R-S-P-E-C-T, R-I-S-P-E-C-T, oh, whatever

Published 10:58 am Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest Column by Susan Stamper Brown

A global survey of 68 countries (including our allies) at the end of 2013 conducted by Gallup and the Worldwide Independent Network now rates America as the biggest threat to world peace on the planet. Pakistan was the runner up, closely followed by China. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea are equally tied for fourth place.

Susan Stamper Brown

Susan Stamper Brown

What happened? Didn’t America elect a Nobel Laureate who promised to return the respect he claimed was missing by buddying-up with the bad guys and bullying our friends? Well, it backfired, so it is a bit ironic Obama recently misspelled something that’s taking a nose dive both here and abroad these days. He spelled respect as “RSPECT” last month when introducing Aretha Franklin and her signature song at a White House event honoring women of soul.

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It was funny — right up there with his 57 states gaffe years back. The kind of funny people on both sides of the aisle can enjoy. Clinton has his catnap, and Bush, his “strategery,” so it seems a little silly the White House saw fit to scrub Obama’s flub from the official White House transcripts. But, you know what? Even if he could spell it, he still wouldn’t have it.

Polls can be boring, but when there’s a trend, it is worth noting. So here goes … A recent Gallup poll re-asked the same question they posed in 2009: “Do you think leaders of other countries around the world have respect for Barack Obama, or do you think they don’t have much respect for him.” Just 20 percent of those polled said the world did not respect Obama. In 2014, the number skyrocketed to 53 percent.

Sure, Bush-43 had low poll numbers, but it’s pretty clear his numbers dropped because he stood for his principles. Obama’s dropped because he stands for nothing. It also doesn’t help that he was marketed as a kind of superhero who would heal the planet and bring about world peace. None of that happened and our dear folks in the military can see right through him.

Another survey (sorry!) by the Washington Post with the Kaiser Family Foundation found 54 percent of military personnel strongly disapprove of the way Obama performs his job and just 42 percent felt he is a good commander in chief. In sharp contrast, the same poll found 65 percent thought Bush was a good Commander-in-Chief. As Bush proved, a president can continue to lead on principle, without the support of one party or another, but when times are tough, America needs a competent commander in chief.

The military has suffered perhaps most of all under the Obama administration, with military budget cuts slicing through the heart of our nation’s defense. Instead of seeing a stalwart leader, veterans see the unprincipled pretentiousness of a president willing to play them as political poker chips.

Cutting military capability during a time when the world views America as the primary threat to world peace is…well, just dumb. Punishing those willing to sacrifice life and limb for more than ten years with benefit cuts and forced early retirement displays the enormous lack of respect the Obama administration at large has for the military and their families.

The lack of respect follows Obama wherever he goes, and both domestically and abroad our military is no longer viewed as the world’s leading power. Here in the U.S., the sentiment is at an all-time low, with 50 percent of Americans polled believing the military is inferior, meaning they don’t have much confidence we’d be protected should another 9/11 occur. Americans felt almost the same way (51 percent) back in 1999 after Bill Clinton took a similar path leading to a decimated military and leaving us unprepared for the 9/11 attacks.

All the while, the world is laughing, reminding us that no matter how it’s spelled, respect must be earned.


Susan Stamper Brown is an Alaskan resident who writes about politics, the economy and culture. Email Susan at writestamper@gmail.com or her website at susanstamperbrown.com.