A New American Ally: Libya?

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/ 

America has many allies in the Middle East. These allies range from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia to Yemen.

Of course, the relationship between the United States and its Middle Eastern “allies” is not as close as the diplomats might suggest. A perusal of the newspapers of both countries would uncover some (or very much) hostility between America and, say, Pakistan.

Indeed, America’s allies in the Middle East do much behind its back that goes against America’s interests. America is incredibly unpopular in Egypt and Turkey. Saudi Arabia was home to Osama Bin Laden, as well as fifteen out of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Pakistan may or may not have protected Mr. Bin Laden; it certainly protects much of the Pakistani Taliban.

All in all, and with the exception of Israel, until now America has not had a true ally in the Middle East for decades (or perhaps ever). Outside of Israel, there has not been one country that would come to America’s aid if it were in dire straits.

Until now. The events in Libya may give America a second true ally in the Middle East. Libya may become first Arab country in which the people support an alliance with the United States.

This would be quite the change. Libya has for decades been grouped together with countries generally thought of as enemies of America. People have thought of Libya in conjunction with Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Syria, etc. But now, with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s rule at a clear end, Libya could possibly turn into the strongest friend America has amongst the entire Arab world.

An ally’s worth is measured not by its promises when the going is good, but by whether it honors those promises when the chips are down and a country is in desperate need of help. By this measure, the vast majority of America’s “allies” in the Middle East don’t deserve to be called by that term.

Say, for instance, that Canada launches an invasion along America’s unprotected northern border, defeats America’s armies, and advances within fifty miles of New York City – with America’s remaining troops fighting a desperate last stand on the shores of the Hudson River.

Who would come to America’s aid in that event? “Allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would probably abandon America gladly. On the other hand, much of western Europe would rush to America’s defense. The United Kingdom and France would probably send help. Countries such as Israel and Australia would probably provide assistance as well.

After the Arab Spring, so might Libya. 

 

Misunderstanding the “Osama” Bounce

A number of Beltway pundits have remarked upon the effect that bringing justice to Osama bin Laden had on President Barack Obama’s approval ratings. The conventional wisdom is that Mr. Obama enjoyed a brief “Osama bounce” in polling. Now, with yet more bad economic news, Mr. Obama’s Osama bounce has faded.

This is a complete misunderstanding of what the killing of Osama bin Laden actually means for the president.

A “bounce” in one’s approval ratings is the result of a fleeting event which temporarily makes one look good, but which nobody will remember in a year. The political conventions that take place during every presidential election result in bounces. Modern political conventions make the presidential nominee look good, but nothing meaningful ever happens in them.

Another example of a bounce: Mr. Obama’s well-received speech after Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting. This was a fleeting event which temporarily made Mr. Obama look good. But the average American probably has already forgotten who Ms. Giffords even is. (Don’t believe me? Try testing your neighbor.)

In contrast, nobody will forget the death of Osama bin Laden for a long, long time. When the history books are written one hundred years later, they will still mention it.

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Politically, Bin Laden’s death means far more than just a mere “Osama bounce” for the president. It rips an enormous hole through the Republican critique of Mr. Obama on foreign policy.

This critique is best described by the titles of two articles by conservative magazines The Weekly Standard and The National Review. Their titles are “A Leader From Behind” and “The Embarrassed Superpower.” Republican criticize Mr. Obama as weak on national security, uninterested in American exceptionalism, too apologetic for America’s mistakes, and so on. It’s a very classical critique of any Democratic politician.

That Mr. Obama’s administration brought the Al-Qaeda leader to justice fundamentally works against these themes. How can one say that the president apologizes too much after Bin Laden’s death? How can one say that the president is too “soft” after he ordered one of the most macho operations in American history?

In essence, Bin Laden’s death has sealed off foreign policy as an avenue for the 2012 Republican nominee to criticize the president. Republicans will fight the 2012 presidential election on the economy and on domestic policy. They may win; they may lose. But due to his administration’s success in bringing the world’s number one terrorist to justice, Mr. Obama looks set to be pretty much invincible in the realm of foreign policy come 2012.

 

 

Situation Room Photo Gets Superhero Makeover

After news came out that a religious newspaper cut Hillary Clinton out of the “Situation Room Photo” last week, it was only a matter of time until somebody else came out with a doctored version of the photo. In case you were wondering, the photo with superheroes added in is ten times more awesome than the first.

In a satiric twist, Josh Rogin, staff writer for Foreign Policy magazine, tweeted out this comic book, superhero version of the situation room photoin which President Barack Obama and his national security team members are all wearing superhero outfits. How tense would the situation room have been during the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound with all of these legends in the room at once? MORE

 

 

An Anti-War Candidate Announces for President

Last week, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson announced his candidacy for President of the United States.

This was a historic event, because 1) Gary Johnson wants to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and 2) Gary Johnson is a Republican. He also wants to slash the military budget.

 

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Barbara Boxer: Champion in the Senate Against the Afghanistan War

If you've ever spent quality time trying to move an agenda through Congress, you know that moving an agenda isn't just about lobbying individual Members. You need a "champion" for your issue. The champion introduces your bill. The champion recruits other offices to sign up. The champion introduces an amendment that carries the same idea as the bill and lobbies other Members to vote for it. The champion circulates letters to other offices. The champion raises the profile of your issue in the media.

When Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold lost his bid for re-election, advocates working to end the war in Afghanistan lost their champion in the Senate. It was Feingold's office that introduced the bill, introduced the amendment, circulated the letter, led the lobbying of other offices, led the charge in the media.

Now California Senator Barbara Boxer has re-introduced Feingold's bill requiring the President to establish a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan - a timetable with an end date. So far, Senators Dick Durbin, Tom Harkin, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Sherrod Brown have signed on as co-sponsors of Senator Boxer's bill.

 

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