OPINION: On world conflicts — Isolationism never looked so good
Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist
I find it sometimes necessary to comment on topics not strictly local in nature. The ongoing debate over U.S. involvement in Syria comes to mind.
Among the silliest thing I have read said that if we intercede in Syria, Saudi Arabia will pay our expenses. Do you recall we were told that our excursion into Iraq would be brief and paid for with that nation’s future oil revenues? If both were true, and knowing that both are false, what would that make our nation, modern-day Hessians?
A positive outcome of this whole episode was the apparent abandonment of the War Powers Act, a step that returned the power to wage war back into the hands of a reluctant Congress. Congress demanded the right to vote and found them totally unprepared to do so. Antagonists demanded that Obama submit to Congress and immediately decried his lack of leadership when he did. Antagonists demanded the president ignore the War Powers Act and more closely adhere to the Constitution. He did and they immediately joined in a chorus of loud voices concerned that he had weakened future presidents. Never in recent memory have we seen war hawks run so rapidly from the opportunity to rattle sabers and have another military incursion.
The American people were not likely to buy a story from President Obama that would have been warmly embraced and espoused from past presidents. At last there was an opportunity for the people to be heard and their voices are seemingly being heeded. Left and right alike for differing reasons do not want us to go down the path of military adventurism again.
Why is it we bankrupt ourselves maintaining a massive war-making machine to police a world that does not respect us? We spend billions maintaining a military so they do not have to; others spend their monies on infrastructure and domestic programs. When it suits their need they ask us to intercede to protect their best interests but still will not reward us with respect. They are and will continue to be nothing more than our ally of convenience and, truth be told, will turn on us. We devote billions to the defense of others and to foreign aid much like an overindulgent parent tries to buy a child’s love with gifts and candy. Neither strategy works. Isolating ourselves from them never looked so good.
The City Council confounded talk on the street and my prediction by going with Barbara Traylor-Smith instead of Riecke Claussen. If you had the opportunity to be at the City Council meeting in which the candidates for the vacancy created by the resignation of Rick Brainard were questioned, you may have seen why. You also could have watched the meeting on TV had you chose to ignore the Broncos in their season opener. Claussen appeared ill-prepared for the meeting, less than informed and somewhat rambling in his responses. Regardless of those facts, Phyllis Norris and Mayor Sam both cast their first ballot for Claussen. Marty Chazen and Duncan McArthur opted for Traylor-Smith. In the end, in an act of solidarity, the Council voted unanimously to name Traylor-Smith to the vacant seat.
Traylor-Smith has a strong background in investment strategies and a long-standing involvement in our community. Perhaps she will devote some time and energy to examining our fiscal health and the integrity of our reserves available for future emergencies. We wish her well and hope she is a catalyst for positivity on a council that seems headed toward polarization.
And now that the council is at full strength, we hope to see some movement in reconciliation among all members and a cooperative work environment. It would be particularly good to see a unified body working together respectfully with consideration for, and occasional acceptance of, varying viewpoints.
The fires of secession are alive and well within Mesa County, eastern Colorado and in the northeast corner of the state. Some want to join Wyoming. Wyoming says “No way.” Some want to be their own state. It would be a state without water, sufficient tax base and without adequate public services. We wish them well, except here in Mesa County. I am kind of partial to remaining part of the larger body politic.
Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at email@example.com.
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