Comment: The US Vice Presidential Debate

End of Vice Presidential Debate (Source: CNN)

Last week, on the 11th of October, the fabulous Vice-Presidential Debate took place.

First, I would like to extol Martha Raddatz's remarkable moderation. Second, congratulations to VP Biden and Rep. Ryan: they offered us an exciting match. Third, for those who accused Vice-President Biden of being aggressive or rude: it was a debate, not a conversation over tea and biscuits. In a debate, we expect the gladiators to digladiate; and that was exactly what was delivered. Fourth, Representative Ryan - in order to position his ticket right in the centre of the political spectrum - offered the impression that he'd say anything to sell his product (much like Mitt Romney).

Since I am in the foreign affairs business, I will only comment the points pertinent to the international community:

1) Congressman Ryan repeated a lot that the Obama administration put America in a weak position to which VP Biden answered accurately "This is a guy [Obama] who's repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again" - this reply sums it all up. The world gladly allows itself to be led by the United States of America, once again.

2) Mr Ryan was rather demagogic when discussing Iran because it was not the political arm-wrestling, that we've witnessed, that conveyed to the ayatollahs that sanctions are a joke; it is America, regardless of whom its president is, who causes such contempt in the Persian clergy. However, I do agree with Mr Ryan when he says that Iran is not changing its mind concerning its nuclear programme.
Rep. Ryan mentioned, at least twice, the US silence when the Green Movement uprose; surely a criticism to what George Friedman called the "new foreign doctrine of the US, in which the US does not take primary responsibility for events, but which allows regional crises to play out until a new regional balance is reached"; however we must recall that the obsolete American doctrine - advocated by the republican ticket - is exactly what nurtured, over the years, the anti-West sentiment in the ME and, mainly what empowered Iran because when the US invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, it removed the only obstacle to the ayatollahs' Imperialistic Ambitions in the region; meaning that America did Iran a huge favour. And that is why Persia mocks the US and its allies up to this day.

3) Congressman Ryan (pursuing the republican strategy of showing that Israel and the Obama administration are tacit adversaries) was extremely fallacious when stating "They [Iranians] see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and he, instead of meeting with him, goes on a...on a daily talk show" for this was an outright lie - President Obama was in NYC on the 25th of September to address the UNGA; and, PM Netanyahu arrived in the US on the 27th of September to address the UNGA (video of his arrival). Unless Mr Ryan meant to complain about President Obama not having met the Egyptian President - who indeed was in NYC on the same day - after President Mursi failed to clearly decry the attack on the US embassy in Cairo on the Anniversary of the 9/11.
What is more astonishing is the lack of respect some Christian republicans have for Judaism: first, Mitt Romney scheduled his visit to Eretz Yisrael on Tisha b'Av (a day of Fast), having landed there on a Shabbat; then, his running mate wrongly assumes that PM Netanyahu would be in NYC on Yom Kippur (the Holiest Jewish Holiday).

4) Representative Ryan didn't seem to know how the UN Security Council works (he suggested that the Obama administration "allowed" Russia to "water down sanctions"), so we thought we should give him a hand - the United Nations Security Council is comprised of 5 permanent members (United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia, China) and 10 non-permanent members (presently: Portugal, Morocco, Pakistan, Guatemala, Togo, Azerbaijan, South Africa, India, Germany, Colombia). The five permanent members alone hold the veto power - no one allows them to veto; they have that power from the get-go.

5) Paul Ryan took the wrong road when he insisted that the US shouldn't completely withdraw from Afghanistan; confessing to the world that his ticket has indeed Imperialistic Ambitions in that region, as well as in the Middle East (particularly when he was ambiguous regarding Syria. By the way; he said that no one is "proposing to send troops to Syria. American troops" then whose troops? This is something the international community needs to ask & prepare itself for). It is time for the Afghans to take charge of their country and be responsible for their own security. The US has reached the goal of that war: Osama Bin Laden is dead.
Another thing, what is this republican obsession with Russia? We are not in the Cold War any longer. And Russia's role in the Syrian issue is not exactly what it seems to be.

I agreed with both Rep. Ryan and VP Biden on the abortion issue. I too believe that life begins upon conception; I too am against denying life to foetuses; but I also think that I have no right to impose my sense of ethics on others, thus restricting their freedom to choose and to face the consequences of their own choices.

One position raised a red flag though:
"I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith." (rep. Ryan)...did he just confess that he doesn't see with good eyes the separation between State & Church?

Comments

  1. "One position raised a red flag though:
    "I don't see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith." (rep. Ryan)...did he just confess that he doesn't see with good eyes the separation between State & Church?"

    The government is not composed of a single person. A politician can be guided by their faith without the entire government being affiliated with any particular religion.

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    1. Hi Vid :D!

      "The government is not composed of a single person."

      You are right. However, imagine if a government (little by little) starts having a majority of similar-minded people...it has happened before in History.

      "A politician can be guided by their faith without the entire government being affiliated with any particular religion."

      It is true (and we have already discussed that in a previous post).
      Sometimes I think that America is a paradox: it wants to practice laicism but at the same time it wants to be like Iran: to mix religion with politics (a bad mix in all accounts). It's a paradox.

      Vid, thank you so so much for your fab comment :D. It's always great to see you here.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. Max, only Netanyahu to think that his rep friends view Israel as their buddy. A buddy, a homeboy, respects the culture and religion of his friend. Reps only care about capitalizing on Israel, but in fact they don't give a damn about it.
    As for the debate: I adored it! Joe Biden was fantastic; Paul Ryan was amazing (ok, he wasn't totally truthful but who cares? He threw some good punches as well)!! And I agree, this is a debate not a conversation over tea and biscuits. Let's see how Obama will perform tonight.

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    1. Hi Ana :D!

      "Max, only Netanyahu to think that his rep friends view Israel as their buddy. A buddy, a homeboy, respects the culture and religion of his friend. Reps only care about capitalizing on Israel, but in fact they don't give a damn about it."

      They may be their buddy (I am in no position to dispute it); however they seem to be one of those friends who disrespect the other's core - I even wonder why someone would nourish such kind of friendships, but alas that's what some people do.

      "As for the debate: I adored it! Joe Biden was fantastic; Paul Ryan was amazing (ok, he wasn't totally truthful but who cares? He threw some good punches as well)!! And I agree, this is a debate not a conversation over tea and biscuits. Let's see how Obama will perform tonight."

      Yeah, I loved it too. They were both fabulous (I like Paul Ryan and I adore his family: such a positive energy). Obama did much much much better this week: it was a fantastic debate.

      Ana, thank you so so much for your great comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. Salut ma belle! I was invited to stay up to watch this debate last week: I didn't regret it; it was one super debate! Sure, monsieur Ryan stumbled on foreign policy; sure, he doesn't know much about it; however he seemed honest about his convictions (au contraire de Mitt Romney) and he fought at the same level as Joe Biden. This one was fantastique: he was ready, he he knew when to intervene and I adored his smiles. I really did...he has spunk.

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    1. Salut Louis :D!

      "I was invited to stay up to watch this debate last week: I didn't regret it; it was one super debate!"

      It was, wasn't it? Anyway, did you manage to go to work next morning?

      "Sure, monsieur Ryan stumbled on foreign policy; sure, he doesn't know much about it; however he seemed honest about his convictions (au contraire de Mitt Romney) and he fought at the same level as Joe Biden."

      I agree, Paul Ryan seems much more honest in his convictions...but again, his background is different than Mitt Romney's; he is younger etc.

      "[Biden] was fantastique: he was ready, he he knew when to intervene and I adored his smiles. I really did...he has spunk."

      lol yeah, I know what you mean.

      Louis, thank you ever so much for your great comment :D. J'en ai adoré.

      Cheers

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  4. I actually haven't seen the debate yet. I watched the presidential one on youtube, but haven't gotten around to the vice presidential one yet. But I did notice that you titled this post "vice presidential debate", but spent the entire post commenting only on Paul Ryan. Does that mean you support Biden?

    As for the separation of church and state, I think you have to look at the intent of the original founding fathers of America. They too were guided by the moral guidance of their religion when they set up this country. But their intent was that no church would rule the government the way the church of England did. I don't think they ever intended the president to be amoral. Romney will not be asking the church how to make decisions for the country. I know from the inside how our church is run, and it doesn't work that way. Our church will no more run this country than the Catholic, Quaker, or other former president's churches did. But you cannot separate a man from his moral convictions. But frankly, I think what Romney has demonstrated in his time as governor of Massachusetts is that he is more concerned with doing the will of the people, than pushing his ideology. He upheld the people's desire for abortion, even though religiously he was against it.

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    1. Hi D! :D

      "But I did notice that you titled this post "vice presidential debate", but spent the entire post commenting only on Paul Ryan. Does that mean you support Biden?"

      There is one simple explanation for that: I am investing in the future (i.e. Paul Ryan); and that is why I spent most of the post commenting on Rep. Ryan - I think that if he works on some details that need work; he might be presidential material. He is much much better than Gov. Romney and thus he caught my attention in that debate.

      "As for the separation of church and state, I think you have to look at the intent of the original founding fathers of America. They too were guided by the moral guidance of their religion when they set up this country. But their intent was that no church would rule the government the way the church of England did."

      I hear you. Still, things can change.

      "But you cannot separate a man from his moral convictions."

      No, you cannot. However, you cannot control when a man starts mixing religion with politics either. Look at Iran: before the revolution is was a secular society; after the revolution half a dozen people decided that it was time to mix it all up. Although I recognise that this would be a bit more difficult in America, we cannot take the present "liberties" for granted; thus, we must discuss these things over and over again.

      "But frankly, I think what Romney has demonstrated in his time as governor of Massachusetts is that he is more concerned with doing the will of the people, than pushing his ideology. He upheld the people's desire for abortion, even though religiously he was against it."

      And now he has changed his moderate views.

      D, thank you so so much for your fantastic comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. Olá Max,

    I was surprised to see congressman Paul Ryan playing ignorant on how the UNSC works. Yes, I say "playing ignorant" because he knows very well how it works; but some stupid adviser must have advised him that they could use that stupid sentence to show Obama's lack of leadership...it didn't work at all.

    It was a fantastic debate and I congratulate both sides.
    Do you think Rep. Ryan is presidential material, Max?
    Great article.

    Tchau

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    1. Olá Celeste :D!

      "I was surprised to see congressman Paul Ryan playing ignorant on how the UNSC works. Yes, I say "playing ignorant" because he knows very well how it works; but some stupid adviser must have advised him that they could use that stupid sentence to show Obama's lack of leadership...it didn't work at all."

      It did not indeed.

      "It was a fantastic debate and I congratulate both sides."

      Hear, Hear!

      "Do you think Rep. Ryan is presidential material, Max?"

      I do. I just told D about it. So you reckon the same? He caught my attention last week.

      "Great article."

      Thank you so much, I am glad you liked it *bowing*.

      Celeste, thank you ever so much for your great comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete

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