It's difficult to say they haven't earned it:  When it comes to public trust in media, the U.S. stands…
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Image of the Day: U.S. Public Trust in Media Lowest in the World

It's difficult to say they haven't earned it:  When it comes to public trust in media, the U.S. stands lower than any other nation:

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="691"] U.S. Claims Lowest Public Trust in Media[/caption]


May 30, 2023 • 04:59 PM

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Jester's Courtroom Legal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts
Perry, Paul and the GOP’s Foreign Policy Future Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, July 17 2014
For the good of the United States and the world, we must continue to embrace our role as the world’s preeminent superpower. But we must play that role with patience and discernment.

What a difference a decade makes.

Imagine if, in 2004 — with George W. Bush in the heat of a reelection campaign conducted against the backdrop of the Iraq war— some prescient observer of American politics had told you that a decade hence the Republican Party would be more unified in its position on health care than on foreign policy. That such an observation (A) would have sounded crazy and (B) would have also been true is an object lesson in how little faith we should have in pundits confidently predicting the political future.

The GOP’s new-found foreign policy tension flared up again over this past week, with Texas Governor Rick Perry and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul trading blows in the press over what to do about the renewed violence in Iraq. Writing an op-ed in the pages of the Washington Post, Perry characterized Paul’s relatively hands-off approach to the Middle East as “isolationism” (a term to which the senator regularly objects) and described it as promoting “accommodation and timidity.”

Not about to let such a direct shot go unanswered, Paul responded in the virtual pages of Politico, citing Perry’s statement in the 2012 campaign that the Texas Governor would be willing to send troops back into Iraq if the situation merited it. “If refusing to send Americans to die for a country that refuses to defend itself makes one an 'isolationist,’” the senator said, “then perhaps it's time we finally retire that pejorative.”

There’s the GOP’s great divide in a nutshell.

It deserves to be noted that neither participant in this scrimmage exactly brought their A-game.

Perry’s Post essay accused Paul of wanting “to do next to nothing.” In his rebuttal, the Kentucky Senator noted that was a strange characterization of his desire to provide arms and intelligence assistance to the Iraqi government, use technology to counteract the influence of the terror group ISIS (a vague objective, to be sure) and cut off aid to Syrian rebels allied with the forces of terrorism.

Paul was by no means above rhetorical excesses either, however. His response to Perry twice invoked the question of how many Americans should “send their sons or daughters to die in a foreign country” — as if membership in the Armed Forces is a kind of elaborate boarding school rather than a heroic act of voluntary service.

The shame of this whole confrontation — apart from the fact that it seems to have been little more than posturing for the 2016 presidential election cycle — is that both Paul and Perry are giving only the most superficial treatment to a debate that the Republican Party legitimately needs to have. 

What is the United States’ proper role in the world? How do we define our vital national interests? Is the greater danger to the country’s future a foreign policy that’s too quick to get drawn into overseas conflicts or one that’s too slow to respond?

The truth of the matter is that a hybrid of both men’s approaches would probably serve the country better than either position alone. Perry is certainly right that American leadership is vital to preserving a relatively stable, peaceful world order.

Superpowers can’t withdraw from the world stage without consequences — and none of the rising powers that may replace the US as dominant regional players are likely to be congruent with American interests: Witness the expansionism of Vladimir Putin on Europe’s borders, the increasing belligerence of China throughout Asia and the full-bore meltdown going on in the Middle East. When it comes to America’s standing in the world, make no mistake: A forfeit is a loss.

Senator Paul is correct, however, in his desire to circumscribe America’s military efforts overseas. While certain figures in the GOP (and here Senator John McCain is a much better example than Perry) never seem to meet a potential war they don’t like, the country has limited resources — both in terms of men & material and in terms of public will.

Better to pick only those fights that are vital to the country’s national security interests — and to conduct them without half-measures — than to distribute force so promiscuously that it inevitably strains our military resources and tests the limits of public patience. Would we really have wanted to expend resources on a conflict without any trustworthy partners in Syria, for example, if the resulting conflict left the American people less inclined to rise to the much graver challenged posed by a nuclear Iran?

America is a great nation, but not a perfect one. The fact that we make mistakes — as we likely did by overextending ourselves militarily over the last decade — is unremarkable. What matters is how we respond. Embracing Governor Perry’s view wholesale ignores the lessons of the last decade. Embracing Senator Paul’s without qualification would represent a dramatic over-correction.

For the good of the United States and the world, we must continue to embrace our role as the world’s preeminent superpower. But we must play that role with patience and discernment.

The US doesn’t need to be a party to every skirmish around the world — but neither should we content ourselves to wash our hands of international affairs. The right balance is to be judicious in our choice of interventions — but to be implacable once we’ve decided to act. That’s the foreign policy of a confident, cautious superpower.

Notable Quote   
"While left-wing attacks on the Supreme Court continue, the justices demonstrated again last week that simple partisan categories cannot explain their work. In Tyler v. Hennepin County, the court unanimously agreed that the right to property continues even when the government seizes land to recover a tax debt.Even with a court sharply divided over questions of race, religion and government power,…[more]
— John Yoo, Law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and Robert Delahunty, Washington Fellow of the Claremont Center for the American Way of Life
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