Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns is a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School and a former under secretary of State who served presidents of both parties during a 27-year diplomatic career.  The following is an excerpt from an article he wrote.
“What kind of president do we need to face arguably the most dangerous set of international crises since World War II?  After watching a marathon of raucous debates, town halls and interviews, a reasonable observer might conclude that just a very few of the remaining Republican and Democratic candidates have the depth of international experience, maturity and judgment to handle the most difficult job in the world.
“And if a candidate with little understanding of global politics and national security actually wins in November, what are the real world consequences for the U.S. and our many allies who depend on a competent American leader in the Oval Office?
“These are not idle questions when the two victors in the New Hampshire primary, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, would likely have a difficult time, given their lack of professional experience and modest grasp of global issues, handling crises in the news this week — North Korea’s nuclear threat, the Middle East wars and the Zika pandemic — much less many more like them in President Obama’s foreign policy inbox.
“A Trump victory would be disastrous for America’s reputation and leadership of the international order.  His gross bigotry toward Mexico and the Muslim world, and open admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, have made him a scandalous figure internationally.  He is a bully who is loose with facts and short on discipline.  He lacks the dignity, decorum and maturity that we should want our presidents to have on the international stage.
“On the other hand Sanders is everything Trump is a man of decency, intelligence and purpose.  In his long career in public service in Vermont and the Congress, however, he has demonstrated little interest in global politics, and it shows in the debates.  His foreign-policy focus seems cast backwards almost exclusively on the Iraq War.  But he has not developed a coherent strategy for what we should do about Iraq in 2016.  When he has made specific policy suggestions.  One telling example was his recent suggestion that the way to defeat the Islamic State terror group is for Iran and Saudia Arabia to join other Muslim nations in a military coalition.”


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