We live in unprecedented times. World peace is imperiled like at no time since the holocaust. But this time it is imperiled by an enemy which is not guided by the motivations of past megalomaniacs. Nor are their goals those of any civilized society. They place no value on the quintessential American values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is anathemata to a people who love death more than we love life. Liberty is a sinful pursuit. Life is expendable in achieving their goals. Their desire is to destroy western civilization by any means necessary. They are driven by their spiritual beliefs which are not subject to reason, threats of personal harm, or even death.
Totalitarian regimes of the past whose uniformed armies were dispatched to dominate the world by any means necessary - including genocide - cared about themselves. They could be defeated and forced to surrender. That ended the hostilities. Not so current Islamists. They are not motivated by life. They are motivated by death. And not being a uniformed army they hide in plain sight. They will not stop until they succeed or are destroyed.
In short this is an era where foreign policy and defense policy needs clear heads to form it. Conventional wisdom based on historical precedent won’t work. Studying history or military strategies is not enough. Understanding the enemy is what’s needed.
That brings me to the current Presidential race between Barrack Obama and John McCain. In my view John McCain understands the issue. Barrack Obama does not. I base my conclusion on public statements each has made with respect to foreign policy. Obama’s approach is - let’s talk to the enemy. As though by talking to them we will be able to reason with them. He believes in the conventional wisdom that we can reason with our enemies. ‘Speak sofly and carry a bib stick’. Like Islamists care about our ‘big stick’. Obama must be thinking - We will see what they want – they will see what we want and reasonable compromise will take place.
Obama doesn’t realize that you cannot reason with people who reject reason as a basis for their actions and are devoted killing innocent people and dying for their cause. There is no ‘big stick’ leverage with people who think like this. You cannot destroy an idea. All you can do is defeat them with force. John McCain knows that and it’s why I support him.
Unfortunately John McCain will lose this election. Here’s why.
The success of the so called ‘surge’ of troops in Iraq has paid off. Iraq is no longer the big issue. The American people hardly give it a second thought. If anything they want us out now. That is what Obama has promised to do. The big issue for the American people is the economy. And with good reason. This is the worst economy since the Jimmy Carter era. In fact it is probably worse.
The American people see a John McCain who has publicly admitted being virtually ignorant about how to deal with it. That’s not good if the economy is the number one issue.
But there are other factors that have even more impact on this election. The single most important one being is image. And anoher being symbolism.
Let’s compare the two candidates.
Obama is young, McCain is old. America loves the vitality of youth more than it values the wisdom of age. Obama is quite brilliant, having received his law degree from Harvard. Does anyone even know where John McCain went to college? (He graduated from the U.S.Naval Academy at Annapolis.)
Obama is an inspiring speaker - articulate and polished. He sounds knowledgable about a whole array of issues. Record crowds come to see him and hear him. They cheer him exuberantly. McCain comes of as just another old time politician with not even half the eloquence of Obama.
Obama has a beautiful wife who is a successful business woman in her own right. And they have some of the cutest children you’ll find anywhere (…shades of John-John and Caroline Kennedy). And they seems to be living the family values that are so important to most Americans. Obama has been married to the same woman he fell I love with - never having had any affairs. Their love for each other seems genuine - often on display before the cameras. McCain’s marital history - not so pristine.
And then there is the very powerful symbol of being he first black President. Obama is the Jackie Robinson of Presidential politics. Young people who have never voted will vote for him in unprecedented numbers.
The only plus in image John McCain has is that he was a war hero but his appearance is that of an old man – his movements being awkward because of injuries sustained as a prisoner of war. He is anything but charismatic.
So I am discouraged. I favor McCain’s wisdom. But Obama's charisma by far over-shadows it.
Many people compare Obama to JFK - pointing to his success despite his youth. But things are different now. As I said, today’s enemies - are not yesterdays enemies. By making irresponsible statements about meeting with Ahmadinejad Obama betrays his ignorance about Islamism . We need someone who realizes how foolish and dangerous legitimizing Ahmadinejad is. What good will Obama’s economic solutions be (even if I conceded they are good ones - which I do not) in a world dominated by Islamic law - the ultimate goal of all Islamists? If you don’t think Islamists would ever attack the United States, then you do not remember 9/11.