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I would restructure U.S. foreign policy in the direction of conflict resolution and away from coercive diplomacy and arm-twisting. I would create a "Department of Peace," as was proposed by the progressive congressman Dennis Kucinich, when he ran for president in 2004.
I would bring our soldiers back from the hundreds and hundreds of bases around the world. You know we still have troops in Japan. Isn't that place a democracy yet?
I would make sure all of their post-troop needs were met with no hassles or complications for them or their families. I would close down the Central Intelligence Agency -- its not really an intelligence gathering body anyway.
I would severely cut the "defense" budget. No nation in the world needs all that "defense!" I would restructure the U.S. armed forces into an actual "defense" force, defending the nation-state itself and no more. I would not concern ourselves with "defending the Persian Gulf states," and so forth, which really means defending U.S. and western access to oil.
We are facing global warming. The price of oil has to go up sharply to get people motivated to use much less of it; and we have to strong-arm the oil companies to pick of the pace in finding and developing green energy sources.
As for addressing this present crisis, I would do many of the things that Franklin Delano Roosevelt did during the thirties, The New Deal. Strange that we don't even learn from our successes.
Those are some of the things I would do. I would pull our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. And I would have the U.S. State Department participate in conflict negotiations -- there needs to be a regional conference to settle Afghanistan and guarantee its peace, prosperity, and security. These participants need to include the much demonized Iran, Turkey, China, Russia, and Pakistan, and perhaps others. There will be no military victory in Afghanistan, the place "where empires go to die."
Short answer: Everything.
Long answer: Work at removing power from Washington DC and restoring it to the people themselves. That is, for the people to keep their money, make decisions for themselves, to stop trying to regulate every decision and every action. In addition to that, there's a flipside, where people must become responsible for their own lives. It should be up to people to plan for their retirement, to obtain their own health care, to get an education beyond the basics, and so on. By forcing people to be responsible, they learn early on to think about what they do and to act far more responsibility... Or, they learn from the school of hard knocks.
We must be a nation filled with people who make all their decisions gravely, as if their future and lives depended upon EVERY decision they make, so that collectively, we make much wiser decisions on average.
It is not the role of the president to run the country or economy or fix anyone's hurts. The president is a servant of the people, but must be the most fierce defender of the nation's interests and the safety of the people from outside harm. The president should be humble and respectful of his bosses - the population. But he must be fearless and act with purpose and decisively in matters of other nations. When he speaks to us, he is our servant. When he speaks to us, it should be as a servant. When he speaks to the rest of the world, he is president of the strongest, best, most deserving and righteous people on the planet. THAT is what a President must be.
I would try to give the power back to the people. Where the power of this country belongs. People should realize that the federal government was not meant to rule, but guide more than anything. However, now everyone is turning to the government for a handout.
1. Tax all religions
2. Move out of DC and establish a new temporary capital every two to four years. Let Washington DC remain a ceremonial capital and a popular tourist site only
3. Defense reorganization: Replace the Dept of Defense with two separate cabinet positions: a Dept of the Army and a Dept of the Navy. Place the spend-crazy US Air Force back under the control of the army as the "Air Corps". Cut the defense budget. No one in the military holds a permanent rank higher than three-star general. I would also claim a great big office for the president to use inside the Pentagon.
4. Remove all troops from foreign countries.
5. Reduce the CIA and place it under the control of the State Department or the Justice Department
6. Take away Dept of Homeland Security and place its agencies among their original respective departments
7. Enact an Amendment that no one running for political office can accept campaign contributions. Fed Gov't agency must buy up a certain amount of airtime with taxpayer money for electoral candidates to use. Campaigning will last for one month only.
8. Pump billions of dollars into education and education reform
9. Enact an anti-Gerrymandering Amendment for House of Representatives
10. Legalize drugs and create public programs for treatment of addiction
11. Increase import taxes, inheritance taxes, and luxery taxes. Lower the income taxes.
12. Sign the Kyoto Protocol
13. Arrest and charge George Bush with treason
If I were President the first thing I would do would be to have a meeting with all leaders of both parties on CSPAN. The American people show more of an interest in politics now than ever before because there are so many ways to get information. I would do this so that everyone could see how we interact with one another.
Tell the American people the truth: that sacrifices need to be made. To avoid financial catastrophe, steps must be taken to cut spending in three main areas: Medicare, Social Security, and defense. Also, tax rates will have to be raised in the near future. We could maybe keep the cuts for another year or two, but we need to face reality at some point.
Also, we need to stop giving handouts to the financial industry. He made some effort to implement financial reform, but these were far too weak. These institutions need to be pushed away from pure speculation and more toward investment in productive economic activities.
I do not expect either of these things to happen, however. They would be political suicide. But at least he would not go down in history as just another politician.
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