The Republican Party needs a new Foreign Policy Platform.
I was a supporter of the Iraq war. I believe it was a just cause and it advanced freedom in the world. I do not understand how the removal of a brutal aggressive tyrant can ever be a bad thing for the USA or the rest of the world. However, I have learned that the American public does not have the stomach for a drawn out conflict unless there is an eminent and direct threat to this nation. That reality though disappointing must be considered. Our current posture needs to be rethought. We must be muscular but more low key. Not isolationist but not so willing to carry all the water. Energy independence is one of the keys to an effective foreign policy because it will allow us more room to maneuver in other areas.
Here are a dozen points for a new foreign policy.
1. We will use all non-military means at our disposal to promote freedom in the world. This includes democracy, personal freedoms like speech and religion and economic freedom.
2. If our national security is directly threatened we reserve the right to act swiftly, unilaterally, and with maximum force.
3. If you harbor our enemies we reserve the right to take appropriate military action on your soil and against you if needed.
4. If an ally of ours is subject to an unprovoked attack and we are asked for assistance we will stand by our allies. This includes responding in kind to a nuclear attack. (take note Iran and North Korea). however our allies must take more responsibility for their own defense and take the lead in diplomatic efforts to diffuse regional crisis. They must be willing to step up the the plate. An example; let's face it North Korea is not a threat to us but to South Korea and Japan.
5. We will not intervene in other military conflicts either between two nations or internally in one nation UNLESS the majority of our allies in the free world support the action, ask for our assistance and shoulder an equal share of the burden. Its time for Europe to step up to the plate. No more should we shoulder the responsibility of protecting peace and freedom only to be used as an international punching bag.
6. India is the largest Democracy in the world and will become an economic powerhouse. We must develop a close economic and military alliance with them.
7. We must improve our relations with Central and South America. We can not interfere when Democratic choices are made that we disagree with. We must take steps to convince Latin Americans that we respect them, seek their friendship and strengthen economic ties with them. We can not have a hostile Latin America at our back door. Our enemies China, Russia and Iran are making inroads and this must not be permitted to go unchallenged. It should be challenged not militarily, but with public relations efforts and economic ties that are mutually beneficial. Countries like Venezuela that are hostile to us but not a real threat should just be ignored. To fight with Chavez only strengthens him. Finally it is time to end the isolation of Cuba. What was once an appropriate posture towards Cuba is no longer the case. At this juncture in history freedom in Cuba will be advanced through cultural and economic exchanges. Negotiations should be opened up with Cuba provided Cuba is willing to talk and with the understanding that for the time being there are some things we must agree to disagree about.
8. We must maintain our military technology advantage. That is the only way we can maintain our Freedom. This means a missile defense shield for the USA and the ability to fend off computer attacks and launch our own as well as defend our assets in space from attack and maintain our technological advantage on the ground. If our allies want in on the missile defense they can. Screw Russia. If our allies do not have enough guts to stand up to the” Paper Bear” that’s ok too. The decision is theirs.
9. For diplomatic reasons this can not be said in the platform, at least not in this way, but we must recognize that the biggest long term threat we face is China and plan accordingly.
10. Foreign Aid is what I call enlightened self interest. It can generate enormous reservoirs of good will around the world. However it can be done more effectively for less money. No more huge cash transfers that wind up lining the pockets of corrupt foreign politicians but investing more money in small scale projects that directly benefit people. Many of these programs also promote economic freedom. Many missionary and not for profit groups are very good at this as is the Peace Corp. We should both mimic their efforts and provide funding to them. This will be more effective and less expensive.
11. We are advocates of fair and free trade.
12. We will not enter into multi lateral treaties that erode our sovereignty.
I have said Republicans need to go back to being the party of Reagan. What would the Gipper do with the immigration issue? We know the answer to that because he gave illegal aliens amnesty. Ok yes we got more immigrants after that but that was because the other issues were not addressed. My point is that Reagan recognized the contribution that immigrants make to the US. We are a nation of immigrants. It is not a conservative position to be anti-immigrant. But they are breaking the law we can not reward law breakers you say. Ok that is a valid point but we also need to be realistic in dealing with this issue. Can we really hope to deport them all? What about the people who hire them? Are conservative willing to go after all those small businesses?
Here is my solution. 1. Institute a realistic guest worker program that addresses the labor requirements of our country and gives workers from Mexico and Central America the ability to fill those needs. The Democrats will have a hard time supporting this because of Union opposition and we can gain traction with Hispanic voters.
2. We will not give amnesty to. No rewards for illegal activity. However we will not penalize them in the guest worker program application process. They will be able to become legal through that program.
3. We must gain control of our Borders. Put more feet on the ground and use more technology so we can stop illegals coming in. It can be done with enough resources.
4. Their must be severe penalties for employers who break the rules once we give them a legal way to hire foreign workers.
5. The guest workers will be taxed, pay into social security and be eligible for benefits like everyone else. They will not be eligible for welfare or unemployment. Those are only for citizens. If you can not find enough work please go home. Their Children should receive an education. Educating anyone is ALWAYS a benefit to everyone. What about health care costs? Employees who hire guest workers will be required to pay a fixed amount per day for each worker that would go into a fund that would reimburse hospitals for care given to uninsured guest workers. Hopefully that will work out to a nominal amount like 2 or 3 dollars per day.
6. Finally as a quid pro quo we do away with all federal laws that require government forms (Bonus: this will save $$) and ballots be printed in multiple languages. To become a citizen you are supposed to be able to understand English. You should only be voting if you are a citizen .Therefore, if you can not understand English you should not be voting. Immigrants must be forced to learn English because language is one of the linchpins that hold a culture together. I welcome Immigration but insist they learn to speak and read English if they are going to stay here.
That is my realistic conservative solution to the Immigration.
So it seems Hillary Clinton may get the nod for Secretary of State. I can live with that. if it has to be a Democrat I can think of worse choices. She is intelligent, not as liberal on foreign affairs as some other Dems and she is tough as nails. I actually admire how tough she is. I bet she can stare down Putin and their certainly will not be any looking in his eyes to see his soul or heart or anything like that. Don't panic, their are plenty of things not to like about her. But like I said we could do a lot worse for Secretary of State.
3. No more unfunded mandates on State and local governments. These raise property taxes hurting people on fixed Incomes (a populist issue Republicans can get behind and out flank the Dem's) and stifle federalism.
More to come on Immigration, a new foreign policy for a new reality, education, and what to do about social issues. Keep checking back
John Podesta ex Clinton Aide head of a liberal think tank and Obama Transition Chief once took the Pentagon to task for covering up information regarding UFO's. Read all about it hear. Now my purpose in bringing this up is not to make fun of Podesta. he strikes me as very intelligent (although I often think "intelligent liberal" might be an oxymoron) competent individual. I am certainly open to the possibility of alien life having visited our planet so I don't have any problem with what he has said on the subject.
My point is this. Can you imagine if he was a conservative and was John McCain's transition chief. Stories in every major media outlet that would not actually come out and say "What a whack job" but that would be the direction they pointed and never mind the late night TV Monologues and Saturday Night Live skits. They would go on about it for weeks. Is a little balance asking for too much?
This column by Camille Paglia is very interesting. I disagree with Paglia a lot and I also agree with her a lot. Either way she is always thought provoking. She has one of the most interesting minds of all the pundits out there. Take a few minutes and read what she has to say about Obama (whom she supported) and Palin.
Some of you may recognize I am revisiting this issue but it is an an area where Conservatives need a palatable alternative to what Liberals have to offer.
Their are many problems with social security. First it is demographically unsustainable in the long run without raising taxes on the working or cutting benefits on the retired. Second it redistributes money without in any way creating economic gain. In contrast 401ks, Ira's etc... give a boost to the economy because they provide capital funds to business. In spite of recent events in the long term they provide a higher rate of return then Social Security. Of course liberals will not hear of changing Social Security's pay as you go system into a better system that gives some control to the public. I once had Congressman Rush Holt (D, NJ) say to me that the "public is not smart enough to make there own investment decisions"
In spite of this I think I have come up with an idea that we might be able to sell to the public. The percentages I use are for illustrative purposes only. The numbers would have to be played with to find the combination that works and that will require someone with more technical knowledge and mathematical ability then I can muster. Any way here it goes.
We pay a Social Security payroll tax of 7.5%. Give people the ability(voluntary) to divert 1% to a government approved mutual fund that invests only in state, local or federal bonds (leaving 6.5% for Social security). Completely safe and they get more money when they retire then just social security would pay.
"Wait a minute" you are saying. "Did you not just say this is a pay as you go system." What happens to the people currently getting benefits if that money is diverted?" Well the answer is part of the profit being made on the invested funds will not go to the investor. Part will have to go to shore up social security but not so much that the investor does not come out ahead.
This helps Social Security, Increases the amount of capital available and starts getting people use to the idea that there might be a better way.
As I said this is an outline of a concept that probably needs a lot of work but I think it may be a solution.
First and most importantly we must go back to being the party of Ronald Reagan. We can not just pay lip service to it as we have for many years. Yes I know it was 30 years ago but that does not matter because the principles he stood for are still applicable. Smaller government, fiscal responsibility, low taxes, a robust military used judiciously, (in fact go back even further and walk softly but carry a big stick) America first and yes family values. Ask ourselves what would Reagan do?
By the way Ronald Reagan would not be rabidly anti immigrant. Forget that demagoguery on that issue it is not helping.
Second Impose party discipline. Forget the big tent nonsense. Take some core issues and tell dissenters stay on the reservation or you can forget about party support when you run again. Might we loose some seats that way? yes but in the long run worth it. Take earmarks for example. Tell them either you vote against all earmarks or else. Lead follow or get the hell out
of the way.
Develop Patience. The one thing Democrats are good at is incrementalism (except when they are in complete control then luckily for us they forget that). Move the country in your direction with little steps. Pick and choose your really big battles. Vote against all the hair brained proposals but really go to the mat on the ones that the public will get riled about. (think back to Hillary's Health Care plan). Wait for it....wait for it... let Obama push something stupid. Don't be too quick to pile on. Let him screw up
Public relations, Ohh where do I start. Yes I know it is hard because we do not get a fair shake from portions of the media but we can do better. I know rabid conservatives like Coulter and Limbaugh excite the base and are entertaining but they alienate the middle. We need reasonable sounding politicians who can explain why Republican policies are better for them in terms they can understand. (people like Bobby Jindal) Then we need to get this message to college kids, seniors, Hispanics and Independents. These groups may have gone to Obama but they are not wed to him. They will switch once they see how democratic policies hurt them. Believe me those policies are coming. Raising payroll taxes for social security and would you belief the Democrats are talking about doing away with private 401 k'sand replacing it with a government run one. Their will be plenty of opportunities we just have to discipline ourselves to go after them in the most effective way.
Don't go to compassionate conservatism explain why conservatism is compassionate. Thats how Reagan did it.
Obama is not a Moderate but he convinced the voters he is. Learn that lesson.
Finally we have to be the party of Integrity. Keep lobbyists at a distance. Anyone who even engages in something that has a hint of impropriety or immorality must be swiftly shut down.
This policy must be strictly enforced. The Democrats are incapable of this. We have been much harder on our own in the past then the Dems are on theirs but we have been slipping. If we want credibility when go after corrupt Democrats we must put the word out that anything less then the highest ethical and moral standards will not be tolerated with in our party.
Well first let's give credit where credit is due. Obama is an amazingly good communicator and his ability to inspire people is exceptional. He is a leader. (my problem is with where he is leading). I also think his race helped him. It turned out the minority vote strongly and a lot of people wanted to vote for him to prove to themselves and the world that we are not racists
Second the Republicans have not given the voters any reason to love them. many of our best and brightest were corrupted by Washington and developed the arrogance of power. They discarded Republican principles in order to win reelection.
George Bush made some big mistakes. That turned the nation against him. Don't get me wrong I believe he is a good man and he did not get credit for a lot of the good things he did but lets face it he made some errors. I will argue forever that what we did in Iraq was just but in hindsight it was a mistake to do it. ( a full discussion of that may be a separate post). Then he mishandled the dam thing for 6 years. We lost the PR war when it came to "rights of Terrorists" I am not sure why we lost on that but it has had negative consequences for us. I could go on but fairly or not the American Public lost confidence in the President and that negatively effected the whole party.
Lastly Poor timing. An economic disaster occurred at the wrong time. Lets face it the party in power when the bubble bursts gets the blame whether they deserve it or not and I have seen both Democrats and Republicans burned by that.
Considering this perfect storm McCain didn't do half bad.
Some of these things we can fix. So enough Post Mortem. Get up off the ground. The next job is to design a blueprint for success.
A few rays of sunshine for conservatives. In three states the voters declared marriage may only be between a man and a women. I mean if we can get that passed in flaky California we can do it anywhere. Also it looks like Norm Coleman will keep his seat in Minnesota eking out a real close one over that freakazoid Al Franken.
OK maybe not abandon all hope. I am however in a deep funk. I predict this country is headed down a very bad road. The same road that the anemic economies of Europe have gone down.
In an effort to look for a silver lining I will say that the one good thing that will come out of this is that NEVER AGAIN WILL SOMEONE CALLING AMERICA A RACIST COUNTRY HAVE ANY CREDIBILITY. That lie now has a stake through its putrid heart.
The ray of hope is that conservative Republicans can get there act together and capitalize on the coming disaster to sweep back into office in 4 years. More on a blueprint for that will be coming in a future post.
For now I suggest prayer. Pray that Barack Obama is kept safe. Pray that this country wakes up to the fact that they threw out the baby with the bathwater and pray that our culture turns from its immoral ways.
Today I heard Obama say. " Tommorrow we change America."
Is anybody listening? Do the voters realize he is not talking about changing a dozen Bush policies?
He is talking about changing the Nation we have known for over 200 years. He is going to male it into something none 0f us will recognize and few of us will like.
Push past the historic candidacy, however, and one sees something even larger at stake in this [presidential] vote. One sees what Joe (The Plumber) Wurzelbacher saw. The real 'change' being put to a vote for the American people in 2008 is not simply a break from the economic policies of 'the past eight years' but with the American economic philosophy of the past 200 years. This election is about a long-term change in America's idea of itself," Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger writes. "I don't agree with the argument that an Obama-Pelosi-Reid government is a one-off, that good old nonideological American pragmatism will temper their ambitions. Not true. With this election, the U.S. is at a philosophical tipping point. "The goal of Sen. Obama and the modern, 'progressive' Democratic Party is to move the U.S. in the direction of Western Europe, the so-called German model and its 'social market economy.' Under this notion, business is highly regulated, as it would be in the next Congress under Democratic House committee chairmen Markey, Frank and Waxman. Business is allowed to create 'wealth' so long as its utility is not primarily to create new jobs or economic growth but to support a deep welfare system. "The political planets are aligned to make this achievable. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, prominent Democrats, European leaders in France and Germany and more U.S. newspaper articles than one can count have said that the crisis proves the need to permanently tame the American 'free-market' model. POW Alan Greenspan is broadcasting confessions. "The question is: Are the American people of a mind to throw in the towel on the system that got them here?
If you believe government should make sure you have a place to live, medical care and all your other necessities OR if you believe the government should cut up the pie to make sure you get your share OR if you made bad financial decisions, or didn't get enough education, or got 3 different girlfriends knocked up or are a drug addict or alcoholic or just generally make poor decisions and think the government should bail you out OR If you think you are entitled to more not because you work for it but because that is what would be fair THEN you should vote for Obama and the Democrats.
If you believe that the less the government gets involved in your life the better OR if you believe in taking responsibility for fixing your own mistakes OR If you believe instead of dividing up the pie we should make more pies OR if you believe that the way to get ahead is through hard work and sacrifice then vote for McCain and the Republicans.
Tommorrow is the day the nation gets what it asks for. Let us hope the nation does not regret its choice.
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