My enthusiasm for Barack Obama has grown, and fortunately so has his poll data. He looks to be catching Hillary in most categories. I really don't have any particularly strong negative feelings towards Hillary. She is a politician, and like most politicians she doesn't really have firm convictions or principles. She does not impress me as a leader, however. At any rate, she is deeply dividing; personally I don't think she has a remote chance of winning a national election. Dems should root for her only if they want a Republican president in 08.
One reason in particular that I am more excited about Obama is from this interview of Obama in 2002, before the Iraq war. He asks a lot of rhetorical questions in this interview, which are eerily predictive about the situation on the ground in Iraq today. For example, he specifically asks what our long term committment in Iraq will be, and how will we prevent sectarian differences from tearing the country apart.
Towards the end Barack is asked whether he would have voted Yay or Nay to invade Iraq, if he could have done so. He responds that he would have went nay. As a friend pointed out, voting nay on the Iraq war resolution was an extremely dangerous position for a nationally aspiring politician to take. Hillary, of course, voted yay. As did many others, who did not take the time to understand what we were getting ourselves into. And that is how we ended up in the situation we are in today.
On a related note, from what I've been reading, the 'surge' policy for a security crackdown in Baghdad is actually working to some extent. I am less optimistic than I was, however. I'm reading a book called "The Shia Revival" by Vali Nasr, and what has become clear to me is that this Sunni-Shia sectarian rivalry is hundreds of years old. I'm not sure that any amount of US military power could fix this problem. It is likely that the armed groups are just taking a breather from the civil war and will resume as soon as we leave. Any success will depend first and foremost on political solutions. An important first step was the recent revision of Iraq's oil laws that will redistribute revenue more evenly.
Finally, I noticed the world stockmarkets taking a dive for the last few days. I read an interesting article that suggested that China could not survive an economic collapse, politically. The country would erupt in protests and civil disorder, and the non-Han areas would likely secede (Tibet, inner Mongolia, et cetera). There are always positive side effects of bad situations. A world economic collapse killing off communism once and for all doesn't sound like a bad thing. Additionally, the price of oil would plummet following a Chinese collapse. That would shut the mouths of petro-powered international assholes like Hugo Chavez and Iran's Ahmedinejad. Course, not needing their oil would have the same effect...