It is now a “fait accompli” that some powerful elements, if not the majority of Republicans in America are forever tarnished and diminished by their rush to always condemn or criticize the first black President and everything he has done as Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military in the world. The Republicans have refused to give the President credit where credit is due and they often get away with their racist move on the short run, because not every intelligence report the President has, can be shared in camera or on the pages of newspapers or the social media with anyone outside his security cabinet or the members of the congressional committee with oversight responsibilities for national security. The President of the United States is President of the world, so to speak and there is a limit to how much information he is allowed to share and the time frame for so doing in a world polarized and driven by politics .
The President is arguably presumed by the Constitution to exercise absolute discretion on what information to share and when to share it and with whom. The ultimate responsibility for the security and the best interest of the country at such moments is the exclusive preserve of the President and that is why only one person is elected President at a time. It is still debatable till tomorrow on who has the power to declare war in America. Is it the Congress or the President? The founding fathers did not resolve that question and the Constitution is open to interpretations on that as we speak. The Monday morning quarter backs in the Republican Party who never see anything good in Obama and who have openly admitted they want to see him fail, should be reminded of that presumption by the silent majority of Americans who have twice elected President Obama in two landslide victories because they trust his judgment as President. They knew like every human being that the President is not perfect and they are willing to cut him a slack even where he has made a mistake or two. They believe and I strongly believe the President has done pretty good, compared with all of his predecessors in that office from both sides of the isle, and given all the difficult issues he has to confront as President.
The latest has been the current Republican criticism of the President’s decision to carry out that sacred obligation to not leave any American prisoner of war behind regardless of the circumstance of the prisoner’s capture or any investigation and indictment he might have to face on his return to freedom. Those little gestures often loom larger than life and they reassure American allies around the world and the international community that America would forever need to accomplish her leadership of the world as the only surviving super power.
That was the point the President was making during his recent visit to Poland when he reminded Poland and all the 15 break-away Russian Republics including Georgia and Ukraine that an attack on one of the American allies in NATO or even in the European Union is viewed as an attack on all. President Obama is taking a more holistic approach to American power around the world than what the neo-conservatives in the Republican Party are doing.
They characterize the President as weak but they forget that Dwight Ike Eisenhower, one of their own who was NATO Commander of the Allied Forces before becoming President had executed pretty much the same policy by insisting that persuasion and reconciliation and making peace with an enemy should not be misconstrued for weakness. In fact, it should be seen as a strength. Abraham Lincoln who has since become one of the greatest American Presidents in history also went thru the same transformation like Eisenhower. President Obama, a man of history and deep convictions has pretty much taken a script from the two great Presidents who were Republicans by the way, but were far more inclusive and tolerant than the present generation of Republicans who are so blindfolded by their ideological grandstanding that they no longer see anything good and worth emulating in their political opponents. Winning at all cost even it means irredeemably damaging their opponents and the ultimate interest of the nation has become their stock in trade. It is a sad commentary on the reputation of America that makes one wonder if some of these Republicans have anything to teach some of their counterparts in the third world who behave just like them.
It is now clear to all and sundry that President Obama had succeeded in capturing Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan of all places by keeping the plan close to his chest and by avoiding information leakage which was exactly the same mistake President Jimmy Carter had made with his attempt to rescue the American hostages from iran. You cannot be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl would never have been released and he could arguably have died in captivity thus tarnishing the image of America and her Commander-in-Chief, if President Obama had not seized the little window of opportunity he had to go for the swap he had with the Talibans. It would have been worse for America and for President Obama to not do what he did, given all the intelligence information he had. The Republicans, if they had the best interest of America at heart ought not to have rushed to judgment to start condemning the President before they get all the facts. General Dempsey and Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel have all come to the defense of President Obama for doing what he did. The whole nation would come to the same conclusion when more of the facts are known, but not everything that transpired would ever come to light because not every classified intelligence report can be released. Things happen in politics that nobody without information could have predicted.
Who could have believed that Menahem Begin and Anwar Sadat of all people, two archenemies would have been the ones to collaborate to make the Camp David accord with Jimmy Carter possible! In life, as in politics there is no permanent enemy but permanent interest because the enemy of today can become a friend tomorrow. The Russians joined hands with America and her allies to bring Adolf Hitler to his knees in the Second World War. The celebration of Heroes at the ceremony marking the anniversary of the D-Day in Normandy, a few days from today could not have been possible without the involvement of the Russians who lost more than 60 million people in that war. The involvement did not stop Americans and their allies from declaring a cold war that lasted several decades against Russia several years later.
The State of Israel has had to swap prisoners with the Palestinians in similar transactions with what has just happened with the Americans and the Talibans. What is the big deal the Republicans are crying wolf about? Releasing 5 Taliban operatives or sympathizers for one American held in captivity for 5 years is worth it if the facts become known. Jumping the gun to start thrashing the President before those facts are known is an exercise in futility and it is unworthy of the Republicans. The Talibans did not directly attack the American homeland like Al Qaeda did. They ran foul of Americans by providing a safe haven for Al Qaeda as defined by George Bush when he said the friends of American enemies are also viewed as enemies and would be treated as such. If in deed Americans are winding down their operations in Afghanistan like Obama has said, it makes sense to find some ways to release the only prisoner of war still in captivity in Afghanistan before the war ends.
There are things that America cannot do alone without total cooperation from her allies around the world and from her allies in the United Nations. The Republicans are yet to fully understand that prism but President Obama fully understands that reality. How could America isolate Russia if some of her allies in the European Union still rely on Russia in many ways for their economic survival? Because the Group of 7 industrial powers currently meeting in Brussels have refused to let Russia join them because of the insurrection Russia is believed to be sponsoring in the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, and the Group is threatening more sanctions if Russia continues to destabilize Ukraine. That kind of solidarity in the Group of 7 is only possible because of the steady hands of President Obama and some of the actions he has taken to reassure American allies he would not turn his back on them just as he has not turned his back on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
Ukraine, Poland and all the independent former Russian Republics can briefly more easily today because they know they can count on America and President Obama. That was a feat the Republicans did not want American voters to notice or appreciate. I can tell you that History and posterity would be far much kinder to President Obama not only for restoring and reviving American economy but for much of his domestic policies which included the Affordable Health Care and helping the middle class find their feet among his other initiatives like encouraging the Republicans to pass new Immigration Laws and rebuilding America infrastructures while creating more jobs. President has done by executive orders what he could do on his own as President but the Republicans who don’t want him to succeed or have any lasting legacy are calling him names because he dared to want to leave his foot prints on the sands of history. They criticize him and his first lady for doing something to help the people. They are not ready to do anything or pass any Law because they don’t want the President to take the credit. They want the gridlock to continue so they can turn round to accuse the President of non-performance.
The world has turned one full circle as I watched on television the Group of 7 leaders meeting at Brussels. That meeting is dominated by two individuals who in recent past would never have been a force to reckon with either because of their race or gender. The only black among those leaders and their undisputable leader is President Barack Obama without any doubt. Next to him is Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, the first woman Chancellor and a clear leader in the European Union. With the Group of 7 hanging tough against Russia, Vladimir Putin, the KGB operative has to understand what he is up against. He either beats a retreat or finds some ways to end his isolation as a world power.
President Putin looked like a winner when he quickly annexed the Crimea and when he served notice to Ukrainians he was going to destabilize their country. Dick Cheney and the Republicans quickly rose to condemn Barack Obama as weak and compromised. But Obama replied that “the mere fact that America has the best hammer, does not mean that every world problem is a nail”. Russia is now feeling the heat. Russia could no longer take her seat at the Group of 8 and Russia now has to play a subservient role in the D-Day celebrations which he had to attend because millions of Russians were killed in that war. To stay away was not a viable option for him. Putin had to know he had lost out against Barack Obama. So Republicans who are ever so quick to rush to judgment on Obama are making a huge mistake. Putin would be meeting with the French President and later on with Angela Merkel after the D-day anniversary to show he is still relevant and just to keep open a window of opportunity for reconciliation with the rest of the world because that is the only way out for him now.
President Putin has boxed himself into a corner from which there is not going to be an easy escape because Obama was strong and unflappable. If you don’t call that leadership, I don’t know what else to call it. Barack Obama would be sorely missed by the Republicans after he leaves office not only because they are going to find it harder convincing Americans that Hillary is not born in Kenya, but as many of his policies and investments as President continue to bear more fruits. The Obama doctrine has taken root. It is now possible for America to lead from the front and from behind and still remain relevant.
I rest my case.