Republicans Hurt Our Image Abroad

Republicans were on Meet
the Press
again this Sunday bemoaning how America’s image has slipped
around the globe and blaming this slippage on Obama and his weak, waffling
foreign policy and his inability to govern at home. But we must consider that
it is all too possible that the world’s treatment of Obama merely reflects the
Republican treatment of Obama. Obama is not that hateful or that unusual, but
the Republican Party acts like he is the apotheosis of everything contemptible
and lawless.
We have all heard that decisions were taken as soon as President
Obama won office to obstruct him in every way and we can see that Republicans
have not wavered from this vow.
It is not Obama who has hurt America’s status in the world; it
is the disrespect of the GOP which has poisoned and tarnished America’s image
by refusing to accept Obama as their President and by refusing to govern (not
to mention the harmful foreign policy decisions made during the Bush
The Republicans have to find a way to overcome the failures of
the Bush years (no wonder they keep waving the Reagan flag). They need to find a
way to make us forget the ways they bullied America into fighting in Iraq with
fear mongering and lies, the way they refused to regulate the housing sector
even when it was obvious that sensible regulations were being ignored, the way
the Bush years ended in a terrible Recession. The Republicans have carried on a
six year dialogue to make us doubt that any of these things actually happened.
They have twisted logic to lead us to conclude that Obama, who arrived on the
scene after these events occurred, was responsible for these failures. (Here I
smack my palm against my forehead because I cannot get my head around this time
traveling perversion of the cause and effect phenomenon.)
It is Obama’s patient attempts to include the wishes of the
constituents of both parties that have made him look as if he is willing to be
bullied again and again by Republicans and that there will be no consequences
for their bad behavior (their possibly illegal behavior). Fortunately for
America, Obama does not want to end the two-party system or end regular order.
So, in fact the Republicans have been rewarded by gaining more power (again, so
counter-intuitive that I have trouble grasping it).
Obama does not want to dismantle our Democracy in order to take
on these renegades. The renegades, the toxic GOP, are perfectly willing to
dismantle our Democracy in order to discredit President Obama who has been more
and more isolated by having to stay within the system to keep the GOP in check.

It is obvious to me that Republican tactics to give no quarter
to our President are the very things that are hurting the world’s perceptions
of America and not any actions by our President. However, I feel as isolated as
Obama most of the time. It seems that most of America does not agree with me.
By Nancy Brisson

Basically A Rant


The correct strategies for America are not always
the most selfish ones. It’s not all about us all the time. Sometimes we must
look at the big picture because everything is interconnected. Some string that
is pulled somewhere else can unravel or re-knit our future.

And, then there is the truth that, at this point in
time, the Republicans will not allow Obama to pass any new laws that improve
the economy, the infrastructure, or jobs. If we don’t elect Democrats in 2014
we have almost 3 long years to concentrate on foreign affairs. If we truly do
not want to get involved in any more wars, I would trust Obama much more than I
would trust the Republicans to admonish a dictator without getting us involved
in a foreign war. The only way the war in Syria can escalate and suck in the
world is if a powerful force like Russia joins in. If Putin is serious about
helping get rid of the chemical weapons in Syria, then he probably is not
interested in starting World War III. If we stay civil and Russia stays civil
then perhaps we can pull this off. Americans do not appear to be too fond of
civility right now, sad to say. Instead all the little voices fall in line
echoing the charge that Obama is a weak President. I repeat; if Obama can end
the use of chemical weapons in Syria without starting a new war, then he is
anything but weak.

If there is anything this President does that is
weak it is to give Republicans another opening to tout his weakness and force
him to bargain when these Republicans know all along that they will say “no” to
him again and again and again. This does not make Obama seem weak to me. It
makes him seem like a President who respects the Constitution and who tries to
give Republicans every opportunity to cut out the partisan politics and do
their jobs as outlined in that very Constitution that describes how our
government is supposed to work. Nowhere in the Constitution I read does it say
that people outside the government should be promised a stronger allegiance
than is given to a fair consideration of the laws that build a stronger

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Grover Norquist and the
Koch brothers should be like the rest of us. They are citizens with one vote
each. But they have found ways to pull the strings of large numbers of
Americans turning them into disenchanted citizens and puppet voters who repeat,
like mantras, arguments drummed into them by skillful pundits. These pundits
know the fears some Americans hold in their hearts and minds and they stoke the
fires lit under these fears, bank the coals, and then stoke them again. They
have fostered a bunch of conspiracy junkies and they will ruin America if we
let them. These pundits have been primed to serve the interests of Grover
Norquist, the Koch brothers, the Tea Party and whatever other shadowy figures
are in the Conservative Cabal.

So we have plenty of time to take the big view, the
long view, while we wait for America to wake up and throw off the strings of
the mind controllers who have taken over the GOP.

What would we like to see happen in the Middle East?
Perhaps we would like to see strong, healthy Middle Eastern countries where
government and religion are separate. Perhaps people in the Middle East will
chose peaceful coexistence and tolerance over hate and aggression; these
nations’ peoples will find a balance that will allow the citizens to live
stable and productive lives in which there is no dictator holding on to all of
the nations’ wealth. What can we do to encourage this? Wouldn’t such an outcome
have a profoundly positive effect on us and the world? Playing a bit of referee
doesn’t seem too much to ask from the rest of the world community. After all we
have plenty of time right now to keep an eye on the violations of war behavior
which result in the horrors of genocide. If we allow these practices we will
never achieve that real peace, tolerance, and prosperity we wish for the Middle
East and the world.

If you want Obama to accomplish our goals for our
domestic future then you had better raise your voice and tell Republicans to
stop obstructionism in Congress, to stop encouraging red states to pass laws
that challenge the current laws in America, and to stop brainwashing and
scaring gullible Americans. We need to elect Democrats in 2014.

This is the view from the cheap seats.


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Disrespect At Home Translates to Disrespect Abroad/Egypt


Did you ever consider that the slippage
America seems to have suffered in its role as a leader among nations and as a
powerful force in the politics of nations around the world may have domestic
roots? When the President of the United States is sidelined by the American
Congress, when Congress sneers at every move our President makes, it is
irrational to expect that this behavior will have no effect on the way he, and
therefore we, are perceived abroad.

It was pretty clear when Obama was elected
that America wanted to end our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our image as a
nation that backs human rights even in the arena of war had been tarnished by
the crass behavior of some of our troops (how did that even happen) and the
information leaks that described torture techniques in use during interrogation
of suspected terrorists and enemy combatants. Is this the first time America
has used torture? We are lead to believe that America avoided the use of these
techniques usually associated with authoritarian governance, but the use of
these methods in the present calls into question our pride in the integrity
resulting from our dedication to respecting human rights even during past wars.

Foreign governments seem just as shocked
and demoralized by our war time behavior as the American people are. Although
any country that gets itself involved in another nation’s business, which sends
in troops and fights on soil it doesn’t own for outcomes that affect the
politics of that “occupied” nation, is bound to generate hate from some or all
of the sides in that war or conflict. We have a situation in America right now
where people blame our President for the hostility with which America is viewed
abroad. They claim that he has a meek and apologetic approach to bad actors
around the world. Our recent war time behavior points a finger at other possible sources for the disregard we are experiencing around the world.  
In addition we have the advent of the drone era which enables
us to intervene in foreign locations without a physical presence on their soil.
Reaction to drones has been extreme since they were developed. They have a sort
of futuristic feel, a sort of “Star Wars” feel that we have definitely not
grown into yet. We associate mechanized, high tech weapons with the bad guys in
the “Empire” rather than the good guys in “the rebel alliance”. Drones seem
un-American. And yet drones save American lives, at least right now when we are
the only country that uses drones. Drones allow us to pursue enemies of America
into terrain that was previously inaccessible. Drones do nothing to improve our
image in foreign nations. Even Americans cannot decide if it is cowardly for
Obama to rely on drones, or if it is a bold move that gives us that
technological edge that nuclear missiles once gave us.

Maybe we have to take some of this
animosity on the chin. Maybe we can’t expect to intervene in foreign nations
when we perceive that it is necessary to American interests or to world peace
and expect to be beloved at the same time. Calling our President weak and vacillating
every time he does not take us to the brink of war is not at all helpful.
Commentators seem to feel that Obama is too slow to offer the American reaction
to violence and instability in foreign nations. Labeling our President as weak
gives foreign nations permission to treat him and us with disrespect. Every
action America takes with respect to foreign nations must be designed to have
maximum impact while keeping war off the table. When the world can see how
divided America’s internal politics is right now that also adds to the perception
of weakness. If we were truly threatened by outside enemies I assume that
Americans would set aside our differences and fight as a united America. I hope
I am not wrong about this. Meanwhile, if you want a President who appears
strong and invincible before the nations of the world, then those who
consistently disrespect our President need to find a way to tone down this destructive
rhetoric and behavior. I think our own bad actors are addicted to anger and see
no way back into a more constructive and flexile mode.

We are all saddened when blood is being
shed anywhere on earth. We don’t like it, we don’t want it and we think it
benefits no one. Watching events in Egypt gives us no satisfaction. We want to
see a strong Egypt, an Egypt that has found the proper government to fit its
needs. We do not want to intervene in Egypt. Americans feel that by continuing
to send military aid to Egypt, now that the military has resumed bloody control
of the Egyptian government, is essentially putting us on the side of the
military as our continued aid keeps the military strong. Harassing our
President may seem to be the only way we can express outrage at the behavior of
the Egyptian military and our support of the Egyptian people, but it is really
counterproductive. We want to show the world that Egypt will jump if America
speaks and that we will not help any country that is not showing us that its internal
violence is pointed at establishing a democracy. We are upset that Egypt is so
involved in its internal struggle that it cannot even hear the voice of
America. Is there even a frontrunner for leadership in Egypt right now? We can’t
see what will happen in Egypt now that Morsi has been unseated because there
has been no clear set of preferences offered by the Egyptian people. We can see
what Egyptians don’t want but not what they do want. This unsettles us. We want to know right now what is next for Egypt, in fact we would like to reach in and determine what is next for Egypt.

Can we use our influence to steer events in
Egypt? The advice from those who are being interviewed on news channels is
being offered up as I write and this advice puts pressure on the President to
do something, but all the advisors do not agree about what should be done. With
24/7 news we will be seeing lots of blood flowing all over our TV screens. We
cannot react in knee jerk fashion every time we see blood no matter how heartbreaking
it is. We have to use our logic and use our words and we have to have a policy
that says how much we will get involved in the politics and wars of other
nations. Unfortunately, I guess I cannot reasonably expect that our American
Congress will show more respect for our President. I, however, will continue to respect that his responses are measured and global rather than strictly chauvinistic.

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