Friday, October 2, 2009

Obama, Olympics, and the Overseas Missions

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I know that that Copenhagen, Afghanistan, and Chicago are literally thousands of miles away from each other, but when it comes to the connection that President Obama has to each, it would be wise for us to pay attention to the commonalities between them.

Particularly, one main commonality as 2012 approaches: the Summer Olympics.

Copenhagen and Chicago will be synonymous if the president has an opportunity to secure the Summer Games here in the United States for his beloved Second City. However, if the United States is going to pull off this coup successfully, one of the tipping points will not be seen just in Denmark. Ideally, we will see it in the president’s directives to defeat our enemies.

The recent plots of terrorism here on American soil only highlight the need for stability in the Middle East, particularly victories on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. We will also need to secure victories in the battle of wills between us and the Iranians. Any uptick in extremist behavior – both domestically and internationally – must be quickly addressed if we are going to host the world anytime soon for an endeavor such as the Olympics.

President Obama’s promotion of the Windy City is less of an advancement of Chicago’s credentials as a potential Olympic city than it is a reminder of the importance of fighting the battles with our opponents on foreign soil, not Fayetteville, North Carolina. Those with zeal to promote domestic successes (such as Olympic glory) without understanding the tie to battles thousands of miles away are missing the point. Nothing domestically that has been a focus recently – from health care to taxation to jobs creation – can be consciously pursued with maximal effort if the American people and its government are constantly looking over its collective shoulder, looking for the next attack. Worse still for us as a nation would be if this shared sense of concern was overlooked due to distance from history or political posturing. Where the merits of everything from fixing health care within America to bringing the Olympics to America has its place, none of those debates can take place without prioritizing the need to win our wars overseas.

Rooting out the Taliban and the forces of terrorism now will make a safer world for all of us – and make a safer America as 2012 and the Summer Games approach. President Obama may be paving the way for the Chicago Olympics with his visit to Denmark, but he will cement the deal only if he is able to clear the way for a safer America within his approach in Afghanistan.

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