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New Mexico Gov. Richardson: Best USA Secretary of State 2008
By Stephen Fox
Editor of New Mexico Sun News
Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico

Everyone recognizes the endangered perception of the USA in every international context. We are inviting ongoing trouble by allowing the most powerful USA corporations to entirely manipulate many branches of government like the Dept. of State, even if you don't ascribe to a Hegelian or a Marxian view of economic and political history.

The FDA also is massively malfunctioning, and the next President must appoint a consumer protection advocate as FDA Commissioner, instead of the tools of Big Pharma who have occupied that position for most of the past twenty years, during both Republican and Democrat presidencies.

What could be of graver international concern for health than powerful corporations, both food manufacturers and drug manufacturers, adding to the destruction of health in hundreds of nations? Big Pharma corporations and Kellogg, Brown and Root, Halliburton, and Blackwater have manipulated to their satisfaction the functioning of the United States Department of State, to do their bidding in contracts, programs, and throughout the State Department and the Pentagon. (Some might say it is the other way around with the Pentagon, which always get what it wants from the US Congress).

This has the cumulative effect of alienating all of the Islamic nations with their 1.2 billion inhabitants, and further besmirches the USA entrepreneurially in South America and in Africa. I am reminded of the policies of the USA expanding in the second half of the 19th Century by destroying millions of Native Americans, with a genocidal intent inherent in that policy of "Manifest Destiny." I see massive similarities between the way LBJ floundered in Vietnam and the dealings of the Bush administration in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. As a nation, we err terribly by tolerating and continuing such destruction.

The next President must move to repair this obviously dangerous malaise by appointing an international healer as US Secretary of State. I see no better person than New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson for this job, not even Richard Holbrooke. More important as qualifications were Richardson's elevation of the international political dialogue amongst the candidates, his early strident support for unequivocally ending the Iraq War, on top of his history as Secretary of Energy and as UN Ambassador.

He would be a better Secretary of State than Condi, Colin, Madeleine, and Warren Christopher all rolled together. Even the corporations will recognize by the decline of their profits, in a strictly Hegelian sense, that they need a Secretary of State who might sow the seeds of international dialogue and conflict resolution, close Guantanamo, reduce the US military presence and its ancillary costs by 40%, reshape a 21st Century Peace Corps, and rapidly return America to a new level of international sanity.

After 8 years of Halliburton running the State Department, military contractors running the Pentagon, Energy Corporations running the Department of industry and writing the Legislation, and Big Pharma running the Food and Drug Administration: what choice is there?

In his commencement address to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Richardson challenged graduates to combine their new skills with passion, reason and courage, to work in the public interest. Richardson outlined America's past experience and current need for courageous leadership, and laid out initial steps for renewing America's relationship with the world by returning to its traditional support for human rights, the rule of law, and international law. He called on the United States to lead an international effort to protect people trapped in situations like Myanmar and Darfur, when their governments fail to protect their own people.

Excerpt: "When in Philadelphia, it's customary to quote Ben Franklin. And he was right when he said, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." (Of course, Ben probably didn't have to pay the interest on student loans.) But your investment has been more than just money and years. Whether you wanted to or not, you've invested part of yourself in this place. And it has returned the investment."

"America needs to be impeccable in our own human rights behavior — and that should begin with immediately closing Guantanamo prison and all secret detention facilities, and providing all prisoners everywhere with access to legal counsel. If the US expects others to take us seriously, we need to take ourselves seriously by honoring our own values and all international treaties, including the Geneva Conventions. Once we have re-established ourselves as a nation that honors human dignity, we can begin once again to promote it worldwide. We must join and support enthusiastically the International Criminal Court, so that leaders who engage in or allow crimes against humanity know they will be held accountable. We should reward countries that respect the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and negotiate, constructively but firmly, with those who do not.

America must also renew its commitment to the rule of law and to multilateral cooperation. We must put aside the failed unilateralism of the Bush administration and re-engage our leadership role in institutions like the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the Organization of American States.

As a diplomat and a public servant, I look at past presidents who had the courage to buck their party line and go against the conventional wisdom to make great gains for our country. It took courage for Truman to reinvest into post-war Europe-including Germany— with the Marshall Plan. It took courage for the anti-communist Nixon to open China. It took courage for Carter to do what he did at Camp David. It took courage for Reagan to meet with Gorbachev at Reykjavik.

It will take courage to renew America's relationship with the world…. a good place for us to start would be to lead an international effort to protect people trapped in situations like Myanmar and Darfur, where their governments fail to protect their own people. The "responsibility to protect" is a principle that has been unanimously endorsed by 150 heads of state at the 2005 UN World Summit. Such a norm would first demand action to prevent crimes against humanity. But should prevention fail, then the right to protect requires economic, political, diplomatic, legal, security and— in the last resort-a multi-lateral, UN sanctioned military intervention to stop an atrocity from occurring.

The US has a special role to play in stopping genocide, especially in Africa where the two most horrendous recent human rights abuses have taken place, in Rwanda and now Darfur. History teaches that if the US does not take the lead on ending these abuses, no one else will. We just need to courage to do the right thing. We need to work with our international partners and the United Nations to devise practical mechanisms that will enable the world community to respond quickly, legally, multilaterally and effectively to stop genocide and other great human rights abuses. The norm of national sovereignty is important, and should be preserved, but it is moot when governments fail to protect their own citizens from great suffering."

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In 1980, Stephen Fox founded New Millennium Fine Art, a Santa Fe gallery specializing in Native American and Landscape, and is very active in New Mexico Legislative consumer protection politics, trying above to get the FDA to rescind its approval for the neurotoxic and carcinogenic artificial sweetener, Aspartame. In a strictly legislative context, his most important writing has been for the Hawaii Senate. In his capacity as Contributing Editor of the Santa Fe Sun News, Fox recently interviewed Mikhail Gorbachev.






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