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While presidential candidates George W. Bush and Albert Gore Jr.
debated Social Security, education reform and government subsidized
prescription drugs on Tuesday evening, the diplomatic and military
crisis in the Middle East continued to intensify. While the candidates
haggled over “fuzzy numbers” the Chinese grip on the Panama Canal was
not loosened. While Gore urged federal intervention in the nation’s
classrooms, the neo-Marxist takeover of public education continued
As Bush and Gore argued over America’s military readiness and morale,
nobody recalled Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Henry Shelton’s recent
words: “Specifically,” said Shelton, “the risks of fighting one major
war are viewed as ‘moderate’ while the dangers associated with an
additional conflict are viewed as ‘high.’”
At the moment, simultaneous conflicts are brewing in the Taiwan
Straits, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Korea (not to mention the disintegration
of Indonesia and the communist revolution in Colombia). The United
States Air Force has shortages of spare parts, the Navy has shortages of
fuel and the Army is at low combat readiness. (Our airlift capacity is
supposedly in horrible shape, as well.)
While the moderator of Tuesday’s presidential debate quickly passed
over America’s growing national security crisis, Russia continued its
clandestine military buildup, quietly suspending announced military
reductions that received publicity over the summer. This is the Russian
deception pattern. Announce reductions, then quietly cancel the
reductions. Therefore, the threat from Russia was not even discussed by
Both Gore and Bush would agree that the Cold War is over.
Consequently, the question of national missile defense was not even
raised. In future debates — if we are lucky — it will figure as a
minor point of interest. But don’t cross your fingers. After all, it’s
not a very stylish topic at the moment, and it doesn’t make people feel
good to discuss the possibility of a future nuclear missile crisis.
The low point in Tuesday’s debate for George W. Bush was when he
illogically referred to increased oil and gas imports from Mexico as a
way to decrease foreign oil dependency. In his enthusiasm for the
Latino vote, he apparently forgot that Mexico is a foreign country.
Albert Gore’s low point came when he took credit for bringing about
the “surrender” of Yugoslavia through Russian intermediaries during the
Kosovo crisis. He forgot to mention that his Russian intermediary
“friend” is a corrupt Russian gangster. When the CIA reported this to
Gore, he scrawled a barnyard epithet across the CIA’s report.
It should be emphasized that Gore is incredibly naive about Russia.
He pretends not to notice Russia’s “strategic partnership” with China,
and its strategic hold on international organized crime. Gore also
doesn’t seem to know that his “friends” in Russia are big supporters of
terrorist states like Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Korea.
If on Tuesday night the candidates were honestly talking about what
they felt was important, and if the journalist who questioned them
reflected the concerns of the American people, then our country is in
deep trouble. The Middle East is ready to explode into war, the Far
East stands on the brink of conflict, and the only foreign policy
question asked during the debate was about Yugoslavia’s presidential
election and whether the U.S. should bomb the poor Yugoslavs because
Milosevic won’t leave office.
The question itself was inane.
One day America is going to pay a terrible price for its ignorance
about foreign countries and the proper use of force. During the recent
Olympic Games in Australia, the American athletes proved to be
unpopular. Americans were heckled in event after event. It seems that
our arrogance was resented. But our real arrogance, which goes very
deep, is reflected in our studied ignorance and disinterest in other
countries. By refusing to learn where other countries are on the map,
we insult those countries. By refusing to learn a few basics about
European or Asian history we insult Europeans and Asians.
America is a world power. What American voters decide will affect
the well being of many nations. It’s time that we learned a little
about foreign countries, and asked our candidates more about foreign
policy than about public education or medical benefits. The last time I
looked at the Constitution, the president was listed as the commander in
chief, not the teacher in charge.
As voters we need to see the big picture, and we should demand
candidates who also see the big picture.