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Molly Alexander Darden Headshot

Obama Ponders the Road Not Taken

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"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

-- Robert Frost

As the politically religious war rages in Iraq, it's important to remember the realistic endgame. While Pres. Obama has committed a small force on the ground, backed by a show of military strength, he seems inclined to continue on the road to long-term diplomatic solutions rather than the 'bomb 'em and blast 'em' usual road of his opponents.

The 'just do something' attitude of opposing politicians who forget that their wars have created millions of veterans, many of whom are still not receiving care, contrasts with President Obama's search for a long-term, workable vision of peaceful interaction based on cooperating with a widening base of our coalition.

As Pres. Obama said in his statement on June 19 re: Iraq, (paraphrasing) 'it is not America's job to solve the world's problems, nor is it our place to tell any nation whom to elect.'

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Whereas in the past, we have jumped into crises alone with a bloody, dramatic flourish, times have changed; 21st Century solutions to conflict resolution are different from those of previous eras, indicative of the huge, paradigm shift evident in nearly every aspect of society today, Obama sees the road ahead through his vision of a longterm more peaceful and safer, more stable collaborative world rather than a 'satisfy the moment' one.

Recognizing that America no longer considers itself the world's policeman who meddles in the politics of other countries to push our own agenda, Obama says we will not interfere with Iraq's, Iran's or anyone else's politics. Prime Minister Maliki may realize that, this time, it won't be so easy to entice us to clean up after their exclusionary, divisive approach. We might advise them to unify, forget their differences and work cooperatively together; however, that solution seems unlikely.

In lieu of strong military force, economic initiatives and incentives are solid diplomatic tools which we can use to motivate Iraqis to work together.

Any country would be unwise to base human lives and national treasure on suppositions, 'they might', 'they'll probably', etc., as we did in starting the Iraq War, with today's intelligence-gathering capability -- for which some complain bitterly -- we can ferret out threats to our national security, and deal with them, as we have been doing.

Although President Obama's approval ratings are currently as low as President Bush's were in their presidencies, the American people would be wise to recognize that Obama's moral strength, vision and leadership in this 21st Century era of peaceful collaboration and cooperation may very well preserve peace in and for the United States for us today, and for generations to come.