Security and defense has always been an integral aspect of American politics and policy. These two ideas shape the way we think and shape our commitment for this equal and shared responsibility. With the election just weeks away, it is important for us to have an insight of what these candidates have to say about this issue – starting off with Barack Obama.
The Issue: Defence
Barack Obama feels that the current administration does not fully address the needs of defense because its goals and objectives remain to be consistent with the old setup. This outdated setup does not tackle the new challenges faced by the military. This is important for everyone because it ensures our future as both a global leader and a promoter of democracy. Similarly, it is important for the US because having a secured defense agenda would increase stability amidst the struggling economy (Public Agenda, p.1).
Looking at his initiatives closely, Obama defense policy revolves on the following objectives: (1) investing in the 21st century military, (2) building defense capabilities, (3) restoring the readiness of National Guards and Reserves, (4) developing global stability, (5) restoring our alliances, and (6) reforming contractors (Obama for America, p.1).
This senator from Illinois seeks to showcase a new avenue for Americans. He was elected into office last 2004 and currently serving his second term. This man from Hawaii has grown up amidst numerous diversities in his life as he practiced law (New York Times, p.1). Kantor argues that he is “a cool deliberator, a fluent communicator, a professor with a hunger for academic expertise but little interest in abstraction” (p.1). These traits earned him the capability to be nominated by the Democratic Party as their sole bearer in the 2008 presidential elections. In the end, his motivation to push and guide Americans in the 21st century is the integral point of his political goals and ambitions in his career (Obama for America, p.1).
Why Students Need to Understand?
High school students at the same time should understand the policies introduced by Obama. One important reason is because one way or another, each one shall be affected by these initiatives. Likewise, students can be familiar in how each candidate addresses the issue of security in the country. Given the role that the United States has for its citizens and its global responsibility, it must seek to create a balance between local and international interests. Lastly, these programs are a clear indictor of democracy in practice. By providing students with the necessary foundations for service, we can achieve the foundations for change in the 21st century.
Looking at his defense programs, Obama seeks to first create a military that shall address the changing times. This involves redefining the program that expands from their relative tasks unto easing the burden of troops and families (Vote Smart, p.1). But to achieve this, there is a need for a strong committed leadership and an initiative for change. Polling report argues that “this optimism is what 65% of Americans considers as a strong candidate” (p.l). This initiative will ensure that the military can be motivated and continuity be assured.
Similarly, there is a need to enhancing America’s defense capabilities in the 21st century. Since this is a rigorous and difficult task to accomplish, there is a need for each policy makers to coordinate and cooperate with each other. This involves strategies surrounding weapons, the control of the land, air & seas, and the increasing threats of cyberspace (Leonhardt, p.5). Given the numerous tasks concerning this facet, it shall be an important determinant in facilitating an exhaustive program.
Obama for America argues that such readiness “will provide the National Guard with the equipment it needs for foreign and domestic emergencies and time to restore and refit before deploying” (p.1). Ensuring this can promote the safety of individuals and citizens while at the same time providing these people the adequate benefits that they need as it remains to be the primary concern among Americans today pending current crisis (Procon, p.1).
With regards to advancing global stability, Obama focuses on the need to integrate military and civilian efforts and also the creation of a new group – Civilian Assistance Corps (CAC) (Obama for Change, p.1). This is vital because it encourages the act of volunteerism among many professionals and ensures that their services are available in times of need. Likewise, it can help our soldiers to cope with the normal life after service. It can serve as a bridge towards the changes happening in their lives.
In addition, Obama stresses the need to recognize and revitalize our allegiances with other states and organizations. This initiative is in line with the change of leadership but faced with the same impeding issues. Due to this, Obama for America argues that “traditional alliances, such as NATO, must be transformed and strengthened, including on common security concerns like Afghanistan, homeland security, and counterterrorism” (p.1). By doing this, he can be able to have an effective monitoring and contingency skills in times of crisis and problems.
Lastly, there is a need to reform the way government addresses contracting. Obama believes that the government and military must increase modes of transparency and accountability in the way transactions are made between the government and private military contractors (Obama for Change, p.1). Obama for change mentions that “implementing this scheme can help enhance the way normal citizens see where their taxes are going. It promotes the values of honesty and openness; traits very important in the facilitation of change” (p.1).
Criticizing Obama’s Initiatives
One criticism concerning Obama’s initiative is his relative changing view points surrounding an issue that involves security and protection of national interest. One example pertains to the Cuba Policy. The candidate’s critics point out his interest to create opportunities of dialogue between Raul Castro. Rhee uses McCain’s words by saying that “These steps would send the worst possible signal to Cuba’s dictators — there is no need to undertake fundamental reforms, they can simply wait for a unilateral change in US policy” (p.1)
Likewise, the stand of Obama concerning Iran and its Revolutionary Guard continues to be the main target of the opposition. Similar to Cuba, he wants to initiate talks with President Ahmadinejad. On the radar mentions that he was also part “for voting against a Congressional resolution to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization” (p.1). This is in contrary to the current view that Iran is a threat to both the United States and the rest of the global community because of its negligence to stop creating nuclear arsenals.
To conclude, it is the intention of Barack Obama to catapult America in the 21st century as he runs for the presidential position. This has been evident in his plans and proposals for defense. The programs for (1) building defense capabilities for the 21st Century, (2) restoring the readiness of our national guard and reserves, (3) developing whole of government initiatives to promote global stability, (4) restore our alliances, and (5) reform contracting are all vital to ensure that America remains safe and secured. To quote: “Our country’s greatest military asset is the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States” (Obama for Change, p.1).
In the end, it is still up to the regular Americans as they cast their votes on November. By the time we come up with results, only then can we be able to determine whether or not Obama will apply his proposed initiatives and plans. Only time can tell.
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