Change is here: It is hammering at the doors of a bankrupt political system and a bankrupt America. New challengers are pressing new ideas on the two big, tired old parties.
On November 19, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid down his latest marker for change: In a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, he offered new ideas to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda: Let the Muslim nations do it themselves, help them, but also work with Russia, not against her. Stop doing old strategies that have never worked.
The plan was highly original, it was daring and it was detailed. Sanders spelled out the need to join forces with Russia and support constructive moderate Muslim nations.
But he also insisted on the need for the United States, the major European nations and Russia together, to pressure Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait to finally end the massive flow of wealth from all of them to support ISIS and al-Nusra.
Sanders also proposed setting up what would be an “alternative NATO,” including Russia as an equal partner, to try and eliminate the causes of support for extreme jihadism through peaceful constructive development of impoverished and fragile societies, rather than just bombing them.
That same day, Hillary Clinton unveiled her ‘new’ plan to fight ISIS. It was not new at all. It wasn’t even a plan worthy of the name. It was a typical Hillary policy statement – an under-cooked reheat of half a dozen previous initiatives that have been tried before and failed before.
The liberal media hailed it. The conservative media briefly sneered at it. Both groups ignored Sanders’ genuinely fresh and practical initiatives.
Instead, both media groupings of right and left continued their old stale big lies that Sanders is weak or non-existent on foreign policy, that he gives it no thought and that he isn’t even comfortable talking about it.
You only have to listen to any relevant sections of Sanders speech for 10 minutes to realize that every pundit and reporter who lazily recycles that ignorant old nonsense should be fired on the spot.
Sanders is 74, Donald Trump is 69: But their ideas, their passion and, in their very different ways, their passion to revive and recreate America is very real.
Will both of them win their parties’ presidential nominations? Will either of them? The odds against them both from the established interests remain overwhelming. But none of the Republican and Democratic Old Guards six months ago dreamed that either of them would last so long or get so far.
As I explained in my 2015 book, Cycles of Change: The Three Great Cycles of American History & the Coming Crises That Will Lead to the Fourth, the old 40-year Republican establishment of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush lost its control over the federal government in 2008: That era is dead. It’s not coming back.
Even if a presentable “old” Republican like Marco Rubio were to scrape through against a discredited Hillary Clinton in 2016, his presidency would be catastrophic. So would Clinton’s if she won. Any attempt to revive a truly-dead past can only destroy a potentially-real future.
America’s only hope for a rapid renewal without a catastrophic crisis intervening would be if either Trump or Sanders won.
The time of Bob Dylan’s prophetic song of 50 years ago has come again. Once, more, “The Times, They are A‘ Changin’” in America.
A time of crisis and transformation are coming. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are its heralds.
Top Photo: Sen. Sanders on the campaign trail in July 2015.
(Courtesy of Wikipedia & Nick Solari)
Martin Sieff is a former senior foreign correspondent for The Washington Times and former Managing Editor, International Affairs for United Press International. Mr. Sieff is the author of “That Should Still Be Us: How Thomas Friedman’s Flat World Myths Are Keeping Us Flat on Our Backs” (Wiley 2012) and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East” (Regnery, 2008). He has received three Pulitzer Prize nominations for international reporting.