Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Volume 52 - The Election and Foreign Policy

In volume 37 - I wrote "Watch how you vote!" Over one year ago, when all this madness (political stuff) started; and now, has finally come to the final 30 some days, the story of the ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER is still valid (Volume 37 - read it).

In that period of time, we arrived at our first black candidate for President and our first female candidate for Vice-President, as a Republican. The war is still being fought, foreign embassies are still being attacked, the economy is almost as bad as in the days of Jimmy Carter; yes, just almost, for we haven't reached the double digit inflation or the 21% interest rates, nor do we have 440 captive prisoners, although looking at the largest bailout in history. Yet, we are still bombarded with alleged facts and figures of how all problems, from national health care to the ending of the war to a 'chicken in every pot,' can be obtained with the election of either candidate.

I believe that we will survive this latest round of economic thievery, as well as the election. My concern however is what direction we, as a nation, will take on the Global Front. How will we deal with Globalization? Trade? Radical Islam? China? Russia? Cuba? Venezuela? Oil Dependency? Illegal Immigration (yes, a global problem), and the list goes on...................

What I do know is that in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention someone suggested that the Constitution set a limit of 5000 men in the army. The story goes on to say that upon that suggestion, George Washington said, "If that be so, let the Constitution also say that no foreign army should ever invade our country with more than 3000 troops." Washington's pragmatism reminds me that stated policies, foreign or domestic, are inevitably tempered by the realities of politics. An example of such realities and lack of history, as printed by the NY Times, September 30, 1999, "Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending,".....under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits."

In this coming election, we have McCain, a staunch free trader, supporting NAFTA as well as other free trade agreements; having also supported agreements with Viet Nam, truly defining free trade (considering he spent 5 years as a prisoner of war within that country). On the other hand, we have Obama who has supported some free trade, and has statements saying that the US cannot hide from globalization but must adapt to change (Whatever the hell that means). There is no question that sufficient trade reform must exist, and whether the US continues to participate in multilateral trade negotiations held under the auspices of the World Trade Organization is undoubtedly an important issue; but, the US must also be able to address economic issues as the value of the dollar, the centrality of the U.S. as a global financial center, high commodity prices, and the unaccountability of Congress.

Most meaningful however is the understanding of re-establishment of America as an international leader. This is something that hasn't been lost simply over the last Bush administration; but, something that has been in a decline since the Nixon Administration. Our inability to work within a true international community is staggering. We have picked and chosen dictators, terrorist, thugs, republics, democracies, and other forms of government with no real sense of reality.

I believe that this type of thinking has trickled down to the average citizen, who has no idea of the world outside of their respective own 'little world,' not only in a geographic sense but in a respective or moral sense of responsibility. As such, I present, from a retired Colonial friend, the latest example of our narrow-minded, thoughtless, self-centered example of ourselves, rotting from the inside out as a civilization. As George Washington counseled, leaders often must respond to the reality they are given, not the reality they wish:

"Subject: Noise Complaint at Luke AFB, AZ Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 11:42:33 -0400 Noise Complaint at Luke AFB, AZ. Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were. A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote theological paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall. When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit. The complaint: 'Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at 9:11 a.m,a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall,continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervin's early bird special? Any response would be appreciated.'

The response: Regarding 'A wake-up call from Luke's jets' (Letters,Thursday): On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship fly by of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques.. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.At 9 a.m.on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer's recount of the fly by, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps,or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured. A four-ship fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects. The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show? The56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives. Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you.....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom. Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr. USAF" ______________________________________________________________________