Friday, January 16, 2009

Everybody - Have a Wonderful Inauguration and Party Heartily

You all deserve it! We all deserve it!

And the world can't wait. Eight years has been too long for any generation of Americans to be pinching their noses, holding their breath, keeping their hats low over their noses, and flying the Stars and Stripes upside down. So, go shoot off some fireworks and raise the roof.

As for me, I'm going sailing. Virtually, anyways… But before I cast off, I have a few poorly-chosen final passing words for my declining readership to chew over in my absence.
They are really addressed to all of you who are advising those who advise Barack Obama's advisors. (You know who you are!)

Yesterday, I was overcome with disgust as I heard the lamest duck in American history deliver his lamentation swansong. It was on the car radio, driving home. My windows were up against the cold, so no one could hear my expletives. I smiled in anticipation of seeing how Keith O. and Rachel M. were going to slice and dice this pathetic peroration.

But I didn't get to see it. The kitchen TV was on CPAN showing Joe Biden saying goodbye to the his Senate as Senator. Did anyone catch that? That was moving. I ended up drinking my first three beers to Joe-the-Hunk instead of George-the-Punk.

My first criticism of how the President-Elect is conducting himself between election and inauguration is muted. It had been my impression that he was shooting his mouth off too much. This period is when he would be better off holding his fire and keeping his powder dry. (I remember POTUS-Elect Bill Clinton shooting his mouth off in 1992 before his inauguration about Haitian refugees and gays in the military.) There is only one president at a time, after all.

But, as it more and more becomes apparent that at this time - for some time - we have not had a President. (We might have a prime minister of Israel giving instructions to our Secretary of State, but no president.) So, in this complete power vacuum, it's probably helpful if the President-Elect begins some preliminary pre-inauguration waffling or telegraphing to help us all better discern between his vacuous campaign promises and his realistic policy initiatives.

Now as to what Obama would be well-advised to do? These are in no particular order of priority, because the first ten items in any list is to fix the economy. Right? Which I don't begin to understand. Some of the others would be:
  • I mention Guantanamo first, only because there seems to be a liberal stampede to raze it and/or give it back to the Cubans. It's a resource we are going to need. We're going to be catching a lot of bad guys around the world, hopefully. Not just us, the USA, but all of the countries holding on to their stature as part of the global economy. I'm speaking of Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Columbia and others. These polities do not have stable politics or secure prisons. And American courts do not have jurisdiction over combatants or bombers caught overseas. Needed is a destination-certain for these bad boys and girls to be sent to for protective custody. Gitmo will serve better for this purpose than the Hague. We just have to internationalize the security and make treatment of inmates residents & guests transparent to the International Red Cross, Amnesty International and other interested parties. Maybe the U.N. can provide a constabulary presence. (That's a detail.) No torture or enhanced interrogation. Kid gloves counseling, maybe. Make Gitmo a secure, escape-proof resort. No golf or swimming, of course. Just an extended stay, until guests can convince their therapists that they are too mellow to raise hell. So, I say mend Gitmo, don't end it.

  • End the economic hemorrhages in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both are draining desperately needed resources from our failed economy. We couldn't pay for Bush's foreign policy for the last eight years, we certainly can't afford it after he blows town. Obama will have to take this house of cards down sooner rather than later. Afghanistan, especially, is raising such a bow-wave of resistance among our allies, that our path there is piled high with more than difficulty. I don't have time to list the obstacles. We don't have enough dogs to hunt the Taliban. Bush let Osama run and hide - that's the history. Obama will have to act fast before he gets stuck with 'losing' Afghanistan. Diminishing prospects in Afghanistan cannot have escaped the vision of Obama or his advisors. The sooner he cuts bait the better for our national interests. The Bush wars should be closed along with the Bush war presidency because now we can't afford them, if for no other reason.

  • Recognize the government of Iran and staff an embassy there. Return an ambassador to our embassy in Damascus. All of this is statecraft 101.

  • Stop baiting the Russian Bear with an expansive NATO. Putin titrates the LNG for Germany. There's no future in pushing NATO membership for Georgia or Ukraine. Zippo.
That's all I gotta say for now. I'm not saying I won't be commenting on my readers' sites. I just won't be spillin'much blood or ink in my own pages for the next couple of weeks.

So, in the meantime, can someone give Barry a call?