The Cepia Club Blog

The Cepia Club Blog: The Cepia Club believes individual awareness and activism can lead to a peaceful and prosperous world. This blog contains the pertinent literature, both creative and non-fiction, produced by the Cepiaclub Director and its associates.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On Obama

As promised, Obama gets a special blog entry. I’ll need to expand on what I call his “vanity,” his “deception,” and his “lack of experience and substance.”

I describe Obama as somewhat vain. In his defense, he worked very hard as a grass roots organizer in the inner cities of Illinois, getting people aware and motivated about issues that directly affected them. That is entirely in the spirit of a “cepia: community ending public ignorance and apathy.” From this activism, where it is most needed, Obama propelled himself into electoral politics, first locally, then in the Illinois legislature, and finally to a US Senate seat in 2004. He has undoubtably pursued causes important for his constituents. On the downside, he is a professional politician to the core. All professional politicians have agendas, no matter what. It could be justly claimed that his agenda is for the common people and local communities.

The vanity is to pretend that the faith in people and optimism in the good of people’s welfare in domestic (read “local” issues) have any practical relevance to conducting safe foreign policy. Faith and optimism in the international system have never existed and do not exist now. The people of the world do not vote in what is a very hard, “realpolitick” contest between the competing needs of security for every national interests in conflict. And if the public can rea through all the facts and data, the interests are growing far more diverse and dangerous (they now include arable land and access to drinkable water where those were NEVER issues before). There will hopefully be a time when bright shining phrases and slogans for world peace and prosperity will do enough to create the reality of less conflict, more cooperation, unsurpassed access to wealth for everyone. As stated in the previous entry on “Presidential Candidate’s Assessed,” the issue in the 2008 election has to be about foreign policy. The world is dangerous, more so every day, with far too little grasp of it among the general public who hear the things from populist politicians (not just Obama) that sound good but make little sense for the way things unfortunately actually are at the moment.

The world is on the brink of breaking into competing regional blocks in the form of alliances of convenience based on shared interests. The system is further being undermined by an ideological struggle in continuous existence since the first decade of the 7th Century (the beginning of Mohammed’s conquest). That struggle grows more dangerous to world peace and prosperity every passing day. The vanity of Obama is to believe that someone with no executive or policy making experience or implementation at the national or international level, and someone still quite young, is honestly prepared to offer himself for candidacy to the Office of President of the United States. Obama found a wave that was looking for a messiah to rescue the Democratic Party from its abysmal record since F.D. Roosevelt, a need for a two-term Presidential candidate based on the New Deal ideology. (Truman couldn’t carry the New Deal forward, Carter was too conservative in reality, Clinton was clearly not New Deal liberal) Obama, in my opinion (which everyone can reject, as I might be completely wrong), became intoxicated with the idea and believes he is that messiah.

In sum, for the theme of what I think America needs for a President beginning in January 2009 (again, I do suffer the poison of my own point of view), substance and experience at this stage are necessary for the one thing that will determine America’s future as the beacon and light of liberty: foreign policy. The international system will not be fixed to a stable and compatible relationship between nations by popularity and sound-bytes. It will only be fixed by hard acceptance of what is at stake and a realistic appraisal of what is possible to secure everyone’s cooperation for mutual benefit. Outbreaks of war, even nuclear, biological and chemical warfare between bigger powers, let alone terror insurgencies, can instantly make the United States a militarized, police state by the choice of our own leaders. In my opinion, Obama and the other populists have presented no appreciation or sense of the situation, and have either provided nothing of substance (for example, withdrawing from Iraq but no concept of what needs to come after) or things that are completely bad strategy.

At the end of David Lean’s movie, Lawrence of Arabia, Prince Feisal (played by the great Alec Guinness) comments to all in the room that war requires the wild and passionate virtues of the young. But peace requires the virtues, however hard, of “old” and experienced men : caution and suspicion. (I firmly believe that any qualified woman could do just as well; for example, Angela Merkel of Germany or Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain and many others) Experience at community activism for low-crime, public services, and clean streets is fine and honorable in itself. However it is not relevant at all to the paramount need of the United States for another Truman (a Democrat) or a Nixon (a Republican). Truman and Nixon came at their moment of supreme danger for America with a visionary, but also trained, prepared, and practical experience in executive politics and foreign policy.

While I don’t endorse any candidates, I believe they should be judged by the following criteria: executive branch or private sector policy making and implementation experience; principles underlying their philosophy (Obama qualifies here); sense of realism; substance and great ideas in statements and agendas for foreign policy.


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