Everything I needed to know about American foreign policy, I learned at last night's presidential "debate".
I learned that no matter their side of the Duopoly, our politicians are firm believers in raining down democracy from the skies upon recalcitrant bodies in dire need of some crushing American freedom.
I learned that is vital for America to champion education and gender equality in Iran at the very same time we surround their country with military bases and destroy their economy with sanctions.
I learned that our political and media leaders persist in the notion of American exceptionalism even though a sizable chunk of the world is feeling neither the love nor the respect.
I learned that "foreign policy" does not encompass either of our immediate neighbors, Canada and Mexico. The world is comprised of China, Israel, the Muslim nations of the Middle East, and Russia. It apparently does not include Europe, although South America did get a brief mention from Mitt Romney based on all the "opportunities" it presents for people like him. (I think South America should maybe think about watching their skies for both circling capitalist vultures and drones.) They didn't mention Japan, maybe because American soldiers are still raping women on Okinawa, which we have occupied for no apparent reason since World War II. Judging from what the contenders were saying last night, Sinophobia is now vying with Islamophobia for first place in the American Fear-Mongering Industry sweepstakes.
I learned that presidential candidates and the corporatized Commission on Presidential Debates seem to be going out of their way to choose over-the-hill, inside the Beltway, right wing and preferably incipiently senile "journalists" to act as facilitators for the dissemination of political bullshit. Although Bob Schieffer did have one fantastic line: "Obama's bin Laden."
Other memorable (not to mention frightening) moments of verbiage:
"Syria is Iran's only ally in the Arab world. It's their route to the sea." -- Mitt Romney. (Iran has a nice coastal area all its own, thank you very much.)
"But unfortunately, in nowhere in the world is America's influence will grow. But unfortunately, in -- nowhere in the world is America's influence greater today than it was four years ago." -- Mitt Romney. (needs remedial English as well as remedial geography.)
"America is the one indispensible nation." -- Barack Obama. (the rest of the world is not important and therefore, dispensible garbage.)
"...we're going to have to have training programs that work for our workers and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first, and the teachers' unions going to have to go behind." -- Mitt Romney. (and lo, the angels of privatized education shall vanquish the demonized teachers' unions. No argument from Barack on that.)
"We need to be thinking about cyber security. We need to be talking about space. That's exactly what our budget does, but it's driven by strategy. It's not driven by politics. It's not driven by members of Congress, and what they would like to see. It's driven by, what are we going to need to keep the American people safe? That's exactly what our budget does, and it also then allows us to reduce our deficit, which is a significant national security concern. Because we've got to make sure that our economy is strong at home so that we can project military power overseas." -- Barack Obama. (slash the social safety net at home so we can impose our almighty will on the rest of the planet as well as on other planets and throughout the space-time continuum. Cutting your Social Security and Medicare benefits will keep the military industrial complex safe, fat, happy, bloated and financially secure forever. The goal of a strong domestic economy is not to serve the citizens, but to flex our military muscle and 1000-and-counting military bases, a k a mini-occupations.)
"We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80 percent. Their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20 years ago. So their economy is in a shambles." -- Barack Obama. (I create human misery, and I'm proud of it.)
"I'd make sure that Ahmadinejad is indicted under the Genocide Convention. His words amount to genocide incitation. I would indict him for it. I would also make sure that their diplomats are treated like the pariah they are around the world." -- Mitt Romney. (If he meant the Geneva Conventions, somebody should tell him that the United States stopped abiding by their precepts when it legitimated torture, extraordinary rendition, detention without trial, and presidentially decreed drone strikes against civilian populations. And in what justice system would Mitt even indict him? The USA has refused, for example, to participate in or ratify the World Court, in order to shield the Bush War Criminals from an international tribunal.)
"There -- there are people in Iran who have the same aspirations as people all around the world for a better life.... And it turns out that the work involved in setting up these crippling sanctions is painstaking. It's meticulous. We started from the day we got into office. And the reason is was so important -- and this is a testament to how we've restored American credibility and strength around the world." -- Barack Obama. (I want you to believe that crippling sanctions abroad, not to mention austerity here at home, will somehow stimulate people's aspirations for a better life. Earth to Barack: the only credible thing is that poor opinions of American boorishness have been growing and spreading exponentially.)
"And when it comes to our military and Chinese security, part of the reason that we were able to pivot to the Asia-Pacific region after having ended the war in Iraq and transitioning out of Afghanistan, is precisely because this is going to be a massive growth area in the future. And we believe China can be a partner, but we're also sending a very clear signal that America is a Pacific power; that we are going to have a presence there. We are working with countries in the region to make sure, for example, that ships can pass through; that commerce continues. And we're organizing trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards." -- Barack Obama. (Oh, before we get to that nation-building here at home, I am deploying my military might to surround China on all sides. War is forever, baby. We make friends the old-fashioned way. We saber-rattle with a predatory smile.)
"I've been -- Ann was with someone just the other day that was just weeping about not being able to get work. It's just a tragedy in a nation so prosperous as ours, that the last four years have been so hard." -- Mitt Romney (I run from weepers like the plague. I send the missus out to deal with the floods of lachrymosity.)
"But I love teachers. But I want to get our private sector growing and I know how to do it." -- Mitt Romney (I despise teachers' unions, which are an impediment to the charter schools and privatization of education for the sake of my crony capitalist profiteers. Here, Barack and I are in total agreement. Did you ever hear me saying I'd get rid of his Race to the Top? I love Rahm Emanuel!)
"And we've been through tough times but we always bounce back because of our character, because we pull together and if I have the privilege of being your president for another four years, I promise you I will always listen to your voices. I will fight for your families and I will work every single day to make sure that America continues to be the greatest nation on earth." -- Barack Obama. (Embrace the power of magical thinking and believe you will bounce back from the misery created by the unindicted criminal financial class just by dint of my stunning moralizations. Continue to believe the ridiculous canard that America is the greatest nation on earth. Feel the fear, beat the drums. Rah rah, zis boom bah.)
"I want to make sure our take-home pay turns around and starts to grow." -- Mitt Romney (Our profits will grow, not your lousy minimum wage, peons! Did I say anything about a living wage? Less FICA deductions, less withheld tax = less Social Security and Medicare, less revenues, less government and more misery.)
"I leave you with the words of my mom, who said: 'Go vote; it'll make you feel big and strong'". -- Bob Schieffer (Sure, Bob. It'll make us feel big and strong for all of 30 seconds. Then we can go back to living our solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short Hobbesean lives. Go USA!!!)