Ron Paul has been rightly critical of Barack Obama’s interventionist desires. It certainly seems the only foreign policy difference between our outgoing meddling President and our incoming one is the venue of destruction. Bush’s crusade was Iraq. It looks like Obama’s will be Afghanistan. Three or four years from now will Obama have plummeting approval ratings due to mismanagement of his coming interventionist crusade in Afghanistan?
The real answer depends on the level of the crusade. By level, I could mean blood level. The most morbid yet accurate indicator of failure in such an effort is the number of body bags on planes bound for home. Will the American people give Barack Obama more breathing room than Bush on this horrific statistic? I certainly hope not.
Right now it seems like the progressive global “god-in-waiting” can do no wrong. I recall similar approval for our soon to be ex-President in those dark days immediately following the September 11th attacks. The precise percentage of Bush’s “approval” rating now doesn’t really matter. We know it’s extremely low. Knowing that it was once north of 90% tells us more. The mighty can fall. They can fall hard and they can fall fast. Obama should be ever mindful of this hard truth as he embarks toward his own POTUS destiny.
Before Obama chiefly commands our troops from Iraq and into Afghanistan he should make clear the goals of such an action. By “goals” I don’t mean just inanely repeating, “We must leave in victory”, over and over again like neo-conservative robots. Please just level with your fellow Americans. What constitutes victory? There should be an end in sight before escalating the conflict.
An effective move Barack Obama can take to show he is truly serious about restoring our faith in the office of the President would be to ask Congress to declare war on Afghanistan. If war is not declared by Congress our troops should not be engaging the Taliban there. In the event that Congress refuses to vote or the vote should fail, Obama should then pull all combat troops out of Afghanistan. Doing so would save lives and money in an economically unstable time. That is my hope beyond hope, but it is quite unlikely. At the very least, having a legitimate declaration of war would satisfy the U.S. Constitution, the supposed supreme law of the land.
The most effective foreign policy proposition for Obama would be one that legitimizes the praise he is receiving from U.S. citizens and the rest of the world right now. He could adopt a Ron Paul style foreign policy of non-intervention. This would tell the world that America will no longer be the bully running around playground Earth, wacking non-Americans over the head with the freedom stick. We could then lead through example, defense, and diplomacy.
Now that would be some change I could believe in. How about you?