Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dem Candidates on National Security

For John, BLUFJim Webb understands.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

"The CNN Democratic debate transcript, annotated", from The Washington Post.
COOPER:  Thirty seconds for each of you. Governor Chafee, what is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

CHAFEE:  It's certainly the chaos in the Middle East.  There's no doubt about it.  And it all started with the Iraq invasion.

O'MALLEY:  I believe that nuclear Iran remains the biggest threat, along with the threat of ISIL; climate change, of course, makes cascading threats even more (inaudible).

CLINTON: I think it has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear weapons, nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands.  I know the terrorists are constantly seeking it, and that's why we have to stay vigilant, but also united around the world to prevent that.

SANDERS:  The scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable.  That is a major crisis.

WEBB:  Our greatest long-term strategic challenge is our relation with China.  Our greatest day-to-day threat is cyber warfare against this country.  Our greatest military-operational threat is resolving the situations in the Middle East.

Thinking about the answers:

Governor Lincoln Chaffee—Well, if it is the "chaos in the Middle East", then what are we going to do about it.  Will it heal itself if we pull out, given that it all started with the "Iraq invasion"?  Or do we need to be more engaged?  Should we team up with Russia?

Governor Martin O'Malley—The Iran issue is a long term threat, but then he rings in ISIL, but doesn't show how it is a threat. Is it the near term threat, or another long term threat and if so, will it invoke the use of Iranian nuclear weapons, once they get them.  There is a duty nob to climate change, making all other threats greater.

Secretary Hillary Clinton—When I first heard it, live, I thought it was nuclear weapons and their spread:

  • Iran and Korea getting them and not being stable players.
  • Russia and China having them and able to destroy the US.
  • India and Pakistan perhaps using them, making the world safe for nuclear weapons.

But, then she wanders off into "nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands."  So, is the real threat insurgent groups (terrorist groups) willing to use nuclear weapons?  If that is the case, and we wish to unite the world against this threat, what compromises are we willing to make?  Is President Putin correct that stability is more important than self-determination?

Senator Bernie Sanders—It is the Climate, but fixing the Climate issue is more than killing the Keystone Pipeline and instituting Cap and Trade in the US.  There is the Pope's admonition to not fix this problem not the backs of the poor.  What accommodations are we prepared to make with China, India and Russia, not to mention Brazil and other developing nations, to limit climate change while allowing the more to emerge into a world that provides them with opportunities?

Senator Jim Webb—I thought that Senator Webb was the one with the best thought out answer.  China is the long threat and we need to be paying attention to it now.  That said, the immediate threat is cyber-warfare, the theft of our data.  At the same time, our greatest "operational-military" threat is the Middle East.

Regards  —  Cliff

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