Monday, December 22, 2008
Among the many challenges facing Barack Obama, military spending will be one of the toughest, not only because of the essential questions involved, but because of the political ramifications. At the merest suggestion that he's "weak on terror" or "anti military" or whatever hammer the right wing chooses, Obama will be jumped on by them like a choirboy at a Ted Haggard convention. And yet there's an obvious opportunity, if only the neocons would close their mouths and open their eyes.
Star wars. The missile shield. That craziest of ideas, that thorn in the foot that marches toward peace. That distraction, that flier in the face of reality, that sprinkling of fairy dust around the front door while the back door is wide open.
Costing gazillions and showing effectiveness only when the game is rigged, the missile defense system has, to date, served only to fracture relations with the Russians, with whom, sooner or later, we need to find reconciliation. (Not so, of course, say the wingnuts.) And now, there's an opening. Win-win: we get to save billions on a foolish system, the Russians get a bone tossed, the world says goodbye to a couple more weapons, everyone's happy. Everyone is by any measure better off.
It's obviously the right thing to do. And just as obviously, there will be screams from the right. Hannity and Limbaugh and Coulter and O'Reilly -- my god, can you even imagine??
I'm not saying it's the ultimate litmus test for PEBO. But if he does kibosh the system, he'll have shown more wisdom and strength than even I could have hoped for, and prove he really is the real deal.