Itís become trite palaver to bemoan the US presidential choices. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Ė it is what it is. Now isnít the time to sit back, but instead take an active look at the severe state of the world. The deeper question to ask each candidate for the US presidency is Ė do you want to preserve American primacy or not; not exceptionalism, but primacy?
Here’s where we stand after almost eight years of President Obama’s foreign policy, executed by Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. The Republican Congress also takes as much blame as the Obama Administration for their handling of this election, foreign policy, and certainly the Iranian nuclear deal. They were just as complicit as President Obama and Secretary Kerry.
When war arrives to the US mainland because of this deal, and there is a strong possibility it will, since we no longer practice strong deterrence against our enemies, the Republicans and President Obama will rue the day they ever made a deal with bloodthirsty Iranian mullahs and tyrants. And the US State Departmentacknowledged we gave the Iranians $400 million in ransom for our kidnapped naval personnel while previously they disobeyed UN sanctions by firing off ballistic missiles. Voting patterns have deliberate outcomes.
The “Pivot” to Asia hasn’t worked. China is stronger than ever. The rules-based international order the US and its allies have promulgated since the end of WWII is under siege in Europe, the Western Pacific, and Persian Gulf. ISIS is still carving up Syria while Russia and Iran bomb innocent Syrian children. Not enforcing redlines has consequences.
Putin has 40,000 troops ready to invade Ukraine. The US has acknowledged North Korea’s nuclear readiness has advanced – meaning the advance warning time for their nuclear weapons hitting US soil has shrunk. And remember this deal, under the Clinton Administration, as the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran is similar. Each agreement has done nothing to stop either regime’s nuclear ambitions and hostility towards their neighbors, the West, and the US in particular. Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright didn’t understand history, ideology, and regime type when dealing with Iran and North Korea. Will Clinton be different as Commander-in-Chief? Would Trump? No one knows, and more than likely the upcoming debates won’t reveal these vital answers.
Iraq and Libya are both still in shambles. Iraq’s hard fought gains and victory have been given back under President Obama’s lead from behind strategy. In 2008 candidate Obama scrubbed Iraq from his website, because the surge worked, and the US won.
Imagine the Middle East if President Obama hadn’t left Iraq? Iraq could’ve become South Korea, Germany, or Japan after those devastated countries joined the world community as economic powerhouses and US allies, because we didn’t leave. There would be no ISIS. A neutralized Al Qaeda. Diminished terror. Certainly no Russia and Iran in Syria, no false hope from the Arab Spring, and no possible Turkey-Russia-Iran alliance, which has terrifying consequences for energy markets and peace-loving nations.
The President still hasn’t fully explained why he didn’t support the Iranian Green Revolution. The birthplace of civilization could’ve become a world leader again, and not the Islamic fortress without hope that it is for millions of its citizens.
The China South China Sea problem isn’t going anywhere. China’s military is growing daily while the US counters with freedom of navigation patrols. But with a smaller US Navy than previous decades, and one that’s continuing to shrink, surely China knows and will call the US’ bluff. The Philippines, Japan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, and now India are warning China. Vice President Biden even suggested the Japanese acquire nuclear capabilities. Does President Obama and Hillary Clinton support that position? Historical grievances against Japan would erupt overnight if they went nuclear.
Sanctions won’t deter the Chinese, as they haven’t stopped Putin, nor have hollow threats made by President Obama, his administration, and a complacent, angry Republican Congress. Speaker Ryan should also answer for his actions as well.
Then how should a US citizen vote? Hillary Clinton the architect of our current world chaos or an unproven, ballistic Donald J. Trump? What would aggressors believe either would do if elected? Will Clinton govern against Iranian deals, and be a traditional Democrat in the vein of Harry Truman, or will she keep President Obama’s foreign policy vision intact? Trump for all his bellicosity against illegal immigration and Mexico has gotten the President of Mexico to agree he would meet with Trump, and visited flood victims in Louisiana. Trump seems to agree with the world vision laid out by Ambassador John Bolton, but he was deeply disliked when he was UN Ambassador under President Bush.
Given these uncertainties, Americans would be wise to be vigilant, and hold the current administration accountable for their geopolitical blunders. The months remaining on the President’s time in office may resemble a Tom Clancy novel more than measured, reasonable deterrence based upon decades of experience.
Hillary Clinton or Donald J. Trump? Will our enemies know why, how or when the American people will make the decisions they make, other than how they feel? Feelings, which shape both sides of the political aisle, are never prudent for the world’s only superpower, and main police force since WWII.