Archive for the ‘U.S. 2016 elections’ category

Where are we Now?

April 16, 2016

Where are we Now? Power LineSteven Hayward, April 15, 2016

One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that it has revealed that conservatives have been way too timid or conciliatory in confronting the Left—that the latitude for effectively confronting political correctness is much greater than we thought.

********************************

That’s the open-ended title of the panel I spoke on last weekend at the West Coast Retreat of the David Horowitz Freedom Center (and special thanks to all of the Power Line readers in the audience who introduced themselves). Where do you go with such a wide-ranging title? I spoke from a few short notes that I scratched out the night before (which I have now lost), but I think it went pretty much something like this:

I’m not going to talk about the election, partly because so much of what I have said up to this point, especially about Trump’s prospects, have turned out to be wrong. Instead I think this panel’s title—Where Are We Now?—begs for taking a step back and looking at some longer term factors that overshadow the election, no matter who wins.

Lately I’ve been thinking of two sayings by foreigners—one probably familiar to most everyone, and one likely not. The first is Bismarck’s famous quip that “God looks after drunks, fools, and the United States of America.” I’m hoping this is still true. To the extent that accident and chance play a huge role in determining political life (the teaching of the classics), I think we’d have to say that America has been pretty lucky though most of its history. Thank God it was Harry Truman, and not Henry Wallace, who was vice president in April 1945 when FDR died; Truman was far from perfect, but he was right on a lot of important questions at that important moment.

The second saying comes from my late Hungarian-born friend Peter Schramm. Peter grew up under Communism, and when the Soviet tanks rolled through the country in 1956, his father said—“That’s it: we’re going to America.” “Why are we going to America, dad?” “Because, son, we were born American, just in the wrong place.” That was back at a time when people around the world understood clearly what America meant. I’m not so sure it is as clear to the world any more just what America means, or what it stands for, let alone whether it can be counted upon to defend the West.

Anyway, Peter told me that a favorite Hungarian saying is, “Things are serious—but not yet bad!” Now, I’m starting to think that things are bad. It is likely possible to recover from eight years of Obama with the right leadership, but if Obama is succeeded by Clinton or Sanders—or by a clueless Republican—the damage might be so long-lasting as to be near-irreversible.

A few observations:

First, events of just the last 10 days should remind us once again that our politics have become all out war—a fact that conservatives, and their weak vessel, the Republican Party, do not like to recognize. Conservatives like order and moderation (in the Aristotelian sense), and recoil from the idea of political warfare, because when things reach that stage, it means things are out of hand. But avoiding the unpleasantness of political life—and avoiding confronting it directly—will not make it go away, but instead guarantee that it will grow worse.

One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that it has revealed that conservatives have been way too timid or conciliatory in confronting the Left—that the latitude for effectively confronting political correctness is much greater than we thought. It ought to be a matter of supreme embarrassment and shame that the most forceful and cogent response to the irresponsible demagoguery of Black Lives Matter has come from Bill Clinton. Never mind that he walked it back yesterday—that’s his problem. Our problem is no public figure on our side has spoken out as forcefully and as plainly as Clinton did.

In this regard, if we can’t win the Bathroom Wars, we might as well load up the lifeboats right now and become the refugees from our own country that the Left longs for us to be. And the most outrageous part of the recent controversy over bathrooms in North Carolina is the role played by big business, which is the most potent force in coercing states like North Carolina to back down from a common sense understanding of human nature. Why have big corporations become adjuncts to leftist identity politics? I suspect a study of corporate HR departments will find they are a hotbed of graduates with degrees in gender and ethnic studies, etc.

About Congress, I will just say that for those who have been critical of Republican leadership over the last few years, the problem is deeper and worse than you think. This is a long subject, having to do with the way in which the Democratic Party deliberately sought over decades to degrade the constitutional role of Congress in ways that many Republican members of Congress do not understand or perceive clearly enough. And it is going to take more than just a Republican president to fix this problem, though I think Ted Cruz understands this issue more profoundly than most of the rest of the GOP presidential field. But this is a very long subject, worthy of a separate complete panel all by itself.

Likewise, our response to the latest outbreak of radicalism on campuses is weak. The new mob of the campus Left says: racism, homophobia, sexism, oppression, and patriarchy. To which we have responded—free speech and academic freedom! This response is wholly inadequate. It concedes the premise of the Left: are we really for free speech on behalf of racism? Of course not, but we need to take the next step and throw back in their faces that their narratives of oppression are completely wrong, contemptible, and not to be taken seriously. That and a few expulsions (and more firings of many more professors like Melissa Click) might do the trick.

In summary, the central point of my remarks is to vindicate what I’m going to call the Horowitz Heuristic, or “David’s Desideratum.” For as long as I have known David, he has been saying that conservatives, and their defective organizational vehicle—the Republican Party—have not been vigorous enough in recognizing that the Left is conducting political warfare, and that it can only be beaten back by engaging in political warfare in return. Maybe a few more people are starting to figure out what David has understood all along. Is it too late? As Lincoln said about a real shooting war, “Wars are not won by blowing rosewater through cornstalks.”

Satire | Navy to Name New Destroyer The USS Alfred C. Sharpton

April 15, 2016

Navy to Name New Destroyer The USS Alfred C. Sharpton, Dan Miller’s Blog, April 14, 2016

(The views expressed in the body of this article are not necessarily mine, those of Warsclerotic or it’s other editors. — DM)

Thinker of the day

Inspired by the profound wisdom of Nancy Pelosi

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus stated this week that Navy ships no longer need be named after dead old White geezers with medals of honor or politicians who have helped the Navy. Naming them after politicians favored by our dear leader Obama is now Navy policy.

Sharpton may never have won a medal of honor, served in the U.S. Military or helped the Navy. However, he is a fighter for social justice and has destroyed lots of racist stuff. Once the Navy names a destroyer in his honor, he will have much more work to do. Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Min! White Power Gotta GO! Soon, under President Hillary Clinton, Admiral Sharpton will have an entire task force of destroyers with which to fight environmental and other racism. 

Navy Secretary Mabus is breaking new ground, and it’s high time somebody did. He recently stated that

an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named the USS Carl M. Levin. The Michigan Democrat served 31 years in the Senate and chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2007 to 2015.

One congressional staffer noted that Mr. Levin presided over the committee during the Obama administration’s major drawdown of troops and weapons systems. Joint Chiefs of Staff officers testified in recent months that they doubt they can fight one major war on the schedule outlined in the National Military Strategy.

Gutting the racist and Islamophobic U.S. military is good! Devout members of “our” military love killing peaceful Muslims and other people of color at least as much as they enjoy breaking things. As our dear leader Obama has often emphasized, we must negotiate with poor and underprivileged people who try to kill us. We must help them to see how wonderful they already are and how we can help them to become happier and even more wonderful. Use of “our” military only makes them hate us and so is completely out of bounds.

Naming a destroyer after the Reverend Sharpton will promote social justice and put racists in their proper place — under his heel. He is good at destroying America’s racist culture and that includes preventing racist white people from appropriating America’s vast and beautiful Black culture. Here’s a stupid video by a vile White racist pig, Bill Whittle.

Whites have never developed any culture of their own beyond that of enslaving Black people. Despite their White privilege, they have no legal right to appropriate the rich and vibrant culture of Blacks, whom they despise and continue to enslave.

Navy Secretary Mabus is also aligned with own dear leader Obama in recognizing the need to prevent global warming global cooling Climate Change. Children and other adherents to the Religion of Peace won’t harm us; Climate Change will kill us.

The Navy will become the first branch of the military to require big vendors to report their greenhouse gas emissions and to outline what they are doing to lower them in response to global warming.

“We’ve got skin in this game,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a technology conference on government and climate change on Tuesday, noting that the Navy’s fleet is the military’s largest user of fossil fuels.

. . . .

The U.S. military in recent years has called climate change a serious threat to national security. The Pentagon has said climate change is exacerbating everything from droughts to the rise of Islamic terror. [Emphasis added.]

The pentagon appears to have misspoken: there is no such thing as Islamic terror, because Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance. Perhaps the pentagon meant the terror we inflict on innocent Muslims.

The administration routinely repeats that position when discussing the challenge of global warming as the top threat the world faces. GOP presidential candidates often cite the stance to criticize President Obama’s policy priorities. [Emphasis added.]

Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate totally opposed to environmental racism. On April 13th, She promised Al Sharpton “a task force” to fight it.

[A]ir pollution from power plants, factories, and refineries contribute to disproportionately high rates of asthma for African-American children. Nearly half of all Latino children live in U.S. counties where smog levels exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s health standards, the campaign says.

Minority communities will also be disproportionately affected by climate change.

“And the impacts of climate change, from more severe storms to longer heat waves to rising sea levels, will disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities, which suffer the worst losses during extreme weather and have the fewest resources to prepare,” the campaign memo states.

. . . .

If elected president, Clinton says she will establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force on her first day in office. [Emphasis added.]

By giving Admiral Sharpton a massive task force, President Clinton will make him Her principal destroyer of environmental racism. As Queen Hillary’s Monarch of the Sea, Admiral Sharpton will rule the waves as well as did Queen Victoria’s own sea ruler!

Three cheers for our own dear leader Obama, His great Secretary of the Navy, our soon-to-be glorious Monarch of the Sea and our loving next president, Hillary Clinton!

The little children knew years ago and now, after almost eight years under Obama, we must all celebrate their profound wisdom, clarity of thought and maturity by giving dear leader Obama at least another eight years by electing Hillary as our beloved Queen! Long may She reign!

Editor’s note:

Oh well.

 

Not Satire | Anti-Trump protesters are patriots

March 17, 2016

Anti-Trump protesters are patriots, Boston Globe, Renée Graham, March 17, 2016

(Please see also, US democracy at stake amid campaign violence, major Jewish group warns.

Humpty Dumpty words

— DM)

Aniti trump protestors
Protesters are removed as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., on March 9, 2016.

Donald Trump slams protesters at his rallies as “thugs” but, as usual, the unhinged GOP presidential front-runner is dead wrong:

They’re patriots.

By now, any protester at a Trump rally knows what they will face. The lucky ones will only be ridiculed by the candidate, have their anti-Trump signs yanked away and torn to pieces, and be hustled out of the arena. At worst — at least so far — they’ll be peppered with racist or anti-Semitic invective, manhandled by security guards, spat on, or sucker-punched by some moron sorry only that he couldn’t have inflicted more lethal damage.

With Trump nearly sweeping this week’s primaries, those rallies will become more hostile toward anyone pushing against his hideous rhetoric. Yet those patriots will still come, not just because they oppose Trump but for the love of their country which is being shoved toward the abyss. As poet Adrienne Rich wrote in “An Atlas of the Difficult World”:

A patriot is one who wrestles/ for the soul of her country/ as she wrestles for her own being.

Odds are these aren’t the people who fueled an all-time spike in Google searches on moving to Canada after Trump won multiple states on Super Tuesday. They weren’t checking real estate prices in Toronto or job openings in Vancouver. Patriots don’t surrender their nation to a preening narcissist or to his supporters, who, like goats unable to discern between what they should chew up or spit out, swallow whole all the nonsense they’re fed.

Armed with nothing more than the unshakeable certainty that their nation will collapse under the weight of Trump’s insatiable ego, they walk into arenas where they will be met with scorn, even physical retaliation. This stunningly frightful time demands more than hash tags, and these protestors have placed themselves on the front line.

That’s a lot more than Trump’s fellow GOP candidates have done. On “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Governor John Kasich of Ohio said, when asked if he would support Trump as the presidential nominee, “It’s tough.” Actually, Governor Kasich, it’s not. Likewise, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas condemns the bombastic billionaire’s bruising style, but in his next breath says he will back the party’s nominee — even if it’s the troubling GOP front-runner. Kasich and Cruz would rather save their floundering party than the nation they claim to love.

For his part, Trump told CNN that if he doesn’t get the nomination, “I think you’d have riots. I think you’d have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen.” That veiled threat is nothing more than a dog whistle for Trump’s rowdiest supporters.

Still, even under the risk of mayhem from those supporters, rally protesters are determined to keep that craven man with his dark dreams from running this nation into the ground. That is the essence of patriotism.

Especially after 9/11, patriotism was remade into something regressive and divisive, not unlike what extremists have done to various religions. It became flag pins and “freedom fries,” while dissent became tantamount to treason. Too many were left sputtering in enraged silence. Perhaps spurred by the success of the Black Lives Matter movement, many have found again the lasting power of voices joined in a common cause.

And that cause is to stop Donald Trump. Those who oppose him — and they will grow in number as he racks up primary and caucus wins — will not relinquish their country to the kind of made-for-television tyranny that Trump spews as easily as he breathes. A true patriot knows that for America to be great, it must be wrested away from this vain, empty man who believes in nothing but himself.

Humor+ | Laugh. It’s the Best Medicine. Then get serious again.

February 11, 2016

Laugh. It’s the Best Medicine. Then get serious again. Dan Miller’s Blog, February 11, 2016

(The views expressed in this post are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Obama and Hillary are evil and some Republican candidates are bad. Stay mad, but laugh occasionally because it’s refreshing. Then, let’s take America back.

Sometimes life is hard.

Yeah, but wouldn’t it be terrible if everything always happened just as we want it to?

This is pretty much how government really works. They just aren’t this good as telling us.

Jimmy Buffett manages to offend just about everyone while being funny as he does it. That’s good!

It’s about time for a drink.

 

OK, it’s time to get serious again.

Obama said, “You didn’t build that.” Yes we did; He didn’t, and He keeps trying to tear her down and to rebuild her in His own image.

Now she’s ours. We intend to keep her and to make her as productive, strong and hopeful as she once was. Xenophobic? Damn right.

We can take her back. Will we? You betcha!

Off Topic | Trump, Conservative Ideolgues and Populists

January 24, 2016

Trump, Conservative Ideolgues and Populists, Dan Miller’s Blog, January 24, 2016

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Conservative ideologues want to keep things essentially as they are, making only marginal and generally ineffective changes. Populists want to change things to be more consistent with what “we the people” want. Often, what we the people want is better than what our “leaders” want or try to provide. Under these definitions, Trump is a populist, not a conservative ideologue. That’s good.

According to Dictionary. com, these are attributes of “conservatives:”

Disposed to preserve existing conditions, restore traditional ones, and to limit change.

According to the same source, “populism” means:

Any of various, often anti-establishment or anti-intellectual political movements or philosophies that offer unorthodox solutions or policies and appeal to the common person rather than according with traditional party or partisan ideologies.

Grass-roots democracy; working class activism; egalitarianism.

National Review recently published an entire special edition devoted to attacking Trump on the ground that he is insufficiently conservative. Whom did National Review support in 2008 and 2012? Guess or go to the link. He did not win.

NR - Trump

Writing at PJ Media about National Review’s special issue, Roger L. Simon argued that 

Many of their arguments revolve around whether Trump is a “true conservative.” Instead of wading into the definitional weeds on that one — as they say on the Internet, YMMV [Your Milleage May Vary] — allow me to address the macro question of what the purpose of ideology actually is. For me, it is to provide a theoretical basis on which to act, a set of principles. But that’s all it is. It’s not a religion, although it can be mistaken for one (communism). [Insert and Emphasis added.]

Ideology should function as a guide, not a faith, because in the real world you may have to violate it, when the rubber meets the road, as they say. For those of us in the punditocracy, the rubber rarely if ever meets the road.  All we have is our theories. They are the road for us. If we’re lucky, we’re paid for them.  In that case, we hardly ever vary them. It would be bad for business.

Trump’s perspective was the reverse. The rubber was constantly meeting the road. In fact, it rarely did anything else. He always had to change and adjust. Ideological principles were just background noise, barely audible sounds above the jack hammers. [Emphasis added.]

When National Review takes up arms against Trump, it is men and women of theory against a man of action. The public, if we are to believe the polls, prefers the action. It’s not hard to see why. The theory has failed and become increasingly disconnected from the people. It doesn’t go anywhere and hasn’t for years. I’m guilty of it too. (Our current president is 150% a man of theory.) Too many people — left and right — are drunk on ideology. [Emphasis added.]

Were the “old White men” who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence, and those who fought for the colonies in the Revolutionary War, conservative ideologues? Did they want to preserve existing conditions under the King of England, his governors and military? Or were they pragmatic populists, as well as men of action, who opposed the King’s establishment and offered unorthodox solutions appealing to the “common” people? It took a lot of pushing from such revolutionaries as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, but the pragmatic populists won.

I don’t want to suggest that Donald Trump is this generation’s George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin. Times are now sufficiently different that doing so would be frivolous. Among other differences, there should be no need to go to war now because we still have an electoral process, flawed though it may be. Nor are we ruled by an unelected, hereditary king; we are ruled by an elected president who considers Himself a king, ignores or twists the Constitution to fit His needs, often ideological, and acts by royal executive decree when the Congress declines to do His bidding or goes about it too slowly to suit Him.

Be that as it may, what’s wrong with the populist notion encouraging members of the governed class — the “vulgarians” — to have greater voices in how they are governed than those who govern them, often to their own benefit, while mocking those whom they govern? Sometimes we the people make mistakes and sometimes we get it right. Ditto our dear leaders. Why not give us a chance for a change?

Into which category — conservative ideologue or populist — if either, does Donald Trump fit, do we need him now and, if so, why?

Here’s the 2012 video Whittle referred to in the video above:

Which of the current Republican candidates has taken, or is the most likely to take, positions comparable to those suggested in the above video?

In September of last year, I wrote an article titled To bring America back we need to break some stuff. There, I quoted Daniel Greenfield for the following proposition:

What we have now is not a movement because we have not defined what it is we hope to win. We have built reactive movements to stave off despair. We must do better than that. We must not settle for striving to restore some idealized lost world. Instead we must dream big. We must think of the nation we want and of the civilization we want to live in and what it will take to build it. [Emphasis added.]

Our enemies have set out big goals. We must set out bigger ones. We must become more than conservatives. If we remain conservatives, then all we will have is the America we live in now. And even if our children and grandchildren become conservatives, that is the culture and nation they will fight to conserve. We must become revolutionaries. [Emphasis added.]

I also suggested that if we don’t seek real — even revolutionary — change we might as well try to join the European Union. That would keep things pretty much as they now are and would, therefore, be more the “conservative” than the populist thing to do.

Our unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy could merge with that of the EU and our Congress could merge with the impotent EU Parliament.

Here’s a new Trifecta video about a proposal by the Governor of Texas to amend the Constitution which, he contends, has been broken by those who have improperly increased the power of the Federal Government while diminishing that of the states.

The Constitution is not broken. It’s just been poorly interpreted, twisted and otherwise ignored. In recent years Obama — who claims to be a “constitutional scholar” — has done more to ignore, twist and misinterpret it than any other president I can remember. Depending on what amendments might be adopted and ratified, an Obama clone (Hillary Clinton?) might well do the same; perhaps even worse. A president can personally stop that process by not doing it. A president can halt poor judicial interpretations only by nominating judges unlikely to make them.

Conclusions

Trump is not perfect; nobody is. However, he says what he thinks rather than spew multiculturally correct pablum. Few are sufficiently thick-skinned to do that. A “vulgarian,” he is not politically correct. Others are because they don’t want to offend. Trump recognizes that Islam is the religion of war, death and oppression and does not want the further Islamisation of America, which is already proceeding apace. Few leaders of either party are willing to take that position, mean it and act on it effectively if elected.

We are mad, not insane. We want to give we the people a bigger and stronger voice in how and by whom we are governed. If, by voting to make Trump our President, we make a big mistake so be it. Worse candidates with fewer qualifications have been elected and reelected. During His first and second term as President, Obama has gone far in His quest to transform America fundamentally and in the wrong directions. If Trump does not come sufficiently close to correcting course to meet our expectations during his first term, we won’t vote to reelect him. In the meantime,

Opps. I almost forgot this

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the Challenge of Radical Islam

January 3, 2016

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the Challenge of Radical Islam, You Tube, January 3, 2015

(It’s an hour and six minutes long but well worth watching. — DM)

 

Column One: Rubio, Cruz and US global leadership

December 18, 2015

Column One: Rubio, Cruz and US global leadership, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, December 17, 2015

For the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy; But are they too late?

At some point between 2006 and 2008, the American people decided to turn their backs on the world. Between the seeming futility of the war in Iraq and the financial collapse of 2008, Americans decided they’d had enough.

In Barack Obama, they found a leader who could channel their frustration. Obama’s foreign policy, based on denying the existence of radical Islam and projecting the responsibility for Islamic aggression on the US and its allies, suited their mood just fine. If America is responsible, then America can walk away. Once it is gone, so the thinking has gone, the Muslims will forget their anger and leave America alone.

Sadly, Obama’s foreign policy assumptions are utter nonsense. America’s abandonment of global leadership has not made things better. Over the past seven years, the legions of radical Islam have expanded and grown more powerful than ever before. And now in the aftermath of the jihadist massacres in Paris and San Bernadino, the threats have grown so abundant that even Obama cannot pretend them away.

As a consequence, for the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy. But are they too late? Can the next president repair the damage Obama has caused? The Democrats give no cause for optimism. Led by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopefuls stubbornly insist that there is nothing wrong with Obama’s foreign policy. If they are elected to succeed him, they pledge to follow in his footsteps.

On the Republican side, things are more encouraging, but also more complicated.

Republican presidential hopefuls are united in their rejection of Obama’s policy of ignoring the Islamic supremacist nature of the enemy. All reject the failed assumptions of Obama’s foreign policy.

All have pledged to abandon them on their first day in office. Yet for all their unity in rejecting Obama’s positions, Republicans are deeply divided over what alternative foreign policy they would adopt.

This divide has been seething under the surface throughout the Obama presidency. It burst into the open at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night.

The importance of the dispute cannot be overstated.

Given the Democrats’ allegiance to Obama’s disastrous policies, the only hope for a restoration of American leadership is that a Republican wins the next election. But if Republicans nominate a candidate who fails to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is, then the chance for a reassertion of American leadership will diminish significantly.

To understand just how high the stakes are, you need to look no further than two events that occurred just before the Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate.

On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to close its investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As far as the UN’s nuclear watchdog is concerned, Iran is good to go.

The move is a scandal. Its consequences will be disastrous.

The IAEA acknowledges that Iran continued to advance its illicit military nuclear program at least until 2009. Tehran refuses to divulge its nuclear activities to IAEA investigators as it is required to do under binding UN Security Council resolutions.

Iran refuses to allow IAEA inspectors access to its illicit nuclear sites. As a consequence, the IAEA lacks a clear understanding of what Iran’s nuclear status is today and therefore has no capacity to prevent it from maintaining or expanding its nuclear capabilities. This means that the inspection regime Iran supposedly accepted under Obama’s nuclear deal is worthless.

The IAEA also accepts that since Iran concluded its nuclear accord with the world powers, it has conducted two tests of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, despite the fact that it is barred from doing so under binding Security Council resolutions.

But really, who cares? Certainly the Obama administration doesn’t. The sighs of relief emanating from the White House and the State Department after the IAEA decision were audible from Jerusalem to Tehran.

The IAEA’s decision has two direct consequences.

First, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday, it paves the way for the cancellation of the UN’s economic sanctions against Iran within the month.

Second, with the IAEA’s decision, the last obstacle impeding Iran’s completion of its nuclear weapons program has been removed. Inspections are a thing of the past. Iran is in the clear.

As Iran struts across the nuclear finish line, the Sunni jihadists are closing their ranks.

Hours after the IAEA vote, Turkey and Qatar announced that Turkey is setting up a permanent military base in the Persian Gulf emirate for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Their announcement indicates that the informal partnership between Turkey and Qatar on the one side, and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State on the other hand, which first came to the fore last year during Operation Protective Edge, is now becoming a more formal alliance.

Just as the Obama administration has no problem with Iran going nuclear, so it has no problem with this new jihadist alliance.

During Operation Protective Edge, the administration supported this jihadist alliance against the Israeli-Egyptian partnership. Throughout Hamas’s war against Israel, Obama demanded that Israel and Egypt accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms, as they were presented by Turkey and Qatar.

Since Operation Protective Edge, the Americans have continued to insist that Israel and Egypt bow to Hamas’s demands and open Gaza’s international borders. The Americans have kept up their pressure on Israel and Egypt despite Hamas’s open alliance with ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula.

So, too, the Americans have kept Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at arm’s length, and continue to insist that the Muslim Brotherhood is a legitimate political force despite Sisi’s war against ISIS. Washington continues to embrace Qatar as a “moderate” force despite the emirate’s open support for the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and ISIS.

As for Turkey, it appears there is nothing Ankara can do that will dispel the US notion that it is a credible partner in the war on terror. Since 2011, Turkey has served as Hamas’s chief state sponsor, and as ISIS’s chief sponsor. It is waging war against the Kurds – the US’s strongest ally in its campaign against ISIS.

In other words, with the US’s blessing, the forces of both Shi’ite and Sunni jihad are on the march.

And the next president will have no grace period for repairing the damage.

Although the Republican debate Wednesday night was focused mainly on the war in Syria, its significance is far greater than one specific battlefield.

And while there were nine candidates on the stage, there were only two participants in this critical discussion.

Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz faced off after weeks of rising contention between their campaigns.

In so doing, they brought the dispute that has been seething through their party since the Bush presidency into the open.

Rubio argued that in Syria, the US needs to both defeat ISIS and overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Cruz countered that the US should ignore Assad and concentrate on utterly destroying ISIS. America’s national interest, he said, is not advanced by overthrowing Assad, because in all likelihood, Assad will be replaced by ISIS.

Cruz added that America’s experience in overthrowing Middle Eastern leaders has shown that it is a mistake to overthrow dictators. Things only got worse after America overthrew Saddam Hussein and supported the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak.

For his part, Rubio explained that since Assad is Iran’s puppet, leaving him in power empowers Iran. The longer he remains in power, the more control Iran will wield over Syria and Lebanon.

The two candidates’ dispute is far greater than the question of who rules Syria. Their disagreement on Syria isn’t a tactical argument. It goes to the core question of what is the proper role of American foreign policy.

Rubio’s commitment to overthrowing Assad is one component of a wider strategic commitment to fostering democratic governance in Syria. By embracing the cause of democratization through regime change, Rubio has become the standard bearer of George W. Bush’s foreign policy.

Bush’s foreign policy had two seemingly contradictory anchors – a belief that liberal values are universal, and cultural meekness.

Bush’s belief that open elections would serve as a panacea for the pathologies of the Islamic world was not supported by empirical data. Survey after survey showed that if left to their own devices, the people of Muslim world would choose to be led by Islamic supremacists. But Bush rejected the data and embraced the fantasy that free elections lead a society to embrace liberal norms of peace and human rights.

As to cultural meekness, since the end of the Cold War and with the rise of political correctness, the notion that America could call for other people to adopt American values fell into disrepute. For American foreign policy practitioners, the idea that American values and norms are superior to Islamic supremacist values smacked of cultural chauvinism.

Consequently, rather than urge the Islamic world to abandon Islamic supremacism in favor of liberal democracy, in their public diplomacy efforts, Americans sufficed with vapid pronouncements of love and respect for Islam.

Islamic supremacists, for their part stepped into the ideological void without hesitation. In Iraq, the Iranian regime spent hundreds of millions of dollars training Iranian-controlled militias, building Iranian-controlled political parties and publishing pro-Iranian newspapers as the US did nothing to support pro-American Iraqis.

Although many Republicans opposed Bush’s policies, few dared make their disagreement with the head of their party public. As a result, for many, Wednesday’s debate was the first time the foundations of Bush’s foreign policy were coherently and forcefully rejected before a national audience.

If Rubio is the heir to Bush, Cruz is the spokesman for Bush’s until now silent opposition. In their longheld view, democratization is not a proper aim of American foreign policy. Defeating America’s enemies is the proper aim of American foreign policy.

Rubio’s people claim that carpet bombing ISIS is not a strategy. They are right. There are parts missing from in Cruz’s position on Syria.

But then again, although still not comprehensive, Cruz’s foreign policy trajectory has much to recommend it. First and foremost, it is based on the world as it is, rather than a vision of how the world should be. It makes a clear distinction between America’s allies and America’s enemies and calls for the US to side with the former and fight the latter.

It is far from clear which side will win this fight for the heart of the Republican Party. And it is impossible to know who the next US president will be.

But whatever happens, the fact that after their seven-year vacation, the Americans are returning the real world is a cause for cautious celebration.