by Craig J. Cantoni
Anyone who thinks that the Republicans are as ignorant in foreign affairs as the Democrats are in economics hasn’t read the plan put forward by Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani for Iraq.
Writing in the Jan. 12 edition of The Wall Street Journal, the two influential Republicans advocated that the United States fund a civilian job corps for Iraq as a way of bringing peace to the country.
I’m not making this up.
In other words, after 1,400 years of hatred, and after the recent years of massacring each other’s families and confiscating each other’s homes, Sunnis and Shiites will join hands and march off with shovels on their shoulders to build roads while singing “We are the world.”
President Ulysses S. Grant should have come up with this brilliant idea when his presidency had to deal with southern whites terrorizing blacks during Reconstruction with random shooting, hanging and firebombing. If he had formed a civilian job corps comprised of blacks and whites to rebuild the South, everything would have been hunky-dory.
Similarly, President John F. Kennedy should have sent a job corps to Birmingham instead of federal troops.
Just think, the Israeli-Palestinian problem could be solved if the two sides were to swing hammers together. And Lebanon would never have unraveled into warring sects, tribes, clans and nationalities if they had all poured concrete together.
Hey, if it worked during the Great Depression with FDR’s Works Progress Administration, it can work in the Middle East. It remains a mystery, though, why FDR didn’t suggest a joint job corps to Germany during World War II. After all, the Nazis had hung the sign, “Work will set you free,” at the entrance to Auschwitz.
Mind you, I don’t want to take anything from Newt. He’s a great history professor. And Rudy is one of the greatest mayors in American history. After all, he didn’t breakdown and cry as every other mayor would have done after 9/11. Instead, he stood firm, said that the city would recover, and empathized with the families of the dead. No one else would have done that.
That makes both of them foreign policy experts, statesmen and presidential material, just as being governor of Texas made George W. Bush a foreign policy expert, statesman and presidential material.
I don’t know why so many Americans feel that the nation is on the wrong course and have such little trust in their national leaders. With the Democrats in charge of the economy and with Republicans like Newt and Rudy waiting in the wings to take over foreign policy, what could possibly go wrong?
An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.