Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Night's GOP Debate

For those of you who didn't watch - or couldn't manage to sit through - last night's GOP debates, here are a few notes. As always, I watch this stuff so you don't have to.

First,I feel I have to comment on FOX and the Washington Examiner's rather unprofessional setup.There was no reason not to ask all the candidates the same questions, and the moderators ignored some of the candidates to the point where poor Rick Santorum was actually forced to make an issue of it. I also found their attempts to provoke fights between Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann more appropriate to a reality show than a serious presidential debate.

So, thumbnail impressions. This was essentially the Romney and Bachmann show. Both got a lot more attention than any of the others and managed to come off well, with a slight edge to Mitt Romney, who appears to have been carefully groomed by his handlers. He won simply by not losing. Michele Bachmann appeared a bit tired, but was still feisty and came up with a number of good lines.

Herman Cain is obviously not ready for prime time. He knows very little about foreign policy, and his pat 'we have three problems' non-answer to most of the questions directed at him was not encouraging.Buh-bye.

Gingrich, Santorum and Pawlenty are fighting for their political lives, and it showed. They're essentially history, unless T-Paw manages to get a VP nomination out of the deal.

John Huntsman and Ron Paul might as well not even be there.A couple of people who weren't familiar with Paul's radical foreign policy views let me know that they found him downright scary. Fortunately, he has no chance whatsoever to be president.

The biggest story on the debates are the people who aren't present...Rick Perry, who's already in and Sarah Palin, who isn't, at least not yet.

please helps me write more gooder!


louielouie said...

supporters of rick perry, if he enters, may want to read this.

B.Poster said...

"A couple of people who weren't familar with Paul's radical foreign policy views let me know they found him downright scary."

First of all I need to point out that Dr. Paul's "radical foreign policy" views are the narrative that is held by a sizable amount and very likely a majority of the American public and by an overwhelming majority of the populace of Western Europe.

Specifically with regards to Iran the narrative he presents is the narrative held by an overwhelming majority of Western Europeans and Western European government officials. Essentially this means whatever Iran does to America or any actions it takes to harm American interests, America "had it coming." As such, until this narrative is confronted it is going to be next to impossible to get any kind of meaningful assistance in confronting Iran. In order to effectively confront Iran we are going to need their assistance. Also, this narrative on the conflict with Iran in particular and the Middle East in general is the narrative held by at least half of Americans and probably more.

Until the narrative is confronted there is really no way to confront Iran in a serious way. Confronting this narrative is where we have to start. How do you propose we confront this?

B.Poster said...

I did find it somewhat interesting that Dr. Paul asserts that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and as part of his evidence is CIA assertions. This seems rather stranger. Part of the rationale for the Iraq invasion was based upon CIA assessments. Also, the CIA failed to prevent the 911 attacks.

Given CIA's dismal track recrod, why does Dr. Paul trust them to assess Iran's nuclear program. If we assume they erred with regards to Iraq, then how do we know they haven't erred with regards to Iran? If they allowed themselves to be used to support a political agenda with regards to Iraq, how do we know the conclusion that Iran does not have a viable nuclear weapons progarm is not an assertion based upon a political agenda rather than reality?

Dr. Paul asserts that Iran wants nuclear weapons because surrounding powers do and America has no right to try and prevent this. While there may be some truth to the notion that Iran wants such weapons for the puropses of security and his assertions probably scored well with audience, there are sound reasons why we might not want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. After all, Iran's calling card is "death to America" and "death to Israel." As such, such a weapon in their hands might be a grave concern. Unfortunately most Americans are wholly unaware of Iran's calling card. As I've stated before, for any kind of aggressive confrontation with Iran to be successful, the narrative on this conflict will have to be changed. For Iran at least, this appears to go far beyond any coup in early 1950s and how much involvement America had in that.

While the exchange between Mr. Santorum and Dr. Paul was quite interesting, a discussion of American policy toward Iran is virtually impossible to address in a debate format. The issues involved are simply to complex to be covered in such a limited time as a debate format presents.

Until the narrative regarding the Iranian/American conflict can be confronted and altered, our only real choice, as it appears to me, is to withdraw all of our forces from the Middle East and elsewhere in the world and redeploy them to our borders where at least they will have a fighting chance to defend our country.

Finally, I would not necessarily be opposed to the use of a format such as the ICC to settle the issues regarding the Iranian/American conflict, however, there are several issues that will need to be addressed first. 1.)Given the rampant Anti-Americanism and the media bias against America and its interests, how can we ensure that America gets a fair trial? 2.)Should the court decide in favor of America or at least in favor of America on some issues and conclude that Iran needs to perform service, pay resitution or something as part of a judgement, how can we ensure Iranian compliance with the orders of the court? 3.)Given the massive power and reach of Russia and China who are close allies of Iran and the fact that Europe is heavily dependent upon Russia for its oil, there is a large potential for Russia, China, or both of them to bribe or blackmail members of the court and/or the governments of the nations from which they are from. How can we ensure this does not happen. It comes back to issue 1 of ensuring that America gets a fair trial.

At a minimum, these issues would have to be seriously addressed before I could support going forward with using a forum like the International Criminal Court or something like this to settle this confilct.