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On Obama's New National Security Team, Keep Your Eye on the Policy

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Published : January 15th, 2013
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( 13 votes, 4.4/5 ) , 6 commentaries
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Category : Editorials





President Obama announced his choices for key national security posts this past week, and there has been both celebration and gnashing of teeth in Washington and around the country. There is widespread belief that either or both of these nominees will have an immediate and profound effect on US policy. However, this belief is really just a mistaken over-emphasis on personnel over policy. We should not forget that cabinet secretaries serve the president, and not the other way around.

Many who object to our continued foreign policy of endless war and empire overseas feel encouraged by Obama's choice of Senator Hagel to head the Defense Department. Hagel has shown some admirable willingness to advise caution overseas. He is seen as unenthusiastic over the prospects of a US war on Iran, which is certainly to be welcomed. But let us not forget that he did vote for the war against Iraq, he has expressed support for multi-lateral sanctions on Iran, and last year he wrote in the Washington Post that, on Iran, he supports "keeping all options on the table, including the use of military force."

Nevertheless because he does represent a more moderate voice in foreign policy than the neo-conservatives can tolerate, they are dragging his name through the mud. In choosing Hagel, then, we can hope the president is signaling that he will pursue a less aggressive foreign policy in his second term. But we cannot count on it.

At the same time, the president has chosen John Brennan as Central Intelligence Agency director -- a man who is considered the author of Obama's destructive drone warfare policy, and who as such has been in charge of the president's secret "kill list" that has already claimed the lives of three American citizens. He claimed in 2011 that there were no collateral deaths from the US drone attacks on Pakistan, which is simply not believable. We also should not forget that as then-CIA director George Tenet's right hand man during the Bush presidency, Brennan was certainly involved in the manufactured intelligence and lies that led the US to attack Iraq.

The real problem is in placing too much emphasis on the person the president hires to carry out his foreign and defense policy, as it ignores that policy itself. If the president has decided to continue or even expand US military action overseas through more covert warfare and use of special operations forces, which seems to be the case, it will matter little who he chooses to carry out those policies. If the president decides to continue to provide support to rebels in Syria who have dubious ties to Islamic extremists, to continue to meddle in the internal affairs of countless countries overseas, to continue to refuse to even talk with Iran without preconditions, and so on, we will not see a return to foreign policy sanity no matter who occupies what position in the president's cabinet.

So we should be optimistic that the president may see the wisdom in pursuing a foreign policy that is truly in our national interest, but we should always keep an eye on the policies over the personnel.



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Congressman Ron Paul of Texas enjoys a national reputation as the premier advocate for liberty in politics today. Dr. Paul is the leading spokesman in Washington for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies based on commodity-backed currency. He is known among both his colleagues in Congress and his constituents for his consistent voting record in the House of Representatives: Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution. In the words of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Dr. Paul is the "one exception to the Gang of 535" on Capitol Hill.
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Congressman Paul should know that Barack Obama couldn't find Iran on the globe or Syria on a map, and is told by his senior staff what our foreign policy will be, as well as our financial policy. These senior staff like the Defense Secretary will be clued in and tied in to the powers that be. Therefore, whoever is in these national security positions will be the ones relaying what the US can and cannot do with Iran and Israel, and what the choices are and will be. Of course, the President will have to be onboard, but he is simply a mouthpiece. If he balks and doesn't follow, he follows in the shoes of President Kennedy. Besides, Mr. Obama knows no world history and couldn't formulate a policy; he doesn't even know how many states there are in the United States or even much about our nation's history and traditions. The reason is he doesn't care about the past, only what he wants the future to be. He gets to press his socialist domestic policies which is all he cares about and the big banks could hardly care. The big banks and companies let him know, however, what our financial and defense and diplomatic policies will be. Ron Paul should know all this, and probably does, which is why his last two years in the public policy arena have been so disappointing. He refuses to press the hard issues, simply pointing out the most damaging ones but never pressing the issues hard enough to embarass the powers that be or change anything. How's that fed audit thing doing? Anyone count our nation's gold reserves yet? Saying we have to cut spending without saying what you want cut is chk-sht! That's what politicians do, not leaders.
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On economics issues - advocating a return to real Capitalism where individuals are responsible for their choices and government is not run by political parties trading public money for votes - Ron Paul is spot on.

On foreign policy issues, Ron Paul's brain is mush. His prejudice toward Israel is palpable and his blindness toward the dangers of a nuclear Iran is mindboggling. We need to go back to the naivety of Neville Chamberlain regarding Hitler's world domination agenda to conjure a comparison.

The good news is that Ron Paul is retiring and his foreign policy positions, never having influenced policy, will become even less relevant. There is hope however: his son Rand, who split from his father over the endorsement of Romney for President, has the same economic positions and is far less naive regrading national defense.

Rate :   8  7Rating :   1
Nevermind the nuclear capability of Iran Jim its all ifs buts and political point scoring, the real fact is that a nuke has effectively already happened at Fukishima! Or had you forgotten? And despite an obvious media blackout its meltdown continues to spew forth radiation into the atmosphere, just checkout some of the Japanese blogs on the subject and read or hear what they have to say......................Israel has enough firepower to take out ALL the middle east if its inclined to so quit worrying about them!
Rate :   9  2Rating :   7
The problem with Jim C is that he sees himself as some sort of intellectual discussion starter, always taking a slant that's slightly askew from the truth. In this forum it’s a total waste as there are a broad spectrum of personal views already with most people showing a far greater intellect than he does. Anyone with half a brain can see that the whole Iran nuclear bomb issue is a made up fantasy by those who wish to bring destruction to yet another country on the scale of what happened to Iraq. We were absolutely assured by several US agencies and the prez himself that Iraq had within its border WMD's, even today there are some media morons who still propagate this nonsense. Israel is most certainly more of a threat to the middle east (right next to the US) than Iran could ever be. But hey, it’s good for all of the big business that supplies the US military.

Why all the hate towards Iran? North Korea tested, bloody well live tested, a nuke and then thumbed their noses at the rest of the world while developing long range delivery systems. What did the morons in the White House do about it? Nothing other than make a bunch of male grunting sounds. Where was the military action that would have ended any further development or testing? Iran is just an easy target to pick on, they don’t share a border with China and then there's always Israel that will back up any action against an Islamic state if the US decides to go full retard. North Korea selling small nukes to some anti US organization is more likely than Iran dropping a load on Israel.

People like Jim C are a real problem in today’s world. By trying to be controversial they shift focus off the truth. Individuals that take on this kind of a cause are far more dangerous than Iran could possibly be on a grand scale. If I was living within the US borders I would be more concerned about untold numbers of conventional hi-yield car bombs being used by Islamic extremists than Iran using nukes. And really, with all the meddling the US government has done for so many years can anyone really blame these small bullied and abused countries for taking the war back to US soil? They don’t hate freedom, they hate other countries messing with their affairs. If the current or past US administrations wanted peace they would have backed off the covert wars long ago. Drones overhead do not encourage peace.

You poke a grizzly bear with a stick long enough and eventually it’s going to turn on you. Keep that in mind Jim C.

Rate :   11  3Rating :   8
In his last several posts, I was beginning to think that our old friend Jim C. was beginning to emerge from his dark place and rays of light were beginning to penetrate. Alas, Jim has fallen off the wagon and is once again throwing down shots of his toxic brew of jingoism, military adventurism and American interventionism in every hidden nook and cranny on the globe. What a shame that America's growing insolvency and reluctance of our Chinese bankers to fund our expensive misadventures may be throwing a crimp in his grand designs for world domination.

In the case of Iraq and Iran, the true motives for U.S. hostility were never about the unproven WMDs or nuclear weapons programs. Both nations actually have had the temerity to jettison the holy of holies -- the U.S. petrodollar -- as the ultimate settlement for petroleum purchases. Well, they might soon find they have plenty of company as the shakey dollar teeters on its crumbling perch and the Chinese RMB, several other currencies and gold muscle in on the action.
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Golly gee Mr. Jim, I sure would like to know why you keep telling people that Ron Paul is prejudiced when it comes to matters concerning Israel? Please do detail any articles that would provide direct proof of this as I have never read anything he has written that would or could cause one to think so. I suspect you are merely assuming that because he doesn't blindly defend Israel no matter what the circumstance that this is how you came to believe what you do. Without proof your comments are at best conjecture but really they end up being nothing more than lies at this point and this makes you a liar. Any liar that keeps coming back with more lies must have mush for brains.

You have never once been on target when you comment on US vs. Iran and the rest of the world. You always draw attention away from the fact that the US is getting what it deserves based on the harm it’s done around the world. Is the life of a US citizen worth more than the life of someone in another country? The morons in your government seem to think so. With this condition the US can expect a war that won't end until US troops are no longer ordered to kill innocents around the world. Those who try to protect their families from US aggression are now called terrorists yet when Americans are labeled terrorists for their actions killing peoples of other countries the uproar from the US people can be heard on the moon. Where’s your disdain for this war against the world Jim? Why don’t you ever slam your government for the millions of kids it’s killed around the world for no reason other than a grab for resources or to keep the petro dollar from sinking? How many dead women and kids will be enough to cause you to focus on the truth and stop being a troll? How many corpses will it take to bring your conscience out of the dark place it’s been hiding?

You would rather try to discredit any news by slandering the author. Is this because you’re really ignorant of what’s happening in the world? Take your blinders off and have a look around. US foreign policy has created a world where every small nation, and some large, that won’t bow down before the supreme oppressor is shat upon and denounced as evil by the clowns in the US government. Why not comment on that? Try using some truth in your comments. You once stated that you were in Vietnam, you made it sound as if you had fought for your country so why are you now working against it?

You have a hatred for Mr. Paul and other contributing authors on this site and your prejudice towards them causes ones stomach to turn. Is it any wonder that so many here keep giving you the down arrows and telling you how little they think of you? You should take heed of this. Try reading the articles without your biased glasses on for change.

Here's an idea, when you have something to say on the matter covered in the article you can attempt to keep us spell bound with whatever whit you can muster up but knock off the personal defamation, this is not the place for it. Seriously, in your mind you may see your comments as dealing with something in the article but they're not. You are presenting yourself as nothing more than an ignorant flaming internet troll. You do a great injustice to all those who post serious comments here that are worthwhile reading. Someone here once mentioned that you should get back on your meds. Might be a good idea.

And just so you know, I am not and have not been card carrying a Ron Paul supporter. I find some of the things he has said very questionable. At least he’s honest in telling us what he’s thinking unlike most of the morons in congress and the White House.
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Golly gee Mr. Jim, I sure would like to know why you keep telling people that Ron Paul is prejudiced when it comes to matters concerning Israel? Please do detail any articles that would provide direct proof of this as I have never read anything he has wr  Read more
Schwerpunkt - 1/16/2013 at 2:07 PM GMT
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