Obama will need a global strategy

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The last two Presidents entered the White House without a global strategy (the Clintons didn't expect to win in '92, according to the lady I talked to at their campaign HQ two days after the election; Mr. Bush had a domestic focus).
We'll need one this time to fix what has become a global financial meltdown.
Financial madness seems to have been a potion put into the water worldwide – from the hedge funds of Wall Street promoting buying cropland (and citing their "debt-to-pig" ratios in the brochures) to pyramid schemes in Colombia that crashed the economy and cost ordinary people their life savings.
The British were not only buying bad subprime paper from the U.S. but their own banks began offering 125-percent loans to buy a house (to buy some furniture for it and a new car).
The financial virus became a pandemic.
The madness was global.
So is the fix.
For the past seven years since 9/11, America's focus has been on the Middle East, a vital place no question, while ignoring what is happening in the rest of the world that affects our economic and personal security and stability.
The President needs to provide his administration and Americans with the "big picture" of how we can develop solutions to these issues on a cooperative, international level.
To succeed will take a global response.
Business does not succeed without a business plan.
Pilots don't just climb in the cockpit and take off without a plan of where they are going and how to get there.
You can get by with it in a Cessna economy but not a Boeing 777 economy.
We need to have an American policy that thinks ahead about issues impacting America's future, from climate change to restoring financial stability and security to the global marketplace.
All the world stock markets are interacting during this crisis.
Like the Exxon Valdes, the ship has suffered major damage on the reef.
It falls to the next captain and crew to put it back in safer waters and repair the damage.
China holds $1.9 trillion in foreign reserves, derived mostly from making stuff we buy at places like Wal-Mart, yet it is not donating to the IMF.
China's carbon emissions are about to surpass the U.S. if they have not already.
President Obama should bring them into the picture to contribute a share of their reserves.
They need to change from being merely a producer nation but also a consumer nation – to buy more of the world's products instead of just making them.
The President should invite Chinese involvement, both in astronauts and money, in the international space station.
Then we would not be dependent on just the Russian Soyuz when the shuttle is sent to the museum in 2010.
The President must address Mexico's out-of-control "Al Capone-style with beheadings" drug gang killings on our border that is coming into the U.S. from Texas to major cities nationwide.
Texas deputy sheriffs have been caught in places like Georgia with $1 million in cash in their cars.
Mr. Chavez Marxism must be diluted by a bonding of American and South American interests to develop more green energy, more trade and the new jobs that come from more trade.
Brazil is a model of energy independence, but even it could not escape a planetary meltdown.
The strange things happening in nuclear North Korea since Kim Jung Il is just that (ill or dying) – we face a change in leadership in a country that doesn't have a system to change leadership. We need China's and Russia's support to make sure North Korea doesn't become more dangerous in this transition it is going through – and try to minimize the danger from whoever does assume power.
We need a strategy for Africa beyond AIDS to encourage economic growth.
Gangs control the ports of Africa, young men with guns who discourage and hinder economic development. That has fueled the "blood diamond" trade.
No government has been in control of Somalia for 18 years, leading to modern day piracy of oil supertankers (heading to Europe and America) which nets millions for gangs to buy more weapons and high speed, 21st century pirate vessels, etc.
Somalia sits where the supertankers will always have to pass by.
Failing to deal with it on a global level has led to more chaos, not less.
Simple water wells would free millions of African women from a daily grind.
Small solar panels can run UV lights to clean their water and provide a connection to the outside world.
If President Obama is going to succeed, it will be because his administration has a plan to grapple with a world-wide financial meltdown.
This is no mere national problem.
The solutions require worldwide cooperation.
We have to think globally to succeed. We have to develop the first-ever 21st century international financial system.
Finally, the slowdown has cut jobs worldwide.
We need to find ways to make new jobs by creating new technologies and industries, like building and installing solar panels and windmills in villages from Argentina to Zambia.
I have seen new "mini-windmills" that have been developed for use on building rooftops.
They would work on a house or top of an office tower, generating free power for the building. Solar panels are built into glass panels in Japan. I've seen solar panels that are rolled out in sheets of plastic.
We need a renewable energy goal that is an energy version of the moon shot. For technology, we need a commitment to make it to Mars. Getting there would generate new levels of technology and require global resources and manpower that could create a new generation of jobs.
Scientists believe the same forces creating global warming on Earth could generate an atmosphere on Mars – a backup planet if we need it.