Nothing is learned in these early going debates as to who may become the next president. Early polling results have a habit of throwing off misguided information. However, candidates can offer intelligence on their various positions and can also harm themselves with ill-advised pronouncements that come back later to bite. With this disclaimer in mind, a few items of interest and omission popped up in the recent Republican debate.
I heard nothing about junking the tax code, lock stock and barrel. I heard nothing about America minding it’s own business in terms of foreign policy and misguided foreign interventions, nation building, and counter-insurgencies. I heard no strategies of substance on the subject of quelling the horde of Islamic immigrants sweeping, tsunami style, into Europe. Nor did I hear much concern regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pronouncement that one million asylum seekers might find their way into Germany this year, a rate five times the number last offered by Germany’s interior minster. The birth rate of North African and Middle Eastern immigrants is well known to be a multiple of the birth rate in Germany.
I heard nothing definitive on the returning of immigrants who have, in recent years, entered America illegally. And I have heard more than is needed on giving these illegals a track to U.S. citizenship.
I did hear Jeb Bush give kudos to brother George for keeping America safe during President Bush’s White House residency. And did this Jeb pronouncement not receive among the best audience support of the evening? Well just who did the audience, never mind candidate Jeb, think was responsible for getting America entangled in a 12-year misadventure in Iraq that has led to over 4,000 American servicemen killed and tens of thousands of more wounded, many tragically disfigured for life? And wasn’t it George Bush who saw to it that Saddam Hussein, murderous tyrant that he was, was hanged to death, thus leading to the destabilization that exists in Iraq and Syria today. For years Saddam, and for that matter Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, had done a pretty good job of keeping the lid on in two of the world’s most combustible regions. Neither President George Bush nor President Obama appears to have given much thought to the old foreign policy theory of unintended consequences as written so prophetically by former National Security advisor Brent Scowcroft. As to keeping America safe, preposterous and an insult to all of our servicemen and their families.
As you no doubt have read, Carly Fiorina was the hit of the evening. First off, the bar was set pretty low following Jeb Bush’s little foray into revisionist history. Second, one’s view on candidate Fiorina is positively skewed by the fact that the lady is a fine speaker and clearly (and commendably and very un-Sarah Palin like) had done some solid homework. Once said, Fiorina quickly tied on her War Dogs bonnet suggesting that America should quit talking to Vladimir Putin, immediately begin rebuilding the Sixth Fleet (based, yes, in Naples, Italy), conduct military exercises in the Baltic states, and move troops in and out of Germany. And it was Fiorina who has sternly announced that on her first day of White House residency she would place a call to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. It is Fiorina’s view that the Obama administration has made the world a more dangerous place by the way it has treated Israel.
As I write this Debbie and I are around the corner from the Israeli embassy here in Paris. In front of the embassy’s compelling looking gated entrance, it is full-scale lockdown mode, featuring armed guards wielding automatic weapons, a presumably well-equipped riot-type van, and an ongoing auto-search program near the embassy. The Israeli installation clearly is deemed to be a significant security risk. While Israel’s embassy looks to be patrolled by remnants of Sly Stallone’s Expendables, at the nearby Canadian Embassy, there is the feeling of summer vacation with Jan and Dean out front. Israel is an international lightening rod, and as former CIA bin Laden unit chief Michael Scheuer points out has little in the way of any common national security interest with America.
It is important to note that, with the single exception of Rand Paul, who has made a hash of his foreign policy position, the other Republican candidates should be lumped along with Carly into the War Dogs camp, but certainly not with such vengeance.
As to the other candidates, Trump was typical blustering Trump. Dr. Carson (an individual to be admired) noted that he had been opposed to both the Iraq and Afghan adventures. Rubio and Kasich did not hurt themselves. The others, why bother?
Net, net, Trump, Fiorina, Bush (who will prove to be far less hawkish than the Jeb he is currently showing us), and Rubio appear to still be in the hunt, with Kasich on the fringe, looking to be perhaps a last man standing candidate or the obvious VP choice. I like John’s background and the values he could bring to the office of President.