Today we turn to the foreign policy teams of the Presidential candidates and asses who they bring to the table as 'experience' in our troubled times.
From Foreign Policy In Focus, article of 04 FEB 2008, Behind Obama and Clinton:
Senator Clinton’s foreign policy advisors tend to be veterans of President Bill Clinton’s administration, most notably former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. Her most influential advisor - and her likely choice for Secretary of State - is Richard Holbrooke. Holbrooke served in a number of key roles in her husband’s administration, including U.S. ambassador to the UN and member of the cabinet, special emissary to the Balkans, assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs, and U.S. ambassador to Germany. He also served as President Jimmy Carter’s assistant secretary of state for East Asia in propping up Marcos in the Philippines, supporting Suharto’s repression in East Timor, and backing the generals behind the Kwangju massacre in South Korea.
Senator Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisers, who on average tend to be younger than those of the former first lady, include mainstream strategic analysts who have worked with previous Democratic administrations, such as former national security advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Anthony Lake, former assistant secretary of state Susan Rice, and former navy secretary Richard Danzig. They have also included some of the more enlightened and creative members of the Democratic Party establishment, such as Joseph Cirincione and Lawrence Korb of the Center for American Progress, and former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke. His team also includes the noted human rights scholar and international law advocate Samantha Power - author of a recent New Yorker article on U.S. manipulation of the UN in post-invasion Iraq - and other liberal academics. Some of his advisors, however, have particularly poor records on human rights and international law, such as retired General Merrill McPeak, a backer of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor, and Dennis Ross, a supporter of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.
Yes the article is pointing to major flaws in these two candidates!
Now to those on the Left who point to nefarious dealings on the Carlyle Group, The Nation on 01 NOV 2004 in an article James Baker's Double Life, by Naomi Klein will point out that it has not been acting alone in some realms talking about the pre-War Iraqi debt and Kuwaiti claims on Iraq:
This is where the Carlyle/Albright consortium comes in. The premise of its proposal is that Iraq's unpaid debts to Kuwait are not just a financial problem but a political and public relations problem as well. Global public opinion is no longer what it was when Kuwait was promised full reparations. Now the world is focused on reconstructing Iraq and forgiving its debts. If Kuwait is going to get its reparations awards, the cover letter argues, it will need to recast them not as a burden on Iraq but "as a key element in working toward regional stability and reconciliation."
Several parties involved in the consortium emphasized that the proposal concerned only reparations debts. Albright Group spokesperson Jamie Smith said, "We were asked to join a proposal to secure justice for victims of Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and ensure that compensation to Kuwaiti victims--which was endorsed by the US government and the United Nations--be used to promote reconciliation, environmental improvements and investment in Kuwait, Iraq and the region."
In fact, the proposal does not restrict itself to reparations debt. The consortium also asks the government of Kuwait to give the consortium control over $30 billion in defaulted sovereign debts to be used as political leverage to secure reparations claims. Furthermore, most experts on debt restructuring agree that Iraq's debts must be looked at as a whole: There is little point forgiving Iraq's sovereign debts if the country is still going to be saddled with an unmanageable reparations burden. This understanding is reflected in the documents, which repeatedly state that Kuwait's reparations payments are endangered by the moves to forgive Iraq's debts.
'Why, yes, don't have your reparations money put in danger after a dictator that I recommended doing nothing about is deposed and the new government seeks debt forgiveness!' - that is basically how Madeleine Albright is saying via her group. So handy of her to want to profit off of a problem she did nothing to mitigate or end and, indeed, helped continue while she was in office.
Another place she would do nothing about was Liberia during its conflicts of the 1990's, as seen at FrontPage Magazine by Kenneth R. Timmerman on Jesse, Liberia and Blood Diamonds, 25 JUL 2003:
And for good reason. The current crisis was in part the creation of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Democratic Party activist who claims to champion the rights of Africans to self-governance. As special envoy for democracy and human rights in Africa, starting in October 1997, Jackson was President Bill Clinton's point man for Africa. It was Jackson who spearheaded Clinton's 10-day African safari in March 1998, at a cost to taxpayers of $42.8 million. And it was Jackson who legitimated Liberian strongman Charles Taylor and his protégé, the machete-wielding militia leader in neighboring Sierra Leone, Cpl. Foday Sankoh. Without Jackson's active intervention, both leaders were headed toward international isolation and sanction. Thanks to Jackson, both retained power to murder another day.
At Jackson's prompting, Clinton made an unprecedented phone call to Taylor from Air Force One while flying over Africa. Until then the United States had shunned Taylor because of his grisly past. Among Taylor's many "accomplishments" were the murder of American Catholic nuns in Liberia and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia.
"Secretary [of State Madeleine] Albright delegated Africa policy to [U.S. Rep. Donald] Payne [of New Jersey] and the Congressional Black Caucus," Sierra Leone's outspoken ambassador to Washington, John Ernest Leigh, told this reporter. A House International Affairs Committee staffer who followed Jackson's meetings with Taylor put it more bluntly: "The whole effort under Clinton was to mainstream Charles Taylor, and Jesse Jackson had a lot to do with it."
Arriving in Monrovia, Liberia, on May 17, 2000, Jackson declared, "President Taylor has been doing a commendable job negotiating for the release of the hostages. All the hostages should be freed and freed now. There is no basis for delay, there is no basis for negotiations." Jackson's comments would have been laughable were it not for the quantities of innocent blood that had been shed, thanks to his self-serving misbehavior.
By this point, the State Department had suffered enough of Jackson's alleged diplomacy and the failed agreement he had brokered. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker declared on June 5, 2000, that the United States was "not part of that agreement." Jackson summarily was fired as Clinton's special envoy shortly afterward.
But the Clinton State Department is not innocent in this affair. In a series of dispatches and briefing documents stamped "Secret," which the State Department declassified at this reporter's request, it is clear that Assistant Secretary of State Rice, an Albright protégé, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jeter primed Jackson with intelligence, talking points and background papers throughout the entire three-year period he was Clinton's envoy. Indeed, the entire bureaucracy of U.S. diplomacy was put at Jackson's disposal with tragic results.
Do you remember the State Dept. problems of not having personnel wanting to leave cushy jobs in Europe for necessary ones in India? Or on serving on Transition Teams in Iraq? Remember those folks? They are the ones under Madeleine Albright who supported Jesse Jackson's attempt to 'mainstream' a butcher as the conflict spread to neighboring Sierra Leone. Secretary of State Albright couldn't be bothered with piddling affairs in Liberia and hundreds, if not thousands dead... no she left that up to the Congressional Black Caucus to do for her. That is known as 'delegating responsibilities' into the hands of the unprepared. Mind you her staff didn't help things or blow any whistles while the death toll increased in and blood diamonds went out through Energem and Victor Bout. And in case you forgot those, Victor Bout is in the illegal arms and narcotics trade having Russian descent (mentioned various times in relation to Monzer al-Kassar) and helped support the Taliban and Liberian fighters, and Energem... well... that wasn't so long ago. This from back on 31 JUL 2007 The Standard, in Kenya, looked at MP Odinga and his workings as I looked at previously:
Acquisition of the molasses plant
Significantly, Spectre had applied for the same land in a letter of February 18, 1999, but the Government at the time had rejected the request. Titles were prepared in favour of Spectre on February 3, 2002 for a 99-year lease backdated to September 1, 2001.
When the Odinga family started the process that led to the acquisition of the molasses plant in 2001, Raila had already established good business contacts in South Africa. Energem Resources Incorporated, an international firm quoted on the Toronto Stock Exchange, had been looking for an investment opportunity in Kenya for a long time and the Kisumu Molasses Plant was just right.
Soon after taking over the plant from the Government, Raila struck a lucrative deal with Energem, whereby the Canadian firm bought 55 per cent of Kisumu Molasses plant.
The Canadians also ploughed in millions of dollars to rehabilitate the plant and it is today one of the country’s largest manufacturing concerns employing hundreds of people and producing at least 60,000 litres of industrial ethanol for local consumption and export.
There you go, the S. African firm that is outlined in this report from Business TimesOnline (UK) on 30 DEC 2007:
A COMPANY that has just launched itself on the London stock market as a renewable-energy business is the same firm that became embroiled in the “blood diamond” scandals of the 1990s, in which illegally traded diamonds were used to finance civil wars in Africa, The Sunday Times has established.
Energem Resources, with its head office in South Africa and registered office in Canada, used to be known as DiamondWorks. It changed its name in 2004 and gained its London AIM listing last month.
Canaccord Adams, the adviser that piloted it onto London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM), is headed by Tim Hoare, who sits alongside rock star and champion of Africa Bob Geldof on the board of the television-production company Ten Alps. Hoare has been a board member since March this year.
There is no suggestion that the present management had any involvement in the blood diamond trade – an industry at one stage reckoned to be worth $1 billion (£500m) a year – in which civil wars, notably in Angola and Sierra Leone, were fuelled by selling the gems to buy arms.
Page 129 of Energem’s 160-page AIM admission document discloses that Energem was “formerly DiamondWorks Ltd”.
And, in a brief corporate history, the document says that in 1997, the company’s main assets were “diamond exploration properties in Sierra Leone and Angola. The Angolan mines were in full production in 1997 and the Sierra Leone mines were in the process of commissioning when civil unrest in both these countries during 1998 effectively halted operations”.
DiamondWorks came close to bankruptcy and was the subject of a reverse takeover in 2001. Its present management team all joined after that rescue. A stake in a Sierra Leone diamond mining concern has been sold.
A spokesman for Energem said this weekend that “all connections with its DiamondWorks days have long-since been severed”.
In the 1990s, DiamondWorks came under scrutiny in Sierra Leone for using the controversial South African-based mercenary provider Executive Outcomes to secure its diamond mines during the country’s prolonged civil war. The 1990s war, and the diamond trade that sustained it, also came under the Hollywood microscope in the 2006 film Blood Diamond.
In 1997, DiamondWorks’ largest shareholder was Tony Buck-ingham, a former British Army officer who introduced Executive Outcomes into both Sierra Leone and Angola. He was the inspiration behind the London-based mercenary outfit Sandline International. Sandline, which provided mercenaries, military training and arms, was being run by former Scots Guards officer Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer. Sandline and DiamondWorks shared offices in London.
Also linked to DiamondWorks in the 1990s was Simon Mann, the Old Etonian who was later arrested in Zimbabwe accused of attempting to smuggle weapons to Equatorial Guinea to help stage a coup. Mann was DiamondWorks’ chief operations officer. Mann is still in Zimbabwe, trying to resist extradition to Equatorial Guinea.
A certification scheme was set up in 2000 with United Nations backing to stem the flow of blood diamonds from Sierra Leone where rebels used gems to fund the country’s 10-year war.
Energem said this weekend that, as far as it knew, Buckingham was not a shareholder.
The company is concentrating on renewable energy, and wants to farm jatropha, a plant whose seeds can be turned into biofuel.
It is growing jatropha in Mozambique, runs an ethanol plant in Kenya and has oil-refining and storage operations in Nigeria and Malawi.
Energem also has operations in Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This is how international money laundering goes on, and it was aided by the blind eye of Sec. State Madeleine Albright. Now for those of the 'just say you're sorry and everything will be better' mode of foreign policy, Sec. State Madeleine Albright also tried that... with Iran. Here is how it was received
RFE/RL report of the reaction on 27 March 2000, Volume 3, Number 13, GlobalSecurity.org:
HOSTILE OFFICIAL REACTION TO ALBRIGHT SPEECH. Foreign observers and the Western media have commented extensively about the implications of U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright's 17 March speech on Iran, but official commentary from Tehran was fairly restrained initially. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response to the speech on 25 March, however, was openly hostile and seemed to dash hopes for a rapprochement between Iran and the U.S. in the near future. President Mohammad Khatami has remained silent on the subject thus far.
Albright's speech is seen by many in the West as an important step in the restoration of relations between Iran and the U.S. She announced that the U.S. will permit the import of some Iranian goods, facilitate contacts between Americans and Iranians, and increase efforts to settle outstanding legal claims. Albright also acknowledged the impact of the U.S. role in the 1953 ouster of Prime Minister Mohammad Mussadiq, and she admitted that the U.S. supported Iraq in its war with Iran.
Khamenei responded to Albright during a speech in Mashhad. He said that "The Iranian nation and its authorities consider the United States to be their enemy because America's past behavior is full of acts of hostility and treason." Khamenei added that "The U.S. proposal is deceiving and aimed at continuing enmity with Iran." As for Albright's statements about events in 1953 and 1980-1988, they "came too late and can in no way compensate the damages caused to the Iranian nation."
Khamenei's speech seems to put the stamp of finality on the issue, but there were some positive responses from Tehran beforehand. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi said America can export grains and medicine to Iran (which it has been doing anyway), IRNA reported. And Expediency Council secretary Mohsen Rezai said the speech was "a new chapter" in the two country's relations, and he predicted major developments in the coming year, IRNA reported.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, of the parliament's Foreign Relations Committee, also welcomed aspects of the speech, but then he complained that "America's acts...are all negative...there has been no change in its policies." Larijani also criticized Albright's statement that Iran's last three elections (October 1998 Assembly of Experts election, February 1999 council elections, and February 2000 parliamentary elections) were increasingly democratic, because it implied that all the other elections were undemocratic. Larijani also complained about Albright's reference to the "Gulf," rather than the "Persian Gulf."
Supreme National Security Council secretary and deputy parliamentary speaker Hassan Rohani told state radio on 18 March that, "On the whole, [Albright] has repeated the same old belligerent policies." Her comments about domestic Iranian politics, he said, constituted "improper interventions in Iran's internal affairs and system." Even the removal of some trade sanctions, Rohani said, is "not at all a positive [step]; it is a negative step, which smacks of another act of intervention by America in the internal affairs of Iran."
State radio said on 19 March that "Albright's speech shows that the U.S.A. is still pursuing its expansionist policies." And the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps said that Albright's comments "are indicative of an intensifying conspiracy by the White House to create a series of crises in Iran," according to state television.
Some of Iran's neighbors, such as Turkey, Pakistan, and Armenia, welcomed the potential regional stability that improved U.S.-Iran relations could bring. Cairo's state-owned "al-Jumhuriyah," however, was less sanguine, warning on 19 March that "the Iranian desire to dominate the region has not withered yet." The Egyptian daily also wondered if Iran's attitude towards the Middle East Peace Process would change.
Officials in the Israeli Prime Minister's office also questioned the wisdom of U.S. actions, telling the 20 March "Jerusalem Post" that "giving the Iranians the carrot does not work, and therefore by trying to encourage Iran with nice words and actions, the U.S. is making a grave mistake." An Israeli Foreign Ministry official, on the other hand, said U.S. actions are a good thing, but "there are many here who do not understand it and are frightened that when dialogue starts, issues we are concerned about will be left aside." (Bill Samii)
Now, that is what happens when 'Realpolitik' or 'pragmatic diplomacy' is used on Iran. And this is even before going into major appeasement mode with North Korea and their blackmailing of continuing nuclear work unless they get enough fuel to keep their economy going... and then backing out on that saying they want more of the agreement is *off* once Clinton leaves office. Albright's folks would call such blackmail a failure of the Bush Administration when the original appeasement was that of the Clinton Administration.
Good going, Madeleine! Blame others for your ineptitude!
Dear, me! All this time and I haven't even touched on Mr. B from the Obama team... but I did a lengthy review of his inabilities under the Carter Administration just a bit ago because he and Hassan Nemazee (for the Clinton team) both showed up in Syria doing a bit of the 'realist kowtow' to Bashar al-Assad. I will extract a passage from that looking at how 'realism' not only didn't handle Iran, but actually made things worse:
Now in case you aren't familiar with these two 'wise heads' of 'realism' that treats the equivalent of gangsters and mafiosos on the transnational scale as mere misguided miscreants who will soon learn the ever-so-wise 'ways of the world', lets do a bit of the old backgrounding on them! That is always fun to see just what they got up to previously so you can know the kind of hot water they will get you into the next time around.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, whom I covered a bit in this post, first got attention as part of the administration of President Carter, heading up the National Security Council side of things. He was the one who told the Shah of Iran that the US would back him 'to the hilt', and that he had no worries about pesky Islamic Imams and such. When the poor Shah got stuck in Mexico after the coup the US, it turned out that, started heading in the direction of Cyrus Vance who wanted to 'come to terms' with the Ayatollah Khomeini. As the Shah needed cancer treatment both Henry Kissinger and Nelson Rockefeller convinced President Carter this would be a good thing to do. After that we get to the condemnation of the US and the entire hostage taking concept. Now as Iran served as a 'buffer State' in the Great Game of Geopolitik between the US and USSR, Brzezinski was quite willing to forego the Shah and deal with the Ayatollah if he cooperated and helped from an Islamic 'Green Belt' buffer between the West and Soviets. But that entire condemnation and hostage thing really demonstrated that wasn't going to happen as the Ayatollah just wasn't going to play by the established rule book and believed that Islam would overcome everything.
Mind you no one in the Carter Administration did a damned thing about the *first* break-in to the US Embassy in Tehran months prior to that, so as to avoid dealing with the Ayatollah. So saying, after the hostage taking - "The United States of America will not yield to international terrorism or to blackmail" - is more than a bit of a lie as the US did, indeed, do nothing about terrorism with the first break-in. So Mr. Brzezinski was more than willing to: 1) forego an ally of the US, 2) try to establish terms to deal with a radical regime that already violated the US Embassy, and 3) wanted to deal with them during that time to continue playing the Great Game, even though the idea was that they wanted no part in it.
So much for 'realism' and the 'worldly experience' of Mr. Brzezinski. He would not be the first to not understand the problems of radical Islam nor the last, but he certainly didn't do very much to stop it, curb it or end it. Appeasement seemed to be on the menu and, apparently, still is. Good guy for Barack Obama, then, and I'm sure that if Syria wants the equivalent of the Sudetenland, that he would figure out a way to give it to them, most likely the place called 'Lebanon'. Appeasers are very good at giving away other folks' land to tyrants.
Yes, he was for the Shah and against the Ayatollah before he was against the Shah and for the Ayatollah, save the Ayatollah wouldn't play 'realism in foreign policy' (like Calvinball, save everyone changes the rules all the time to suit their needs and no one wins) which would require a lovley, radical Islamic set of Nations to serve as a buffer between the US and USSR. Just what we needed, no?
With such luminaries do we get the drift of where these foreign policy teams are heading?
They appear to be putting the exact, same people in place that *caused* the expansion of radical islam, the spread of nuclear weapons technology by appeasing North Korea and not doing a damned thing about Pakistan, and then trying to apologize their way into the good graces of tyrants and dictators with bloody hands.
It is looking at these past actions which make me a bit leery about trying to cast the Clinton team as 'in the Bush mold' as their folks have not shown the wherewithal to actually figure out what the hell they were doing the first time around and then they sent in Sandy 'Big Socks' Berger to destroy the evidence of their inability to actually get bin Laden on the cheap and easy. Their waffling is only able to be contrasted to the Obama team which is multi-culti, do nothing, appeasement outright with no questions asked. Albright at least wanted a diplomatic patina to the work in Liberia and North Korea, while the Obama-ites would just start in on the 'realism kowtow' from Day ONE.
If the Clinton team has the tenacity of pudding the Obama team has one of jello.
These are definitely 'first instincts' teams: ones that back up the first instincts of the candidates involved.
To get the equivalent for Sen. McCain, however, one has to dig back to his first campaign and see what his first jump to a foreign policy team would look like. In a FindArticles archive article from Insight on the News of 13 MAR 2000, we get just what the McCain senior team would look like:
"What's the first thing you would do as president?" the Detroit News recently asked McCain.
"The first thing I would do," the candidate answered, "is call in John Kerry, Bob Kerrey, Joe Biden, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger, Dick Lugar, Chuck Hagel and several others and say we've got to get foreign-policy, national-security issues back on track."
That statement ricocheted through cyberspace, with Washington national-security experts wondering, "Is McCain nuts?" The formula doesn't compute:
* John Kerry is the very liberal senator from Massachusetts who ran Vietnam Veterans Against the War and whose dogged efforts to save Nicaragua's Marxist regime in the 1980s prompted his hometown paper, the Boston Herald, to refer to him as "the Sandinista ambassador."
* Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democratic senator and Clinton/Gore critic, is retiring and won't even be in the Senate when or if McCain makes it to the White House.
* Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, solidly on the left, is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but won't set its agenda because Sen. Jesse Helms, a North Carolina Republican, still will be the chairman.
* Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Carter's national-security adviser, is admired for a toughness toward Moscow that's matched by a puzzling softness toward Beijing.
* Henry Kissinger, architect of President Nixon's premature detente with the Soviet Union and the opening to Communist China, has made millions of dollars consulting with international business while advising U.S. political leaders (see "Lion Dancing With Wolves," April 21, 1997).
* Dick Lugar, the thoughtful, even-handed Indiana Republican senator, has been a key ally of the Clinton administration's failed Russia policies.
* Chuck Hagel, Lugar's eager apprentice, is a first-term Republican senator from Nebraska whom Kissinger wowed on a trip to China. Hagel is formally a member of the McCain camp's "senior foreign-policy team," with a grand total of three (count 'em, three) years' experience in the Washington foreign-policy world. (Hagel is such a Kissinger fan that he told the newspaper The Hill that Kissinger's book Years of Renewal was his "summer reading.")
McCain's anointment of these men left GOP national-security experts scratching their heads. "It shows he has a certain lack of confidence when he has so many people from wholly different environments," a former senior State Department official tells Insight.
That is not only the team of 'realism' but it is the exact, same set of folks who caused the rift with India in the 1970's, did the Mr. B act of following Special Henry K's concept for radical Islamic 'buffer States' and then tops it off with even more Leftist views.
And when Human Events looked at this on 02 APR 2007, what do we see as Sen. McCain's inclinations? Have a look:
At a recent Manhattan fundraiser, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) was asked whom he is relying on for foreign policy advice in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He listed Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Robert Kagan, George Schultz, Lawrence Eagleburger, William Kristol and Robert Zoellick. “And, you’ll be surprised how often I touch base with that circuit” he told the crowd.
Yes, the drumbeat of 'realism' continues, although, we hope, that the idea of trying to fit radical Islamic States into a 'framework' is left out of things. Bill Kristol denies he is 'advising' McCain, however While Sen. McCain is trying to mix up the 'realists' and the NeoCons, he is leaving out the Traditionalist Security folks who want few interventions and few wars that the Nation is committed to completing.
Needless to say, the domination of the 'Old Guard' in foreign policy who are the ones who's inability to deal with transnational terrorism, international organized crime, and non-rational National leadership allowed the likes of FARC, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, ETA, PLO, LTTE, Shining Path, and myriads of other non-State warmaking groups to flourish. Appeasement in Iran has not worked, nor has 'constructive engagement', nor sending cakes with envoys, nor trying to work with their neighbors to isolate them. Killing competent agents of terrorist organizations does not deal with the adaptable and competent structures they have created, nor their empowerment by organized crime to distribute fanaticism with weapons on the cheap. And organized crime, itself, has now co-opted the previous Cold War foe and is in a 1/3 ownership position of most of the heavy industries in Russia and its spun-off independent Republics, especially along the southern tier of Russia. These individuals do not address the economic structural instabilities in China and the impact of foreign trade on them, or on America, beyond pointing to cheaper goods. Trying to safeguard US jobs, from the Left or Right, cannot be done if China falls into any form of disorganization and becomes a multi-ethnic, multi-religious flashpoint in Asia.
This is the 'Old Guard' preaching about the Maginot Line, while ignoring the development of the Tank and not even addressing the problems of creating such a defensive arrangement that could stop such things. They are internationalists talking about the good of trade and not that the goods from trade wind up in the hands of some of the most vicious individuals on the planet seeking to destroy Nations and all trade to bring it under their domain... even if not successful, the death toll from that has been widespread, endemic and growing over time. While the current Bush Administration has tried to deal with this, it has failed to do so in Pakistan and the lower tier of ex-Russian Republics and is fighting a bare holding action against some of these forces in Somalia. The widespread and endemic organized crime trade has not been addressed at all, nor the banking that has been penetrated by it via the great and good wealth generated in Russia to just *buy the banks they need*. You cannot clean up the banking system when criminal groups hold controlling interests in banks that are part of a wider network of related businesses. If one man can thwart the best law enforcement the US and UK treasuries and INTEL groups can muster, and make a penetration of the US banking system impenetrable, then what chance do they have when the actual banks, themselves, are fully compromised from top to bottom?
None of these foreign policy teams has the demonstrated knowledge and capability or even understanding of these operations to promulgate an effective US policy towards them. In the over three decades since the 'French Connection' takedown, not only has the drug trade not been hampered, it has expanded multifold in size and profitability. Yet each of these groups has their advisors that see all problems as 'law enforcement' ones, and wish, heartily, that the 9/10 world would re-appear. The 'NeoCons' have some understanding that this will not happen, but they have yet to expand beyond looking at military and foreign policy conflict to examine the harder things needing to be done to safeguard the US. For all the talk of 'change' by Obama or 'third way' routes by Clinton, they are offering nostrums for wishing the world would be safer and forgetting that appeasement to those seeking to end the US and liberty does not work. And the ice-laden McCain group has put forward no way to deal with the endemic problems beyond the same-old, same-old that got 3,000 killed one bright September morn.
Sen. Hillary Clinton is running to be Chief Nanny and Scold.
Sen. Barack Obama is running to be Chief of Hope and Feeling Good.
Sen. John McCain wants to be Commander-in-Chief, but not President.
This is why Americans do not like to elect Senators as President: they don't know what the hell the job is.
America cannot do well on a 1/4 President, because all of the duties are necessary to succeed - Head of State, Head of Government, Commander of the Armies and the Navies, and Final Pardoner. Being serious about just one part of that is not an option in today's world and is not more survivable than 0/4.
No matter who is chosen, the American People will have to work damned hard to keep that individual on track to keep the Nation safe and have it survive... for the test of democracy is not the candidates running for office, not the election, but ensuring that they carry out their duties to all of the People, which means: YOU. Our two party failure has ensured that individuals unready for the job and unwilling to learn are being selected, and even if not voting the responsibility to hold them accountable rests with all of us, in the Nation as a whole. We have not done that for decades and we now live with our inattentiveness by having unrepresentative and unprepared political leaders who reflect that laxitude. And when representative democracy fails, it is not the fault of those in government - they only exploit the weaknesses presented to them. Those failures are the fault and full responsibility of all of the People.
And right now a 'do nothing' and 'hold the course' solution is looking very nice.
Let us be lucky enough to get that, and leave 'change' and 'outreach' until we at least can figure out what we might actually need to survive this new century, as the snake oil of the last century has nearly gotten us killed for our lack of efforts.