Country First? Reform? Prosperity? Peace? Sure…
I’m not convinced by this line that’s being run by the McCain-Palin campaign. I know I don’t vote in the US and it’s not directed at me, but I’m not entirely disinterested what with America having the role it does in world politics. Nor am I uninterested in the welbeing of Americans, or anyone else America touches.
Not buying it…
If Americans are going to anoint their leader, the leader of the free world, then I don’t think it unfair for them to have to listen to the free world. That goes for Obama as well, who’s relative protectionism isn’t above criticism by non-Americans (while I loathe the Bush Administration’s FTA with Australia, particularly it’s intellectual property ramifications, I’m pro-economic-globalisation, pro-fair-trade).
Country First? Who’s not going to run that line and who’s seriously going to be say, putting China first? It’s a bit meaningless if you can’t demonstrate that you are more for your country than your opponent, at least beyond a superficial nationalism. And while we are talking about nationalism, or at least patriotism, I guess we should be asking Palin to explain how her vision of Creationism taught alongside Evolution in public schools sits with the establishment clause of the US Constitution.
And seriously, while we are on the topic of superficial patriotism, could someone please tell Michelle Malkin that this is making a mountain out of a mole-hill. Sure, it’s a very significant cultural event, but for crying out loud there has to be a little wiggle room for differences in the way people grieve and respect the dead. Seriously, with a nation still affected and many individuals personally touched, America needs a bit of understanding as a part of its healing process.
That’s an important piece of memorial etiquette that Malkin needs to take on board, something I expect that both Obama and McCain are quite aware of.
Reform? Well, Jeremy has banged on about this quite a bit, so here’s his one of his takes on the matter.
I miss old McCain. Really I do. Palin has done nothing of substance to differentiate herself from the Bush Administration. No respect for the constitution nor the enlightenment values that informed it, that’s for sure. And while she’s not nearly as fanatical as the extremes of Bush supporters, she’s by no means stands out in as far as cultural terms are concerned. Fiscally speaking, she’s not so different either as her spending and taxation record in Alaska demonstrate.
McCain would be the one in the pair to break with the norms of the Bush regime. More traditional conservatives were aghast when the Bush Administration started spending like there was no tomorrow and if it wasn’t for one thing, I’d believe that McCain would at least have serious fiscal reform in mind, if not other kinds of reforms.
That one thing is that McCain is broken goods.
When McCain went up against Bush in the nominations that would pave the way to the latter’s dubious presidency, I wanted McCain to win. There is no ambiguity there. I wanted McCain to win the nomination (as for the idea of Gore-vs-McCain, to this day I have many reservations about Al Gore but I wouldn’t have preferred McCain).
I don’t know if it was losing to Bush (where clearly the better man lost), or if it was 9/11, or the way 9/11 changed politics or a combination of all of these things. But something changed McCain.
Things that he would once speak out about, such as sectarian motivated hatred, he no longer speaks out about. He wooed the anti-secular vote in Florida during his race for the presidential candidate nomination this time around, when he wouldn’t have before as a matter of principal.
Where was McCain’s voice when the Bush Administration was funnelling funds into this, that and whatever the way a frat-boy funnels beer into his gullet?
How can you have reform without critical analysis, without criticism of that which you want to change? How can McCain bring about reform to what the Bush Administration has left, if he’s become to timid to criticise it?
Not buying it.
Prosperity? Prosperity via economy of course. McCain is a capitalist after all. How does he propose to do it? Maybe by not repeating some of the spending mistakes of his predecessor? I’m sorry, but simply not-screwing up, especially in light of the economic poison-chalice the next administration is going to inherit, isn’t going to bring about prosperity.
This is perhaps the most disturbing of all the claims. Obviously, we are talking about peace through a war footing, otherwise McCain and Palin could be expected to be far more critical of the catastrophe they are inheriting from the Bush Administration.
But, peace through war, while unsettling in its embrace of violence, isn’t as disturbing as it becomes with an accompanying embrace of fantasy. Peace can come about through war. As spine-chilling as the horrors of WWII were, victory over NAZI Germany and its allies, even in light of the cost, was entirely worth it on the grounds of the peace it bought. This is no fantasy.
Iraq is a different matter altogether.
We are told by Palin, that we shouldn’t pull out on the verge of winning. On the verge of winning? Winning what exactly?
Peace for Iraqis? Well perhaps Iraqis have more peace post-Saddam if you include rest-in-peace. Conservative estimates on the death toll are too high as it is. As for security for Iraqis into the future, I’m sorry but it’s not going to happen. The seeds for the collapse of any Democracy in Iraq were sown back during the British Mandate of Mesopotamia.
There is deep, deep division between the peoples bundled together in Iraq. Division that has to be dealt with for stability. Saddam achieved this through an iron fist, which is one way to deal with it, albeit an unsatisfactory means. Federation is another, although this is probably doomed to failure as well; tyranny of the majority in Iraq will bring about extreme repression and subsequent reprisal.
Separation and self-rule of the various vilayets, backed with UN recognition (and peace keepers), is far more likely to work, but even that is problematic and it’s not on the cards at any rate.
What is the McCain-Palin plan to bring about the necessary stability? They don’t have one.
McCain and Palin just plan to wait it out longer than Obama and then withdraw the troops and claim victory ala Mission Accomplished. And why not? The public is fatigued on the topic of Iraq and let’s face it, with a public that half of thought Iraq was involved with 9/11 (which it wasn’t), you can get away with telling them a fast one.
McCain and Palin’s solution is simply a pre-meditated revision of history via cynical PR. The critieria for victory in Iraq, apparently isn’t some military objective or measurable civic or economic standard, but a matter of public perception.
That’s very Orwellian. Far too Orwellian for my tastes.
I’m not buying the line. But we here, in the rest of the world, may have to live with the consequences.
Update: Removed what appeared to be a tautology; “can’t demonstrate” was originally “can’t demonstrably demonstrate”. I had two slightly different definitions of “demonstrate” in mind when I wrote that (one synonymous with having evidence and the other with presenting a case – to “demonstrably demonstrate” is therefore to present a case with evidence), but I think it looks better without. May use the phase again though, if I can find better rhetorical effect than this time around (maybe if I italicise “demosntrably”?) I found it amusing at any rate.