Diplimatic and Military Solutions
One frequent claim made about Clinton is that he stood for America's weakness.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Clinton stood for win-win scenarios. He
wanted Americans, in all the different states of America, to do well, and that
included the people in the South who hated his guts. Besides wanting the good for
Americans, despite all the ugliness that was thrown his way by many who saw
themselves as real Americans, Clinton also wanted people in other places, such as
Africa and Latin America, to do well also. And his policies - from free trade to
fiscal sanity to embracing economic growth and technological innovation - were
directed toward affectuating just this outcome. Whereas with Bush, it was Texas
against the world - and, lest it be forgotten, also against the rest of America.
Now it is certainly true that there is no such thing as win-win scenarios against
groups such as Al Quaeda. Most of the world however is not Al Quaeda, and for
most conflicts there are workable diplomatic solutions. The result of the Bush
policies has been a bankrupted treasury, million of civilians dead, and American
military spread dangerously too thin. And the lesson from these policies is that
military solutions are far more expensive and far more difficult than are
diplomatic solutions, and for that reason must be used only when genuine efforts
at diplomacy have failed.
Diplomatic solutions are bloodless and inexpensive, and that makes them a far
superior weapon than military solutions. There was a global outpour of sympathy
toward America after 9-11, and most people - both in America and in most of the
world - supported the war against the Taliban. All this sympathy evaporated and
turned to hatred when Bush invaded Iraq, and the American military murdered more
Iraqi civilians than did Saddam Hussein. The claim frequently made by Bush - that
war against Iraq was about protecting America - was a canard. Saddam Hussein
didn't even pose a real threat. He hated America, yes; but someone hating you
when he is not in a position to hurt you does not justify spending a trillion
dollars of taxpayer money and killing a million civilians, most of whom were not
even affiliated with Saddam Hussein.
There are people now who want to return to the Reagan doctrine of "peace through
strength." Strength is a desirable quality, but so is intelligence and foresight.
Blind, stupid, short-sighted destructiveness breeds hatred on the part of more
and more people, including people who otherwise would be allies. And that
endangers the nation's security far more than do military funding cuts.
There are many on the Right who claim that all human life is sacred. If they
actually believed that, they would not be supporting mass murder of a million
Iraqi civilians. If they actually believed that, they would not be sending
America's young men and women to die by the thousands abroad. If they actually
believed that, they would see military solutions for what the are: Diplomatic
and political failure; a vast cost both in lives and in money; and something to
be avoided as much as possible in favor of intelligent diplomacy that seeks
win-win scenarios both for one's own country and for the rest of the world.
Military must be seen as a necessary evil, something that's regrettably required
but that should be used only in extreme circumstances. And every effort must be
expended to arrive at diplomatic solutions first and only use military force when
These are the same people who howl about taxes and the treasury, when their
policies have caused a vast chunk of the debt accrued in America. For one or
another reason it is against the taxpayer to educate American people, but not
against the taxpayer to fund expensive and unnecessary wars. For one or another
reason the military - the government's biggest, most expensive and most
inefficient bureaucracy that buys $600 toilets and throws away perfectly good
tools after a week in use - is exempt from the same fiscal scrutiny that is
demanded of the rest of the government. And then these people claim to have
integrity and values, and the rest of America and the world not to.
It was of course America's founders who saw military's potential for abuses of
power and stipulated that the military be at all times under civilian control.
And yet the people who want to use military force for every problem claim to be
true Americans, when their attitude is completely against the nation's founding
principles. Bush did not stand for America's strength or American values, and
Clinton did not stand for America's weakness or for un-American values. Bush
stood for waste, destruction and blindness, and Clinton stood for win-win
scenarios and peace through intelligent diplomacy, with military only used when
all else has failed.
The true American patriots are not the people who shout the loudest that they are
America and that the rest of America isn't. The true patriots are people who work
for the benefit of their country. America benefited vastly from Clinton's win-
win policies and lost vastly from Bush's Texas-against-the-rest-of-the-world
policies. And judging by the results, it is easy to see which policy works best.