Since Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination two weeks ago, the national media has been working overtime speculating on Obama’s possible number two. The Obama campaign even made a big deal out of announcing their VP selection committee. While it is true that Obama’s Vice Presidential choice is significant and can have a bearing on the election in November, I think it is in fact Obama’s selection of a Secretary of State that is of more vital importance to the US, and to the world.
After eight years of Bush’s “cowboy diplomacy” and what can only be boiled down to the most base description of “self-delusional, anal-retentive self righteousness” in foreign policy and dealing with other nations, the United States is hated throughout the world more than Russia was during the Cold War. It is almost needless to mention that fact that the image of the US currently stands near an all-time low.
While the majority of “pundits and insiders” take the short view of speculating on Obama’s VP, I’m going to take a longer view. Obama should win the November election, and with ease. If not, we really need to reexamine the voting machines and a couple of swing state Secretaries of State (yes, I’m looking at you, Kathrine Harris). With Obama elected to lead this nation, one of his most critical and consequential duties will be to select the best Secretary of State to represent the US in the world abroad.
The War in Iraq, the slumping economy, and even to a degree, the oil crisis will be pivotal issues for Obama to tackle. However, repairing the US’s image in the world must rank up there in the top five tasks of the Obama presidency. In fact, in terms of urgency, I would rank it in the top three. Without some serious, and honest, fence mending and blatant cooperative gestures to the world, our nation will continue to be mired in the sludge of cowboy idiocy and gun-slinging bravado.
Obama needs to be judicious as well as expeditious in selecting the best possible Secretary of State. Here are three names that I believe will make for an excellent choice (in no particular order):
1. Joe Biden. His name is tossed around often in terms of the Vice Presidency. But Biden (and I believe he himself knows it) is much better suited for the SOS position. His knowledge of foreign affairs and his experience in foreign policy make him an ideal SOS candidate.
2. Bill Richardson. Again, another name that’s been tossed in the ring in terms of the Vice Presidency. Richardson is almost assured a position in the Obama administration; the only thing remaining to be seen is where he actually lands. Richardson has a leg up on Biden. He would make a better VP as well as SOS. His background and experience give him such an edge. Obama cannot go wrong picking Richardson for either spot.
3. Colin Powell. Surprised? I know. But the more I think about it, the more Powell makes sense. He has already held the position once, and despite the obvious attempt to sabotage and subjugate him, he survived. He didn’t come out untainted, but the forces against him gave him and his reputation their best whack and Powell is still standing. Ok, listing a little to the right (where else?), but on his feet nonetheless. I think Obama appointing Powell to SOS would be phenomenal. It would further empower African Americans; it would further demonstrate Obama’s message of change and bipartisanship; and lastly, it would give Powell the chance to do the job the way it should have been done, the way he had wanted to do it in the first place, before he was dressed down to boost the egos of draft dodgers.
It would be a great way for Powell (whom I still believe to be a fine man) to remake his image, to reestablish his credibility (which Bush and Company stripped from him long before they made him lie to the UN), and to give himself a fair chance at a real legacy. Powell could finally be a full man, not the “semi-Colin” that punctuated the end of his political career under Bush.
With any of these three men heading the State Department, Obama will send a clear signal to the rest of the world that George Bush’s America is dead and rotting away slowly, but surely.