Still haven't responded to my comments above. I believe now, as I did when I wrote the comments, that anybody who made a clear break with the policies of the last eight years, Democrat or Republican, would have probably earned the same Nobel prize. I suggested two fine Republicans by name who might certainly have fit the bill, both of which had more experience than President Obama, and either of which might have given him a run for his money with the Independent voters who were the ones who proved to be the ones who swung the race.
This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue, much as I believe you would like to paint it that way. Much as I believe Ringo may see it that way. The non-issues you would have me respond to above are pointless distractions. I use the past eight years so often because I actually believe that this was a watershed time in American history, not because I'm trying to drive you nuts. I don't believe that's in my power to do anyway. There are norms and standards of action that Americans have always made at least a sincere attempt to follow. At times we've been better at these things than other times, but at least we've made an effort. We've always had reason to think of ourselves as the good guys, the white hats, the cowboys, much as these ideals have suffered over time. It's one of the things that the rest of the world has found to be so appealing about us.
During the twenties and thirties, during times of great global hardship, the thing that was the most widely read in Europe yeah, even in Germany were the westerns of Karl May, a German who'd never been to the United States. The American spirit has always been appealing.
(I was listening to NPR the other day and heard that the French had taken a poll. Before the administration changed, the United States was apparently their 7th favorite country; now it was once again in the number one spot. You shouldn't put any store in the poll since I can't give you a more solid reference than that, and I'm not inclined to go searching at this point, so I can't give any data about how the information was gathered or processed. If you think it's wrong, that's fine with me.)
It has not been so appealing over the last eight years. Many of our long-term allies such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan have been not so thrilled with us or have outright been critical of our foreign policy, especially around issues such as torture and our claim that we now had the right to indulge in pre-emptive attacks on foreign powers. Many of them have not been thrilled with the way we have dealt with the Geneva convention, and large parts of their populations have from time to time taken to the streets to voice their displeasure.
This has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican. Ike was a Republican. I don't believe he would have tolerated behavior like this. I am unhappy to say that I believe that Nixon might well have, but perhaps I am not giving the man the benefit of the doubt.
The behavior is simply wrong.
It was wrong when we condemned it on the part of the Nazis and the Japanese during the second world war. When the North Koreans and the Chinese did it during the Korean War, it was wrong. The the North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong did this sort of thing to our troops during the Viet Nam War, we said it was wrong. I thought we actually meant it each time. When we could, we put people on trial and put them in prison of executed them for waterboarding or torturing or mistreating prisoners.
I believe yoga is good for the body. I am not certain that this sort of flexibility of the morals is entirely healthy.
Apparently we've been lying hypocrites for the last sixty or so years when we condemned these other people; and the folks who condemned our enemies to death were performing extra-judicial executions and should then be put on trial for war-crimes for what we did to the poor Nazis and Japanese and North Koreans and Chinese and North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Or what we've been doing over the past eight years has been wrong.
Perhaps there are loads of other options that I haven't yet understood.
I keep reminding you, Mike, because you have never taken responsibility. Because you have never said that the policies of the past two administrations have been wrong, and because when I bring it up, you act as though it's my fault that the past eight years actually happened. If only I kept silent, everything would be fine.
That wouldn't be a problem, except it leaves you completely puzzled when the President of The United States get The Nobel Peace Prize. Then, because you haven't understood the history, you are completely puzzled, and you are convinced that there has been some complete rupture of logic and reality, when the train of events is actually pretty straightforward and logical. The world is happy to welcome the United States back to the community of nations.
When Obama made reference to paying off the debt in his speech to the U.N., that was part of what he was talking to. He had paid off some back dues the United States has owed the U.N. for years. That's not a bad way of rejoining the community of nations, you know ponying up your old debts. We've been throwing our weight around for years on other people's dimes.
Sincerely, Bob Kaven