we can enjoy the view of Russia from our back porch while we're at it.
They're so far behind. The xenophobes, the bigots and the ignorant have taken control of the Republican party, and they have become a global laughing stock. And of course they are just the types, when they're being laughed at, to embrace their own depraved foolishness and convince themselves it's a strength.
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