Skip to comments.Petraeus the Next Eisenhower? ["President Petraeus?"]
Posted on 12/16/2009 9:06:38 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
U.S. President Barack Obama has scaled back the scope of the Afghan war, now about to enter its ninth year, to a limited military objective: deny al-Qaida a safe haven. And since we are now told there are fewer than 100 al-Qaida terrorists in Afghanistan the rest are in Pakistan's tribal areas a three-way deal between the Karzai government, powerful warlords and Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar would seem to be the better part of valor. After Iraq, we cannot afford another trillion-dollar war.
It took the United States 233 years (1776-2009) to amass a national debt of $1.4 trillion. This is now projected to double in the next 10 years. The national debt ceiling is going up another $2 trillion to $12.3 trillion. The federal budget deficit for 2009 hit a record $1.42 trillion; 2010 is expected to set a new record of $2 trillion. One trillion dollar bills, end to end, would cover the distance between Earth and the sun, or to the moon and back 200 times.
That al-Qaida would return to a Taliban-run Afghanistan in a heartbeat is an article of faith in Washington. But nothing is less certain. Afghanistan is ripe for stealthy Special Forces, rental deals with warlords who cannot be bought, a modus vivendi with a new Taliban whose chief Mullah Omar had already grown fed up with self-promoter Osama bin Laden when the UPI team led by this reporter interviewed him in Kandahar on June 4, 2001.
Omar, visibly annoyed, complained bin Laden was issuing too many fatwas (religious edicts), which he said he was not authorized to do. We told Omar then if he didn't turn over bin Laden, the United States would invade Afghanistan and defeat him. He thought we were bluffing.
Today, Taliban chieftains and warlords could probably be swayed to take sides against al-Qaida, the alliance that led to their demise in October 2001.
Why Obama still felt compelled to add 30,000 troops to the 68,000 boots already on the ground, at $1 million per soldier per year, is not much of a mystery. The fear of being branded an appeaser and losing the House of Representatives next year and the White House in 2012 to Republicans is clearly paramount. The president is out on a limb but is staying close to the trunk, which leaves little room for Republican and lukewarm left-wing supporters who would saw it off. He can see these two adversaries pre-empting his own post-imperial agenda with a new slogan e.g., Americans come home time to rebuild America (before China eats our lunch).
U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus is already being auscultated by GOP scouts parsing the potential field. They recall how Gen. Dwight Eisenhower clinched his presidential campaign with "I shall go to Korea" to end an unpopular war. Once in the White House, he gave the U.S. economy a formidable booster shot and ordered up the interstate highway system. It became the largest public works project in history and the largest highway system (46,876 miles) in the world.
Americans are fast losing interest in promoting democracy abroad. They see China, with the world's most modern infrastructure, steadily gaining ground in the superpower stakes. Only 10 percent of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations' 642 members say they think democracy around the world should be a U.S. priority, and only 35 percent say the United States should strive to improve living standards abroad. Almost half the general public says the United States should "mind its own business internationally, and let other countries get along the best they can on their own."
All that is a sea change since 2001, when al-Qaida attacked New York and Washington. Forty-four percent of CFR's members already see China as the world's leading economic power vs. 27 percent who say the United States still is and this at a time when the U.S. economy is still twice the size of China's.
Fewer than half the general public and only 41 percent of CFR say they believe the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan can be averted. Aspirant political leaders will ignore these stats at their peril.
For Obama, the Vietnam analogy is a false reading of history. When Richard Nixon won the presidency in 1968, he told this reporter nothing could be achieved until he managed to bring the Vietnam War to an end. And when he launched incursions into eastern Cambodia's "Parrot's Beak" in April 1970, he was roundly denounced for widening the war to another country. The Vietcong and North Vietnamese army had long since established safe havens, ammo dumps and underground headquarters in this sparsely populated Cambodian region close to Saigon. Nixon's decision gave the South Vietnamese precious time to bolster their own forces with a view to fending for themselves without U.S. troops. This, they did. The last U.S. fighter left Vietnam March 29, 1973, two months after the Paris peace agreements. The South Vietnamese army fought on for two years until Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford became president, and Congress, in its infinite wisdom, cut off all military aid to South Vietnam. Saigon fell four months later.
Thirty-five years later, almost 60 percent of Americans asked say the country is on the wrong track. They are confused. The administration says the economic recovery is well under way. Yet almost 25 million Americans are without jobs (including those who no longer qualify for unemployment compensation as well as those who gave up looking). Seven million Americans are behind on their mortgages and risk foreclosure. Economist Peter Morici reports Wall Street banks are divvying up $140 billion in year-end bonuses on the back of $280 billion in new profits. Military men and women are pulling up to five wartime tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. U.S. Rep. David R. Obey D-Wis., chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, says we cannot continue without a war surtax. This could cost the Democrats both houses and change history.
Arnaud de Borchgrave, a member of the Atlantic Council, is editor-at-large at UPI and the Washington Times. This essay was syndicated by UPI as "President Petraeus?"
he’s clearly competant, a Washington outsider.
I’d support him!
Sarah has the top slot.
Well we don’t know much about his stances on anything and Eisenhower was a great military commander but kind of so so president.
Gen. Petraeus as recently as last week, stated that he has no desire for political office and / or seeking to run for POTUS?
He sounded sincere to me in his statements
Palin / Petraeus would be quite a ticket.
I would like to see his stated positions on a number of issues first. However, overall, I am quite impressed with this man.
I heard the same thing. He will not be running. So it is not an issue.
The national debt broke the trillion dollar mark around the time of World War II.
“Petraeus the Next Eisenhower? [”President Petraeus?”]”
He’d make a fine VP for President Palin.
What an ugly mess of an article....
Considering the headline, one would expect that Mr. de Borchgrave would actually discuss the topic.
Instead, we get an incoherent mess of angst that never really bothers to settle on a point.
I never served under Gen. Petraeus, and likewise, am quite impressed with him as a military commander. Having served as a Provost Marshal and having briefed a number of general officers on various law and order issues, I think a lot of FReepers would be surprised at some of their reluctance to embrace 2nd Amendment related matters (among other things). NRA spokesman Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf is a notable exception, and again, I'm speaking in some pretty broad generalities...I have no idea what General Petraeus's stance on the issue is. Keep in mind that Petraeus's popularity with conservatives is now akin to what Colin Powell's was in the immediate years following Desert Storm...and look how that turned out.
I like everything I know about Gen. Petraeus so far, but would like to know a lot more before throwing his name out there as a possible candidate.
I’m also very impressed with him. For sure I’d like to see him as Secretary of Just About Anything, Defense, State, DCI.
For president, I need to know a lot more about where he stands on issues other than defense. If he’s a believer and a constitutionalist, count me in.
I would not support him until I found out if he was pro-life. If he is pro-life that would be a start for his support.
He would clear the field and win with 395-425 electoral votes.
I have no idea what his politics are.
Which is just about where the country, as a whole is. Personally, I would like someone a little more conservative, but as a wholesale candidate that could govern the vast majority of people, he might be OK. Way too early to tell.
How about he starts today?
and to someone else ...No, Sarah is not the new conservative Messiah.
I see wisdom in your words, Joe. ;-)
Someone disagreee with you:
Welcome Back, Dad
I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind. I was wrong! Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she. And what a she! This was Ronald Reagan at his best -- the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as "The Speech," which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP. Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.
~Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan
With God's help, we may still turn this country back around and get it headed in the right direction again.
Eisenhower was a so so President because he was used to being a General. The congress wouldn’t do what he told them, so he spent a lot of time on the golf course. But this country needs is a positive results oriented person who actually has managerial and executive experience. Also someone who has an emotional attachment to this country and hasn’t hidden all their past life’s records. And someone who is not beholden to an international union and knows the difference between campaigning and governing. Maybe a former governer of a far north state? Bottom line, senators make for pretty rotten presidents. They just don’t have the experience for the job and the Presidency is not a place for on the job training.
This is not a bad idea, based on what I know. Petraeus’s views are largely unknown to me, but I think he could have potential.
Ike was a RINO failure. Taft/McArthur should have been the ticket for 1952.
I wish Ike has run as a democrat. That way it would have them that would have got creamed in the 1958 midterms.
He’s a total wild card.
He could be a terrific party-unifying choice. Or not. We don’t know where he stands on the issues.
I wonder if he is really interested. The suggestion has been made since 2008. Does he have something to do with it? Or is just all pure speculation? I don’t think anyone knows.
I think he has turned out to be a one of the great generals of all time however in the very beginning of the Iraq War there was troops that called him General Betrayus...
We can’t afford ANY MODERATES or RINOS...if that’s the case. We need someone who will go in and BURN DOWN THE DEMONCRAT’S PLAYHOUSE. Someone who knows where all the rat’s nests are.....
America, the Constitution, liberty hanging by a prayer. We need ACTION.
I don’t want another Eisenhower. If Adlai Stevenson had won in ‘52 or ‘56, the GOP would’ve had hefty majorities in Congress by the end of his term. Ike was a disaster for the party that took until Reagan to begin to recover from (and Bubba for the House).