Is it the Economy, Stupid?

American-Flag1I started The 7 Train to discuss the American Dream and how it can be revived for generations to come.  I do not discuss a lot of foreign policy because it is a different “art form” as it were.  I do believe in a few basic premises: America must have a strong defense against its enemies and a positive relations with its allies to sustain as a nation, that what we do economically impacts us on the world stage and vice versa, and it all comes back to the economy anyway.

Like most Americans, I do support the president’s handling of ISIS and that ISIS must be stopped.  I believe he may have waited too long to get in the game, but remember, putting young Americans and youngsters from allied nations in harm’s way is a big deal; so you can’t blame him for being cautious and you always have the answers in hindsight—no leader can run the government with all vision focused in the rearview mirror.  President Obama has been scrutinized by some Republicans in Congress, as well as Democrats, for starting a war without Congressional approval.  Let me say for the record the last formal declaration of war was on December 10, 1941 in response to Pearl Harbor three days earlier and the start of World War II.  The Korean Conflict, The Viet Nam Conflict, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, even The War on Terrorism in general have all been true police actions instigated by the President using his Commander in Chief power assisted by the UN Security Council.  Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Bush 41, and Bush 43 have all pressed the military in service somewhere in the world since the last formal declaration of war.

ISIS is among the most horrific groups of people in the world and they have demonstrated this time and time again with beheadings of non-militant, non-hostile people throughout the world in all walks of life—including their own Arab Muslims.  I believe any president of either party would have instigated this with or without Congressional approval.  I think President Obama has implemented the one and only Hobson’s Choice in this matter, I only question if we can really accomplish our mission without boots on the ground.  I think there will ultimately be boots on the ground and the next president, Republican or Democrat, will have to keep those boots there for a while.  For those of us born before 1980, possibly those born before 2000, we may not see the end of this conflict.  ISIS will come and go, but there will be others.

How does this affect the economy and the American Dream?  Well, if America doesn’t defend its freedom and ceases to remain a free nation, there is no more American Dream.  The American Dream is on life support, but it is far from dead.  I have blasted time and time again that a balanced budget is one of the requirements to revive it; well, a balanced budget is also required for a strong national defense.  George Washington warned us against permanent alliances, and yet NATO and others were established after WWII.  Containment of Communism was the reason back in the days, but even in the Post Soviet Union era of Life on Earth, our alliances have not warn out their usefulness and although they can be an inhibitor at the domestic level, they have grown into a necessity.  George Washington also believed it was important for congressional approval on matters of war, and sure, I would prefer for everyone to be on board.  But with the rift between the two political parties, congressional approval has become a precious gemstone.   This was part of the problem I had supporting Ron Paul in 2012 is that he stated at the debates he attended before dropping out of the presidential race that we should only go to war if declared by Congress.  It is obvious we could not risk further strengthening of ISIS and wait for Congress who went on recess.

To give credit where credit is due, then President Bill Clinton did balance our budget when leaving office in 2000.  Then came 9-11 in 2001 and we had to go after the Taliban; Osama Bin Laden and those who destroyed the Trade Center Towers.  Experts say the possibility of another attack on American soil has become eminent; I don’t want to believe that but we cannot live in a vacuum, even if we are helping the economy and rebuilding the American Dream within the boundaries of such a vacuum.  It almost represents the final nail in the coffin for ever achieving a balanced budget; as long as we have enemies in the world, we will always have to accrue debt; the stronger we are in the world financially, the more our enemies want to bring us down.

The conflict between Arab Muslims and Jews dates back to the eighth century.  Since the State of Israel was established in 1948 and since the United States has been its biggest ally in the world, most Arab states and terror groups would have been satisfied for at least some Israeli land be sacrificed for the Palestinians, or the more extremists to have Israel and the Jewish population out of the Middle Eastern part of the world.  With the long-range missile and weapon technology today, most want both Israel and the United States off the planet.  Unfortunately, this may require commitment by the Unites States until the day Jesus Christ or any messiah you may believe in returns.  I suppose it is the most global of all prices we must pay for freedom.

Back in the US, it is imperative the legislative branch share the responsibility with the executive branch in this matter.  This is all members of both houses of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, allies and adversaries of the sitting president.  Many did not want a vote on a formal declaration before the recess because they did not want to be held accountable if something goes wrong.  In fact, the bill that authorized the air strikes was combined with a commitment not to shut down the government the next financial crisis.  This way if we do not get the results we desire, any Senator or Congressman can simply reply with I didn’t vote for [this], I just wanted to avoid shutting down the government.  In Ken Burns latest work The Roosevelts, both Teddy and Franklin fought for their causes and developed and implemented methods that came with no guarantees.  Both men were willing to take responsibility if things went awry.

I continue to support most of the conservative agenda to restore this great nation to its lofty status.  But as important as the what and the how is the who.  We need people who share our conservative beliefs, but we need different people who will hold themselves accountable if [we] are wrong and it just doesn’t work out.  We need to not only validate and determine if we are right and the liberals are wrong, but we also need to verify that the machine or algorithm we built to implement our vision was built right and be accountable if it is flawed.  The ISIS crisis is serious business and we are stymied on moving forward as long as they are a threat.  It is time for all of us to come to the aid of our own parties, and then unite we are all God’s Children first, Family Members second, Americans third, and everything else such as Republicans, Mets fans, and the like forth and below.


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