November 24, 2011
“I have seen the future… and the future is dark.”
CNN hosted the final preliminary Republican Presidential debate this week, whose theme was National Security.
Much like their Democrat adversaries on the other side of the isle, Republican candidates for President normally lack the intellectual capacity and sincerity necessary to raise and properly discuss any genuine issues that are affecting America today. This latest GOP debate was no exception, turning out to be a virtual showcase for a variety of new loopy ideas and old arcane fears. In the end, only two candidates managed to remain within bounds of reality and sanity.
In 2008, the topic of national security was owned by Rudy Giuliani, aka ‘Mr 911’, but as the housing market began to implode in 2008 – so did the fear market, and thus did Giuliani’s campaign of doom.
In 2012, as the threat of the US State Department and CIA all-purpose widget – al-Qaida is fading into the background of history, the Republican candidates are left to fight over various new spins on older boogie men, and with some surprisingly creative results…
When asked what is the most pressing national security issue facing Americans today, Former Sen. Rick Santorum responded that he’s worried about the “spread of socialism” in Central and South America: “I’m very concerned about the militant socialists and the radical Islamists joining together, bonding together”. A interesting, albeit creative observation by Santorum – the trend of jihadists in South America joining forces… with ‘the socialists’ ?
Then came Mitt Romney, the candidate who is most openly courting the military industrial complex, marketing himself as multi-tasking, high-powered technocrat and CEO, in the same vane as Donald Rumsfeld. Romney picked up where Santorum left off, and clearly couldn’t make up his mind what was the biggest threat – China, or a nuclear Iran, so he proceeded to pile everything into one multifaceted threat, stating wildly, “And we have, right now, Hezbollah, which is working throughout Latin America, in Venezuela, in Mexico, throughout Latin America, which poses a very significant and imminent threat to the United States of America.”
Of course, Romney would insist he is not making any of this up on the spot. This is the genius of neoconservative rhetoric – it is designed to pander only to the lost common denominator.
Next was Rick Perry of Texas, another suspected intellectual giant. When asked about the greatest concern regarding his country’s national security, Perry responded, “how we’re going to deal with China,” adding, “I happen to think that Communist China is destined for the ash heap of history because they are not a country of virtues”.
When asked, Pizza tycoon Herman Cain said he’s deeply concerned about the issue of cyber security. “That’s something that we do not talk enough about, and I happen to believe that that is a national security area that we do need to be concerned about.” Sadly for Americans, Herman Cain was not able to go into any detail as to what the actual threat was, but his choice was impressive in terms of appearing to be modern and ‘with it’ on current events.
Next was Rep. Michele Bachmann, who believes it is Iraq that threatens America most, clearly forgetting that Baghdad has already been subdued for the last eight years, with 150,000 US troops and contractors surrounding and occupying that country. Still though, she remains worried adding that Washington ” is intentionally choosing to give that peace away. This is a significant issue because we’re taking the terrorist threat away from the Middle East, bringing it to the United States.”
Bachmann also noted the CIA’s new cut-out Islamic terror mercenary group Al-Shabaab, as a threat hitting her too close to home, even in sleepy Minnesota. “In my home state of Minnesota, we’ve just had two convictions of two women that are financing terror with Al-Shabaab. This threat, I believe, now is in the United States and now the threat has come home and that’s what we have to deal with.”
Finally, the mantle for the most creative ‘fear for sale’ item goes to the long-expired former GOP Speaker of the House (who debate host Wolf Blitzer still addresses as “Mr Speaker”) Newt Gingrich, whose chief national security fear for America is the very same threat faced by the Machines in the film The Matrix, and Zion’s weapon of choice in film (the symbolism of Gingrich’s answer is somewhat telling) – the much dreaded ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP). Gingrich us warns here: “Electromagnetic pulse attack which would literally destroy the country’s capacity to function”.
Indeed, it is Gingrich who clearly trumps Cain here, with the award for the most hip and hi-tech answer.
Still proudly holding the torch for sanity were Congressman Ron Paul (TX) and Utah’s Jon Huntsman, who both managed to remain immune from the national security madness that continues to inflict the rest of the GOP field.
Huntsman implored, “How can we have any effect on foreign policy abroad when we are so weak at home?” and adding, “we have no choice. We’ve got to get on our feet here domestically”.
Ron Paul’s biggest worry is that of a U.S. “overreaction”, a chronic condition in Washington foreign policy which has already led to a string of costly wars. Paul also delivered another masterclass in history and pragmatism, reminding the debate panel and audience exactly “who the Taliban is”. Paul explains here, “Taliban doesn’t mean they want to come here and kill us. The Taliban means they want to kill us over there because all they want to do is get people who occupy their country out of their country, just like we would if anybody tried to occupy us.”
It is intelligent answers like this that tell us why it is Ron Paul, and not Mitt Romney, who is leading the GOP polls in the run-up to the Iowa Caucuses in January.
Ron Paul’s platform on foreign policy has been more or less iron-clad and consistent even for the early debates during the 2008 Presidential race. In Ron Paul’s world, common sense seems to rule over the creative science fiction and wild Hollywood screenplays which rule the rest of the GOP Presidential field.
Or should we really be getting behind Newt, to shield us from those horrible EMP’s?