Political experts offer advice to the next president

The next president needs to rebuild America’s international relations for the good of the world and this country, according to two political pundits who are offering advice to whoever occupies the White House next.

Leading the nation and dealing with conflicts around the globe requires knowledge of different religious — like the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims — former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said during a recent stop at the University of Denver.

The comment, a thinly veiled swipe at Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has publicly confused the two, drew some chuckles from the crowd.

Earlier this year, Albright penned an opinion piece that appeared in The Boston Globe, titled "Ten Rules for No. 44" — advice designed for the next president of the United States.

Albright wrote:

Every incoming president faces full-blown crises and an impending dust-up or two, but the winner of this year’s campaign will confront headaches unmatched since at least Vietnam.

In addition to the grinding struggle against Al Qaeda and ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the new administration will be tested by a belligerent Iran, a splintered Middle East, a still-dangerous regime in Pyongyang, Pakistani turbulence, Russian truculence, rising Chinese power, and the tantalizing unknowns of a post-Fidel Cuba. Nor should the next president be able to avoid tackling such interrelated global perils as climate change, the frenzied scramble for oil, or the growing split between rich and poor.

But what else should the nation’s next president know? Some of Colorado’s own political experts are eager to weigh in.

In May, Colorado Senator emeritus and former presidential candidate Gary Hart appeared on Colorado Public Radio, discussing the central theme of his book, Under the Eagle’s Wing.

The next president, be it John McCain or Barack Obama — whom Hart has endorsed — should rely more heavily on international diplomacy and alliance-building to ensure national security than simply the war on terrorism, according to Hart.

“[The next president] will have to fashion a new national security strategy that goes well beyond the rather narrow view of the war on terrorism,” he said.

“Let’s treat this globe as a commons, that is to say the town square if you will, as something we all share in. America cannot protect itself alone and it can not protect the world alone. We need allies,” Hart added.

Historian and social critic Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States, says No. 44 should withdraw from Iraq immediately for the good of both the American and Iraqi peoples in a video message on Big Think.

The next president should use America’s resources to provide clean water and medicine to the Iraqi people while letting an international body mediate political power struggles in Iraq.

“In other words, we get to do constructive things rather than continuing the destruction,” Zinn says.

Even the current, outgoing president has offered advice to his yet-elected successor. George W. Bush thinks the next president should take the Middle East seriously, according to an interview transcript posted on The Hill last month.

Take the Middle East seriously because that’s the center of — that’s the place where people get so despondent and despair that they’re willing to come and take lives of U.S. citizens,” Bush said, according to a White House transcript posted on the site.

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J.C. O'Connell

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