Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What Happened to Foreign Policy Stops at the Water's Edge?

This is what I grew up with that foreign affairs stop at the water's edge:
Senator Arthur Vandenberg (1884-1951) of Michigan delivered a celebrated "speech heard round the world" in the Senate Chamber on January 10, 1945, announcing his conversion from isolationism to internationalism. In 1947, at the start of the Cold War, Vandenberg became chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Asserting that we must stop “partisan politics at the water's edge," he cooperated with the Truman administration in forging bipartisan support for the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and NATO. As recalled by Francis Wilcox, the first chief of staff  of the Foreign Relations Committee, Vandenberg's Senate career stands as a monument to bipartisanship in American foreign policy. Vandenberg died in 1951, but his legacy continues. (From US Senate)
This past weekend I witnessed in politics something I never thought I would see and which disturbs me with sitting US Senators from the Republican Party McCain, Graham, Inhofe calling President Obama weak on Ukraine when he wants diplomacy and the saber rattlers want more war.  Then there is the Junior Senator from Florida Rubio telling the President what to do.  Throw in former SecDef Rumsfeld and you have five men who are still angry President Obama was reelected and defeated Mitt Romney by fairly large numbers.

The words in this house are not fit to print on here but suffice to say that being mad was mild.  Never in my life have I been so angry at five men who forgot they don't don't run the Country and obviously don't give a moment's thought to the Oaths they took as US Senators.  This is all politics all the time and President Obama is always wrong.  If I had my way, I would throw the four out of the Senate for cause.  I am sure there are more but these five men and their comments stood out:
Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called President Obama weak and indecisive for not already having done something about Russia invading Ukraine 
Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., blamed President Obama's "feckless" foreign policy for inviting the crisis in Ukraine on Monday, telling a pro-Israel group that the president has repeatedly failed to demonstrate American strength in the face of adversaries. 
Sen Jim Inhofe "The arrogant actions of President Putin and Russia in recent days is a direct result of President Obama's disarming of America since the beginning of his Administration." said Inhofe, top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. 
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (may be most hated SecDef ever by troops) on Fox News:  Rumsfeld called America weak. He said, “The U.S. is behaving in a way that tells the world we’re in decline, that we’re in withdrawal. We’ve created a leadership vacuum in the world, and it is being filled by the Putins of the world, by people without our values or our interests.” 
Then there is the Junior Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, who knows all about the Ukraine and has "8 Steps Obama Must Take to Punish Russia" -- please forgive me while I laugh -- this guy couldn't even get straight when his parents came from Cuba or why. The very fact he lectured the President sent me through the roof.  Rubio is the Senator with no backbone because when things got tough with the Immigration Bill he took off for the hills.  The fact that McConnell was dumb enough to put Rubio on the Senate Intel Committee makes me cringe.  Republicans have a habit today of putting junior people on key committees.  Intel of all committees should be reserved for those who have been in the Senate for more then one term and are known not to leak or grandstand which leaves Rubio out as he is one of the biggest grand standers ever.  He also likes to run out to a microphone at every chance.
Some might ask why I am so irritated but my irritation goes way back when it comes to getting this Country into war.  If we are not there to win, then get out or if we don't have a vested interest in going to war like after our Country was attacked on 9/11 from terrorists harbored by Afhanistan, then use diplomacy not troops.  We had no business going into Iraq on trumped up evidence by Cheney, Rumsfeld and Company that made Halliburton (Cheney's Company) and other defense contractors piles of money.  These same Republican Senators voted against veterans just recently but now want to send our military into another clash?  What is the Republican mantra?  Send our troops to war but don't take care of them when they get home?  Beyond words I can use on here.

I lived through the Vietnam War working at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and witnessed kids I went to school with being killed in Vietnam.  I knew countless Air Force officers who were serving in Southeast Asia a lot of them in Thailand because so many Air Force missions came out of Korat AB Thailand or from the B-52's out of Andersen AFB, Guam.  When military from Wright-Patterson started getting spit on when they went to shop in Dayton, word went out if you were an officer not to wear your uniform after work in downtown Dayton.  We also had the bad luck of being close to Berkley of the East at Antioch College with their band of spoiled rich kids who didn't take baths demonstrating every Saturday outside the main gate which last time I was back at Wright-Patt a few were still there.   Don't know if the same guy with the long white hair is still demonstrating or not but he was there probably 6-7 years ago on a Saturday.

Antioch College closed their door the other year and must admit that this pro-education person thought it was awesome the lowlife college shut down.  Nothing but trouble -- trying to shut down our gates, jumping on the cars, spitting on the military, calling us all kinds of names and to this day I can remember protesters surrounding my car and pounding on my windows.  They were the trashiest/scariest looking people I ever saw with their faces pressed the window which frighted me.  It wasn't just military but civilians working at Wright-Patt they were attacking.  After that incident when they called for protests, the guy I sat in an office with picked me up.

I don't care if they were against Vietnam, my friends had died over there and had people close to me still in the area and here are a bunch of unwashed, dirty long hair people, trying to block cars from going in the gate and pounding on our windows.  It left a really bad taste in my mouth for protesters of any kind that is still there today.

We were told if we had a decal on our car not to drive through Yellow Springs on the way to the Upper Valley Mall in Springfield.  They were not non-violent people -- more like stoned on something and very seldom wandered to class.  On of my friends had a rock thrown at her car in Yellow Springs just driving through which broke a side window.  Very non-violent. (sarcasm)

Had my younger brother with me shopping at the mall and he goes "Look there is a hippy" and guy just glared at us -- out of the mouths of a young boy!  He also went with me to the dedication of the new AF Museum at Area B when President Nixon spoke in 1971.  Protesters were sticking daisy's in the guards gun barrel's and taunting them.  They were arrested, taken on buses, dumped out in the middle of nowhere and had to find their way home.  Worked in the Command Section so I had tickets and remember some snotty girl with long dirty hair making a comment as we walked in and I just looked at her and glared -- no way was I going to answer back.

Still love visiting the Air Force Museum and if we when go back in the Wright-Patt area that is a definite stop -- my three kids grew up visiting the AF Museum.  Seeing the history of aviation and all those planes with the new building additions and then taking in IMAX is well worth a trip.  Makes you so proud to have been part of this Air Force tradition in some small way.

When the War in Vietnam was escalated by President Johnson there wasn't this automatic trashing of Johnson by members of Congress like we saw this weekend by Republicans which I am still having trouble comprehending why they would want us in another war this time on Ukraine against Russia.   My only explanation is like Iraq -- money for defense contractors who are seeing their budgets shrink which is about time.  The Defense budget is so far out of control, I have to laugh at Inhofe and others complaining about cuts.  They want cuts to troops now not defense contractors who are their big donors.

How can these same men who pushed so hard to go into Iraq under false pretenses, which led to fighting two wars at once, want us to get into military action against Russia over the Ukraine?  Look at facts:  Putin is not Saddam - KGB versus dictator, we had a no-fly zone over Iraq after the 1st Gulf War, Russia has a military force of airpower, seapower, and ground while Iraq's military was decimated not to mention Iraq is a lot smaller.  If members of Congress would have stopped to think on Iraq, they would have figured out that Saddam was bluffing and he didn't have new weapons -- there was no way with the 'no fly zone' and weapons inspections he could have pulled that off.

This article from the Washington Post is so true today because politics in today's Republican Party who cannot get over Romney lost to the man in the White House, is still against anything President Obama does no matter what.  I swear if Obama said he was going to use our military to go after Russia instead of diplomacy, this group of hard right would be out there calling him a war monger and we need diplomacy.  Those names of Senators and former Sec Def mentioned above have lost all credibility and deserve not one ounce of respect -- Graham, McCain, Inhofe, Rumsfeld, and Rubio.  Know there are more but these five stood out to me.

Found this article on Foreign Policy stopping at the water's edge interesting from Washington Post.  He is right today that politics doesn't stop at the water's edge but I can remember in the years of President of OU then Senator Boren of OK as head of Intel and Senator Sam Nunn of GA as head of Defense making sure partisan foreign policy stopped at the water's edge back in the 80's and early 90's on the First Gulf War-- people like those two great men who worked across the aisle are few and far between today and almost non-existent in the Republican Party:  
Does polarization in domestic politics affect foreign policy as well? There is a long-standing belief that it should not. A classic statement of that view can be found in the widely cited words of a leading Republican senator in the early days of the Cold War. Speaking in 1947, Sen. Arthur Vandenberg (Mich.), the influential chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, provided key support to Democratic President Harry S. Truman and admonished his colleagues that “we must stop partisan politics at the water’s edge.”  And in practice, when it comes to military intervention, both the urgency of events and rally-round-the-flag effects are often conducive to wider support within Congress and among the general public. Thus Gallup has found that in 10 conflicts over the past two decades, initial public approval averaged 68 percent.   
Eventually, as the memory of recent conflicts recedes, and with new threats and challenges, public opinion will evolve yet again. At the same time, partisan loyalties and presidential politics will continue to manifest themselves. In short, politics does not stop at the water’s edge. 
(ROBERT J. LIEBER, 10 Feb 2014, Professor of government and international affairs at Georgetown University)
Thank God that President Barack Obama is in the White House not Romney or any Republican because America can be assured he is standing for our Country with a backbone of steel no matter what the Republicans say.  You could see it in his face while talking to the Israeli puppet of the hard right Netanyahu -- he was not happy as he wants progress in the Middle East.

A lot of us have your back Mr. President and our Prayers.

1 comment:

  1. In many ways, it doesn't matter what one's opinion is of the situation. The POTUS controls foreign policy. You behave yourself and act with a little moderation. There's nothing wrong with disagreement. I think, though, it's become a new art form. Yet, going back to Vietnam, there were quite a few in the House and Senate who were very much against it. I think though, that Watergate over-shadowed so many things that we don't even think about it today. There is nothing wrong with voicing one's disagreement, but have some manners and a little sensibility about it.