09 December 2009

Obama's Promise of Peace

We all know how I love to blog about Obama issues! Well two news stories hit the stands recently where I have strong opinions. Of course it becomes necessary to blog out my feelings. These thoughts primarily come from my background in business and global issues (Thanks, Ms. Will) - so if you've read my Obama or business blogs before and didn't enjoy them, I forgive you if you stop reading now.

As part of the festive holiday season, where wishes for world peace are more meaningful than the trivial answers of spring beauty pageant contestants, and powerfully sung in our favorite Amy Grant Christmas melodies, Obama has given some speeches and is preparing to receive an award for what he hopes will be a plan to bring peace to our nation, and subsequently the world. There has been much criticism around Obama’s plans, especially since there hasn’t been much in the way of results or action yet. I would like to add to that criticism my yays and nays.

Let’s start with what I don’t like… the Auto Bailout.

Saying this will put me on the naughty list of the 240,000 people in Detroit that could lose their jobs, but I think the auto industry of the United States should be left to their own demise. How much money has the government already put into domestic automobile manufacturers that has, in essence, been wasted considering that the companies still need billions more? Hypothetical question for which CNN has a prediction - $130 BILLION! Um, yeah... not worth it.

In my opinion, a primary reason why our economy remains in such a struggle is because we are not letting capitalism do its proper work. If our cars and gas guzzling trucks and SUVs cannot compete with the technology and consumer image of foreign cars, why are we still trying to pump out the same ol’? The market is telling GM that it wants something different. Sure, GM has tried new tricks to captivate an audience, and has used tax payers money in the attempt, but we still see the company asking for more bail.

My solution – let entrepreneurs redefine the domestic auto industry and energy crises. Keep only what works, and if you can’t do that without getting rid of the junk, toss it out all together and start over. History is history, and the United States can, in the future, be known for manufacturing something new and innovative. There will be temporary unemployment and a need for shifting skill sets, but in the end we as a country will be more educated and better off for the trade.

Now for my mixed peace feelings – Obama’s getting a Nobel Peace Prize, already?

Even Obama admits that he hasn't really done anything to deserve an award for peace based solely on a speech given to military cadets. However, the words he delivered were well spoken and in need of being said. Obama announced at West Point that he is increasing the number of troops to Afghanistan in order to promote peace, finish what Bush started, and help the healing in a war torn nation. Afghanistan has been left in ruins after our destructions, battles from other countries, and internal violence. The country has little left in the form of government, citizens live in fear, and amongst this fear and deteriorated infrastructure survives a hidden terrorist band that’s main reason for existence is to destroy the United States.

With this problem before us, Obama suggests sending 30,000 troops more to Afghanistan for 18 months to help reconcile the nation.

Here in lies the peace plan conundrum: I am a firm believer that wars should only be fought for the reasons of protecting family, home, and freedoms. In these battles, if you are on the winning side, you are responsible to help rebuild what you have torn down. Otherwise, if you wage war only to return triumphant and gloating, you leave the destruction to fester the same problems you fought against in the first place. (Is that cryptic enough?) Basically, we began the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect our freedoms and family (good reasons), and while we don’t want to prolong our presence there, we need to make sure we stick it through to the end. This means helping to establish order again. (I’m not suggesting democracy, just order in a peaceable form.)

Though I am the sister of an Airman in reserve, and I certainly don’t want to see any more deaths of U.S. soldiers; I respect the battles that were fought to protect us and my greatest desire is to never fight them again.

So here I go, adding “world peace” to my Christmas wish list. While I’m not so sure that means more Ford Fusions, I agree with Obama that in order to achieve, or even come close to obtaining some measure of peace, it means a little more time in the trenches.