Take that, you John McCain you.
But what’s happening with Stephen Curry you ask? We don’t want your NBA Championship demeanor and terrific play and ambassador-like personality anywhere near the White House. You’re not invited!
Kim Jong-un should not, in any way, feel singled out. But I certainly understand how hurt he must be that the old man in the White House is yelling at him for having a nuclear program and firing missiles into the air above our allies’ heads. ‘Rocket Man’ is a good song. He should see it as a compliment.
In other words, international diplomacy has been reduced to name calling and 6th grade playground theatrics. Remind me again; who thought it was a good idea to elect Donald Trump? Yes, I’m sure the base loves the muscular response, which they see as a refreshing change from those pantywaist presidents named Clinton, Bush and Obama. Threatening a scurrilous, dangerous, immoral dictator will get us what we want because, after all, we’re the United States and all dictators cower when the president tells them he is unhappy.
Just look at Iran. They can certainly see that Donald Trump is going to decertify the nuclear agreement we signed with them two years ago. What the president doesn’t see is that this is going to make him an unreliable deal-making partner with Iran, North Korea and any other country who might have an interest n United States’ affairs and trade. The simple, elegant “No” will be this year’s most diplomatic response, and one that will not make the White House happy. Not that the past 30 years of State Department public and private efforts have done much about North Korea. They’ve ignored agreements, broken them and generally thumbed their noses at us. But we could always say that we acted in an adult, dignified, internationally-approved manner while it was happening. In short, we were a role model for the democracies we represented. This administration has spent all of that political capital in nine months. Pregnancies should go better than this.
Just to show that a lack of diplomacy should not be limited to the world stage, the president has now picked a fight with Senator McCain for rightly opposing a disastrous bill that’s not really related to health care, but to the tax savings it can generate for the $1.5 trillion dollar giveaway to the rich that the GOP has been salivating over since January.
Our federal system is a wonderful creation, but health insurance should not be subject to the whims of governors and state legislators who have, shall we say, a spotty record when it comes to science, women’s health care, birth control, budget-balancing tricks and recognizing that religious belief will not cure all of our ills. All Americans should receive health care that takes into account their basic needs and doesn’t allow anyone to charge them more for pre-existing conditions, maternity care, mental health or addiction services. What’s worse is that this bill would penalize those states that expanded Medicaid to cover their most vulnerable citizens and give more money to those that shunned Obamacare.
Which means, in our contradictory world, that those states that despise federal involvement in their affairs will be the largest beneficiaries of…federal largess.
And really, some people, like the president, should just stay away from sports. Yes, the man plays golf. Oh, does he play golf! But in every other way, he misunderstands the professional sports culture in the same way that he misunderstands larger American culture. The athletes and teams that have decided not to visit the White House are doing so because of the president’s words and actions, rather than as a result of some media cabal his supporters blame for his low poll numbers. Because, really, will professional football become a better game by having more players suffer concussions and brain damage and CTE?
As for the national anthem? Until 2009, NFL players used to stay in their locker rooms when the national anthem was played. You’d think the players had stood on the sidelines since 1814, when the song was written, but in fact that is not the case. You’d also think that they were the first athletes to cause controversy around the anthem, but that isn’t true either, if you take Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith, John Carlos and a host of other athletes into account. The opposition to the president’s words have come from players, coaches and NFL owners, many of whom are staunchly Republican. They get it. The president does not.
I understand that Trump is angry because it looks like the health scare law will lose, North Korea will not back down and his preferred candidate in the Alabama Republican Senate primary is behind in the polls. He’s not the first president to face multiple crises.
But he’s not helping himself or the country with his shameful responses.
First it was Jeb Bush. Now it’s Marco Rubio. For other Republicans, it’s all about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. Meanwhile, Scott Walker has tripped over his own feet while discussing the world and Chris Christie, who has something to say about everything, has little to say yet on foreign affairs.
Why is this important? Because 2016 is shaping up to be a foreign policy election. Yes, there will be talk about taxing the wealthy, cutting taxes to the wealthy, what to do about entitlements and the middle class, abortion, immigration and health care, but right now, the world seems to be blowing up and countries are looking to the United States to help fix what ails them.
President Obama has wisely not gotten us involved in a foreign adventure despite calls by the hawkish neocon crowd over on the right to send troops to Syria. And Lebanon. And Iraq. And other places. Which sounds like the good-old-fashioned response that George W. Bush followed and that was a terrible mistake. And it all sounds heroic and noble until the body bags start coming back and the soldiers return with severe damage to their bodies and minds.
What 2016 presents for the country is an opportunity to be creative with our foreign policy. The Cold War has been over for more than 20 years, but the mentality remains, this time with China as the Soviets and North Korea as the Cubans. ISIS is a tremendous threat to Middle East stability, but they are alienating other countries in the region, who are showing more of a propensity to fight on their own. We can support our friends, but right now there is little reason for us to get more soldiers involved.
It will be interesting to see where the debate goes from here. Rand Paul has been championing a more isolationist foreign policy as a basic belief. Hillary Clinton certainly has the experience, but she hasn’t enunciated a specific policy yet. Can Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders come up with credible ideas? Perhaps, but I’ve come to a conclusion that’s even more true now than it was in 2004.
We should have elected John Kerry as president when we had the chance.
Here we go again. Another unwanted and unnecessary trip down Bush lane. Do we really want George Bush advising anyone on foreign policies? What is he advising Jeb on, telling him what not to do?
Bush cited his brother, former President George W. Bush, as one of his main advisers on the Middle East in a private meeting in Manhattan on Tuesday, according to three people who attended the off-the-record event.
The comment came as a shock to some who were in the room because Jeb, a likely presidential contender, has taken pains to publicly distance himself from his brother and his controversial policies, particularly in that area of the world.
In a national security speech in February, Bush said, “I am my own man,” and he has insisted he would develop his own policies on foreign affairs if he decides to run for president.
Hillary Clinton found out the hard way that President Obama is still very popular amongst Democrats and liberals – the people whose votes she desperately need if she runs for president in 2016.
After pushing the Republican criticism of the President’s foreign policy decisions, and the backlash he criticism garnered, Hillary Clinton is now backtracking her statement, calling the President and trying to clarify her what she said.
For good measure, she planned on “hugging it out” with the President at an A-list party Wednesday evening on Martha’s Vineyard.
Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Clinton dialed up Obama to emphasize “that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies, or his leadership.”
“While they’ve had honest differences … some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues,” he said.
“Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”
The attempt at fence-mending came after she critiqued Obama’s foreign policy – and was tweet-slapped by Obama’s former political guru in return.
Ed Henry has been working hard, overtime even to get under President Obama’s skin. His boss over at Fox demands it, so every chance Henry gets, he goes after the president with suggestive questions. The answers from the president usually don’t matter, it’s the message in Henry’s question that counts to his boss at Fox and the people who watch that station.
Take this question for example. The president is wrapping up an overseas trip, presently in the Philippines. At a press conference, Fox’s Ed Henry decided that this would be the perfect place to criticize the President’s foreign policy and asked this suggestive question:
“As you end this trip, I don’t think I have to remind you there have been a lot of unflattering portraits of your foreign policy right now. And rather than get into all the details or red lines, excedera, I’d like to give you a chance to lay out what your vision is more than five years into office, what you think the Obama doctrine is in terms of what your guiding principle is on all of these crises, and how you answer those critics who say they think the doctrine is weakness.”
But Henry probably didn’t get the memo that the president was in his second term and has no reason to sugarcoat his answer. From his podium, Obama looked at Henry and saw straight through him. He knew what Henry was doing and decided that a good smack down of the Fox worker was in order.
“Well, Ed, I doubt that I’m going to have time to lay out my entire foreign policy doctrine, and there are actually some complimentary pieces as well about my foreign policy, but I’m not sure you ran them.”
The President then went on to attack those criticisms, point by point, noting that “Typically, criticism of our foreign policy has been directed at the failure to use military force,” and asking “why is it that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget? And what is it exactly that these critics think would have been accomplished?”
“My job as Commander-in-Chief is to deploy military force as a last resort, and to deploy it wisely,” he continued. “And, frankly, most of the foreign policy commentators that have questioned our policies would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.”
On Syria, the President pointed out that his critics “say, no, no, no, we don’t mean sending in troops,” and asked “Well, what do you mean?”
“Well, you should be assisting the opposition — well, we’re assisting the opposition,” President Obama said, then asked “What else do you mean? Well, perhaps you should have taken a strike in Syria to get chemical weapons out of Syria. Well, it turns out we’re getting chemical weapons out of Syria without having initiated a strike. So what else are you talking about? And at that point it kind of trails off.”
On Ukraine, the President asked of those critics, “What else should we be doing? Well, we shouldn’t be putting troops in, the critics will say. That’s not what we mean. Well, okay, what are you saying? Well, we should be arming the Ukrainians more. Do people actually think that somehow us sending some additional arms into Ukraine could potentially deter the Russian army? Or are we more likely to deter them by applying the sort of international pressure, diplomatic pressure and economic pressure that we’re applying?”
“The point is that for some reason many who were proponents of what I consider to be a disastrous decision to go into Iraq haven’t really learned the lesson of the last decade, and they keep on just playing the same note over and over again,” the President said. “Why? I don’t know.”
President Obama went on to take another shot at the political media, telling Henry that the U.S. doesn’t take actions “because somebody sitting in an office in Washington or New York think it would look strong. That’s not how we make foreign policy. And if you look at the results of what we’ve done over the last five years, it is fair to say that our alliances are stronger, our partnerships are stronger, and in the Asia Pacific region, just to take one example, we are much better positioned to work with the peoples here on a whole range of issues of mutual interest.”