Monday, October 20, 2008 at 17:48
A General's Endorsement
I must admit Colin Powell's ringing call, made on the flagship Sunday TV programme Meet the Press, surprised me. I was particularly shocked by his remark, "I was...concerned at the selection of Governor Palin....Now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States."
However, Enduring America can now reveal the reason behind the former Secretary of State's decision to back Obama. Last week Powell appeared with Palin on the legendary US game show "The $800 Billion (formerly $25,000) Pyramid". Enduring America has obtained an exclusive clip.
Funtime with Colin
This morning's Today programme on BBC radio added a needed giggle to the serious political events. First, just after 6 a.m., our favourite US correspondent Justin Webb offered the insight that Powell's endorsement might be "marginal" because many right-wing Republicans distrusted the former General and added that many Democrats who opposed the Iraq War might not be persuaded because of Powell's role in the Bush Administration.
Well done, Justin! Right-wing Republicans wouldn't vote for Obama-Biden if Todd Palin, George W. Bush, and the Lord Jesus endorsed the Democrats, and any anti-war Democrat is highly unlikely to be backing the GOP. The groups to watch, of course, are moderate Republicans who are unhappy with their Presidential ticket and the sizeable group of "independent" voters who will likely be decisive in this contest.
The anchor of Today, James Naughtie, righted the BBC ship with an entertaining grilling of Emily Walker, a Republican spokeswoman who gave a dismissive wave of her hand to Powell's statement. She explained that his words "would not change the direction of this campaign". Quite right --- as Naughtie pointed out in a subsequent question, the polls are always running away from the Republicans.
President Obama: Will It Make a Difference?
Readers have pointed Watching America to two excellent but divergent views of the next Administration. Mark Danner seizes optimism from the last eight years of despair, "It is the very unpopularity of Bush and the atmosphere of profound disillusion and crisis that helped produce a Democratic challenger whose election—however remarkable his talents, however stirring his eloquence, however bright his promise—would constitute a true revolution." Mike Davis, however, worries that the Obama team may just follow its predecessor into the abyss: "It is bitterly ironic, but, I suppose, historically predictable that a presidential campaign millions of voters have supported for its promise to end the war in Iraq has now mortgaged itself to a "tougher than McCain" escalation of a hopeless conflict in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal frontier. In the best of outcomes, the Democrats will merely trade one brutal, losing war for another. In the worst case, their failed policies may set the stage for the return of Cheney and Rove, or their even more sinister avatars."
It's the New Old Cold War (Chapter 438)
Far from content with several Wars on Terror/Iraq/Afghanistan, Strategic Forecasting reaches back for an earlier Battle to the End of Time. (This, of course, is entirely unconnected from the suspicision that Stratfor tries to pick at least $99 a year from your pocket by making you very, very worried.)
Conveniently re-framing the link of Saddam Hussein to terrorism, Reva Bhalla puts the Kremlin in the seat of Master Planner Wanting to Kill All of Us: "The potential revival of Russian state-sponsored terrorism is most likely still early in its development. But one should not forget that after the Cold War, many experts proclaimed a 'New World Order' in which terrorism had become a thing of the past — and U.S. intelligence capabilities atrophied as a result. About a decade later, the 9/11 attacks caught the United States off guard and brought into being a new era of Islamist terrorism that is only now declining. With state-sponsored terrorism back on the horizon, the time has come to recognize the changing face of terrorism beyond the post-9/11 world."
Mentioning Bhalla's analysis is a convenient way to welcome back our old friend John Bolton, who is also finding solace --- amidst the "appeasement" of Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc. --- in a new old campaign:
"Ultimately, what most risks "provoking" Moscow is not Western resolve but Western weakness. This is where the real weight of history lies. Accordingly, attitude adjustment in Moscow first requires attitude adjustment in NATO capitals, and quickly, before Moscow's swaggering leaders draw the wrong lessons from their recent successes....Such an approach will not endanger Western security but enhance it. And if Russia takes offense, better to know that now than later, when the stakes for all concerned may be much higher."