Another distraction has been the hype beginning to form around the upcoming Iowa straw poll. I watch the ground swell around Michele Bachmann and wonder if we will ever learn that personality alone does not equate presidential material.
Meanwhile, back in the rest of the world, countries are struggling with their own financial problems - and wars. I wonder if the people of Syria are wondering where the United States is. Doing what we seem to do best. Posturing.
Then there is China and it's ongoing ambition to crush the independence out of Taiwan. We have an agreement with Taiwan, the Taiwan Relations Act, to supply them with the weapons needed to defend themselves against China's aggression. They need F-16s, badly. They have old ones, but they are no longer adequate to do the job. We have been asked to commence the sale, but so far, as seems to be a habit with this administration, have turned a deaf ear on the request.
Admittedly, we do have a problem. China does not want us to sell Taiwan the F-16s. So what to do? Risk war with China in defense of Taiwan or leave Taiwan as a sitting duck with inadequate air power?
According to The Wall Street Journal , Mr. Obama is leaning against the sale. He doesn't want to risk irritating China. We all understand why. As he cuts our defense budget, the Chinese have grown theirs some 70% over the last five years! Ouch!
The order would also provide American jobs to produce the plane, perhaps even saving the production line that's due to close down in 2013. So what to do? A word bandied about quite a bit that has often been empty. Compromise? Refurbish the old planes but don't sell any new ones. Why do I doubt that would bring the aircraft to speed?
What does it tell the rest of the world? That the U.S. won't stand up to a bully no matter how important it is to a friend? Bullies. Let me see. Russia. China. The Saudis. Iran. Syria. Libya. Maybe that's the idea. How many more need be added to the list before we won't have any friends left for which to stand?