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5) Restoring America's Moral Standing in the World
From Obama's 2008 DNC speech: "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan....I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future."
Going through that list, the war in Iraq is ongoing and the U.S. military still has a massive footprint there even with the withdrawal of combat troops. The fight in Afghanistan is nowhere near finished. Global climate change diplomacy is in full disarray, and there are many who describe what is happening in Syria nowadays as "genocide." Add to that Obama's aggressive drone strikes all over the globe, and the ongoing operation of the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and it's hard to build a case that our "moral standing" has been restored.
As in all of these promises, delivering is hard, and sometimes following through would make the world a worse, not better, place. But politicians should be judged not only by the wisdom of their actions, but by the yardsticks they themselves put into place, if for no reason than to temper our enthusiasm for whatever they promise today, and also to disabuse ourselves from the fantasy that the key to solving an intractable problem is selecting the right team.
Something to keep in mind as you scroll through the newly released 2012 Democratic Party platform.