Another Perspective

Another Perspective

Ben Carson for Vice President!

By 9.15.14

It may be thought that as an Australian I have no right to publish an opinion on American politics, but the whole world has an interest in who leads America. Your hopes and fears are ours. So, as one who has watched Obama’s policies of defeatism, retreat, and serial blundering with dismay, here goes.

Dr. Ben Carson has many qualities that make him superbly suitable for high office: he has, pre-eminently, brains and force of character. No one can read his biography and fail to be impressed by his achievements and credentials.

He is a fine speaker, and his background is, unlike Obama’s, an open book. He even (an unfortunately relevant consideration in the modern age) looks presidential.

On every comparison with Obama of fitness for the office, Carson aces him: a brilliant neurosurgeon who rose to the top of his profession, contrasted with a “community organizer” and lawyer who as far as I know never conducted a trial in his life. Unlike Obama’s Nobel Prize, Carson’s awards have been earned.

Another Perspective

Time to Close Ranks

By 9.12.14

You may note approvingly of the scathing, sarcastic, even condescending reactions of leading conservatives to President Obama’s speech the other day laying out the broad lines of a strategy to defeat the self-described caliphate which has raised its black banner of death against us — and everybody else it disapproves of.

They sure did not lose time letting go their verbal barbs at our beleaguered top exec — elected by the American People in a free and fair election — not even waiting for the airwaves to calm down a bit. The experts at Fox News seemed to be obsessed with the notion that Mr. Obama is entirely “poll-driven” rather than a thoughtful statesman motivated solely by what is right and what is just and what will work for our Republic; nor could they not resist a few jabs of the we-told-you-so and too-little-too-late variety.

Another Perspective

Should Scotland Secede from the United Kingdom?

By 9.11.14

The vote over Scottish independence is coming down to the wire. Polls show a close race. It is a momentous decision that would reverse the Act of Union adopted back in 1707, but why is President Barack Obama bothering the Scots with his opinion?

A Scottish yes vote would have dramatic effects. While independence activists have reassured their countrymen that nothing much would change, a Scottish nation might find a less than warm welcome from European and other world leaders. No doubt, Holyrood (parliament) would receive diplomatic recognition. But Scotland’s passage to nationhood might not be as easy as promised.

An independent Scotland likely would have to reapply to the European Union and NATO. Holyrood would have to create its own currency, or unofficially use the British pound, over which the Scots would have no control. The new nation would have to decide whether it even wanted a military; the British nuclear deterrent would have to move south to a base that today doesn’t exist.

Another Perspective

We Need Another Gulf War Effort

By 9.8.14

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein led what was then the fourth largest army in the world, a battle-hardened group that had just fought the ten-year Iran-Iraq War, into Kuwait to seize its oil fields.

It was a clear violation of international law and national sovereignty, but as usual, Saddam had his own list of rationalizations — northern Kuwait really belonged to Iraq — plus the law that might makes right.

So what did we do? America’s interests were clearly at stake — we were much more dependent on foreign oil — but we were obviously not going to fight the whole of Saddam’s army at such a distance. Instead, President George Bush, in what was probably the brilliant diplomatic effort of the century, spent a half year assembling a coalition of 36 nations from five continents lined up against Saddam. The entire Middle East signed on — they feared Saddam’s incursions were only beginning — but countries from Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia signed on as well.

Another Perspective

A Forgotten Hero of World War I

By 9.4.14

As we mark the 100th anniversary of World War I, one country’s contribution to the war to end all wars has been sorely overlooked — Canada.

I attempted to rectify this by modest measure. Last week, during a visit to my home and native land, my older brother and I made a pilgrimage to the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Canada’s military has made important contributions in the War in Afghanistan, the Korean War, and in WWII, especially during D-Day. But it was in World War I that Canada came of age.

Another Perspective

Don’t You Wish Voting Didn’t Feel Like a Placebo?

By 9.4.14

They don’t really do anything, these buttons we press to close elevator doors or cross the street, but we press them anyway. They’re called placebo buttons, and they exist only to give us the illusion of control. In cynical moods, I’d add that dial in the voting booth to the category. Pick red or pick blue—now we’ve got your consent to take your money, throw you in jail, or require your children to brush their teeth in day care. And it goes without saying, if you sell Whoppers to Sri Lankans, we get a third of that action, too.

Only I haven’t consented to any of these practices—not explicitly. I think the federal government ought to stick to raising armies, punishing piracy, and erecting Forts, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings in the District of Columbia. I suppose I consent to the rest of Congress’ enumerated powers under the Constitution, but that’s it.

Another Perspective

Congress’s Duty to Lead

By 8.26.14

While President Obama dithers, Congress needs to act against ISIS. House and Senate leaders should reconvene Congress this week, and take the unprecedented step of authorizing military action against ISIS and then requesting Obama’s signature. Customarily, a president takes the first step, presenting a draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force (similar to a declaration of war), then negotiating with Congress on the goals and scope. But Obama’s intentions are unknown, so Congress should seize the initiative.

The world is waiting for an American response to the beheading of James Foley and ISIS’s explicit threats to attack this country and raise its flag over the White House. Delay and ambivalence — hallmarks of Obama’s foreign policy — will discourage allies and embolden the enemy. Congress can step in, while sparing a reluctant president from having to expend political capital on war. After all, the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the responsibility for declaring war.

Another Perspective

In Praise of Limousine Liberals

By 8.22.14

The phase “limousine liberal” was ironically coined by a Democrat, New York City mayoral hopeful Mario Procaccino, during his 1969 campaign to unseat Republican John Lindsay.  Procaccino was attacking Lindsay’s generous and well-healed backers who, as he put it, “live on Fifth Avenue and maintain some choice mansions outside the city [but] have no feeling for the small middle class shopkeeper, home owner, etc.”

In the forty-five years since, the expression has been taken up by conservatives as convenient shorthand for Wall Street Democrats and Left-leaning heirs of great wealth, connoting as it does a mixture of hypocrisy, insularity, and wishful thinking.  But while it is only human nature for the Right to enjoy ridiculing rich Democrats whose policies so blatantly contradict their lifestyles, conservatives should never fail to appreciate the many hidden ways that limousine liberals actually undermine the Left’s own agenda.

Another Perspective

ISIS Horrors and Just War Teaching

By 8.20.14

The ISIS invasion of Iraq and subsequent horrors, for which Iraq’s dwindling Christian minority is a chief victim, has reanimated talk about Christian Just War teaching.

Citing the call by Iraq’s Chaldean Patriarch for military intervention, a group of prominent Christian thinkers, with others, has declared that “nothing short of the destruction of ISIS/ISIL as a fighting force will provide long-term protection of victims.” Urging U.S. and international help for local forces against ISIS, they assert that “no options that are consistent with the principles of just war doctrine should be off the table.” They want expanded U.S. air strikes against ISIS and U.S. arms for the Kurds, among others. The most prominent church official on this list is the Southern Baptist Convention’s chief public policy spokesman.

Another Perspective

What About Watertown?

By 8.18.14

Before the folly of the Ferguson Police Department’s overreaction to looting and rioting following the fatal shooting earlier this month of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black teenager, there had been concerns raised about the militarization of our local police departments by the federal government. Last month, Fox News Channel’s John Stossel wrote: 

I want the police to be better armed than the bad guys, but what exactly does that mean today?

Apparently it means the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security equip even the tiniest rural police departments with massive military vehicles, body armor and grenade launchers. The equipment is surplus from the long wars we fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Following the Ferguson folly, Alec MacGillis of the New Republic picked up on this theme: