If the United States is going to get through the rest of Obama's administration, the president needs help.
We have a president who is totally inexperienced. He was always voting "present" when he was a state senator and had only been in Washington for two years before running for president. When I saw a story that Obama was thinking of running for president, I immediately called my friend Dick Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois.
"If Illinois wants a President, run!" I told Dick. "You've been a leader in the House. You are a leader in the Senate. You know the budget, foreign policy, and defense. Obama doesn't know where the bathroom is in the Capitol if he has to go."
When Durbin cut me off, I realized the conspiracy: Teddy Kennedy, with the Northeastern Democrats, was banding together with Durbin's Midwest Democrats (farmers and labor) to beat Hillary and to elect the first African-American president. Now we have a president, highly intelligent but afraid to govern - constantly campaigning. Valerie Jarrett guards him in the White House. He needs help. President Obama couldn't find a leader to manage the outcome so he stayed out of Syria. But now President Obama is on course for a "Bay of Pigs" in Iraq.
You can't tippy-toe into war. The Powell Doctrine requires going all out. Setting the policy that Iraqis must take the responsibility for defending Iraq sets a policy for the U.S. withdrawal from Germany, South Korea, Japan and Kuwait.
We made the mess in Iraq. Now President Obama has to secure Iraq once and for all and let the three religions join as a country or separate.
We started the trouble in Ukraine. We went thousands of miles away from the United States to Russia's border, to a Russian country, to extend NATO but called it "spreading democracy." The U.S. deployed 55 entities of the National Endowment for Democracy and the CIA to stir dissension and overthrow the government.
Demonizing Vladimir Putin for protecting Russia's interests in Ukraine is wrong. If Putin had come to Mexico or Canada, to have them leave NAFTA and join the Russian Eurasian Union, we'd be jumping all over President Obama to protect the U.S. interest. Our problem is that local politics have taken over foreign policy. We've got to cool it.
As Sen. John McCain says, "The world has changed."
But not as he thinks. The military is checkmated. Any military conflict with China threatens to go nuclear and should be avoided.
Now the U.S. is finding terrorism everywhere.
Rather than puffing and blowing militarily like McCain, we've got to puff and blow economically - stop magnifying terrorism and emphasize our Good Neighbor Policy. After Charlie Wilson's War, Afghanistan was a grateful friend of the United States and no threat to our security. Osama Bin Laden, holed up on the Afghan border, escaped to Pakistan.
We never should have gone to war with Afghanistan. As Charlie Wilson told me, "Afghans don't like foreigners, and Russians were foreigners. Afghans don't like each other. The warlords run the place."
Today, we are the foreigners, and the warlords will be running Afghanistan when the U.S. withdraws.
Our enemy is ourselves. We have a grievous problem of finding terrorism all over the world, having the military lead our foreign policy, not paying for government and not building our economy. President Bush and Congressmen Boehner, Ryan and Cantor voted for eight years of spending, increasing the debt by $5 trillion. Since Democrats had not received a Republican vote in 1993 when they cut spending $250 billion and increased taxes $250 billion to balance the budget, they weren't about to help Republicans pay for government.
President Obama has rejected Simpson-Bowles, and we've increased the debt $7 trillion in six years. The deficit and budget are out of control. The duty of Wall Street, the Big Banks and Corporate America is to make a profit. The duty of the president and Congress is to build and protect our economy. The U.S. is not competing in globalization. We are not protecting our economy. Instead of building our economy, we are offshoring our innovation, research, technology, production, jobs, payrolls - our economy. We are not making it profitable for Corporate America to produce in America.
We've got to come home and mind the store.
Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, a Democrat, served as governor of South Carolina from 1959-63 and in the U.S. Senate from 1966-2005.
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