By E. J. Dionne

Why Restraint Makes Us Stronger

May 28, 2014 4:02 pm Category: Memo Pad, Politics 86 Comments A+ / A-
Why Restraint Makes Us Stronger

WASHINGTON — By laying out a long-term foreign policy vision in a speech at West Point on Wednesday, President Obama challenged his critics, at home and abroad, not to speak in vague terms about American “decline” or “weakness” but to answer the question: Exactly what would you do differently?

This is as close as we have gotten to an Obama Doctrine, and here it is: The United States “will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it — when our people are threatened; when our livelihoods are at stake; when the security of our allies is in danger.”

But in other cases, “when issues of global concern do not pose a direct threat to the United States … we should not go it alone.” Instead, Obama said, “we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action” and “broaden our tools to include diplomacy and development; sanctions and isolation; appeals to international law and — if just, necessary, and effective — multilateral military action.”

In 2008, Obama won his party’s nomination and the election as a pragmatic anti-war candidate specifically protesting our intervention in Iraq. He declared in 2002 that he was opposed not to all wars, but to “a dumb war.” It was clear on Wednesday that it remains a source of pride to him that he has brought what he called “a long season of war” to an end.

And he was unabashed in insisting that “some of our most costly mistakes came not from our restraint, but from our willingness to rush into military adventures — without thinking through the consequences.”

Responding, perhaps in frustration, to a wave of reproach that has descended upon him because of his reluctance to use American military power, he offered this riposte: “Tough talk often draws headlines, but war rarely conforms to slogans.”

Here was Obama throwing down the gauntlet to his foes. His address should force a reckoning with a key issue: Americans, by all the evidence of the polls, are skeptical of military action abroad. They reached this point not because they have undergone some large philosophical or ideological conversion. Rather, they arrived at a practical judgment after the experience of two long wars that failed — particularly in the instance of Iraq — to produce the results their supporters promised. It was the same after Vietnam: Most Americans now have a much higher bar for when they would be willing to commit lives and treasure overseas.

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Why Restraint Makes Us Stronger Reviewed by on . WASHINGTON -- By laying out a long-term foreign policy vision in a speech at West Point on Wednesday, President Obama challenged his critics, at home and abroad WASHINGTON -- By laying out a long-term foreign policy vision in a speech at West Point on Wednesday, President Obama challenged his critics, at home and abroad Rating: 0

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Comments

  • howa4x

    There is something missing. We have an over bloated military industrial complex that needs wars to make huge profits. This is what that last thinking Republican President Ike warned us about. That the corporate push to go to war is strong their livelihood depends on it. We have been going to battle and using our CIA to support corporate expansion and protection for decades so this is nothing new. In the 1950′s our CIA overthrew the newly elected president of Iran because, and installed the Shah to get a better deal for BP. We invaded Viet Nam, to help our corporations financially. We overthrew the feely elected Allende in Chile for Anaconda copper. Our relations with Iran are bad today because of our interventionist polices or the past. Halliburton a company that Cheney was the former CEO of got a 6 billion no bid contract for Iraq and companies like Blackwater also became billionaire s from the war.
    This is why the republicans are upset with a policy that is for our interests only. Why not let the Saudi’s intervene in Syria to protect the Sunni’s. What is our interest there?. It is not like they ever gave us a break on oil prices to fight their wars
    Republicans are the party of corporate America who supports them financially. They are the party of war not for patriotism but for profits of their benefactors. This Rambo act is for public consumption, privately in Wall St board room and golf courses the real strategy takes place. This is why they send attack dogs like McCain to bash Obama. Once again it’s America we are all about the money

    • paulyz

      Perhaps you should read this article from Progressive Today about who has the money in Government…………..
      First of all, it is clear from the US Census data that Democrats are the party of rich.
      14 of the top 20 richest districts in America are Democratic districts.
      democrats 14 of top 20
      But this next piece of data will shock you—
      36 of the 39 poorest districts in America are Democratic districts. ( Data does not include the US territories of Guam, Samoa, Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico which are also represented by Democrats)
      more:
      http://www.progressivestoday.com/exclusive-census-data-reveals-stat

      • howa4x

        Sure cites like Detroit, Newark, NO, Cleveland and others drag down huge swaths of populations. Also Republican governors never help struggling cities

      • awakenaustin

        Dictionary – Foreign words and phrases – look up the meaning of “non sequitur.”

      • Allan Richardson

        The richest districts (in PER CAPITA income) are in blue states because progressive policies reduce the amount of, and suffering due to, poverty, creating a market with demand for goods, which prompts the “job creators” to do what their nickname suggests: create jobs.

        And the poorest districts in America are mostly in red states like Georgia, where the policies restrict growth and keep the poor from being able to move up out of poverty. And those DISTRICTS are “blue” because the smug, self-satisfied upper middle class who do not realize they are only one major illness, layoff, or foreclosure from poverty themselves, moved OUT TO THE SUBURBS, leaving Democratic voters behind.

        It matters not how a DISTRICT votes if its state government keeps its policies from being implemented.

      • charleo1

        Outrageous, except to note yet another Right Wing attempt to shirk responsibility, and blame their rotten policies on others. The GOP shares nothing with the Left anymore, except their proximity to them in the political arena. Their motto: Let’s see if people swallow this. Oh yes, they say, there are prostitutes in this hotel, but we are not them. Baloney! The GOP I submit, are the Party of Koch suckers, and Sheldon Adelson lap lickers, Shills for the big oil cos, the Coal Lobby, the Gun Lobby, the Zionist Christian Lobby. Where corporations are people, money is speech, and regular Americas learning the truth, and voting, is the most dangerous obstacle to their imposing their version of Charles Dickens on America. You know it’s a fact, a high class whore may dream of being rich, or actually be rich, simply preferring to devote their lives to servicing rich clients. And, that’s exactly what the Grand Old Party has become. A group of whores, making the fantasies of the super rich come true. By allowing them to watch, while they screw the Country. Get out of here with the ridiculous, intelligence insulting, adolescent, I’m rubber you’re glue, crap. Then what was that little trip out to Vegas about, GOP, leaders, and God forbid, Presidential hopefuls hopped out there to consult Sheldon on the best way to attain Middle East peace?

        • dpaano

          Love it, why don’t you tell us how you REALLY feel (LOL). I couldn’t agree with you more!!!

      • ExRadioGuy15

        paulyz—-the GOP are the party of the rich because of their Fascist policies and philosophies. And, btw: how do you define “rich district”? Is it the number of wealthy people in the district? Is it the combined wealth of all living in the district? Quite frankly, there are no US House districts that are dominated by the super-wealthy. That’s because the super-wealthy live in areas where population concentrations are quite low. Even with gerrymandering, the Fascist GOP could still not make any US House districts where the super-wealthy are the majority of voters. What they could and did do was to draw districts where there were enough GOP victims of its Fascist “gaslighting” propaganda campaign to vote for the Republican. The “Democrats are the party of the rich” talking point is pathetic. In addition, that talking point has been debunked several times (including by me) since it was first spewed :( ssmdh

        • Allan Richardson

          Actually, the Democrats are the party that wants to help MAKE (almost) everybody rich, which doesn’t really hurt the already rich in the long run, but angers SOME of them in the short run. Therefore, they support the Republicans, whose policies (contrary to what they PROMISE) make the majority of us LESS wealthy in order to make the already wealthy MORE wealthy. Anyone who is not a billionaire is voting AGAINST him/herself if he/she votes Republican.

          • ExRadioGuy15

            You are correct, Allan….but, it’s the GOP Cons’ adherence to “Neoliberalism”, the term now being used by the media to describe their psychopathic obsession with the accumulation of wealth and power, that drives them.
            We know that “Trickle-Down” and the Bush 43 tax policies, which were sold to us by the GOP as “wealth creation for all” and “job creation” tools were meant to do just one thing: redistribute wealth upwards to the wealthy and big corporations. On that front, they’re a spectacular success…

      • JPHALL

        And this means what to you? I think that is why the Republicans are losing national elections so much recently. Anybody with a pulse can succeed against Republicans because they offer no programs or policies that can change things for the better. Just more of the same. Plus more negative remarks about the future.

        • plc97477

          Considering one of my favorite tidbits of history is that cheney lost a race to a dead man I am not sure a pulse is needed.

      • Independent1

        If what you say is true, why is it that of the 456 counties in America which have the poorest people who suck the most welfare, including food stamps, more than 90% of them voted for Romney in the last election (421 out of 456 welfare sucking counties voted for Romney)??

        And why is it that of the 23 states which have the most people living in poverty (over 15% of their residents), 20 of them are GOP-run states?

        And why is it of the 13 states that suck the most welfare dollars from Washington when compared to the taxes they send to Washington, 11 of those 13 are GOP-run states?

        And why is it that of the 10 States that not only send the most tax dollars to Washington, because their residents earn the most money, all ten of them are Democrat run states?

        And why is it that although the GOP does everything in its power to ensure that the rich get richer by constantly wanting to cut taxes so the rich can keep more money in their pockets, and by passing legislation that hands out taxpayers money in the form of subsidies to companies who don’t need it so the CEOS and owners can stuff more money in their pockets, and by starting wars and handing out no bid contracts so all those in companies that support wars can rob the American taxpayers blind by defrauding them of trillions of dollars; that despite all that, as you point out, the true party of the rich are IN FACT the DEMOCRATS!! Guess why??

        It’s because the GOP isn’t really the party of the SMART RICH, it’s the party OF THE CROOKED RICH. It’s the party of the crooked people who run casinos or lead movements like the Birchers, or are Crooks like Rick Scott, or are nothing more than con artists who will suck up taxpayer money at every chance, like the con artists running Big Oil and Big Agribusiness. It’s the quasi Italian Mafia types.

        Those who got rich because the really used their brains, are smart enough to know that it’s the Democrats that are fighting for what’s right; and for what will actually bring them long term prosperity. Killing the middle class certainly isn’t going to do that long term. The idiots in the GOP are doing nothing but setting themselves up for a disaster when they’ve sucked so much money out of the middle class that they’re will be nothing left for them to STEAL!!!!!!!!

      • ps0rjl

        And what does this have to do with the article?

        • Dominick Vila

          When a Republican does not have a believable argument to counter a claim, which is more often than not the case, they resort to distractions to change the subject or topic of discussion. That is what members of a party with a horrible record and lack of vision must do to stay alive.

      • Dominick Vila

        Are you criticizing material success? The difference between the richest states being Blue and what the GOP is doing is that those states/districts have hard working, successful citizens, rather than the GOP reliance on large donors to pursue their goals by buying our democracy and using lies and hyperbole to influence public opinion.
        Again, there is nothing wrong with hard working doctors, engineers, physicists, chemists, businessmen and other professionals to be successful.

      • jmprint

        Paul you can use this information to wipe your ass with it, it has that much value. What about all the red state that are sucking on government help. And why is it that the republicans are trying to push through a bill to loosen regulations and derivatives. When are you going to open your eyes and see that the republicans work strictly for the rich. None of the laws they try to pass benefit the middle and lower income families. It’s ALL about lining their pockets, along with their donors. Unless, you’re rich, work for insurance, church, wall street or NRA, then why be republican.

    • Dominick Vila

      I agree. I would add that in addition to arrogance and overt examples of imperialism, we have also done things that ended up de-stabilizing regions critical to our geo-political goals. An example involves the replacement of Sunnis in key government position in Iraq, and replacing them with Shias aligned spiritually and culturally to Iran.

      • howa4x

        I agree there a Frontline special on how we completely screwed Iraq up. We weren’t interested in nation building but rather cheap access to oil. Brenner Iraq overseer that was appointed by Bush got rid of the Army against the advise of our generals who wanted them as a security force. Instead they were now unemployed in a new country with their assault rifles. Hence the insurgency

        • RobertCHastings

          At the end of WWI, a period extending into the 1950s with the end of Colonialism saw the West drawing artificial boundaries in countries like Iraq that bore no resemblance to the politics within those states. In the Middle East and Africa, our failure to comprehend the politics of the regions, especially apropos to the Cold War, is largely responsible for the chaos in the region today. Displacing the Palestinians from Israel has resulted in these refugees living in, basically, prison camps, with no future except what is transpiring now. Our total lack of understanding of the politics of the region must be replaced with a willingness to learn about ALL factions in the region and, as FDR wished, allow ALL nations to determine their own destinies.

    • Sand_Cat

      The Saudis did provide oil to the forces used in the first gulf war, I think at no charge. Of course, as with everything else, the “free of charge” may cover a lot of payments made for “other purposes,” and in any case, our soldiers did most of the dying, so it wasn’t really “free.”
      Don’t know about the Iraq invasion.
      I believe they also did increase production on one or two occasions, purportedly to keep prices reasonable, when other OPEC members created a “shortage,” though of course they no doubt benefited from the higher prices until their production took effect.
      Otherwise, excellent post.

      • Dominick Vila

        The Saudis did increase oil production to offset the effects of Iraqi oil export interruption on the world market. BTW, doing that made them richer than they already were…that was not a “sacrifice” for them, just a small token to the people doing the heavy lifting for them, and a small price to pay to shift attention for their role in 9/11 to a man transformed from hero in the Reagan era to villain when Bush needed a scapegoat.

      • Bill

        I don’t care who supplies the gas, what is important is who supplies the lives. I was drafted and sent to Nam, spent a year as a ground pounder getting shot at and now all I hear are these assholes trying to send people like myself and anyone who served out to get killed. If they want a fight so bad give them a gun and let them go at it, what they really want though is to send someone else to fight and die. The GOP is really good at sending other people to die for what they want, more profits for their rich donors. The worst is McCain, after being a POW, because he was a lousy pilot, has the nerve to say we should leave POW’s behind because they aren’t worthy in his eyes. I don’t think he’s any better at being a Senator than he was at being a pilot and crashing three planes, when are people going to stop listening to these people?

        • dpaano

          Bill: As a VN veteran myself, I have to agree with you,. These idiots need to STFU and go back into their little holes! We don’t need to send any more of our young out to be cannon fodder for Cheney, Rumsfield, and the likes!! Let them grab a gun (maybe not Cheney…..he can’t seem to aim properly) and go fight if they are so gung-ho about starting a new war!!!

          • plc97477

            We could give cheney a gun but no ammo. That way he couldn’t hurt anyone.

          • RobertCHastings

            Cheney should be tazed, which would blow out his pacemaker.

          • Allan Richardson

            Do they have quail and lawyers to hunt in Iraq?

          • Mark

            Actually, if we gave Cheney a gun, we could take out 3 problems at once (4 if you include Sarah Palin.)

        • plc97477

          We can thank out lucky stars that we will never find out how bad a president he would have made.

        • Joseph Kelsall

          You forgot his part in killing 134 US sailors and disabling the USS aircraft carrier Forrestal in a ‘prank’ that went wrong. McCain was uninjured , but the first man to be evacuated from the ship.

          • Allan Richardson

            So maybe let the jihadists “recruit” him?

          • Joseph Kelsall

            Great idea except that he is firmly entrenched in the Israeli ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ camp.

        • ps0rjl

          I couldn’t agree more with you. I was in the Marines during Vietnam and we used to call all the people who stayed home and waved the flag John Waynes, because they were long on talk an short on walk. Everybody was a hawk but few were really ready to hang their asses on the line. So it is with this current crop of GOP congress men and their wealthy donors. It would never be their kids or grandkids in the fight. The next time they beat the war drums we should ask them who in their family will be on the front lines.

        • CPAinNewYork

          Great letter, Bill. It’s not just the GOP that sends Americans to die for what they want. The American Jewish community, through political organizations like AIPAC, are doing their best to keep American troops in the Middle east to protect Israel. They don’t care about Americans or America. All they care about is Israel.

      • matt

        nothing is free top kat

    • joe schmo

      In case you have not noticed, wars have become economically unwarranted. Was different in the day when Americans actually fought wars. However, a strong military is extremely important in gaining respect from foreign nations. Sorry, it is just the human condition that demands respect from others. Something we are not getting at the moment.

      …And I agree with the fact that Huey (Johnson’s wife) and Haliburton (Cheney) were an excuse to make money hand over fist. But indirectly that is what America used to be about. Take a look at China. Manufacturing is all gone because constructing this equipment used to be done on American soil before everything was outsourced thanks to exorbitant taxes and extreme regulations . Large Companies are now spoiled by the cheap labor they get from other sources. Again, our fault because of the Unions. So we have lost manufacturing and the military which used to be one of our biggest innovators.

      Lest you forget… nowadays, the !% are all in your camp….

      http://nikitas3.com/1083/why-are-so-many-rich-people-liberals/

      …and get over the oil crisis….that one is already in the tank, literally. You gave up the rights to bring oil into America by way of pipeline and, Obama, well he just handed Brazil 20 mil for letting them pump all the oil they want…. Why would we do something so stupid? Pass up jobs and keep printing that useless dollar. Believe me, I predict that will be a shell game before long because China and Russia and other countries are looking for new and innovative ways to work around that almighty dollar. What do you think is going to happen when that endless supply of printing ink becomes worthless?

      You know I used to believe that it was extremely wrong to interfere with another countries problems. But lately, I see everything that Obama has done, by being complacent, has evolved into a complete and utter disaster.

      As a Conservative I have no use for McCain or Boehner or McConnell and all the RINO’s, yet I will still vote. I am totally against the disrespect we face internationally. So my opinion has changed. America needs to be respected, America needs a strong military (war or no war) and I believe it needs some presence in the world (to what extent I am not quite sure) because what we are facing now is disastrous.

      Keep it up we are looking to join Africa and Mexico in their quest for 1st place 3rd world. This is your creation – Ameritopia.

      Yes, we are all about money, how do you propose we do without it?

      • howa4x

        So Joe you want to intervene like we did in Iraq and Afghanistan to gain respect?

        • joe schmo

          Well, don’t forget Syria and Libya….under Obama. Well, with regards to pissing others off. We seem to upset them and then they want us to stay. So which way is it? We can’t please everyone. Ask your son why they were there and I am sure he will tell you that they were parked in the Japanese harbor because of the North Korean threat? I often wonder why we have to pay such extreme costs for our military. I heard that to fly in the new jet aircraft our jets are fueled with an algae based jet fuel that costs tons. Why is that? I’m sure it has something to do with environmental impacts. Kind of ridiculous because they certainly don’t fly as much as commercial jets. Unfortunately, we have become the police force for the world. The world seems to expect us to be or did. The military occupies bases in other countries that they probably should be out of but nonetheless some Countries want us there. It is really a difficult situation if you ask me. You have a point, but I believe I also have one by keeping the military strong because we need to protect ourselves. The result of a weak military could be disastrous.

          This country used to be the land of milk and honey. Immigrants could come to this country with 7.00 in their pockets(like my father) and make their dreams a reality by becoming millionaires and by becoming success stories. You wish to change all that. It’s part of our fabric. Yes, I agree and so would many Conservatives, outsourcing is wrong and Corporations should pay for keeping their businesses off shore. But it is partly competition from other countries that entice companies to move out in the first place and our high taxes, regulations and unions who keep the prices high.
          Plus, the subsidies offered by other countries are way to enticing to companies. I am referring especially to the film industry.

          As for the money hid overseas. Not sure I agree with you on this one. We are one of the only countries on this earth that require American citizens to pay taxes to America if they work in abroad. So reporting bank accounts is really an infringement on a persons right to privacy. Don’t agree with you on that.

          Showing strength would be to punish Companies for moving jobs overseas. By paying some kind of restitution to America for being abroad. Also, China needs to pay an import tax. I believe if they did this we could pay off our debt to them.

          In reality, I think we are on a similar page on this issue with just a hair bit difference. Again, I say this is the way we should be
          working…..together….not divided:)

          • howa4x

            Glad you agree with some of what I wrote. I don’t think we are stronger having military bases all over the world. Why do we still have troops in Germany? Countries are passing us economically because they don’t spend as much on their military. We have a crumbling infrastructure with over 60,000 bridges that need repair and 6,000 that are in danger of collapse, they need to be fixed. I disagree with you that people who hide money in other countries is their private business. It is called tax evasion and it is criminal. Why don’t you want everyone to pay a fair share? We need nation building at home and everyone should pay. It is called tax fairness. Look no one like to pay taxes so the conversation should be about what are we paying for. Republicans seem to view the poor as the reason we are in debt, and others see the two unfunded wars we got into and the unfunded senior drug program as the reason.
            The reality is we give a lot more corporate welfare than personal. We give ADM subsidies to make ethanol and we give oil companies who are the riches companies in the world a depletion allowance. Do you get one for getting older? I also can’t fathom whey the right wing is ok with a company like Wal-Mart paying such a low wage that people cant live on and then having those employees be forced to take Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers just to survive. The Walton’s are worth 115 billion and are asking the tax payers to subsidize them by having the government give benefits to their employees instead of doing it themselves, I can’t see why you meaning republicans are ok with that?
            WE can’t be 911 for the world and get nothing back. I think if countries what us to help then they need to pay our costs of defending them. simple
            Great we had a conversation and neither of us called each other names. so lets disagree and agree and maybe one day we can see eye to eye

          • joe schmo

            I agree with you regarding the base in Germany. It’s time to get out. However, I do believe we need to keep a strong military in tact.

            As for infrastructure, I did a bit of reading on that and found out that citizens are somewhat reluctant to have their fuel price taxes increased to pay for fixing roads, bridges, dams etc… especially when the economy is in the tank and they have to be strapped with yet another tax increase. People also don’t realize that the price of materials and construction have increased. For some reason a necessity has been turned unneccesary by the populace.

            Regarding the fair share issue,, I feel that investing in other countries annuities or currency is no different than investing in the stock market. I realize that one has to pay the tax on shares cashed out and, perhaps, the money kept off shore could be taxed within those respective countries. Unlike Corps who have a lot of money, a single person investing in other countries shares has the advantage of making more money. It could be sort of like an IRA. A retirement account of sorts. Not only does it help the individual but it also helps America because the money is most likely spent here. We pay astronomical taxes already and the government always wants more and more and more. We are taxed to death. What about a sales tax. This way everyone pays.

            I think providing too many freebies for the poor (some use the system) is one reason for our problems as is the two senseless wars. We no longer manufacture so no more wars please. I have no problem paying for seniors drugs and I don’t think many Conservatives mind either just as they would not mind helping veterans.

            Well, yes I agree with the subsidies payed to Oil companies. That should not be because they make so much money anyway, however; there are so many restrictions that maybe subsidies are necessary because the cost of regulations are so high.

            Wal-mart….Hmmm….well every company is not union. They are a private entity. If someone wants to work at Wal-Mart then that is their choice. You start increasing wages too much and there will be less people hired. Used to be that minimum wage was payed to UNSKILLED laborers. Why should we pay people a high wage who basically have no skills. Agriculture pays a way low wage and you all are not screaming about that. It’s worse than Wal-Mart will ever be. Again, the Walton’s are self made and I simply think it is wrong to ask them to spread the wealth. It is not the American way. It is Communist ideology. Obamacare comes to mind with regards to benefits? I’m not against it, but I am against the fact that there was no choice. There is a difference as to choice and force. Obamacare was forced and that is what we resent.

            Last statement, I totally agree. You see, if we were in politics we would weigh the scales and come to a viable solution that would benefit all. So why is there so much strife between both sides nowadays:)

          • howa4x

            Agree with some of hat you wrote. We need a strong military but not at the expense of everything else. Right now its more of a jobs program than an exercise in our protection, since our military is larger than the next 10 countries combined including Russia and China. If Russia didn’t’ have nukes it would be a 3rd rate power. Think of this, after 10 years they have not crushed Chechnya, and did far worse in Afghanistan then we did. China can’t crush rebellion in its Muslim provinces. Our problem was we have a land war military put in to fight a civil war with not discernible enemy, just citizen soldiers. We did better switching to drones and special forces, and that will be how we fight future wars.
            I don’t care if people make money in other countries since we have a global economy, I just want them to pay their fair share of taxes and not shelter the money off shore. If we want a strong military someone has to pay for it and if they hide money the middleclass will make up the difference. It is simple math, the less they pay the more we pay.
            As for fixing the hwy’s and bridges that is a must. How would you like your family to drive over a bridge that is in danger of collapse, like what happened in Minnesota. How we pay for it is an issue. As we draw down for Iraq and Afghanistan there will be a reduction in military spending and that could be a way to shift funds for use on our infrastructure. there also could be an excise tax on corporations That use the roads more than the public, or we can make every federal Hwy a toll road.
            I don’;t begrudge the Walton’s although they didn’t make their fortune , it is inherited wealth, so is the Koch wealth. What I’m against is that they want the taxpayer to provide support for their worker benefit package. Same with the Koch’s. I don’t want to pay for the environmental cleanup when they are done with the use of their land. The Gulf still isn’t completely cleaned up From BP’s spill.
            If we want to cut taxes then we need to stop corporate subsidies. It is ok to seeda new industry but the oil companies have been in business for 100 yrs. I don’t understand why you on the right constantly want to help out the richest companies in the world. Take Bill gates one of the richest on earth. He really didn’t need a tax cut but was given one. He took the money and built a factory in Bangalore India and not one US job was created. I think companies should only get a tax cut if they hire American workers period.
            As for low wage and unskilled workers the Wal-Mart job may be the only one available. A living wage is not too much to ask billionaires for is it.

          • RobertCHastings

            Your take on unions is totally bogus and unrealistic. As Frederick Douglas said, “in order to improve there must be a struggle, because those in power will not give up their power WITHOUT a struggle.” The struggle in the early twentieth century was the union movement, and, without it, American workers would be working at minimum (or below) wages with no benefits, no insurance, no time off, nothing, period. Unions have, like the corporations they have fought for a century, demanded what the market will bear. This country experienced what is referred to as “wealth equality” in the years after WWII up to the Ronald Reagan election, a time during which the middle class actually had as much wealth as the top. Since 2008, when the stock market was near its lowest in a decade, the market has risen, above where it was before the Great Recession. 95% of that increase in wealth went to the top 1%. With Reagan’s reduction in taxes for the wealthiest, equality went by the wayside, unions have been intentionally dismantled by governments and the wealthy, and the fruits of our labor that we once enjoyed have turned bitter wine. You blame unions for the decline of our economy, I blame the wealthy and the politicians they have bought.

          • joe schmo

            At one time Unions were a good thing. Like you stated, they protected the worker from becoming like a slave with little pay and it also set up child labor laws. However, nowadays, Unions have gone way over the line with regards to pay and time off and hiring and firing. You cannot fire someone within the union system. Oftentimes you end up with substandard workers because they know they will not be let go so easily. I feel this drives down the quality of work and workers. I also believe that when the economy is doing poorly then union wages need to fluctuate. Bad times, less money. Good times more money.

            Reagan was great! Sure he made some errors. What president hasn’t but I heard few complaints when he was in office and Clinton reaped from the benefits. You can tell me what you want he was one of the best presidents if not the best president of the 20th century. He got America rolling in 27 months. Obama has done nada and only let us sink into a deeper hole.

            You really have to watch out for that stock market. Sure lots of people make and have made money from it, but what goes up must come down. I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one Wall Street basket.

            Politicians on both sides DO have a lot to do with the decline of the economy. The wealthy will always be that and they will always find loopholes whenever they can. They just have the smarts to figure it out. I don’t begrudge them that. Of course, I’m a capitalist so go figure….

    • RobertCHastings

      A vital clause in the early Articles of Confederation held against a standing army, and the troops that fought the Revolution were, for the most part, volunteers, enlisting for just a few months at a time. Of course, those who supported the Constitution had by that time seen the need for an army AND a navy and, had we not had either, we would not have been able to gather volunteers in time to survive the War of 1812. That being said, it had for generations been extremely difficult to get Congress to support a standing army. However, as war and its methods changed, it became necessary to increase the size and scope of our military and finance advancing weaponry. Many nations, America included, have used their armies for other than defensive purposes which is, according to the values espoused by our Founders and by our founding documents, contrary to the basic values of democracy. FDR, by the end of WWII, was pushing for the right of ALL peoples to determine their own destinies. Unfortunately, some in this country (and elsewhere) did whatever they could to influence other nations to pursue one ideology or another, bringing, at one time, the world to the brink of mass destruction. To be honest, that has not really worked out that well for us. The middle east and much of Africa are constructed of artificial geopolitical entities that have no resemblance to the makeup of the people within the boundaries of such entities. Iraq, especially, is comprised of three differing major factors who have no use for one another. A much more practical solution to the creation of free nations would be to understand the people in the regions and permit them to determine their own destinies. I am sure there is someone out there who has compiled a reasonable list of all of those countries who TRIED to decide their own destinies only to have one power or another step in and impose a solution that was totally inappropriate, backing leaders who would not have been the legitimate choices of those governed. This is not going to change until we as a nation realize that what we see as the right of America to determine the political makeup of the world is NOT a right, but a usurpation of the sovereignty of independent and free people around the world.

      • howa4x

        totally agree

  • charleo1

    No one spoke more bluntly, or clearly about the function of military action than Colin Powell. He said flatly, “The reason to use military force, is to impose your will on the enemy.” As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under President G.H.W. Bush, (41) at the beginning of the first Gulf War said, “We’re going to find the head of the snake, and cut it off!” The, “head,” was left undefined by Powell, to be determined by his Commander and Chief. As was both a proper perimeter, and function of a military. A President then, in consultations with military Commanders, and requiring the majority consent of Congress, may then commit the military to take what action is agreed to be necessary. This excluding emergency actions that may taken by The President alone. And that President should understand, those reasons had better be reasonable, because he will be held accountable for them. And that’s how it’s supposed to work. And hasn’t, for how long? So why should we be talking about this President’s doctrine? Or wondering, with the rest of the World, if the next President’s doctrine is to shoot first, kill several hundred thousand people in God knows where. And then, admit it was sort of a mistake. But one just about anyone could have made. And, well it’s done now anyway, so let’s move on, shall we? Then the next President’s doctrine is set by the previous President. If Obama stated his doctrine in words, it would go something like this. My doctrine will be to first put out the fire that is burning down the house. I’ll call that my, “Deal with biggest crisis first doctrine.” Then, I’ll recall our armed forces from a war in which they should have not been sent. My, “Deal with the next biggest crisis, next doctrine.” Then, to show that all Americans are not criminals. We will continue to abide by the obligations made by my predecessor, to spend enormous amounts of taxpayer dollars to rebuild the Country knocked down in error by my predecessor. I’ll call that my, “All Americans are not criminals doctrine.” Of course domestically President Obama has had to deal with a Republican Party left in shambles, like everything else. Republican reaction to the whole mess, has been to attempt to prevent the current President from doing anything, and viciously attacking anything he does manage to do. Figuring whatever he does, is going to be an improvement over Bush, and that only makes their pathetic political situation even worse. So, their priorities do not include any of the various public crises, per say. With their entire platform based on the premise, the Democratic Party is illegitimate to begin with. The obvious thing to do, would be to claim that Party’s leader is also illegitimate. Their plan? To make sure the main house keeps burning, so maybe no one notices ours. Obama’s doctrine, although not stated as such, might have been called, “My do the best you can, with what little you’ve got, which is less than nothing,” doctrine. Giving much credence to the President’s question. “What would you do so differently?” To which I would answer, we know what the opposition did differently. They put on their Che Guevara berets, and acted like the Nicaraguan, “freedom fighters,” Reagan was so hot to fund. Obama’s doctrine? “Clean up the mess.” The GOP doctrine? ” To the victor, go the spoils.” Or, “If the American people are dumb enough to let us get away with Bush. We can get away with anything doctrine.”

    • latebloomingrandma

      The problem with dealing with today’s terrorists is that there is no “head of the snake” to cut off. It is more like the mythical many headed hydra, where you cut one head off and 2 more grow back. I don’t t remember how the hydra is defeated or if it is. Starvation? Obviously we can’t kill our way out of this. It requires a different strategy, one that doesn’t drain our blood and treasure dry. That, perhaps, is the ultimate goal of the terrorists—bleed the US dry of assets —money, the strength of our economy, and troops.
      ISIS—a particular vicious hydra—is very well financed and therefore far off from “starvation.,” Maybe that’s where the US and our allies should start. A united effort to choke them to death.

      • charleo1

        It seems to me President Obama correctly sees the only real solution to ISIS, a particularly heinous, and virulent strain of Islamic based Fundamentalists, is a political one. I think we have to ask, how disaffected must the Sunni populations be in places like Mosul, and Tikrit, to support these guys to begin with. To carry their deep disapprovals of the Maliki’s Shia regime, to Bagdad? For as bad as they are, the religious revolution they hope to incite, would crumble tomorrow without the support of the Sunni, Iraqi. So this is a real problem for us. Our history in the region has had it’s problems. Our religion is considered illegitimate. And our motives are always suspect. So, for all those reasons, any leader we support will automatically have his work cut out for him. Maliki has ruled as a Shia Potentate, and an ideological idiot. And as such, the Sunni population, that outnumbers the Shia ten to one, are seething about it. Thank you George Bush.

        • CPAinNewYork

          So, charleo1, what do you propose to do about it?

          I want us to get our troops completely out of the Middle East. To me, our only legitimate role there is to buy oil. And, while we’re on the subject, I want to get our troops completely out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

          • charleo1

            Well. welcome to the problems of the real World. The one where we Americans don’t always get what we want. At least not when we go about in about as dumb a way as is imaginable. Google, Bush Administration, WMDs, Oil Grab, Democracy in the middle of the Middle East, whatever, take your pick. But Bush struck the hornet’s nest, and now we dare not turn our backs. Sorry.

          • CPAinNewYork

            We can pull our troops out whenever we want, because the powers that be in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t want us there. That satisfies me.

          • charleo1

            I’ll let the Joint Chiefs know right away what you think.

          • CPAinNewYork

            Your sarcasm betrays your ignorance of the situation.

      • ralphkr

        The hydra was killed by he nephew of Herakles setting fire to the marsh where the hydra lived and driving the hydra to Herakles. As Herakles cut off each hydra head his nephew then cauterized the stump After the hydra died Herakles dipped his arrows in the hydra’s poisonous blood.

      • Allan Richardson

        The original Hydra in Greek myth was defeated by Heracles (or was it Perseus or Theseus? one of those half-man half-deity heroes) by holding his sword in one hand and a torch in the other. Immediately after cutting off one head, he cauterized the stump with the torch so that no more could grow back.

        Too bad the metaphorical “hydras” we face today don’t respond to that strategy!

  • Canistercook

    And Neville Chamberlain put up his umbrella when he met with Hitler!

    • Joseph Kelsall

      And, the import of your post is what?

      • ralphkr

        As usual, Canistercook, posts the slogans loved by the low-information voters but he is unable to explain them because….well…he doesn’t know what they mean.

    • Allan Richardson

      Perhaps Chamberlain was doing the RIGHT thing by delaying the outbreak of war for another year. He knew, better than anyone else in Britain, how well prepared his country was in 1938, and how much better prepared it would be a year later. Perhaps, like the honorable Senator listed in “Profiles in Courage” who refused to vote to remove Andrew Johnson from office, he sacrificed his own political career, and in the minds of millions, his legacy, to make sure that Britain would be prepared to fight back effectively.

      The alternate history writer Harry Turtledove, a brilliant scholar of real life history, has written part of a series of novels (The War That Came Early, first volume Hitler’s War) based on the premise of two changes in 1938 events: Spain’s Fascist Marshal Sanjurjo, rather than dying in a plane crash returning from exile in Portugal, listened to his pilot’s advice, left some baggage behind, made it safely to Madrid, and too power away from Franco, then joined Hitler in taking the war outside Spain, starting with the capture of Gibraltar; and Chamberlain flatly refused Hitler’s demand to give up the Sudetenland, goading Hitler into starting the war in 1938. So far, the fictional war dragged the US in too early, brought fighting to the Siberian-Manchurian front, and in several other ways became EVEN DEADLIER than the real war, partly because Chamberlain did not give Britian an extra year to arm herself.

      • charleo1

        Chamberlain has become part of the NeoCon revisionism
        of American history. Where they opportunistically take
        famous events, and to say spin them, is a generous term. To underpin a particular view of how they believe the U.S.
        should conduct everything from foreign policy, to the various domestic cultural agendas of their religious base. As if we needed proof of their fanaticism, teaching their versions of history, science, and economics, is a big part of their obsession with eliminating the public schools, and privatizing all of the Nation’s school system. Their stories
        run the gambit from the deeply involved narrative, to the
        hilarity of a Sarah Palin visiting the Old North Church, and expounding on the ride of Paul Revere, and his call to
        the Minute Men, as she put it, “The British are coming to
        take your guns!” Chamberlain of course is one of their favorite historical figures they love to trot out at the very
        mention of a diplomatically orientated approach to deal
        with the Country’s adversaries, business competitors, or
        less than cooperative Middle Eastern strongmen of Countries with considerable oil reserves. George Scialabba, writing for The Nation, included a paragraph
        from Krauthammer’s best seller, “Things That Matter,”
        I thought seem to encapsulate the NeoCon’s foreign policy
        ideologies, and crack pot theories to a frightening tee.
        Scialabba quotes, “Krauthammer is an unapologetic, even strident hawk. He chides Jeane Kirkpatrick, no less, for suggesting that after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the United States might become “a normal country in a normal time.” On the contrary, he admonishes, we live in a permanently abnormal world. “There is no alternative to confronting, deterring and, if necessary, disarming states that brandish and use weapons of mass destruction. And there is no one to do that but the United States,” with or without allies. Of course, there is no question of deterring or disarming the United States. The very idea is outlandish: America is uniquely benign and that “rarest of geopolitical phenomena,” a “reluctant hegemon” almost quixotic in its “hopeless idealism.” Only twisted leftists would deny that freedom is “the centerpiece” of American foreign policy.”

        • ps0rjl

          Krauthammer like most of the neocon/chickenhawks is a great promoter of sending troops but as a young man just like Kristol and many of the others of his age, took that 2S deferment to avoid service in Vietnam. Now that they are old men they now have their John Wayne bravado.

          • charleo1

            Well said.

          • latebloomingrandma

            I believe Krauthammer is a paraplegic. I don’t know when it happened, however.

          • ralphkr

            Krauhammer was paralyzed in a diving accident in in 1972 when he was 22. He earned his MD after being paralyzed.

        • awakenaustin

          Excellent post.

          • charleo1

            Thanks. As you are probably aware, this revisionist propaganda effort in this Country, is absolutely breath taking in it’s scope. The concerted effort at every turn to dismantle the public school system. Then, outlaw regulation of subject matter on private schools, as un-Constitutional. A diploma from a Pakistani like, madrasa by those standards, would be legally valid under equal protection clauses. How often are you dismissed as, “public school, brainwashed,” because you believe the policies of FDR helped bring the Country out of the Great Depression? Or unions were an important element in establishing the American Middle Class? The Koch Foundation a few years ago went across the Country offering colleges nice donations, if they could control the information being taught in their economics classes. Christian Creationists are in control of text book content, in a state that publishes most of the books for the rest of the Country. Because of the sheer numbers of books Texas itself uses. The Right fights computers in school as hard as they fight to eliminate National educational
            standards, from the Dept. of Education.

    • Sand_Cat

      Yeah, and Hitler lied to him and took advantage of his goodwill, just as the current GOP does to the Democrats and others who “compromise” with them (i.e., give them what they want for vague and meaningless promises, or for nothing at all, the GOP definition of “compromise” when they complain about Dem unwillingness to “negotiate” or “compromise”) .

  • Dominick Vila

    President Obama;s decision to withdraw our troops from Iraq, dramatically reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan, and keep us out of new wars has gone a long way in restoring our international credibility. Gone are the days of water boarding, renditions, and imprisonment, often without evidence or even charges. I wish he had had the fortitude to reject Republican claims and had closed the Guantanamo prison camp.
    The most fascinating part of his foreign policy strategy, when it comes to military power and geo-political goals, is that he has improved our credibility while using targeted drone attacks against our enemies. By using limited force (drones against small groups of terrorists), and authorizing the raids that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden and the arrest of al-Liby, a man suspected to be behind the Benghazi and other terrorist attacks against U.S. facilities and interests, he demonstrated the wisdom of restraint and commitment Vs brute force.
    An ancillary benefit is a reduction in the DoD budget that helped reduce the Federal government deficits to a manageable level.
    Our goal, when it comes to foreign policy, must be to protect and advance our global interests, without using excessive force to achieve those goals and destroying our credibility.

  • elw

    Thank goodness there is one adult In Washington and he hold the most powerful seat. A seat his opponents will not win for at least another decade, maybe longer if they refuse to face the simple truth that most Americans do not like their policies or respect their actions.

    • dpaano

      elw: What really SHOCKS me is that President Obama’s ratings are so low…..I’m not sure who they are polling, but it certainly isn’t the people with brains! It’s amazing that the polls show that more people don’t want us to go to war in the Middle East; yet, they say that President Obama’s ratings are low because of his foreign policy. I haven’t heard any so-called “foreign policy” from the GOP other than to go to war AGAIN!! I’d be totally interested in who and where they do these polls because I can’t believe they could be so at odds!

      • elw

        His numb

      • mah101

        Mid second term lull. It’s common for a president in the middle of their second term to experience lower numbers.

      • CPAinNewYork

        I’m not surprised. Every Tea Party wingnut, every ignorant redneck, every member of the American Jewish community, etc. is adamantly opposed to Obama because of his race, his political philosophy and his refusal to knuckle under to Israel and its paid agents in the United States Congress.

    • Canistercook

      Just wish our allies agreed with you!

      • elw

        What makes you think they do not? And, which allies exactly are you referring to?

  • charles king

    I have been a victim of my country for man years because When? I was in the Korean war I thought I was fighting for my country Democracy but years later I find that the country was governed by Plutocracy this is the kind of govering that went on in the South back in the segregation ERA. I wonder how many other American’s think like I did for years? Now, I find out that the whole country is beening rule by MONIES and people of many shades. What? do we do as law bidding ctizens. I am a old man now and on my way out but I suggest you young Americans of VOTING age to do some critical thinking about the problems of America, find your Demcracy and bring it back to the People nd use your Voting power Which? is still Supreme and VOTE these people out WHO? insist on destroying our country. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  • tdm3624

    I don’t like the idea of America playing global cop but when our allies and neighboring nations don’t seem to have the backbone to take on bullies (talking to you Europe and nations bordering Syria) what then? Do we let the bullies keep on using gas and taking country after country? Perhaps the world is too used to U.S. leadership. It is easier to follow then to lead.

  • charles king

    The President and his adminastration has let the ciizens understand What? critical thinking is all about and How? far a little common sense can go. Now the People should take the facts that have shown Who? is at fault. Get rid of those sorry A**** and let it be known that we will not go for people Who? do Not do their job that our tax dollars has paid for. The VOTE is still Supreme, so take your MONIES friends and take a hike Cause America is not for sale. Democracy works When? the People let it be known that America is bout All of Us. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING..P.S. Keep an (!) open on those Capitialistic Pigs, Plutocracts(Commissioniers) Do-Nothingiers Republicans, and Democracts, Etcs…….

  • dave

    When politicians and those other govt. officials are the first ones on the ground and the first ones getting shot at AND the first ones DYING,wars will be fought differently.Let the big corps who make all the money from war send their EMPLOYEES into battle and see how soon a war is won or lost. What do we have to show for iraq and afghanistan besides many thousands dead and who knows how many wounded,maimed for life and the many thousands more with mental health issues too.Dubya should be tried for war crimes along with his puppetmaster cheney. Listening to cheney answer questions about what advice he’d give obama is chilling and crazy. It PROVES cheney has no clue about reality and what REALLY happened in iraq and afghanistan.

    • mah101

      Cheney understands reality all to well. He understands that some other guy is going to die. He understands that his corporate interests stand to make huge profits off of war. He understands that he and his friends have the power, and you can complain all you want. He understands that any consequences of war will simply result in more opportunity for profit and the exercise of power. There isn’t a downside in this reality – he doesn’t care about you, your children, or democracy. It’s all about the exercise of power in the pursuit of profit, and he and his friends hold all the cards.

  • Canistercook

    Seems to me Obama is constantly reaching out to ‘rich’ people in Silicon Valley and Texas for campaign funds. He must do something for them I guess! Perhaps that is why we still have those ‘loopholes’ in the tax code while we raise the tax on other people

    !

  • nana4gj

    I don’t understand why so many people claim to have so much difficulty understanding where this President is coming from, on any issue. He is the only one in my 50 years of political engagement and voting that I completely understand and “get”. I understand every word, without nuance, and, surprisingly, it is as if he and I had a talk beforehand and agreed with what he should say and do.

    In those instances when he, actually!!, has more info than I do, I can retrace his thinking process and can say that I always find a basic principle that guided him and his ultimate actions.

    This President is not a politician. He became an “accidental politician” in order to do for the country and to serve in his best capacity with his natural talents, his ability to think and solve problems. His personality is one that appeals to me and people, but not to other politicians, naturally, because he is not one of them.

    Clearly, he does not do the work of his presidency as a politician. He has had nothing but “hard stuff” do do since he first walked into that office. A politician could not have done anything but spin it and ignore it. A politician would have withered under the assaults this man has had. This man has a lot of true grit, or, the serenity of knowing what he does and why he does it.

    Some will believe me to be “enraptured” with him, but, at age 70yrs, I “enrapture” at not much. What I can see and fee, however, is the real thing when I see it. This man is more like Atticus Finch, in “To Kill A Mockingbird”…..”some men are born into this world to do the hard things for us….”

    He was not my first choice. But when he became my only choice, I listened, I watched, I read, I made up my own mind and have not been disappointed. I cannot think today of anyone who was as equipped as this President was and is to do the hard stuff of today then, and after he leaves the WH.

  • joe schmo

    Of course, you will do anything to make this OK even when it is plain flat out wrong!

  • Nick Rudolph

    We should keep these poor unfortunate refugees from Central America and deport Ted Cruz back to where he came from, that makes a lot more sense to me.

    • CPAinNewYork

      We should deport the illegals, regardless of their age, and jerks like you.

  • CPAinNewYork

    E. J. Dionne’s article is an excellent explanation of why we are constantly thrusting our military into areas of the world that are none of our business.

    It’s the profit motive that impels sleazebag conservatives like Cheney and McCain to push us into meaningless wars.They’re in league with the so-called neocons and the American Jewish community to keep an American military presence in the Middle East for one purpose: to protect Israel.

    We’ve been there too long. We need to leave. If Israel isn’t able to exist on its own with its vast military provided by us, then it is not a viable state.

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