Friday, October 3, 2008

Vice Presidential Candidates Drop Ball on Foreign Affairs

For a good review of what Biden and Palin said on foreign policy, plus a brief note in conclusion on what they left out, see

What they ignored about the dangerous state of U.S. national security is, unfortunately, far deeper than the comments made in that article, however. Neither candidate did much more than nibble around the edges of the dramatic shift in U.S. behavior rammed through after 9/11 by Bush. Details on that shift have been the focus of this blog since its inception and will not be reiterated here. In one sentence of gold, Biden at least referred to them, deploring neo-con concepts like "preventive war." He also supported diplomacy in the face of an utterly twisted and hypocritical attack on talking with opponents from Bush-mouthpiece Palin.


We Had Alternatives
by Dennis Kucinich
Statement presented on the floor of The House of Representatives after Congressman Kucinich voted against the Wall Street bail out plan, H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.


Unfortunately, Biden did not present a well-argued alternative vision of the kind of foreign policy the U.S. should have.

  • Instead of arguing about the size and duration of a surge in Iraq or Afghanistan, the candidates should have addressed whether or not U.S. foreign policy should be based on the principle of using violence as the first choice solution for problems.
  • Instead of shooting at the easy target of Ahmadinejad, the candidates should have discussed whether or not it is moral for Washington and Tel Aviv to threaten nuclear war against non-nuclear countries.

Biden wasted much of his time arguing with Palin instead of taking the opportunity to present a vision that would enable the Democrats to do what they say they want to do - restore America's tattered reputation as the symbol of freedom. Biden may not be a neo-con, but he is far too close to offer a clear choice.

The Democrats need to stop wasting their breath falling into the trap of Republican red herrings. It is time for Obama to speak out clearly about the principles on which U.S. foreign policy should be based. If he cannot do so, then he should ask Dennis Kucinich and his elegant, eloquent wife to serve as his foreign policy spokespeople for the rest of the campaign.

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