Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Focusing on Foreign Policy

                    The final debate of the 2012 presidential campaign between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney was held last night, Monday, October 22, 2012.  The debate on foreign policy was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News and about how the United States deals with foreign nations, or in other words, America's role in the world.  Problems in the Middle East and how we deal with them were the main focus:  the continuing war in Afghanistan, the Arab Spring and its deterioration, tensions between Israel and its neighbors, and Iran and its nuclear efforts.  Romney gave Obama a pass on the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

                    The debate was supposed to be about America's foreign policy, but it included much talk about the economy.  In fact, it seemed to me that Romney always took the discussion back to the economy and how we need a strong economy in order to be secure as a nation.

Ivan Kenneally apparently agrees with me.  "Romney was at his best when he focused on the economic underpinnings of any foreign policy, noting that our fiscal health underwrites national security….  In fact, much to Obama's disadvantage, the debate often got sidetracked into lengthy exchanges over domestic issues like job creation, the national debt, and the possible avenues to renewed commercial vigor.  Obama did not do well in these moments, speaking stridently of his future designs as if the last four years of economic enervation never occurred….

                    "Bob Schieffer did a laudable job, the best of the three moderators.  The clearest evidence for this was that the debate was a pretty boring affair, predictably contentious but generally civil.  Wrenched from context, it could be judged a tie, with no conclusive blows delivered by either side.  But context matters:  while Obama needs to restore his once celebrated mystique, Romney only needed to reinforce his suitability for office, disabusing those who still fear he still plans to spark a nuclear war with Iran and a currency war with China.  And mystique is hard to recapture once squandered.  Obama's all too human performance was a forlorn reminder that he is a politician and not a prophet, and that yesterday's soaring promise of hope is today's chastened entreaty for patience."

                    The Heritage Foundation has another good analysis of the debate where Amy Payne shared several live blog posts from Heritage experts.  A couple of them are highlighted below, but others can be found at this site.   

                    One of the Heritage experts was Dean Cheng, Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, who quoted Obama's derisive comments:  "You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916.  Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed…."  Cheng then provided this analysis:  "While the types of ships of today are different from those prior to World War I, there are certain laws of physics that have not changed.  And one of those is that, no matter how much cyber capability or space capability may exist, a ship can still be only in one place at any one time.  Thus, whether it is battleships or aircraft carriers, whether it is nuclear-powered submarines or biplanes, each system can only be in one place at any given time.  And a shortfall of naval vessels, such as now exists, means that there will be times and places where there will be fewer ships than U.S. Navy analysts and officers deem appropriate and necessary."

                    Another expert at Heritage was Steven Bucci, PhD, Senior Research Fellow for Defense and Homeland Security, who gave the following analysis of defense readiness being the key to America's role in the world:  "The weakness of America's economy is hurting America.  The added self-inflicted wound of the cuts directed by the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act will damage the readiness of the nation even further.  When America's allies see the leader of the free world as receding and leading from behind, they worry and pull back form operations that support U.S. interests.

                    "When both candidates agree that America has a responsibility to lead, the conditions to ensure that leadership must be set and protected.  To do that, sequestration must be turned off and the assault on readiness ended.  The so-called $2 trillion that Obama says is `not asked for by the generals' is exactly what nearly every expert says America needs to have solid defense (4 percent of GDP).  America's leadership in foreign affairs must be reinvigorated, and we must provide all the tools needed by diplomats and intelligence professionals.

                    "The argument that the present defense budgetary situation is based on strategy and exactly what the uniformed leaders have asked for is a little disingenuous.  The cuts made in the last four years have been dollars-based, with the defense officials like Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claiming further `cuts will be a disaster.'  This must be changed."

                    Another web site from the Heritage Foundation entitled the "New Common Sense - Applying First Principles to the Issues of Today"  discussed the need for our foreign policy to be based on principles.  

                   "The true consistency of American foreign policy is found not necessarily in its policies, which prudently adapt to changing circumstances, but in its guiding principles, which are unchanging and permanent.

                    "The country would be better served if the candidates would sign on to certain governing principles, and then rely on these principles to guide their actions.  As Professor Charles R. Kesler put it after the second debate, `The questioners kept asking for more details, but don't they see it's not the details but the principles of the myriad new laws and programs on offer that they seek?  They could never hope to grasp all the details, and shouldn't want to."

                    New Common Sense suggests that the following principles should guide America's foreign policy.  1) "America's Role in the World.  America does have a special role in the world - one that is morally and philosophically grounded in the principles of human liberty, and in its sense of justice…."

2) "Liberty is America's cause.  At the heart of America's exceptionalism is the universal principle that all are free by nature because each person possesses inherent rights…."

3) "National Independence matters.  Independence means that it is always in our interest to prevent the United States from becoming subservient to the interests of another nation.  The most important goal of American foreign policy is to defend the independence of the United States, so that America can govern itself according to its principles and pursue its national interests."

4) "Conviction matters.  The way to prevail in the ideological challenges against us - from radical Islamic terrorism to resurgent transnationalism and other anti-American forces - is to actively defend and promote America's principles and the spread of economic and political freedom around the world…."

5) "Advance freedom on all fronts.  Especially economic freedom.  Free trade policies create economic dynamism, which engenders continual innovation and leads to better products, new markets, greater investment - and more jobs.  Countries that have the lowest trade barriers also have the strongest economies, the lowest poverty rates, and the highest average levels of per-capita income."

I personally view the debate as showing a definite difference between Obama and Romney and their ideas.  Yes, Romney agreed with some of Obama's foreign policies but not all of them.  To me, the big differences between the two men are their personal principles.  Even with my limited knowledge of our foreign dealings, I heard numerous lies coming out of Obama's mouth.  Examples are "I didn't make any apology tour" and "We did everything we could to help our people in Benghazi." 

To me, Romney looked and acted like a president of the greatest country in the world should look and act.  He was polite and pleasant as well as being forceful and patient.  I trust Romney, but I do not trust Obama who acted like a child being corrected:  the deadly stares, the clinching of his jaw, the accusations, the lies, the numerous attempts to interrupt Romney.

JeffreyA. Rendall agrees that Romney looked presidential.  "Romney basically just waited throughout the debate for the right opportunities to make points - and in the end, accomplished his goal.  Mitt's job going in was to look presidential, a solid alternative to a president who's struggling at home and abroad.  And he did that."

I do not understand how anyone could vote for Barack Obama because I believe him.  His plans to "fundamentally change the United States" are not good for freedom-loving Americans - or for the world.  I will vote for Mitt Romney and less government, better economy, and greater national security!


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