16 November 2012

Aren't There Real Issues?

Apparently the American Media, both Right and Left, have decided that the weighty matters of foreign policy revolve either around Benghazi or Petraeus' penis.

Look. Benghazi was a screw-up, plain and simple. The Obama Administration got it wrong at first, because it politicizes intelligence information, as it politicizes everything. This is nothing new. Nearly all US presidents politicize intelligence, and therefore diminish their own ability to use intelligence effectively. The exceptions are Washington, Eisenhower, and Bush the Elder. See For the President's Eyes Only. Even now, the Obama Administration can't come clean with the simple truth, because they have to justify what they first said. See Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me.

And I'm sure that David Petraeus has behaved with more decorum and wisdom than former President Bill Clinton. It's worth noting that he stepped out of line. Good, it's noted. Now it's no longer news.

The Right Wing Media plays up one story, the Left Wing Media plays up the other. Each one tries to reverse the other's spin. That's the problem with News As Entertainment, as a kind of non-historical Short Attention Span Theater. The real issues, the elephants in the living room, get swept aside. Don't worry the public's pretty little heads. They don't want to think. Just give them bread and circuses.

So here's a question for the media: It's normal for war aims (or goals or rationales for fighting) to change during a conflict. How have the West's goals changed in the conflict with Al-Qaeda and Affiliated Movements (AQAM)? How have AQAM's goals changed, if at all? How do we use Joseph Nye's "Smart Power" to hasten this conflict to an end that is favorable to humanity? And who is doing that now?

I'm not interested in the occasional foreign policy screw-up. I'm interested in its overall direction. And I'm not at all interested in the occasional personal indiscretion.

08 November 2012

Republicans, Get Over It

1. 2008 was not a fluke. It is the new normal.

2. Nothing you do will win over Latinos as long as your rhetoric during the primaries is about building border fences. Try talking about managing a mobile population for their benefit and that of the US and Mexico, instead of the illegal traffickers.

3. Nothing you do will win over young single women until you accept that restricting a woman's access to abortion is an unfunded government mandate on her of $1 million per child that she must then raise. If you aren't going to put up the cash, then back off. Feel free to advise us that abortion is evil, but lay down the blunt instrument of the law.

4. Nothing you do will win over urban districts until you are in urban districts for the long haul as community organizers, not as carpetbaggers come just for the campaign.

It's time for a change, because your country needs some of your other ideas.

Congratulations, Mr. Obama! You are my President, and I will do my best to help you succeed in carrying out the duties of your office. But look at a map of the electoral districts before you decide that you have a mandate to overreach.

Because 2012 is not a fluke, either.