Stephen Zunes : Electoral Politics
An ad on my Facebook page from barackobama.com reads, “Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich say they would start foreign aid to Israel at zero. Reject their extreme plan now!”
This struck me as odd for two reasons:
First, it is disingenuous and misleading. The actual position taken by these Republican presidential candidates is that all foreign aid should initially start at zero as means of reducing the deficit, to be immediately followed by the resumption of aid on a case-by-case basis. As they themselves have acknowledged, they would immediately resume aid to Israel and perhaps even increase it. Ironically, U.S. “aid for Israel” goes almost exclusively to U.S. arms manufacturers, with which the Republican candidates have a close relationship.
Like many people who campaigned and voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, the upcoming tenth anniversary of that disastrous election and awareness of the tragic results continues to haunt me. While it was perhaps the most serious political misjudgment I have ever made, it is important to recognize why at the time it seemed to be a quite rational course of action. It is also important to recognize what both the Democratic Party as well as progressives who are tempted to support left alternatives to the Democrats can learn from it.
Hillary Clinton has received mixed though generally favorable reviews, both internationally and domestically, during her first 100 days as secretary of state. Public opinion polls in the United States give her a more than 70 percent-positive rating….
The appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is nothing less than a betrayal of the anti-war constituency responsible for Barack Obama winning the Democratic Party nomination and his subsequent election as president of the United States. The quintessential Democratic hawk, Senator Clinton has proven to be one of the leading militarists on Capitol Hill and her appointment as the country’s chief foreign policy representative serves notice to the international community that the change they had hoped for will not be forthcoming….
The appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is nothing less than a betrayal of the anti-war constituency responsible for Barack Obama winning the Democratic Party nomination and his subsequent election as president of the United States. The quintessential Democratic hawk, Senator Clinton has proven to be one of the leading militarists on Capitol Hill and her appointment as the country’s chief foreign policy representative serves notice to the international community that the change they had hoped for will not be forthcoming.
For those hoping for a dramatic change in U.S. foreign policy under an Obama administration — particularly regarding human rights, international law, and respect for international institutions — the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is a bitter disappointment. Indeed, Senator Clinton has more often than not sided with the Bush administration against fellow Democrats on key issues regarding America’s international legal obligations, particularly international humanitarian law.
Growing up in Mississippi and North Carolina in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I have vivid memories of African-Americans hoping to participate in their first election being turned away at the polls, denied their most basic right to vote. Little did I know that near fifty years later, in 2008, my daughter would similarly be prevented from voting….
I had really wanted to celebrate Barack Obama’s remarkable victory for a day or so before becoming cynical again. I really did….
The smear campaign by John McCain, Sarah Palin and their supporters reached a new low this past week with their attacks on Democratic nominee Barack Obama for his former ties with Palestinian American scholar Rashid Khalidi. This is just one of a series of desperate guilt-by-association tactics by the Republicans to make the staunchly pro-Israel Obama appear to be anti-Israel and may be designed less to harm the Democratic nominee’s chances of election as to limit politically his options for addressing urgent matters of Israeli-Palestinian peace upon becoming president….
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama missed a number of key opportunities during the presidential foreign policy debate on September 26 to challenge the dangerous and reckless foreign policies of Republican nominee John McCain….