The hopeless & The hopeful

RT military analyst Eugene Khrushchev gives his opinion on the first televised debate between U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.

The two-step mishap

The first direct duel between the two presidential candidates was supposed to be another routine microwaved late dinner, until McCain dropped a stun grenade to resolve single-handedly the liquidity crisis and under this pretext, skip the show.

To no avail – he failed to avoid the debate or come up with a magic bullet to stop the banking meltdown and exposing his poor judgment of politics & finance.

The dog & pony show rather than a dog fight

Ironically, McCain’s apprehension of being shot down by Obama, was wildly exaggerated – one of the best Harvard graduates didn’t knock the socks off one of the worst Annapolis alumni and the anticipated ferocious dog fight mellowed into shadow boxing.

Their mock verbal skirmish was punctuated by McCain’s offensive intros of ‘senator Obama doesn’t understand…’ and Obama’s defensive openings of ‘senator McCain is absolutely right…’.

The root cause of the US’s foreign policy fiasco

The former Navy pilot relentlessly bombarded patient listeners with his schmaltzy anecdotes about his heroic background and stellar performances, completely impervious to the questions at hand. 

When it came to strategy vs. tactics one would expect a Navy Academy & War College attendee to excel splendidly and annihilate that silky-smooth civilian lawyer.

Alas, the republican nominee has painstakingly demonstrated time & again that he’s unwilling or unable to grasp the nuanced concepts of strategy & tactics and split the difference between the two, even in their narrow application of military force in US foreign policy in the Middle East.

The democratic contender presented an eloquent & crisp analysis of strategic blunders when tactical considerations ruled supreme in the face of the law of unintended consequences for American decision makers in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan & Pakistan.

Russia calls the bluff

Both presidential pretenders equally fumbled & failed to come up with a straight answer to a simple triple options question, whether they see Russia as a competitor, an enemy or a potential partner.

However, confronted with Russia, Obama stepped onto the slippery slope, his lucid logical train of thought collapsed like a house of cards and suddenly he turned into the neocons Russophobe sidekick.

He didn’t dare to mention the fact that his opponent’s adviser was on the take from Saakashvili but at least he didn’t join in with the notorious claim that ‘we’re all Georgians!’

Revelations for considerations

Both candidates also made several remarks that deserve some clarification.

Talking about the Georgian regime, for consistency sake, it would be equally appropriate if Obama reiterated his comment addressed to Musharaff, We had a 20th-century mindset that basically said, “Well, you know, he may be a dictator, but he's our dictator.”

After all, what is the difference between dictatorial democracy & democratic dictatorship?

“The Iranians have a lousy government, so therefore their economy is lousy,” said the republican nominee, purportedly an expert on Iranian government & economic issues.

Now, it begs the question, which economy is the lousiest today, and what about the government of that country?

“I won't repeat the mistake that I regret enormously, and that is, after we were able to help the Afghan freedom fighters and drive the Russians out of Afghanistan, we basically washed our hands of the region,” declared the self-styled maverick.

What else could better illustrate his myopic bunker mentality than his state of denial that an American proxy war, instigated against the USSR in Afghanistan, has been a strategic blowback to US national security, and so called freedom fighters are the same generic warlords turned drug lords, whatever label you put on them – the Taliban, insurgents or terrorists.

The skeleton in the closet

When McCain took the bait from Obama and mocked President Bush’s famous comment on the Russian president, ‘I looked into Mr. Putin's eyes, and I saw three letters, a “K,” a “G,” and a “B.”’, he might inadvertently have opened a can of worms.

This clumsy statement is a self-inflicting revelation that if his physical frame has recuperated from injuries suffered while captured in Vietnam, his mind’s view is hopelessly stuck in a solitary jungle cell, tormented by qualms over what papers he had signed under duress to KGB officers as a POW.

Hopefully, his democratic opponent will be magnanimous enough to steer clear from the smear campaign and will not use the incriminating evidence against his fellow senator, if his advisers get access to McCain’s KGB classified X-files.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Due to the inconclusive results of this endless US presidential race, the absence of a direct vote, the selective nature of electoral college standard procedures, the supernatural influence of super delegates and the world impact of the White House dweller’s actions, I have an offer you can hardly resist – let the world select an American Chief Executive, for the sake of world security, stability & prosperity.

Personally I would strongly support for the shortlist the former State Secretaries: James Baker, Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger.

God bless you America with a wise leader to sleep well past 3 a.m.

Eugene Khrushchev,
Military analyst, served in Afghanistan during the Soviet and American military presence.