Journalist Tomasky: American Statesmanship Likely Gone for Good

Image: Journalist Tomasky: American Statesmanship Likely Gone for Good

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 10:32 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Amid the numerous military and humanitarian crises gripping the world, it has become apparent that American global leadership and power have disappeared due to the partisanship of the modern political system, says Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky.

"It's been the most depressing two weeks of the Obama presidency. The child border crisis, the new Gaza war, the Russian separatists shooting down that plane — these aren't just infuriating political squabbles of the sort we follow every week but profound political crises with enormous human tolls," the liberal journalist wrote in a column published Monday.

"What's maddening and emotionally exhausting is that we can't seem to do anything about them."

Tomasky said President Barack Obama is partially to blame for his slow response to the border crisis, and the way he has managed U.S. foreign policy in general.

"Maybe different leadership in the White House would make some kind of huge difference. I suspect not a lot, though."

Tomasky said that modern statesmanship has all but disappeared in an atmosphere where politicians seem no longer interested in putting aside their partisanship and acting for the good of the country and America's influence in the world.

"Whatever that statesman gene was exactly, it's basically gone. And yes, I do think it's more the Republicans' doing than the Democrats'," he wrote. "But even if you blame the parties equally, or blame the Democrats more, you should lament this: It harms the United States. And it strengthens the countries and interests that will step in to fill the vacuum created when the United States doesn't act — Russia, China, Iran, the Islamic State, Hezbollah, border coyotes."

Tomasky singled out Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain, in particular, for blaming the Obama administration for failing to give Ukrainians weapons. He also criticized the House, and the GOP in particular, for failing to take action on the president's border proposal.

"They're hurting the United States, which appears to the rest of the world unable to handle its own crisis. And the rest of the world, when it is in crisis, will hear what the United States has to say and quite reasonably think, 'Why should we listen to you?'"

Tomasky concluded by saying, "The saddest thing of all is that it's probably gone forever, that old urge toward statesmanship at the crucial moment. Depression and the fight against fascism gave politicians on both sides certain touchstones through which to remember that a few things were more important than partisan advantage," he wrote. "We may need another Depression and global war. And the way we're going, we may get them."


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