Editor Charles Warner in his editorial of January 30 made some good points about anti-establishment candidates. Permit me some embellishment on his thoughts.
There only two truly anti-establishment candidates: Donald Trump for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats. Others may claim to be, but they are not really. One way you can tell is in their foreign-policy rhetoric. ALL the other candidates in both parties toe the two-party line that Russia and Iran are BAD countries, to be opposed at every turn no matter what they do or say, and in the case of Iran, to be bombed, if possible. But Donald and Bernie don’t buy into that.
Both Putin of Russia and Rafsanjani of Iran are actively fighting in Syria against ISIS. Last I heard, I thought WE were opposed to ISIS too. So what do we want to do? I guess we want to fight ISIS and also fight everybody else who is fighting against ISIS. That means we don’t like anybody, and we want to fight everybody. The last man who wanted to fight everybody was Adolph Hitler, and we thought he was crazy. This means that there are only two non-crazy candidates running for president. You guessed it: Donald and Bernie.
Some people still hate Russia because they USED to be communist. Well, they quit being communist in 1991 and went into a tailspin. We took advantage of Russia’s weakness to push NATO, an arm of U.S. power, all the way to Russia’s doorstep in Poland and the Baltic states, and we staged a coup in Ukraine to overthrow the Moscow-backed prime minister, thus potentially taking over Russia’s naval bases in the Crimean Peninsula. Viewed from the other side of the lens, it was as if Russia not only took over Cuba but Canada as well. I don’t think we would take kindly to such a situation, and Putin has come to regard the U.S. as an implacable opponent.
Now Putin has troops, tanks, planes, and ships in Syria and is propping up a horrible dictator, namely Assad, whom we want removed. Toppling terrible dictators is always a good thing to do, right? What happened when George W. Bush overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq? That came out great, right? What happened when Barack Obama overthrew Khadaffi (There are 10 ways to spell his name.) in Libya? Have cruise ships been going there lately? Ever heard of Benghazi? Today no country can even keep an ambassador anywhere in Libya. The list goes on.
We assisted and cheered when the Egyptians overthrew their dictator (who happened to be pro-American), then the Islamist extremists took over, and then the military set up a dictatorship to keep the Islamists out. Today Egypt is a mess, and most people are afraid to go there.
If ISIS, yes ISIS, succeeds in deposing Assad in Syria (and they and Al Queda are the ones who are most likely to do that), Russia, Iran, and the U.S. will all suffer a severe set-back. With ISIS in control of Damascus, they will have scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion. The Middle East scoreboard will look a lot worse than it does already. American foreign policy, as conducted by both parties, has been hopelessly myopic for years. Donald and Bernie, as outsiders, are the only ones who are saying that “the emperor has no clothes.”
Therefore, in the up-coming Republican and Democratic primaries I urge all Republicans to vote for Trump and all Democrats to vote for Sanders. The final showdown will come in November, but that’s a long way away. The two primaries are almost upon us.
Allan Charles is a Union County resident, author, educator and historian.