“On your turn, try to capture territories by defeating your opponents’ armies. But be careful: Winning battles will depend on careful planning, quick decisions and bold moves.
You’ll have to place your forces wisely, attack at just the right time and fortify your defenses against all enemies.”
The Parker Brothers’ Risk board game might not capture all the considerations of foreign affairs, but, with the prospect of another commander-in-chief next year, we must wonder what kind of players the contenders for the presidency would be.
We already know President Obama is a shrewd player. We saw his careful planning in the successful intervention in Libya. He displayed he knows how to place his forces wisely with the withdrawal from Iraq and draw down from Afghanistan scheduled for 2013.
What about Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.), Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney?
“After placing your armies at the beginning of your turn, decide if you wish to attack at this time. The object of an attack is to capture a territory by defeating all the opposing armies already on it.”
Santorum has said he would like to do the opposite of President Obama and move troops back into Afghanistan in his crusade to leave the Taliban “neutered,” as quoted by The New York Times.
Gingrich would also like to move his troops into the region – all the while criticizing President Obama’s decision to draw down troops from the region, even though he admitted conflicts like Afghanistan are “not going to end well,” in a report by Politico.
For the next turn, it seems most of the players turn their attention to Iran in the Middle East, but not Syria, where hundreds have died in massacres orchestrated by President Bashar al-Assad.
“The battle is fought by a roll of the dice,” reads the instruction manual. “Study the board for a moment,” it instructs players. “Do you want to attack?”
Of course they do; in near unanimity (sans Congressman Paul), members of the Republican Party have expressed the deep desire to attack Iran.
While Romney’s believes sanctions should be used to deter the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons, he told The New York Times that if that does not work, “Of course you take military action.”
In his dissent quoted by The New York Times, the Texas congressman said, “The greatest danger is overreacting. That’s how we got into that useless war in Iraq.”
He couldn’t have been more correct.
“If you choose not to attack, pass the dice to the player on your left. You may still fortify your position, if you wish.”
Congressman Paul has already said he will choose this option; it is more important for the country to protect the homeland than to maintain the empire that includes hundreds of military bases worldwide.
“No matter what you’ve done on your turn, you may, if you wish, end your turn by fortifying your position,” the instructions read as it reaffirms players they may take this “free move.”
“You are not required to win a battle or even to try an attack to do so.” With this option chosen every turn, it raises the concern with Rep. Paul’s belief the U.S. should withdraw from the international community – specifically the U.N. – the world will be without any American influence at all.
However, Congressman Paul’s position is much more salient than the rest of the members of the Republican Party, who seem to have no coherence in their positions on foreign affairs, only agreeing the Middle East should be a battleground.
President Obama seems to be the most adroit player on the board; under his auspices, Osama bin Laden was killed. His intervention into Libya was a contrast to his predecessor’s clumsy attempt to remove an autocrat.