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Obama's Rambo Foreign Policy

February 4, 2008


The Obama vs. Hillary fight looks mean and nasty. But it also looks like one of those "professional" wrestling bouts rehearsed in advanced and orchestrated in the ring. The crowd gets excited even though the sophisticated observers understand that the outcome is pre-determined. Bill Clinton wins no matter what happens because his old associates are advising both candidates. And while the U.S. may get out of Iraq, a new Democratic Administration could lead to more U.S. military intervention around the world, a bigger Army, and even a military draft.

How many of those young people cheering Obama realize that, if their candidate wins the nomination and the general election, they will get a Washington administration staffed by former aides to Bill and Hillary Clinton? That was an administration that intervened militarily in Haiti and the former Yugoslavia and expressed regret that it had not intervened more forcefully in Africa. Obama is a proponent of this interventionist view.

Do those young people cheering Obama realize that, if he wins the presidency, they may get a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq but are likely to get U.S. and U.N. military intervention in other areas of the world, supposedly on humanitarian grounds? Under a Democratic Administration, the U.S. might have more wars on its hands.

Ironically, this message of increased U.S. military intervention in the rest of the world is being fed by Sylvester Stallone's new "Rambo" movie about an old U.S. soldier leading a team of mercenaries against Burmese soldiers. As the Washington Post put it, Rambo becomes a "human rights activist" in the film, saving some Christian missionaries while killing scores of the oppressors of the Karen people. The R-rated film shows human rights violators being blown apart or torn to bits, mostly by Rambo, with the message being that somebody has to do something about the evil in the world. In real life, what the Democrats have in mind is increasing the power of the U.N. to deal with such problems. That means more money¯and troops¯from the U.S.

Isn't it interesting that tough guy Rambo didn't visit Iraq to wipe out the terrorists? No, he went to a place where the liberal internationalists are screaming for intervention.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, has become one of several proposed high-profile targets for those advocating military intervention in other countries' civil wars. Their new doctrine, which now has the support of the U.N., is to create "peace and security" through the creation and maintenance of international military forces with the ability to intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign states. In short, they want a standing U.N. Army, financed by the U.S.

They draw a line, of course. They are not calling for the liberation of Tibet, now under brutal Communist Chinese occupation. And they don't propose intervention in Colombia's civil war against Marxist narco-terrorists there.

It's no surprise that Hillary is enlisting the help of advisers from her husband's administration, but so is Obama. His most notable foreign policy adviser is Anthony Lake, a former national security adviser to Bill Clinton who became a laughingstock for expressing doubts as to whether Alger Hiss, the founder of the United Nations and a top State Department official, was a communist spy. Hiss had been convicted of perjury for denying he was a communist agent and decoded Soviet transcripts later confirmed his guilt. Lake's doubts led to a controversy that caused him to withdraw his nomination as Clinton's CIA director. He ended up in academia as a professor at Georgetown University.

Is there anybody in the press willing to ask Obama whether he shares Lake's doubts about Hiss? How about Hillary? The answers to that question could generate some real news in the campaign.

As noted by Neil King Jr. of the Wall Street Journal, Obama's foreign policy team is "heavy on onetime aides to President Clinton." King mentioned Lake, but without noting his controversial views on Hiss, and others.

King correctly noted that there are no "substantial policy differences" between Obama and Hillary, with both favoring "a more robust emphasis on diplomacy and multilateral engagement..." In other words, regardless of whether Hillary or Obama wins, you can count on more power and authority for the United Nations. In practical terms, this means the U.S. will intervene more often in areas of the world where U.S. national interests are not at stake.

Susan Rice, a key foreign policy adviser to Obama who frequently appears on television on his behalf, has been a major proponent of U.S. military action in Darfur, the western region of Sudan where human rights violations are taking place. Rice is a former assistant secretary of state for African Affairs in the Clinton Administration who became a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

The American people have seen many television and newspaper ads about fighting "genocide" around the world but our media have not examined the dangerous implications of the U.S. actually adopting a foreign policy of addressing all of these conflicts and trying to resolve them. The propaganda has had its intended effect. Democrats¯and some Republicans¯now agree that the U.S. military has to be deployed around the world to take care of any number of humanitarian and refugee problems.  It is interesting that the movie Rambo includes real film footage of the crisis in Burma.  That was obviously done to make a point.

Interestingly, Rambo, in the person of actor Sylvester Stallone, has endorsed John McCain for president. McCain now talks about sending Stallone up against Mike Huckabee supporter Chuck Norris, who plays a good guy in the TV show "Walker, Texas Ranger." But the real issue is whether McCain agrees with the Democrats about intervening in endless trouble spots and civil wars around the world. It turns out he does.

While opposing a quick U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq, McCain wrote in the Washington Post in 2004 that "The international community today has the power to help the powerless inside Burma throw off the shackles of tyranny. It is time to assume this moral responsibility. It is time to act." In 2006, McCain was back in the pages of the Post, this time advocating military intervention in Darfur. "In Darfur, the moment of truth is now," he said. Back in 2000, he favored economic sanctions against Russia because of its human rights violations in Chechnya.

If it turns out to be McCain against Obama or Hillary in the general election, the American people might find that there is a real foreign policy disagreement between the two only on the matter of a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Copyright ©2008 Cliff Kincaid

 


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