Obama, the Military and Business as Usual

Bret mentioned Obama’s support for an increased military budget, and I thought I’d take a look.

In The Obama Myth, Lee Sustar observes:

The U.S. occupation of Iraq? Obama offers criticism, but no alternative–other than increasing the military budget.

“We need to maintain a strategic force posture that allows us to manage threats posed by rogue nations like North Korea and Iran, and to meet the challenges presented by potential rivals like China,” he writes. “Indeed, given the depletion of our forces after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will probably need a somewhat higher budget in the intermediate future just to restore readiness and replace equipment.”

So how Democrat is Barack Obama?

In fact, Obama’s book explicitly endorses Bill Clinton’s “Third Way”–the attempt to shed the Democrats’ supposed leftist excesses and borrow pro-business policies from the Republicans.

Very new Democrat apparently.  Lee refers to Obama’s positions as damningly “reheated Clintonism”.

He may be a damn sight better then Hillary Clinton, or the Republicans who don’t wear Democratic clothing, but he just got a damn sight less appealing to one potential voter.  Perhaps he has grown from his Bill Clinton-esque roots, but his position on military spending is more than a bit worrying.

Perhaps wiser spending (cutting out the wars of choice) would be a better alternative to throwing more money into our military.

Of course, given how many candidates are offering up reheated GWBushism, reheated Clintonism looks pretty 5-star to me.


7 Responses

  1. Yeah, he really lost me when he said in that debate that he wanted to increase the size of the military by 100k. That did not bespeak a more humble, non-world-war foreign policy, at all.

  2. 1. Bret,
    Perhaps he thinks he cannot be a serious anti-war candidate unless he appeals to the far right and military might. This makes a position of peace appear a weakness that needs an accompanying strength. But to truly pursue peace is perhaps the best example of strength we can aspire to. Humility, after all, is the virtue of the strong, not the weak.

  3. Look up that Wesley Clark interview, where someone in the Pentagon tells him after 9/11 but prior to invading Iraq that they are going to invade Iraq. He says something like “we’ve got a strong military” and “when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.”

    That is the danger of pursuing large standing armies, etc.

    I think the world is changing; it’s definitely become a lot smaller. Conflicts are becoming more difficult to avoid because there is so little dialog. It seems that if that changes, suddenly there’s much less reason to launch missiles and bombs.

    I recommend pages 316 – 320 of Clash of Civilizations. It would be interesting to see you post about the three rules he recommends on those pages.

  4. Hmmmm. Interesting point on the large army.
    What rules are those?

  5. http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthread.php?t=3831&highlight=clash+of+civilization

    I highlight the rules in that post.

    Notably this is where the NeoCons started bringing out the idea of a conflict between Islam and the rest of the World, I think, following this book (published originally in ’89?).

  6. Blah, it rejected my response because I had a link in it, heh. Here you go then, copied from ronpaulforums.com where I posted it (you can see it there by searching for “clash civilizations” threads).

    The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington (1996).

    Thesis: world is divided among Civilizations (roughly corresponding to religious affiliations) – Western (Christian), Latin American (Roman Catholic), African, Islamic, Sinic (Chinese), Hindu, Eastern Orthodox (Russia, et al.), Buddhist, Japanese. Conflicts happen both internally and externally. Ok, nothing new, right? But check THIS out.

    “In the coming era . . . the avoidance of major intercivilizational wars requires core states [US = West, Pakistan/Iran = Islamic, Russia = Orthodox, etc] to refrain from intervening in conflicts in other civilizations. This is a truth which some states, particularly the United States, will undoubtedly find difficult to accept. This abstention rule that core states abstain from intervention in conflicts in other civilizations is the first requirement of peace in a multicivilizational, multipolar world. The second requirement is the joint mediation rule that core states negotiate with each other to contain or to halt fault line wars between states or groups from their civilizations.” p. 316.

    And there’s a third rule:

    “. . . in addition to the abstention rule and the joint mediation rule, the third rule for peace in a multicivilizational world is the commonalities rule: peoples in all civilizations should search for and attempt to expand the values, institutions, and practices they have in common with peoples of other civilizations.” He goes on to say this strengthening of the ties would allow Civilization to survive what may be an impending barbarism / global Dark Age with the breakdown of social order, law, etc that seems to be happening all over the world.

    More information about the book can be had here:

    At any rate, these three rules sound like AWESOME talking points for RP to bring out in a debate.

    I. Abstention from Conflict
    II. Mediation of Conflicts
    III. TRADE with Other Civilizations to build commonalities

    Any thoughts? Wikipedia tells me this book received a lot of criticism, but more along the civilizational lines and whatnot. I don’t think these policy rules have been criticized (except by the neocons I imagine).

  7. Crap, sorry for spam. It didn’t appear so I thought it had bounced.

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