It is hard not to feel nostalgic about the glamour and greatness of the United States as one amazing experiment in human history. She is without any doubt the greatest country on Earth and the only surviving super power. The Soviet, Union which had been her closest rival, has crashed under her own weight because of the inequities in her Communist System.
Her central control system and lack of competition simply could not withstand or survive the resourcefulness and creative genius of the Capitalist System led by America.
The Soviet Union should have known a long time ago she could not compete with America which pioneered the founding of international organizations like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to mention a few.
While America led the West to create the most powerful military alliance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Soviet Union created the Warsaw Pact as a counter force to NATO but did not have the means or the organizational skill or the management capacity to sustain the military alliance even though a disproportionate percentage of the Soviet Union Budget was allocated to Defense and Security thereby giving the Soviet Union a very lopsided development that took its toll on the economic development of the 15 Russian Republics which then began to look elsewhere for their salvation and survival.
It was only a question of time before the Western World was able to find a Russian leader in Gorbachev willing to see the hand writing on the wall when he voluntarily embarked on “Perestroika” which was designed to restructure the communist system from the inside to give the Soviet Union a fighting chance to compete with the West.
In the process, many of the 15 Russian Republics and Poland saw the light and they began to bail out. Poland was the first to bail out of her Russian domination. She did it with some support from John Paul, the first Polish Pope with the "gravitas" to lead the effort. There was also the effort of an unknown Union Leader who shot to prominence and ended up becoming the first President of free Poland with a lot of help from the West led by America.
I have traveled all over the 50 states of America including Hawaii and Alaska. I have also traveled all over the world including Europe, the former Soviet Union, China and Japan. I am yet to find any country that can seriously challenge the supremacy of America in the committee of Nations.
Yes, I will be the first to admit that China is on the fast lane to catch up with America, but China will for a long time remain a distant second to America since America is not going to wait for China to catch up. America is aware of the Chinese upward movement and challenge and is more than ready for a partnership with China but never to play a second fiddle to China.
No country knows that better than China which wants to stoop low to conquer. China is always the first to admit she is a developing nation with no ambition to challenge or compete with America. She just wants to live and let live and America has no problems with that.
America is the place most people from other parts of the world want to be because America is number one among other countries of the world. I am aware that few Nigerians consider me a sellout for always eulogizing America. I am only telling the truth, as I know it.
Those Nigerians think that America is doomed because of her stand on same sex marriage. Some of them even condemn America for testing or challenging God by sending the first man to the Moon and by America’s belief that everything made by man and even things made by God can be infinitely improved.
I disagree with those Nigerians because I think if God does not like same sex marriage as stated in the Holy Scriptures, God still has the power and the leverage to punish those who practice that life style and countries that support policies that permit such life style.
I cannot because of that rubbish America. If God has to choose between countries doing his wishes, I believe America will be first on that list despite her few shortcomings. If God in His permissive will, calls the Jews his chosen people in spite of all their sins and shortcomings, who are we to question God.
I therefore do not hold any grudge against America for that reason. I am a proud American by naturalization and I can say that anywhere I go because America has been good to me. I love America but I also know America has her vulnerabilities which she cannot afford to sweep under the carpet.
It goes with the territory. When a country is as buoyant and as vibrant as America, it is bound to have some vulnerability the Republicans and the Conservatives among us must factor into their equation as they want America to gloat and flaunt her leverage and influence as the only remaining super power.
There are things America cannot do. There is a limit to American power. It is wrong for the Republicans to criticize or condemn President Obama for canvassing a different position and policy for America. The man got voted into office because he promised he was going to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and not start another endless war with unpredictable consequences.
When he contested with John McCain for the presidency in 2008, the voters had a choice to pick between him and McCain after weighing their manifestos and policies. They gave Obama a landslide victory.
They repeated the same thing when Obama was challenged by Mitt Romney in 2012. The Republican candidates lost both elections to the Democrats and Obama because the voters love the plans laid out by Obama to not let America alone carry the burden of the world on her shoulders. It was the right position to take and Obama was right to do so.
The plan and strategy the President presented to the country yesterday on how America plans to engage, degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS was the right stuff. Those clamoring for a timetable from the President in that speech were asking for the impossible.
The President could only do but so much with that short speech and he said enough to assure the nation he truly meant business and he was not going to use the power he had like a lion. He was going to be deliberate and thoughtful in everything he did and I have to say that is good for America.
When the President says he is going to identify and work with the moderate opposition in Syria to confront ISIS and not play into the hands of President Assad whose days in Syria are numbered, the President knows what he is talking about.
It is true that the President is a reluctant warrior based on the assurances he has given the country when he initially sought the presidency, but the President has to deal with the hands he was dealt by his destiny or circumstances totally beyond his control.
There is a limit to how much strategic information he can divulge in that speech. He has to show some optimism in the plans he has laid out but he must have a contingency plan if things do not go the way he has envisaged which is a clear possibility in this case because America hates to see body bags of American soldiers coming back home to be buried.
Unlike the Arabs who want to fight and die in wars because their faith teaches them they would be going to Heaven or “Allujanah” and they consequently don’t have to worry about death. How do you threaten somebody with death whose preferred option was to go and die in a war rather than live to tell the story? That is part of the predicament of America as the most powerful nation on Earth which does not like to lose a single soul in any war or have most of their soldiers wounded and maimed in any war.
That is why America prefers using the drones and air power to do most of what she had to do in any war. But putting boots on the ground is quite often inevitable and Americans must be battle-ready to do that if necessary by planning ahead for it like the President has clearly done.
Many of the allies in Europe who will be fighting with America are equally concerned about sending their soldiers to go die in a foreign was. They would rather wish the countries in the region to take responsibility for their own defense while America and the other allies can go there to offer them some air cover, which is equally important to weaken the enemies to the extent possible.
There are also a lot of imponderables in this war that America must not forget. President Obama was urging more restraint in confronting Russia in the stalemate in East Ukraine because he believed America and the West might need Russian cooperation in other situations in the world. If Russia decides to side with Syrian Assad as it well might do now that Putin has boxed himself into a corner in East Ukraine and Crimea, that development might make it that much harder to defeat Assad in the event of a confrontation with America and the West.
President Obama is certainly aware of those imponderables as he juggles all the options open to him as President and Commander-in-Chief. Republicans should give the man a break.
What America is dealing with here is a very complex situation that is not subject to any quick fix. We all need to take the points the President has raised in that speech as only the first step or part A. The part B is yet to be clearly defined and spelt out. The plan to out-source putting boots on the ground as laid out by the President is the right thing to do.
There is a possibility that the Iraqi army that Obama is putting all his hopes upon may not be able to take the fight to ISIS, but if they are unable to do it, it is only then that the contingency plan already envisaged by the President will kick in.
I can see such an unintended escalation into a full-blown war occurring if some American soldiers or journalists were captured and openly beheaded like happened to Foley and Sotloff. Public opinion in America would not condone that and America could just find himself dragged into a bigger war to save face.
That is another vulnerability of America all Americans have to bear in mind. When President Bill Clinton on following the same track on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republicans were the first to cry foul but Clinton stuck to his gun and the plan worked.
Obama may well do the same with ISIS with no organized army. What Obama is planning is doable. Let us give him a chance.
The segment of the President’s speech which put more emphasis on persuading the countries funding ISIS to stop doing so is exactly the right thing to do because if ISIS source of funding dries up, ISIS would have no resources to recoup and they would eventually have to retreat or go into hiding like Al Qaeda did when Osama Bin Laden, in a moment of candor, had to admit or concede that the air bombardment by Americans had weakened and devastated Al Qaeda. He also admitted in the same secret document that Al Qaeda has run short of funds to continue the war against America. It was only a question of time before Osama Bin Laden himself got caught and killed in his hideout at a location near Islamabad. I believe the Obama plan will work.
I strongly believe that the plan laid out by President Obama in that speech is a down payment which can be substantially improved or perfected if the Republican-controlled Lower House and the Senate would quit playing politics and play their part and work with the President as stipulated by the Constitution.
I could not be more proud of the President’s 15 minutes speech. It was strong and deliberate and eloquent. Americans are just damn too good. There are far too many brains in America to dissect everything said by the President and to put their own spin on it. That is part of what makes America the greatest country on Earth. But if you see what I see, the same strength could also create the vulnerabilities I am talking about.
There are far too many brilliant minds in America which complicates the decision-making process in every debate. I sure get that. It is better to have more information than less because information is the tool for decision-making but getting it can be time-consuming and frustrating. If the President appears slow and weak it is because he wants to be right when the rubber meets the road. I love and respect this President. I don’t know about you.
Those who want America to go bomb and put American boots on the ground in Syria must remember the lessons to be learnt from demonizing and toppling poor Saddam Hussein who managed to keep Iraq stable and peaceful despite his autocratic rule.
I visited Baghdad two times during the reign of Saddam Hussein and I came away with the impression that the man was one of the most successful Arab leaders like Moammar Khadafi of Libya whose exit has now turned Libya into a failed state just like Iraq without Saddam Hussein. Let us give credit where credit is due.
The world now knows in hindsight that Saddam Hussein should have been left alone. Iraq is clearly worse off today than she ever was under Saddam Hussein who was a Sunni minority leader but the strong man of the Arab world who could be compared to the Fulani minority power brokers in Nigeria who have dominated and ruled Nigeria for as long as many of us can remember.
The Middle East is in turmoil and crisis today everywhere you look from Libya to Egypt and from Sudan to Tunisia because we now know that the American type of Democracy does not and cannot work in those Islamic States. If you don’t believe me, I would remind you that the Military is back in power in Egypt, the leading Islamic nation in the Arab world.
Who would have believed that another military leader was going to replace Hosni Mubarak in Egypt after a short interregnum of just one year?
What the Arab Muslims understand is iron discipline and nothing else and their Holy Koran supports that. Syria was stable for years under the iron rule of Assad Senior. The moment his son, the ophthalmologist trained in London took over, the enemies of his minority Allowite sect saw an opening and they took undue advantage of it creating the current mayhem and instability in Syria. The Muslims don’t appreciate weak leaders and the kind of Democracy America or the West believes in.
America must understand that and stop trying to make an omelet in the Arab world without breaking an egg. It is one mission impossible. There is a limit to American power. That is the plain truth. President Obama is smart to make it clear in that speech that he has the authority to act but would appreciate a vote of solidarity from the Congress to show they support his action and would fund the plan by taking a vote.
If the Congress refuses to have their individual vote on the safety and security of America placed on record, those individuals would have themselves to blame in the mid-term election when voters issue them a red card. So, Republicans who think the election is theirs to lose this November, would be surprised when some of them lose their seats. I said it before and I would say it again that the do-nothing Congress would pay a price for not heeding the President’s advice in that speech.
Those who are questioning President Obama’s strategy on how best to confront ISIS must be reminded there is no magic bullet to solving the problem created by unconventional terrorists like ISIS with so many disgruntled Sunni Generals who were arbitrarily demobilized by George Bush after the fall of Saddam Hussein and now actively collaborating with ISIS.
The problem in Iraq was not created by Obama. He initially wanted to leave a residual contingent in Iraq but Nuri Al Maliki, the Prime Minister did not agree because he wanted to prove to his people the sovereignty of Iraq and their right to say no to America would be respected because America does not have a territorial ambition in Iraq.
Obama, who did not want America to be seen as an occupier or a bully, had no choice than to just retain enough soldiers to protect American assets in Iraq after the withdrawal of American troops. It is therefore totally disingenuous of John McCain and Lindsey Graham to want to blame Obama for not leaving a residual army capable enough to neutralize the Jihadists like ISIS.
Obama does not want America to be drawn into another endless war in Iraq and most Americans agree with that, and so do I. I don’t want any of my two boys currently serving proudly in the US Navy fighting another senseless war like the one America has fought in Iraq for more than 10 years because Republicans have never seen a war they did not like.
I cast my vote in support of Obama’s approach because the President is looking for the middle ground in the crisis, and he is damn right in my judgment.
Sooner or later as predicted by Joseph Biden, Iraq is most likely to break up into 3 separate states with the Kurds in the North, the Shiites in the central and the Sunnis in the south or somewhere there. That is where Iraq is headed but it will be nice if the break-up can be peacefully managed.
I rest my case.