Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Debate I Refused to Watch

I didn’t think that my sanity could handle the non-debate on our nation’s disastrous and violence-prone foreign policy, so I sat last night’s out.  Reading over some of the back-and-forth this morning, I feel very much vindicated.

But it also took me back to 2008 when, halting his race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, the very same Mitt Romney who now talks up his ability to work with Democrats, and agrees with President Obama on virtually every major foreign policy mis-decision of the last four years, said this:

“If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win.  And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror”.

Romney’s words, four years on as then, are both repulsive and amusing.  Amusing in that they are so far from the mark: President Obama has been waging war and battering our liberties with a vigour that clearly takes Republicans aback.  And repulsive because it lays bare both the things the Republican Party will say to get elected and the twisted worldview they embrace—the worldview which equates any opposition to war as an attack on our country’s security and values.

But there is something that disturbs me even more than the well-documented Republican Party bloodthirstiness and the routine opportunism of the GOP, and that is the spectacle—after last night’s rout—of left-leaning commentators and friends taking to the blogs and facebook to celebrate the President’s apparently-comprehensive thumping of Mitt Romney in the foreign policy debate.  A thumping based, it must be remembered, on the President making himself tougher, more militant, and more violent than his right-wing counterpart.  A debate “victory” based on an embrace of what amount to necon policies.  The very policies progressives were so desperate to repudiate when they elected President Obama four years ago.  The very policies which have killed thousands of Americans and tens if not hundreds of thousands of people around the world, particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The very policies which guarantee that we will never run out of enemies to kill and wars to fight.

The tragic twist is that, in setting out to beat the Republicans by embracing the President’s use of terror, attack on our liberties, and casual use of our war machine, progressives have ensured that—in the area of foreign policy at least—four more years of Obama will look a lot like a Mitt Romney presidency. 

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