What a strange state of affairs on the political scene

Published 11:04 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Hopefully, President George Bush has learned by now that swagger and tough talk alone just don’t cut it forever in politics and especially not on the world’s stage.

I’m not convinced, though. He keeps trying to make John Bolton, a fellow swaggerer and tough talker, the permanent American ambassador to the United Nations. That doesn’t auger well for bipartisanship for the final two years of his presidency.

He’s also talking to the Iraq study group to try to bolster his image over the war he lied us into and has so badly mismanaged since getting us there.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Personally, I agree with John McCain about greatly increasing the number of troops there to try to take and hold some territory for once instead of taking it and giving it back to the enemy.

However, I’m afraid it may be too late for that solution. That is something that should have been done at the beginning. American military dogma up until the invasion of Iraq, at least since Vietnam, had been to use overwhelming force. Along came Bush and his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and we moved from overwhelming force to not being able to “whelm” at all.

Now maybe we’ll return to overwhelming force for future military excursions. I sincerely hope that lesson has been learned.

Rumsfeld, as bad a secretary of defense as he has been, did have a part of a good idea and that was to increase our commando-type forces and develop a force that can move light and fast for truly quick response to crises. Unfortunately, he wanted to do away with the heavy force we already have, apparently unable to perceive that both types of forces are needed in a truly modern, super-power military.

We may pay for that lack of vision in the probably not too distant future if the balance isn’t corrected.

While we have been paying so much attention to the guerilla and insurgent battles being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan we appear to have taken our eyes off of a future super-power rival — China.

Yes, China. Already she is beating us over the head economically because our politicians care less about sending American jobs overseas than they do about cultivating the manufacturers sending the jobs there and to other cheap manufacturing sites.

Why are they cultivating these manufacturers and other big business at the expense of Americans? Why, for the huge sums of money they believe they need to run for re-election. With enough money, they believe they can buy our votes despite kicking dust in our faces.

China’s economy is growing by leaps and bounds because of American politicians’ failure, even refusal, to do their main job, which is looking after our interests. As China’s economy grows, so does its military and so does the modernization of that military and the weapons development it needs for a truly modern military.

Has anybody noticed that China has joined the space race? Has anybody noticed that she is expanding her navy?

All of this has been done with American dollars earned by manufacturing goods at super low costs and exporting them to the United States. More and more American companies are developing facilities in China to take advantage of that cheap labor and the China’s booming economy.

In the meantime, we are mired down in Iraq with no good way out at the moment, regardless of who controls Congress or the White House. We have wasted more than three years since the 2003 invasion trying to control the situation there with far too few troops, a situation that has allowed the insurgency to grow and train its forces under our very noses.

Money that could have been spent developing the light forces that Rumsfeld pushed has been wasted in Iraq, along with money that could have been used to keep a balanced heavy, conventional force ready to go when that is needed.

Money that could have been spent keeping us really ahead of the Chinese in space has been squandered. We will be lucky if they don’t beat us back to the Moon. If they do get there before us, what guarantee do we have they won’t militarize it so that they can command all of Earth from that location?

Scary stuff to think about isn’t it? Trouble is, given the way our current president has taken us in recent years, it is increasingly likely that one day we will be in a showdown with the Chinese and right now, the prognosis for the outcome of that showdown is up in the air — or maybe up in space.

One thing is for certain, swaggering and tough talk won’t prevent it from happening or help us to prevent it from happening.