Monday, January 28, 2008

The Candidates on Kosova ... and perhaps beyond


The war on terror, economy, abortion, civil rights, crime, education, environment, families & children, free trade, government reform, healthcare, homeland security, immigration, jobs, social security, tax reform, and welfare policy are only a fraction of the issues the 2008 presidential candidates will be tackling this year en route to the November elections. You do not have to be savvy student of politics to discern these issues, but as an informed electorate, we must assess each candidate on the issues rather than straight party politics. What should concern us most is what will affect us most in the next four to possibly eight years with a new president. But for an Albanian electorate the only issue that seems to matter is that of the motherland, or Kosova. If not Kosova, then the candidate that most identified themselves with issues sympathetic to the Albanian question will get the nod in the coming elections. Because this will most likely be the litmus test, here is a brief synopsis on where the candidates stand on the Albanian issue(s):

(D) Senator Hillary Clinton who insisted that her husband initiate the NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 has repeatedly declared that the bombing of Serbia was "a success". She has been the honored guest to of many Albanian fundraisers and is hailed as someone that would continue her husband’s legacy as a friend and defender of Albanians. Hillary receives 63% of her campaign donations from individuals who donate $2300 or more and 37% from those who donate the maximum $4,600; in short, she is a "big money" candidate. Hillary Clinton is a socially liberal and aggressively interventionist.

(D) Barack Obama wasn't in Congress during the 1999 NATO Bombing, but his campaign website advocates a negotiated division of Kosovo based on demographics. Barack Obama promotes that "Kosova was a success" (perhaps in the hopes of becoming Hillary's running mate?) While many would like to see Barack Obama as "a peace candidate", Obama has been doing more than flirting with the Congressional hawks in order to become more of a (Democratic) Party guy. The very things that might be appealing about Barack Obama, he is burying to "fit in" with the Democratic Party machinery. Barack Obama receives 46% of his donations from $2300+ contributions and 11% from $4,600 contributions. Barack Obama is a socially liberal Democrat and moderate interventionist.

(D) John Edwards, who although he voted against the 1999 Bombing of Yugoslavia, did vote to use all necessary force (American troops) once we were engaged. His statement: “We saw the success of NATO in the Kosovo operation under President Clinton.” Edwards wants to expand NATO and Edwards called for a combination of U.S. and NATO actions to accelerate the peacekeeping process and engage in Darfur. Edwards receives 39% of his campaign contributions from $2300+ donations and 16% from $4600 donations. Edwards is a liberal Democrat and, perhaps a well-meaning interventionist, but an interventionist none the less.

(R) Senator John McCain who made his name nationally known by advocating the 1999 NATO Bombing of Serbia. Back in 1999, McCain even advocated the we send American troops into Kosova on behalf of the KLA. McCain has consistently been on the Albanian American Civic League's payroll and even marched with them a year after the NATO intervention. McCain receives 47% of his campaign donations from $2,300 or more contributors. McCain is a conservative Republican and aggressive interventionist.

(R) Mitt Romney has no history or statements on Kosova or the Balkans, although he appears to see Russia as more of a partner in defeating terrorism, rather than pretending that the Cold War is still on. He has the endorsement of Tom Tancredo, although this is likely more for Romney's stance on immigration than anything else. Beyond being very nice to look at and him being 100% Republican, it is hard to get your arms around what Romney is about . Some say that he is "Bush III"; others say that he is his own man. Can't tell because he is pandering too much to the Republican Party line to tell. Romney was a successful venture capitalist before entering politics and has financed a significant part of his own campaign. However from individual donations, 49% come from donors of $2,300 Romney is a Rightwing Republican with interventionist tendencies.

(R) Mike Huckabee wasn’t in Congress in 1999, and we can find no references to statements made by Huckabee re Kosova or the Balkans. Until recently, Huckabee has been hard to nail down on any foreign policy specifics which is perhaps why he was doing well in the polls, he was a blank slate on which a voter could write their own foreign policies from his general statements. But Mike Huckabee did reveal his policies in “America's Priorities in the War on Terror”, once again focusing on what he thinks that average Americans want to hear – “kinder, gentler worldwide foreign policies”, but “big bad Russia” – if it sounds familiar, it should, it was once said by a Bush. Huckabee receives 37% of his campaign donations from $2300 contributors. Huckabee is a big government, “nanny state Republican” (as much as that should be an oxymoron) and an interventionist who supports surrounding Russia with missiles. (Update: Huckabee has recruited a marine for his campaign who is telling about his time in Kosova. Mike seems to be pandering to McCain's Albanian fan club.)

(R) Rudy Giuliani also wasn't in Congress during the 1999 NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia. Giuliani's main connection to Kosova appears to have been as US Attorney back in 1985, when, according to him, the Albanian drug mafia put "a hit" out on him for his crack down on Albanians in New York during the ‘80s. Otherwise, we can find no specific reference directly tied to Kosova. Giuliani receives 60% of his contributions from those who donate $2,300+ and 19% from $4600 contributions. Rudy Giuliani is a moderate Republican and (verbally) aggressive interventionist.

(R) Representative Ron Paul for his aggressive opposition to the 1999 NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, both during and after the bombing. Ron Paul also led a bi-partisan coalition that actually sued President Clinton for violating the War Powers Act as a result of the bombing. He continues to oppose Kosova’s Independence and has dismissed all descriptions of the NATO Bombing as having supposedly been "humanitarian". Ron Paul is not a member of Serbian Caucus. But there is a "Serbs for Ron Paul" message board and an "Open Letter to Orthodox Christians" re supporting Ron Paul. Ron Paul gets all of his campaign contributions from individuals, with the average contributor donating less than $200. Although labeled “an isolationist” by his critics, Ron Paul believes in free international trade & defense of America, but not intervening in the politics of other countries. Overall, Ron Paul is a conservative libertarian Republican and anti-interventionist.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the analysis, it may help some people

OBAMA for CHANGE!!!!!!!

Nik Gjurashaj said...

Barack???

How about "Hillary for Albanians"?

I know the issues are important but what are Obama's policies abroad like? This guy has absolutely no experience besides his recent comments re Iraq and terrorism.

Think about the next 8 years.

Shacja said...

Oh please, do you people think of anything else besides their position on Albanians?

What about you -- those that live here, in America???

Don't you care about domestic issues -- heathcare, where 48 million Americans are without, including me and my family??

How about immigration? Families being split every day here.

The economy -- if I get laid off, where do I go, even though I have a Bachelor's degree.

Eneregy prices -- gas at $3.10 and my last home gas bill for December was $260.

What about social security -- will there be enough money in the fund for when I retire? Word out there is NOT.

Think about the issues that will FIRST affect you and your family and then look abroad!