#GOPDebate Post-Mortem: Don’t Let Them Near the Foreign Policy!

GOP field 2016I couldn’t bring myself to watch last night’s Republican “debate” in real time, so I blew through a rerun later on. I skipped through a lot of it, but the essence of it all was little more than simple-minded jingoistic horseshit.

No only are none of these people ready for the presidency, but I’m not sure any of them are prepared for life. Here’s the essence (read these like a stereotypical caveman in a stupid movie for best effect):

  • Middle East messed up cuz Obama!
  • Syria and Assad BAD, cuz Obama and Clinton!
  • Libya BAD, cuz Obama and Clinton!
  • Iran BAD, Iran deal BAD, Iran epitome of EVIL.
  • Israel GOOD.
  • Military and bombs GOOD.

The most irritating thing about the entire foreign policy “discussion” was the bipolar nature of the beast and just how little ALL of these candidates know about any of it.

There is no sense that any of them actually prepared for last night’s debate, although, to their minuscule credit, they did seem to stick to the topic at hand for once and there was less of the infighting that previous Republican “debates” were known for. In other words, we got less entertainment value and they proved that not one person in the Republican field even rises to even the George W. Bush level of competence when it comes to foreign policy, and that’s beyond bad, it’s downright dangerous.

Once again, as progressives, we have to make it clear to voters; the problem with Republicans is not Donald Trump, it’s not Ted Cruz, it’s not Carly Fiorina. In fact, it’s not about any individual candidate or politician; it’s about the crap they all believe. Last night, we saw that in spades. With the exception of Rand Paul, the solution to terrorism among this group of clowns, is to bomb the hell out of all of them, even though every one of them noted that terrorist groups were all over the place. I know, a lot of pro lefties chided Trump for saying that a week or two ago, but really, hasn’t that been the Republican position for many years? If you have a problem, throw bombs on it. Look at how many of them said, “Bomb the oil,” as if that hasn’t already been done. The following is from Politifact, which tore apart Cruz’s claim that “Obama” had avoided bombing the oil due to fears about global warming. (Really, who would believe that except the hardest-core right wing moron?):

U.S. and coalition military forces have been trying to get at this revenue source by periodically targeting oil assets for over a year. From the start of the operation against ISIS in August 2014 to Nov. 13, 2015, airstrikes have damaged or destroyed260 oil infrastructure targets, according to the Defense Department.

These strikes were initially aimed at easy targets like mobile refineries and storage depots, and not entirely successful, a Pentagon official admitted. So attacks were ramped up to focus on more sensitive targets like tanker trucks and wellheads.

In October 2015, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS launched a second campaign specifically aimed to cut two-thirds of the terrorists’ oil revenue. By Dec. 1, military forces had destroyed wells, processing facilities and nearly 400 ISIS oil trucks,according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. (Source)

A recurring theme all night was to claim that the military has apparently fallen on hard times, and it will need a Republican president to save us. Ted Cruz even said,

“America is at war. Our enemy is not violent extremism. It is not some unnamed malevolent force. It is radical Islamic terrorist. We have a president who is unwilling to utter its name. The men and women on this stage, every one of us, is better prepared to keep this nation safe than is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.”

Yes, a man who apparently thinks “utter(ing) its name” will bring “Radical Islamic terrorist” (sic) to its knees is assuring us that all nine candidates on that stage were better equipped to fight terrorists than any Democrat currently running. There was no evidence of this, however. For example, for all of their military fetishism, like the “bomb the oil” suggestion, pretty much everything they suggested we do about Daesh is already being done.

ted cruz 1For example, there were numerous suggestions that we bomb the Daesh “caliphate” repeatedly and the US and its numerous allies have flown more than 8,000 bombing runs to date and according to some estimates, they have lost about 40% of the territory they once occupied in Iraq. Maybe these Republican idiots mean they could bomb better, which is ridiculous. Daesh forced itself on the people in the “caliphate;” it doesn’t make any sense to carpet bomb the region and kill the people who are essentially victims here.

Another example of recommending we do exactly what we’re doing; every single one of them also suggested we build a coalition of nations in the area to help us because we can’t do it all ourselves. For example, John Kasich said,

“First and foremost, we need to go and destroy ISIS. And we need to do this with our Arab friends and our friends in Europe.”

Well, gosh, I hate to burst his bubble, but President Obama already formed a coalition just like they suggest. The coalition includes most of the European Union, but it also includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and the U.A.E. It also includes “unofficial” members Russia and Iran, although both of them are doing so in support of the Assad regime more than anything.

Put simply, most of the “solutions” Republicans proposed to get rid of Daesh during last night’s crapfest are already in place, thanks to President Obama. They are either unaware that he’s doing these things or they’re throwing him under the bus in a bid to appeal to the Republican “base.” Either way, their constant complaints sounded remarkably disloyal and would have disqualified them from office at just about every other time in  this country’s history.

They should also be disqualified based on their simplistic view of the Middle East in general. Their view of the Iran nuclear deal, for example, was nothing short of pathetic, if we’re being honest.  It was obvious that none of them could tell you what was in the deal, let alone what was bad about it. Their entire criticism was about the existence of the deal at all, which makes no sense at all to anyone sane. Iran’s regime is despicable; how does preventing them from developing nuclear weapons turn into a bad thing in anyone’s mind, unless they’re completely deranged? Bad people not getting nukes is a bad thing because Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t like the deal? In what alternate universe does that make sense?

And another thing. Last night, in demonstrating that he knows exactly nothing about the Iran deal, Trump repeated the following again:

“Certainly would never have made that horrible, disgusting, absolutely incompetent deal with Iran where they get $150 billion.”

Besides the demonstration that the man has the vocabulary of a precocious eight-year-old, he keeps throwing around this $150 billion figure, as if we’re going to be handing them that much money. What that figure refers to is the Iranian assets that will be unfrozen as part of this deal. It’s not a payment from the signatories to the treaty for Iran signing it.

marco rubio 1The whole “Iran and Syria are evil” trope really got old last night. What is it like to live in “Right Wingistan,” where everything in life is either all black or all white, or completely good or completely evil?

Yes, I agree with all of them, that the Iranian mullahs who run the country are “horrible, disgusting” and they should be gone. But the Iranian people are victims of the Iranian leadership. Likewise, the Syrian refugees that Republicans hate so much are victims of the Assad regime. Got it? If you want to stop terrorism, you have to differentiate between the leaderships of these countries and the people who suffer under their authoritarian rule. Of course, that would require Republicans to denounce authoritarian rule, which they secretly wish they could pull off. If you think this is hyperbole, consider how proposals the GOP makes that are reminiscent of the old Soviet Union. In any case, carpet bombing the people who have been forced into an “Islamic caliphate” against their will is no way to bring people to our side. And let’s be clear; bringing people to our side is the most effective way to slow down the terrorists.

A few other takeaways from the debate:

Chris Christie 22Chris Christie has become the Rudy Giuliani of the 2016 race. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a long time ago and scaring people with them now is not going to win you votes, any more than it won Giuliani votes. As you’ll recall, he was in the lead for a while and now sells security devices in TV infomercials, he was so successful. And to be frank, when you stoke fear in the hearts of Americans, the terrorists win.

When Donald Trump says,  “People are pouring across the southern border,” he is just plain lying, and when the whole lot of them claim “national security” only has to do with “foreigners,” they show themselves to be too incompetent to be elected president, or even the local school board. All security is “national security,” and that includes the white redneck Americans who shoot up schools, movie theaters and shopping malls and the asshole police who kill unarmed black men for selling loose cigarettes.

And what the hell is it with the military fetishism, anyway? Military might does not solve all problems and never has. And where does this meme come from, in which they act as if the military has been shrunk to a size that makes us unable to fight against anyone? More than half of all discretionary spending (for Republicans, that means money that hasn’t been approriated for a specific purpose) goes to the Department of Defense. The country that is second-highest in military spending every year is China, and we spend more than 4.5 times as much as they do, even though they have about 4.5 times as much population to share the costs. When you rank the highest-spending countries on defense, we spend more than the next 13 on the list, combined.  And yet, while all of them were happy as clams to recommend sending our troops into harm’s way again and again, ot a single goddamn one of them had the guts to call for a draft, so that everyone’s children could participate.

King HusseinOh, and one last thing, to show you just how clueless these people are;

Chris Christie promised to be a great friend to “King Hussein of Jordan,” a man who died almost 17 years ago now. Now, if someone running to be “Leader of the Free World” doesn’t know that, shouldn’t that disqualify him?

If you watched this pageant in real time, you missed some really good TV. NCIS was a good episode and The Voice crowned a new winner who can actually sing. And you learned nothing new about the Republican field.


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