It Will Take Leadership To Fix Our Broken Election Process

By Sal Bommarito

America is engaged in finding a new president to replace Barack Obama. The current administration has not lived up to the expectations and hoopla of the 2008 and 2012 elections, so the next election should be that much more intense, competitive and demanding of the candidates. Further, ideological biases have dominated the presidency and the overall political landscape for years making it difficult to nurture and elevate real leaders into positions of power.

There are many issues that dog our country and make it impossible for those who want to make the U.S. stronger, more prosperous and sensitive to the needs of all classes of Americans. In this essay, a two of the most debilitating situations impacting America will be examined.

The political system in this country is broken because politicians and judges have not had the courage to effectively address campaign finance reform. Despite never ending rhetoric by both major political parties to decrease the influence of big money donors, and the sensibility of such an objective, the powers that be insist that contributions are protected by free speech.

“In a landmark decision, Citizens United v. FEC, the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation.” Certainly, our forefathers never considered the ramifications of money in politics in this regard, nor would they have opted to bastardize the interpretation of the First Amendment in any case. Instead of protecting our political system from those who seek to buy votes, the court endorsed a new threat to our election process. Politics, not wisdom, won the day.

Candidates and their supporters have been given a green light to raise as much money as they can to fund political action committees with few restrictions. The amount of money being solicited is in the billions of dollars. Candidates who can raise the most money will likely win elections. Fundraising skills have replaced competence as the primary reason candidates are elected to office.

One of the greatest fallacies is that leaders become more productive the longer they hold an office. Unfortunately, the only important consideration of long-term politicians is reelection at any cost. The temptations of extended tenures in office have destroyed the careers of many lifers in government.

The talking heads often discuss the freedom and productivity of lame duck presidents. Without the pressures of a reelection and the fundraising affiliated with it, lame ducks can focus on the needs of America. It’s just the opposite for politicians who must remain in a campaign mode all the time.

Lifetime politicians generally have no practical experience, which is so important in today’s complex world. Yet, how can we expect our elected leaders to facilitate laws that limit their tenure in one position? Without term limits, new blood is virtually nonexistent while old feuds and corruption flourish.

The problems that hamper the efficient selection of new leaders are many. It will take leadership and courage on the part of our elected officials to remedy the problems.

Put Yourself In Bibi’s Shoes

By Sal Bommarito

It’s not easy being Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu these days. As leader of Israel, Bibi must deal with never-ending external and internal threats. His country has been criticized by virtually every nation as it strives to survive in one of the most dangerous regions in the world.

Specifically, the following external issues dog Netanyahu every day: Palestine, Iran nuclear negotiations, Israel’s relationship with America and terrorism.

Palestine: Is Palestine politically and economically ready to be an independent state? Interested parties have been debating this question since 1988. As of 2014, 135 of 193 United Nations members recognized the State of Palestine. During his recent election, Netanyahu indicated that he was against a “two-state” solution, an obvious campaign ploy (it worked, he won). Subsequently, the prime minister clarified his comment by saying that there could be no two-state arrangement “at this time.”

Over the years, Israel has negotiated with some very difficult Palestinian opponents. On several occasions, peace and agreement were at hand, only to be dashed by one side or the other. The division of land, the connection of the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, economic considerations, terrorism and the right of Israel to exist are among the primary areas of dispute. American presidents have unsuccessfully tried to mediate a deal during the past four decades.

Israel has done its share to add to the chaos and inability to make peace. Most recently, it, for security reasons, built new settlements on land that the Palestinians believe belongs to them. President Obama has asked, and then demanded, that Netanyahu put a stop to this activity, to no avail.

Arabs frequently accuse Israel of crimes against humanity, especially when it retaliates against terrorist attacks by Hamas and other groups. The Palestinian’s plight is one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East for all Arab nations.

Iran’s nuclear negotiations: Bibi has claimed that a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel. He has been relentless in expressing all the reasons why the U.S. should not cave into Iranian demands. His rationale includes a belief that Iran will not be a responsible possessor of a nuke, and it will violate the provisions of any treaty that limits its ability to build a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress lobbying for discretion and oversight of any deal that President Obama signs. There were many sympathetic ears in the crowd. Last week, Iran and the U.S. agreed to an “outline” of a treaty. It is not clear what bipartisan actions Congress may take prospectively, or whether it will wait until a draft agreement is signed.

Israel’s relationship with the U.S.: The Netanyahu speech created a serious rift with the Obama administration; Obama did not endorse Bibi’s appearance. Obama Is disgusted with the prime minister’s endless carping, but Netanyahu is fighting for his country’s survival.

The implications of enthusiastic U.S. support are epic. Frankly, without military support, Israel could not survive. In fact, the demographics (in particular, birth rates of Israelis versus Palestinians) put Israel at a serious disadvantage over time. And, decreased financial support from American Jews could be a deathblow to Israel; young Jews are not as generous politically or economically than the previous generations.

Terrorism: Israel is continually under the gun, so to speak. Its citizens are always in peril from threats that have become more emboldened over time. The Jewish state is the only issue that unites Shiite and Sunni Arabs. Over the years, every Middle Eastern leader has attributed domestic and external problems to Israel, even if it had no role.

Yes, Bibi has a difficult job. I often wonder why so many nations around the world are supportive of Palestine over Israel when it is clear that the latter is more of a counter-puncher than an aggressor. Retaliation against terrorist attacks is too often labeled a crime.

Perhaps, Israel’s reputation is tarnished by its affiliation with the U.S. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine who Arabs despise more, America or Israel.

Just Suppose The U.S. Invaded Iraq With Ground Troops And Extraordinary Force

By Sal Bommarito

Preamble: A decision to send ground troops into battle is an epic decision for any president. Over the years, American commanders-in-chief made decisions to go to war in the name of freedom and to fight tyranny.

Any suggestions made herein are offered with the proviso that the deployment of American ground forces in Iraq and Syria will result in U.S. casualties and collateral damage, things that cannot not be taken lightly. Some have commented that Americans are not prepared to face the possibility that body bags will arrive from the Middle East. I totally respect and understand this perspective.

But, the price of liberty is high. If the unfortunate deaths of our brave soldiers decreases the chances that thousands will be murdered and tortured, I can live with a tactic to deploy troops.

Exactly, what would happen in an all-out assault by the U.S. against ISIS in Iraq. I suspect the most violent aspects of a confrontations would be brief as they have been in past encounters in the region (I’m not suggesting that nation-building projects are short-term). The long-term implications of such an action would be a different story.

If the U.S. employed a combination of massive bombing operations coupled with a large ground incursion, ISIS would be helpless. There is no way that the insurgents could survive an aggressive American assault with superior weaponry. The main problems would include enemy landmines, booby traps and suicide bombers, all of which can exact only minor damage.

It is likely that the retaking of Mosul, the supposed capital of the Islamic State, would be the end of major fighting. Subsequent mop-up operations around the countryside would be fraught with danger, but nothing that would hamper U.S. power. I have no inside information on the logistics but doubt the entire effort would last more than a few weeks.

The really important work begins after the assault is ended. Many Arabs would resent yet another U.S. invasion in the Middle East. But, this one would be different than previous Iraqi and Afghanistan experiences. Once the hostilities have been concluded, U.S. forces will shore up security with the Iraqi government and depart.

The reaction of Iraqi Sunnis will determine whether the country will segue into the next phase, an all-out civil war pitting Shiites against Sunnis for the control of the country and its resources. The latter will be hard pressed looking for a seat at the negotiating table for the formation of a lasting government. It is doubtful the transition will occur without violence. But, this should not be America’s problem.

The importance of finally destroying ISIS cannot be overstated. It is in America’s interest to rid the Middle East of these murderers. The price on the battlefield is worth it in my opinion. These actions will hopefully ensure that the ISIS threat does not spread any further outside of the Middle East.

A Dearth Of Leadership In America

By Sal Bommarito

A disturbing phenomenon is occurring in the United States. The country is experiencing a dearth of leadership at all levels of government. Self-aggrandizement and partisanship has replaced a desire to improve the lives of Americans.

To paraphrase an old expression, you’ll know a leader when you see him or her. You know a person is special because he is able to organize things and get stuff done in the midst of confusion, hysteria, terror or gloom. Leaders save us from evil, enemies and Mother Nature.

American history is rife with examples of great leaders. They are men and women who accomplished much under adverse conditions. They won wars, saved millions in peril and led reconstruction after political or natural disasters. Very few of us will ever have an opportunity to lead a nation or even a large business, but the best among us must be prepared to assume responsibility if the need arises. And so, we should look back to identify characteristics that are affiliated with our great leaders.

Unfortunately, leadership in the greatest country in the world in the 21st Century has been elusive. Our nation has had more than its share of ordeals to inspire greatness, but it’s difficult to name many individuals who successfully met the challenges.

There would be little agreement in any effort to name current leaders that inspire us. Mustering a consensus on any issue is nearly impossible in these times. But, who are the candidates that would be nominated as great leaders? I’d bet President Barack Obama would be on many lists.

Obama’s supporters would point out that he killed Osama bin Laden. Actually, the president watched the assassination of the Al Qaeda terrorist on closed circuit TV in the basement of the White House. And, it should be noted that George W. Bush was responsible for the process that ultimately led to the death of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks long before Obama was on the scene.

Obama supporters would indicate that he was responsible for providing health care to millions of Americans who could not afford it. The president’s impetuous and partisan style along with an inadequate grasp of the issues (and poor drafting of documents) from the outset resulted in a significant legal challenge, which could bring down the program a few months from now. Moreover, many of the newly insured are those who signed up with Medicaid, which was expanded to include more people at no cost. Obamacare is nothing more than a new entitlement whose objectives could have been accomplished with existing programs and without unnecessary fanfare and monumental costs.

Obama friends would say he is a “wartime president,” even though he won election in part based upon his promises to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iraq, the rapid drawdown of troops was at least partially responsible for the evolution of ISIS. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is as strong as ever. In both countries, Al Qaeda has survived in one form or another. Remember, Obama said the insurgents were destroyed.

Globally, the reputation of the U.S. has diminished under Obama’s leadership, much to the chagrin of his supporters. Even our closest ally, Israel, has been disappointed and disillusioned by inconsistent and indecisive diplomacy. America is no longer a reliable ally in the eyes of many.

The most distressful situation is the war against ISIS in which the president has ceded leadership to Iran. For months, his response to the threat of ISIS has been tepid, at best. By not engaging the murders adequately, he is responsible for allowing the terrorist phenomenon to blossom.

African Americans and Millennials were a principal source of support for Obama in both of his elections. The plight of these two groups during the president’s tenure has been totally unsatisfying and bleak. More people in these groups are on welfare and without jobs than ever. Young people continue to find it difficult to obtain positions that are commensurate with their education, and their student debt is at the highest level ever.

Throughout history, the battles between the majority and minority in government have been epic, but they are dwarfed by the current situation in Washington. From the minute he was elected president, Obama chose to disenfranchise conservatives. He set the stage for dramatic and often unnecessary obstructionism from his opponents. The fact is that Republicans have been counter-punching for six years.

Further, Obama’s tact has been to demonize the most successful in the country by encouraging class warfare. His brand of populism has in effect greatly expanded the group that is totally dependent upon the state. Instead of stressing prosperity where all boats rise, the president has been on a crusade to take from the rich and give to the poor, forever. So now, America must contend with ISIS and terrorists, while at home the majority and the minority fight for political power, cops and blacks do battle in the streets of Ferguson and rich and poor are engaged in a heated debate about income redistribution.

I continue to look towards Washington hoping that a leader will emerge from the rubble of the past six years. Maybe in 2016, America will elect a competent leader who can guide us through the negativity in the country and the world. What I hope more than anything else is that the next president is more engaging than the current one.

The New York Times Comes To Obama’s Rescue

By Sal Bommarito

The New York Times wing of the Obama administration was in full tilt today. The leading editorial criticized Democrats running for office who eschew the president and his “greatest” achievements.

Readers should be offended that the NY Times played the race card not once but twice in the editorial: “Mr. Obama remains highly unpopular among white voters, particularly in Southern states . . .” and “[Democrat candidates running for office] run the risk, though, of alienating important constituents who prefer a party with a spine, especially black voters, who remain supportive of Mr. Obama.”

Here’s a news flash, Candidate Obama won the last two presidential elections with support from every racial group. His problem is not racial; it may be that the president has not kept promises made during his campaigns, and he’s a sub par leader domestically and internationally.

Let’s consider the actions of several Democratic senatorial candidates. Alison Lindergan Grimes, has refused to say whether she voted for Obama. Only one candidate, Gary Peters, “has been willing to appear with the president on the stump . . .” Other candidates, Mark Begich and Kay Hagan, have spoken against Obamacare and want to “fix it.” Maybe there are some serious problems with the law if members of the president’s party are unhappy with it.

Ms. Hagan and Mark Pryor have even suggested that the Obama policy on Ebola ought be changed, and a travel ban should be installed for all residents of Africa. And finally, candidate Mary Landrieu “has fought loudly against the president’s energy policies . . . [and] she even opposes legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.”

By the way, all of the comments made above were extracted from the NY Times article.

The bottom line is that President Obama is unpopular and Americans are very unhappy with his performance. In this group, are a number of Democrats. And, the NY Times continues to abet Obama’s lost causes.

Is The U.S. Effectively Leading The Coalition To Victory Against ISIS?

By Sal Bommarito

To this point, the Obama administration has not received accolades for its leadership in the war against ISIS. The most obvious observation is that ISIS is winning the battle opposing the U.S., Iraq, Syria and the coalition.

Obama said he would degrade and defeat ISIS. This stated objective is impossible without ground support of U.S. airstrikes. Everyone around the world knows this to be the case. Yet, the Obama administration has vetoed the use of U.S. ground forces and, in spite of overwhelming skepticism, still contends that Iraqis will be able to defend their country and “moderate” rebels in Syria can overcome ISIS. Ironically, American generals are chiming in and indicating that neither of the aforementioned groups will be able to do the job. If this is true, how will the coalition bring down ISIS?

The coalition force is a sham; the U.S. is conducting most of the airstrikes and is spending the most money trying to defend Arab nations. Why is it the responsibility of the U.S. to come to the rescue of the Middle East without assurances that Arab nations will participate to the full extent of their capabilities, militarily and financially?

The U.S. went to war without an achievable mission. Most Americans believed that the U.S. would never become enmeshed in another war that has no reasonable short-term endgame. No longer would America put its soldiers in harm’s way and commit hundreds of billions of dollars unless our national security was at risk. Supposedly, we learned an important lesson from Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq that extended decade-long wars, which drain our resources, should be avoided. Obama’s decision to move forward was no different than the false pretenses for invading Iraq over a decade ago; that action has not been fully remedied to this day. The president should tell us how the war with ISIS is going to end. Are we going to continue bombing forever?

Obama is not a wartime president. He is too ambivalent and reluctant, and does not accept the fact that radical Islam is the enemy of all non-Arab nations. Moreover, it is clear that he frequently does not implement plans proposed by his military experts. Our leader is living in a dream world in which America is expected to solve all problems and protect downtrodden people around the world. The ISIS crisis is not a civil rights controversy that can be rectified with passive resistance. It is a long-term, bloody civil war that is going to spread throughout the Middle East.

Exasperating this pathetic moment in American history is the loss of American credibility and leadership. Historically, the U.S. was able to reason with other nations in time of duress. We were able to convince our allies that we had no hidden agenda and that we wanted peace. Today, the U.S. is reviled at the United Nations, and we no longer have effective working relationships with other major powers with the exception of Great Britain. Our former allies in Europe and Asia doubt American resolve and competence.

But even more important, as we face down ISIS, the Arab nations relish our military ineffectiveness even as they demand that we protect them. It is infuriating to many Americans that unqualified cooperation is not forthcoming from Arab allies even as we bomb ISIS. If the U.S. is all in in the fight against ISIS, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and all the other Arab nations better be prepared to fight and provide ground support and financial assistance. Anything less than their full cooperation will enable ISIS to commandeer more land and oil.

James Foley’s Beheading: Less Rhetoric And More Action Agaisnt Terrorism

By Sal Bommarito

America has reached a seminal moment in its dealings with Islamic radicals. These terrorists are now stronger than ever throughout the world, and confrontation is inevitable. Our government must develop protocols for how it responds to acts of violence directed at America, its citizens and its allies.

 

The Arab Spring has in effect given extreme groups an opportunity to gain political power and exposure very quickly. The immediate impact has been a significant rise in violence and greater recruitment of terrorists. This phenomenon is prevalent in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Palestine; these countries are experiencing significant distress in which Islamic extremists are playing major roles.

 

The  problems within these countries are exacerbated by insurgency, Shiite provocateurs from Iran and its allies are disrupting Sunni led governments, and Sunni troublemakers from Saudi Arabia are making it difficult for Shiite leaders. One needs a scorecard to keep track of all the players.

 

But, radical Islamic groups are increasing the stakes by wantonly attacking innocent westerners in the region. James Foley, an American journalist, is the latest casualty. Radical elements beheaded him, allegedly because of American military action in Iraq, as the U.S. protects Iraqi Kurds. The purpose of the atrocity is clear; the terrorists want to infuriate the American government and frighten our citizens. These types of crimes against humanity should lead to extreme and deadly responses from the West.

 

Many people are dying unnecessarily in the Middle East; Foley is only one person. Yet, his execution has deep meaning and should be responded to, not with platitudes and marshmallow rhetoric without teeth. America should react aggressively with force to send a message that we will not cower from disgusting acts of cruelty and murder. President Obama’s comments and his response to this point have been inadequate. Significant military action is necessary.

 

The Israeli government has historically responded to violence against its homeland and citizens with even greater violence. This is the only language that terrorists and criminals understand. The fury with which we respond should be multiples of the crimes committed.

 

Ordinary citizens are not privy to the precise military and political circumstances in the Middle East. But, many believe the president should respond with a heavy hand. A great conflict is percolating. The West and Islamic radicals are on a collision course. America must lead the West in its response to violence against innocents. The cost of such a response is a mere pittance of what the impact will be if we fail to act with authority.

America Must Change To Be Great Once Again

By Sal Bommarito

Many Americans are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their country. For good reasons, a great deal of criticism has been directed at the president and Congress. Our leaders deserve all the flak they have been receiving. Almost every important issue facing America is being mishandled because of a lack of experience, an inability to articulate problems and solutions, government paralysis and backlash from other nations.

Even more disconcerting is the style, or lack of it, that our leaders exhibit when dealing with complicated situations. The administration’s attitude is creating more enemies every day and an atmosphere that is not conducive to peace, comity, friendship and trust.

But rather than tear apart further what so many have already torn apart, this essay will offer five suggestions to get our country back on track to once again be the leader of the free world.

  1. RECORD SOME SMALL VICTORIES: The U.S. must get some important things done in Congress and around the world. It’s difficult to remember the last time America faced a true challenge, analyzed it accurately and dealt with it successfully. Recently, the Middle East conflicts, the Russian/Ukraine engagement, North Korea, Iran, illegal immigration, scandals in government agencies and many other situations have erupted, but none have been resolved or improved.

The U.S. needs to take smaller bites and win some battles. For instance, rather than trying to find a final resolution to the Israel/Palestine affair, our leaders should settle for a lasting cease-fire, a small but meaningful victory that will save lives. If the cease-fire holds, then we can begin the arduous process of trying to settle the longstanding issues that the opposing parties must resolve.

Simple? Not really. But if the objective is finite, truly obtainable and negotiated between people who trust one another, something will get done.

  1. BRING IN NEGOTIATORS THAT BOTH SIDES TRUST: The individuals currently negotiating Middle East crises are either incapable of closing a deal or untrusted by the interested parties.

I recall the efforts of Senator George Mitchell in the English/Irish feud. He was the right man for the job and successfully caused all the parties to sign the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Similarly, the Simpson/Bowles bipartisan commission was established in 2010 by President Obama to formulate ways to bolster the economy. The co-chairs did an outstanding job and were supported by those on both sides of the aisle. Shockingly, the president decided to disregard the commission’s recommendations, and the country is still wallowing its way through the Great Recession.

In both cases, the individuals chosen were out of politics and were able to do great things. Selecting negotiators who are above the fray, not threatening to either side and well informed is a great way to get things done.

  1. DON’T BE DOGMATIC AND CONDESCENDING. Combatants in the Middle East and in Ferguson, Missouri are not interested in platitudes or moral blathering from our leaders. Each side has issues and problems, and they want them addressed.

In Ferguson, the local police are suggesting that Michael Brown, the black teenager who was killed by a policeman, was using marijuana and had been involved in a felony. African American leaders believe that an aggressive, militaristic, racially biased police force created an environment that makes black men vulnerable to abuse. Both sides need to be heard so that the events leading to the present standoff can be evaluated fairly and peace can be restored.

The governor of Missouri should retain outsiders that both sides respect and can trust to determine the truth, before a full-scale rebellion overwhelms the city. The police are not moved by the opinions of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Eric Holder; and the townspeople are not satisfied with the assessments of the Ferguson police force by another police force. Bring in a peacemaker who can allay concerns on both sides.

  1. MOST NATIONS THINK WE ARE UGLY AMERICANS. We are not. America has fought wars to help the oppressed around the world. Our aid programs are larger than any other nation on Earth. Yet, we are doing a terrible job promoting the American way of life. Many people around world believe that every U.S. citizen is rich and only interested in material things. We need to show others that we are human; we have problems just like everyone else; and we want to work together to end aggression, human rights violations and economic imbalance.
  1. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON AN ALLY. Many are deeply concerned that our government is on the verge of turning away from Israel. The half-century ties between our countries should be solid as a rock, but some are endorsing the terrorist regime in Gaza.

Every nation in the world must be sure that when America signs a treaty, it will meet its obligations come hell or high water.

The global situation will improve if America leads the effort. We are the only chance for lasting peace and prosperity. Other large nations are withdrawing and leaving a huge vacuum that has enabled terrorists. America is the answer, but we must work in coordination with others.

 

Our Children Are At Great Risk From Recent World Events

America’s next generation will not be more secure than their parents. The future will be less peaceful and prosperous based upon current events. Unfortunately, too many explosive problems are lurking on the horizon.

 

The nuclear standoff with Iran and North Korea are far different than the U.S./Soviet Union Cold War. “Mutual assured destruction” prevented escalation of tensions in the years after World War II. Consider the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nikita Khrushchev, the powerful and confident Soviet leader, backed down when challenged by John F. Kennedy, thereby avoiding a potential nuclear confrontation. In those days, cooler heads prevailed.

 

A nuclear holocaust is the greatest threat to mankind because the devastation from a relatively minor event would still be catastrophic. And, a regional war could expand rapidly into a world-wide conflict. For some reason, many are not distraught about Iran developing a nuclear weapon. And, China is in no hurry to close down North Korea’s nuclear program even though it is situated close to the madman who leads North Korea. Why should we trust either country with devices that could materially harm humanity, or worse, lead to its destruction? Do we (the international community of nations) believe neither of these rogue and violent nations will use a nuke because they are afraid of reprisals? Are we prepared to go all-in on this speculation?

 

Current U.S. politics have severely impacted the viability of our democracy. The logical endgame for a government that can no longer negotiate and compromise internally for the good of the republic is autocracy. President Obama has already taken the first step in this process. If Congress remains deadlocked, he intends to establish regulations in lieu of laws that Congress is no longer able to enact. The country must continue to operate, so if the legislative branch is unable to do its job, the executive branch will unilaterally increase its authority. Ironically, there is already talk of impeachment if Obama moves forward with his tactic. This will muddle the waters greatly and create a constitutional imbroglio.

 

The recent Ebola crisis is representative of an old and continuing threat to humanity. The virus does not spread easily, so the government has decided to bring two infected people to America for treatment, a seemingly humanitarian decision. But, this has mitigated protection afforded by distance. The bacteria and viruses that could potentially wipe out a country or a continent are percolating in certain parts of the world, particularly Africa. Disease there and in so many other places with poor hygiene, impure water and infectious insects needs to be addressed now.

 

The economics of the 21st Century have evolved for the worse and made the world a much more risky place vulnerable to terrible poverty, long recessions, crippling inflation and  high unemployment. The fall of one large financial institution could set off a worldwide economic collapse that will affect every human on earth. Almost as dangerous is the inevitable overreaction to economic threats that will stifle innovation and capitalism. The sword of economics is not double-edged. It has countless edges. The cure to one problem frequently sets off another. For instance, overspending to stimulate economic growth could very well lead to hyperinflation.

 

The gurus that formulate economic policy must be very diligent, flexible, creative and decisive to avoid economic issues that could wipe out trillions of dollars of investment in one day. The leaders of the world must not be seduced by socialism or any other system that impedes innovation and the profit motive. Our economic system should encourage entrepreneurs and financiers to emerge from the masses and lead us to better lives. At this moment in time, capitalism is our best alternative.

 

Religious fanaticism has climbed towards the top of the list of great concerns, as it threatens global tranquility. A modern day crusade is under way that intimidates all those who believe in religious freedom. The Middle East and certain parts of Asia are the epicenters for these very dangerous ideologies. In a nutshell, radical elements of Islam have become more militant and intolerant of other religious beliefs. At first, the movement was slow to grow. Social media has enabled the most violent groups to spread their venom and recruit those with little hope. Most recently, the Arab Spring resulted in the collapse of several governments. Formerly, these countries were ruled despotically, but the change to theocratic rule has not decreased unrest and anarchy. As these countries try to form new governments, religious provocateurs representing the two major Islam sects are creating more chaos.

 

The situation is not promising for our young people. Everything from politics, to nuclear proliferation, to health issues, to economics, to religion pose serious threats to our lives.

 

America needs new, great, decisive and respected leadership. We will have to apply military and economic measures to ensure peace and protect future generations.

 

What America Needs To Do To Improve Its Global Reputation

The reputation and influence of the United States is at a nadir. The nation is no longer the world leader it once was, capable of enlisting allies to fight terrorism and injustice. Our continued military and economic strength no longer intimidates rogue nations and troublesome groups.

 

Here are five recommendations for America that should help it regain its former status as the leader of the free world.

 

ONE: The U.S. must get its own house in order, politically and economically. Our enemies are emboldened by our inability to govern ourselves. America’s two-party democratic system is broken because neither side will compromise. In the past, opposing factions in government were able to negotiate through their differences for the good of the republic. This is no longer possible, and will not change, until the current leaders are no longer in office.

 

The best way to win over enemies, aside from invasion, is with economic sanctions. In spite of the Great Recession, our nation continues to be the strongest country in the world economically. Using this power in lieu of force is an excellent strategy when diplomatic efforts fail. The Iranian and Russian conflicts are prime examples where economic warfare may ultimately restore peace and nuclear security.

 

TWO: The U.S should never turn its back on an ally. If our country agrees to back another nation, we must live up to our commitments. The deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and Israel comes to mind. The continued support of the latter is crucial to its very existence. The ability of America to create and strengthen its ties to other nations will be greatly diminished if the U.S. does not stand by Israel or any other ally.

 

THREE: Notwithstanding endless criticism, America is still the place most people throughout the world would like to live. Historically, we have attracted great individuals from other countries. The resulting diversity has been a great strength of this country.

 

Now, however, we are under siege by illegal immigrants. This phenomenon is a tribute to our free society where anyone can find happiness and economic security if they work hard. But, there is a limit to the number of immigrants we can accept to ensure that our ability to service our citizens is not diminished.

 

Our government must be strong, reasonable and thoughtful at the same time. Our open borders have created a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The lax way we have controlled immigration to this point has resulted in a whole new class of illegal immigrants. It is impossible to turn back the clock and rethink decisions to look the other way while millions have entered the country without authorization. So, they will likely receive a roadmap to citizenship. So be it.

 

But, new illegal immigration must be stopped immediately. It has become an issue of national security. America can be proud of its sensitivities towards immigrants, especially in recent years. We owe no other people in the world any favors. It is time that resources stop being drained from needy Americans for new illegal interlopers.

 

FOUR: The moral fiber of the country has deteriorated. Our elected officials are guilty of ignoring wasteful and illegal practices in virtually every aspect of American life. Old and non-productive expenditures for welfare, the military, social programs and corporate benefits need to be rooted out. Cheaters in all aspects of life must be identified and prosecuted. They include tax cheats, suppliers who cheat the government, people who cheat on medical bills, etc. The savings from these areas alone would be huge. Our citizens must be honest in their dealings with the government and each other.

 

FIVE: When elected, our leaders must select appointees based upon their resumes, not their fund-raising expertise. The current administration is chock full of amateurs that have not provided sound advice. I believe these unfortunate appointments are responsible for errors in judgment that have plagued the current administration.

 

Exacerbating the problem is that the current administration has continued to stand by political appointees who have made gross errors. The IRS, Veterans Administration and the Affordable Care Act debacles are prime examples of bad leadership. Instead of fessing up and admitting problems, the perpetrators are kept in service until the American people and/or Congress demand they be removed. Cover-ups only lead to more political mayhem.

 

American has a lot of fences to mend in the coming years. Hopefully, the elections of 2014 will be the beginning of a new breed of politician in Washington with many more appealing qualities that include an ability to work with others who have different opinions.What