By Steffan Schmidt - No, I am not referring to Syria. I’m talking about the United States of America.
I heard on one of the hot-air talk shows today that, “The U.S. must take decisive action in Syria and crush ISIS and bring stability back to the region.”
What a joke to think that the U.S. political system, which is in total disarray, can carry out such a focused, unified, effective policy.
The U.S. president is under constant attack by the Republicans so our enemies and adversaries think he has been neutralized.
The GOP in the House “decapitated” their leader, the speaker of the House.
The president is known to never answer phone calls even from his own party members and leaders in Congress and certainly not from Republicans.
The “Freedom Caucus,” which many Republicans call the “Anarchist Caucus,” is in control. They managed to trip House majority leader and potential future speaker Kevin McCarthy and push him over the cliff.
Cantor, Boehner and now McCarthy are killed off politically. We should note that there were rumors flying widely.
Laura Ingram turns snarky on Paul Ryan who cannot become speaker because he would be a fool to accept a castrated position which the Tea Party is demanding — taking away the crucial powers a speaker needs to herd all those rabid cats.
On the other side, the federal budget is out of whack, the national debt is a huge burden, politically correct regulations from all federal agencies are a disaster and divisive.
Another problem is, as several of my college students said when we were dissecting parties, “the Democrats are the party of gay marriage, gun control and illegal immigrants.”
That’s not my assessment. Truth is that the Democrats are also a divided party with Bernie Sanders and very liberal voters on one side, and Hillary Clinton and the “establishment,” on the other side.
Also, there are more children on food stamps than ever in our history and the gap between the middle class and the wealthiest is growing wider every year.
The infrastructure of the nation is crumbling (ever driven or Route 9 in Boston?), our military is falling apart and education is a declining service. I went to a dime store to buy something for $5.34 and gave the young woman a $20 bill. She rang it up. Her cash register said $5.34, and she tried giving me that as my change! She could not figure out how to calculate my change, and an older lady at the store had to come and teach her how to do that.
Launching a coherent and strong response to ISIS is impossible under these circumstances.
The fear of massive migration à la Europe has totally poisoned the immigration issue in the United States and not just the illegal part.
On another issue, lots of businesses, including many in Iowa, are furious that Republican conservatives defunded the Export-Import Bank. Although this issue is small, it is a sore that is inflamed and will continue to be painful and irritating.
The “divisions” in American politics also cut sideways, and sometimes, Democrats and Republicans actually agree. On the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement opposed are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, who said President Obama, “got rolled like sushi.” Democrats Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton also are opposed.
Jeb Bush and Rick Santorum are in favor. The other Republicans have all waffled saying they support free trade but not this “secret Obama” agreement until they see it and or can recommend changes, or something like that.
So tell me with American government and politics marching toward anarchy, how the heck is the United States supposed to fashion and then implement a coherent, successful policy toward ISIS and Syrian stability?
The analysis and opinions presented above are those of Dr. Steffen Schmidt and not necessarily representative of Local 5 News, We Are Iowa, or Nexstar Broadcasting. This editorial is reposted with permission after first published in the Ames Tribune.
Steffen Schmidt is professor of Political Science at Iowa State University, CEO of SEAS LLC Consulting, and a regular analyst on Local 5 News and the statewide politics and issue program "This Week in Iowa."
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