Dick Cheney is a former Vice President serving for 8 years under former President George W. Bush. He served in congress for many years and even in the private sector as the CEO of Halliburton. The controversy surrounding the former Vice President circulates as the election heats up for the 2016 race. I recently read another blog detailing the situation in Syria with all the refugees pouring into countries like Germany and Australia. The author also goes into some brief history about why the situation in the middle east is like it is. In this post I want to expand on that history and highlight the importance of it to today’s political situation. The same situation that will presented to our next president. Dick Cheney has come into the news because of opinion on the Iran Deal. Cheney also has various backdoor deals that have gone bad and resulted in bad publicity and even legal action. However, despite Cheney’s involvement in shady activities, he was still able to become a powerful icon in US foreign policy. In some respects, he changed the face of foreign policy all together.
From the beginning of Cheney’s political career he was always looking to move up the ladder. He went from volunteer to Vice President in a matter of 30 years. The most important movement of Cheney’s career was his appointment to Secretary of Defense by George H.W Bush. President Clinton ran against Cheney for election in 1993 into 1994. During his time as Secretary of Defense, Cheney made major changes to how the Department of Defense worked it budget and gave out contracts. Cheney decided it was more advantageous for the DOD to privatize the government’s defense contractors. At time that he left his post, the DOD was handing out more non-competitive contracts than competitive ones. The distinction is that usually private companies will bid with each other to get the contract. Where non competitive contracts are simply awarded to one company exclusively. Under Cheney’s oversight of the contracts become more relaxed. In other words, the money and deadlines became less important. The result would become what many scholars cite as war profiteering.
Dick Cheney was not in politics after a failed presidential run against Clinton. He shifted his talents found in the DOD to the private sector. Dick Cheney became the CEO of Halliburton in a quite convenient deal for both Cheney and Halliburton. ( A private company specializing in oil equipment and eventually war making) The circumstances of the deal closely reflect to what is known as a revolving door. (Switch from Public to Private sectors or vice versa) Cheney as CEO used his government connections to help make Halliburton and himself very rich. Within a span of five years, he took Halliburton from medium-sized oil drilling company to a massive multi-billion dollar corporation. Cheney did this amazingly all using taxpayer money via those government contracts. The contracts just so happen to be awarded to Halliburton. Wikipedia’s footnotes are a good resource. (I have also researched extensively for a past research topic)
So that is all interesting but I am sure you’re wondering why this matters? Well it matters because he doesn’t stop after five years at Halliburton. As VP Cheney takes it to a whole new level. Not only does Cheney not stop working for Halliburton but he also helps push the US into the Iraq War–allegedly that is—. Cheney made out like a bandit too. Let’s recap now, Cheney reinvented the DOD contracts and privatized all military production and services. He pushes the US into an expensive war costing trillions. Here’s the breakdown circa 2014. Here we are today facing another tough decision on Iran. Cheney has chimed in and come out against the Iran deal. Cheney has bashed Obama and any support for the deal because he favors boots on the ground, of course. Cheney is a basket of contradictions as this article points out. Cheney was the VP for 8 years and never wanted to invade Iran even though they had a nuclear program. For Cheney, this is the normal mode of operation, playing both sides until a clear winner emerges.
All of Dick Cheney’s past political moves for money and power have boiled down to a rock and a hard place for the American people. This year’s election will be a tough decision because foreign policy has been a weakness for both Bush and Obama. The complicated nature of foreign policy and international relations makes it impossible for one person to understand it all. Ideally the candidate that can cobble together a simplified yet workable foreign policy plan should be elected. The debate is always about if it will work. The Iran deal is sure to go through giving Iran economic relief in exchange for reducing its nuclear ability. The problem for our next president will be how to keep Iran in line without starting a full-out nuclear war. The problem with nuclear weapons is that they are the ultimate destruction and they are the ultimate deterrent. The double standard of deadly and safety at the same time is a new concept. A concept only born 70 years ago. There is no comparison to any other time. There has never been a greater weapon known to man.
For each candidate running this year, whether it’s a democrat or republican or independent, they will have to contend with this issue. How does a candidate undo or try to fix what Dick Cheney has engineered over the past 15 years? Can it be fixed? The answers to these questions are unknown. In my political opinion I think there is a starting point. That starting point has to be with the government. The department of defense needs to be controlled. Their budgets need to be strictly managed and reviewed consistently. The DOD needs to be held accountable. Bottom line. War should not dictate policy. Policy making should always go the diplomatic route first. The goal is world peace yet the US often relies on war to get that goal. The irony is obvious. The problem with my political opinion is that it doesn’t quite fit into the republican point of view. Republicans believe that we need a strong and well-funded military. However, there is no reason why we can’t cut the HIGHEST defense spending in the world. (Twice as much as the next country)
Democrats would see this as great plan, especially someone like Bernie Sanders. The disagreement for me is what they would do with that money they cut. (Probably put into social programs–that aren’t necessary) If the democratic president were to say put that money into education, healthcare or social security I would be all for it. But I feel like putting a leash on the DOD is the least that a candidate could do. Not to mention freeing up money in the budget. I think that every candidate is going struggle with foreign policy because it’s not an easy thing to understand. In all honestly, I’m scared of Donald Trump’s foreign policy, he might build a wall around the US and drop a nuke on China. (Shattering the world economy and creating havoc) But seriously, I hope Trump hires some professional foreign policy experts.
Dick Cheney’s story is one that needs to be heard. I think it’s an important lesson. A lesson that shows that no government is perfect. Corruption doesn’t just occur out of nowhere. Corruption is done by people. Cheney took trillions from taxpayers and they should know it. I will come just short of calling Cheney evil but this why I would urge all voters to pay attention. History does and will repeat itself. I’m hoping next repeat doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.
Thanks for reading! 9/11 14th anniversary article soon!