Monday, October 27, 2008

Nine Reasons to Elect Obama (2)

2. John McCain is more of the same on foreign policy.

Lame Duck President George W. Bush has been forced to accept the hard cold realities of his failed policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. From the global economic crisis to the Russian incursion into neighboring Georgia, we are no longer regarded as a dominant power. The government of Iraq, the same government we implanted in power, has resisted signing a status of forces agreement that would extend the legal grounds for a foreign occupation beyond the end of the year. Iraqi leaders have publicly stated they favor a withdrawal timetable corresponding to the exit strategy of Barack Obama. In Afghanistan military and governmental leaders alike have been pushing for a negotiated settlement.

While Obama has taken a hard line in Afghanistan, he has also embraced the policy of diplomacy. McCain has demonstrated nothing short of intransigence – the same sort of stubbornness that the Bush team has employed in achieving an unprecedented decline in America’s standing in the world.

As with the free market fundamentalists, John McCain signed up with the neoconservative brain trust on day one and he has never wavered. The same warmongering brain trust that was considered too extreme for Ronald Reagan was allowed free reign during the second coming of Bush. As with free market fundamentalism, the result is catastrophic: America is overextended, buried in debt and unable to sustain its legitimate interests.

McCain was for the war in Iraq before the Bush administration proposed it. McCain was for the Bush Doctrine of aggressive war and military dominance before it carried that name. That he would carry on those same policies cannot be doubted.

While Obama’s response to the situation in Georgia was measured and steady, McCain’s was bellicose and rash. To McCain, the lesson of Vietnam was not that we should not inherit imperialist wars from fallen empires. It was rather that we should fight on to “victory” at any cost. He feels the same about Iraq and Afghanistan. No matter what the cost, he will double down and double down again. He is as predictable as sunrise.

As a nation we can no longer afford an intransigent leader determined to bend the world to his knees. We cannot afford four more years of the Bush Doctrine under a new name.


[Tomorrow: Reason 3.]

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