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How Obama Will Transform Our Military – For the Worse

October 21, 2008

I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.  I think he is a transformational figure.

Gen. Colin Powell on Meet the Press, Oct. 19th, 2008

Let’s connect the dots a bit. Here’s our transformational figure explaining what he’ll do to the military.

Vanderleun has a nice dynamic equivalent translation for this red-letter delivery. A sample:

4) I’ll allow China and Russia to put their weapons into space ahead of us, leaving us totally defenseless against them.

5) Not only do I want us to be defenseless from space, I also want China and Russia to have superior air, ground, and naval forces too.

6) And I’ll put my goons (the Defense Priorities Board) in the Pentagon to make sure that the Defense Department doesn’t try to defend us.

What’s being advocated in this video (provenance of which I would like some help with – there is no campaign imprint of any kind on it, rendering it somewhat suspect) is nothing less than the defenestration of prudence in defense. It makes me shudder to contemplate it. The transformational aspect of Obama’s plans couldn’t be clearer. It’s the defenestration, stupid!

Powell’s endorsement is of minor historical interest, and Vanderleun says about all that needs to be said on the subject. The far more worrysome quote of the day came from Joe Biden:

“Mark my words,” the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

“I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate,” Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. “And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”

What do you think he might be talking about? And given the defense priorities outlined so confidently above, why wouldn’t our enemies test us? Barack Obama’s entire campaign is built on the very premise that we can avoid armed conflicts. Why wouldn’t they see how much they can get away with, and what kind of punishment will be dealt?

Joe Biden is a truly world-class gaffe machine. By bringing up the Kennedy Kruschev era in connection to Obama, he’s brought up the worst possible way Obama could be connected to Kennedy. Call it a gaffe wraped in a  kinsely gaffe. His evocation of Kennedy recalls Obama’s own colossal misunderstanding of the Kennedy Kruschev relationship:

In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama said something that is all the more remarkable for how little it has been remarked upon.

In defending his stated intent to meet with America’s enemies without preconditions, Sen. Obama said: “I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.”

That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.

I assume the Roosevelt to whom Sen. Obama referred is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our enemies in World War II were Nazi Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler; fascist Italy, headed by Benito Mussolini, and militarist Japan, headed by Hideki Tojo. FDR talked directly with none of them before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender.

FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb.

Just what is Biden talking about here:

“There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision’,” Biden continued. “Because if you think the decision is sound when they’re made, which I believe you will when they’re made, they’re not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they’re popular, they’re probably not sound.”[Cf. The Surge – Ed.]

Biden emphasized that the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border is of particular concern, with Osama bin Laden “alive and well” and Pakistan “bristling with nuclear weapons.”

Just what will an Obama administration do? Immediately get into a tussle with nuclear-armed Pakistan, like it or not? Capitulate to a nuclear-armed Pakistan or other rouge state? I don’t know. I think you could pull out quotes from any direction. That doesn’t give me confidence. But it will give our enemies confidence to give something really aggressive a try because they might think they can get away with it.

Part of power projection is projecting it in lieu of actually using it. Appear weak and you might be forced to use it anyway.

As I’ve noted previously in Barack Obama: Closet Neocon? Obama can talk tough. I also noted in Obama’s Non-Nuclear World the problems with his radically idealistic notion of riding the world of nuclear weapons. (For a fuller discussion, please read Wrechard’s original analysis of the dangers of non-proliferation aka a world full of virtual nukes). This radically idealistic way of thinking seems to me to be the stronger urge in the candidate; it is certainly the primary attraction to him for most of his supporters who seem to believe he can by the sheer force of his oratory and personality usher in a new era of world peace.

The thing we have to remember is that living at peace with others is not only our decision. Others will have their say – violently as Joe Biden said.

Barack Obama is worse than a novice in this situation. Not only does he have the disadvantages of the inexperienced leader who must rely on advisors and invites attack by his own lack of history, but he has his head filled with wrong ideas about how negotiating works and has worked in history. He has advocated in a strikingly non-nuanced way disarming ourselves of nukes. Add that to mutually exclusive statements about the use of force etc. and you have a a disaster of epic porportions in the making.

A closing word of hope and change from Sen. Joe Biden, foreign policy expert:

“I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know, so I’m not being falsely humble with you. I think I can be value added, but this guy has it,” the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said of Obama. “This guy has it. But he’s gonna need your help. Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, ‘Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?’ We’re gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I’m asking you now, I’m asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you’re going to have to reinforce us.”

If you think you need hope and change now wait until August 2009. Biden also talks of the “systemic problem we have with this economy.” I guess they’ll have to fix that at the same time.

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