The Republican presidential candidates have seized on President Obama’s historic nuclear agreement with Iran yet another way to prove that they haven’t learned anything from George W. Bush’s catastrophic foreign policy. They are now in a race with each other to prove who can offer the most blind aggression and the least understanding of the basic diplomacy in their condemnation of the deal and their determination to snub the international community and revoke the deal. Scott Walker, apparently feeling some pressure from jingoistic war-hawks like Lindsey Graham and bombastic attention-seekers like Trump, has decided to up the ante with some dangerously ignorant statements:
“I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office. It’s very possible – God forbid, but it’s very possible – that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military action, on the first day in office. And I don’t want a president who is not prepared to act on day one. So, as far as me, as far as my position, I’m going to be prepared to be president on day one.”
Scott Walker has announced his intent to ruin all the progress we have made in re-establishing some kind of respectful relations with one of the most influential countries in the Middle East, destroy our international credibility by reneging on a deal that was made with the cooperation of the international community, and begin a military conflict with a nation that is vastly stronger than the dying regime of Saddam Hussein was. It’s a terrifyingly disturbing statement, and given the way that politics in the Republican Party works these days, they are sentiments that will instantly be echoed by his rivals.
What kind of a message does this send to the rest of the world? That America cannot be trusted to fulfill their obligations? That America has learned nothing from the Bush years and will continue to assert their geopolitical influence in a ham-fisted and abrasive manner? That the candidates for the United States presidency clearly have no regard or respect for the rest of the world, no sophistication or pragmatism when it comes to dealing with other nations, and no basic understanding of the status quo in the Middle East?
These are dark times, and we cannot afford to let them get worse. We cannot allow the Republican Party’s self-imposed extremism to undermine all the progress we’ve made over the past eight years, to throw away all the work we’ve done to improve our standing in the international community after George W. Bush’s administration dragged our reputation through the dirt. This is not a game. This is incredibly serious politics whose outcome will determine whether or not people die. It is absolutely abhorrent to see the GOP treating it like a joke.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.