Opinion: Who’s the best U.S. presidential candidate?
Here we are in the process of a national election that might be a watershed concerning the future of our country.
We keep telling ourselves that we are the most powerful and the richest. But we are not. We cannot be the most powerful when, with our huge arsenal of weapons that is larger than the combined arsenal of the next five powerful countries, we cannot bring an end to ISIS, which is terrorizing America and the rest of the world.
We are not the richest either. We live on borrowed money. So far, our national debt is over $18 trillion, and no one has yet come up with a realistic plan to pay it off.
Yet, we continue to borrow, as we are intoxicated with a false sense of invincibility. The French proverb “Soon, hard will be the fall” is quite appropriate to describe our state of affairs.
The next president needs to make courageous decisions about the national debt and our wars in the Middle East.
The first Iraq war, during the presidency of George H. W. Bush, was necessary and wisely executed. Saddam Hussein had occupied Kuwait and had plans for more aggression, with the ultimate goal of dominating the Middle East.
To put an end to those ambitions, Bush put together a coalition that sent Hussein’s armies back to Baghdad in a fast retreat, and he ended the war in five days.
The second Iraq war was a different story. There was a great deal of bogus information about weapons of mass destruction that Hussein had accumulated.
Then-president George W. Bush decided to attack. He then landed on a battleship in the Persian Gulf in full military gear and prematurely declared victory; that actually was not achieved until several years later.
Then his viceroy in Iraq, Mr. Bremmer, disbanded all Iraq’s military forces and conducted elections on the basis of sectarian lines — Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south. These two egregious mistakes led to the birth of the “Islamic State.”
Then came our blunder in Afghanistan. The Russians were already there, badly bruised by the Afghani resistance fighters.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, we had no compelling reason to go there, but we did. And we are still there, trying to untangle ourselves from a completely internal conflict.
President Obama is doing the right thing by not jumping into the fray in Syria. The conflict there is complex; the Russians want to keep their naval base in Tarsus, which is the only naval base they have outside the Black Sea.
Meanwhile, Shiites and Sunnis there are fighting each other for sectarian and political reasons that are of no interest to us. We should let the people there fight their own wars; yet some of our politicians want to put boots on the ground again;,at the cost of more American lives and expense.
In view of these issues, it is time to make a careful assessment of who among the candidates is the most qualified to be our next president:
Mr. Donald Trump is not qualified: He is a narcissist, a demagogue and a habitual liar with a long list of bankruptcies and other failures that we do not need in the White House.
Gov. John Kasich keeps telling us again and again about his achievements in Ohio, implying that what he accomplished there qualifies him to lead this country.
Bravo Gov. Kasich, but please keep in mind that the United States of America is somewhat larger than the state of Ohio, and demands for managing its internal affairs, as well as its myriad involvements in economic, political, diplomatic, social and military issues around the world require a president with certain innate attributes that transcend those needed to manage a state.
Sen. Ted Cruz has impressive records, both in academic and professional achievements, but is disliked by his colleagues for ambiguous reasons that should be clarified to enable us to make an intelligent assessment of his qualifications.
Sen. Bernie Sanders incessant attacks of those bad, bad 1 percenters and the despicable, shady Wall Street attract large crowds of admirers.
But Sen. Sanders, aren’t those 1 percenters the ones who create jobs for your crowd of admirers? Isn’t Wall Street where those admirers invest their savings? And shouldn’t your wrath be directed instead at those bad, bad senators and congressmen who sell themselves to the highest bidder?
Secretary Hillary Clinton possesses a wealth of experience and is qualified to be president in spite of the blown-up accusations about the email issue.
But it remains to the people to decide whether or not to let her take the country further in the direction of a welfare state.
Sid Bekowich is an Incline Village resident.
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