Archive for the ‘Appeasement’ Category
Michael Hirsch’s article for the National Journal is so steeped in liberal ideology that I couldn’t resist ripping it to shreds.
Here’s one part of Hirsch’s off-the-mark analysis:
Rick Perry, badly needing to put his brain-freeze moment behind, came out strong, winning audience applause for his “zero-budget” approach to foreign aid (though he stumbled a bit when he suggested that Israel, along with Pakistan, might have to make the case anew why it should receive U.S. assistance, a comment that will arouse the wrath of many GOP voters. But ultimately Perry delivered a somewhat mystifying answer when he was asked whether the U.S. was engaged in “financial warfare” with China. He awkwardly invoked Ronald Reagan’s famous prediction that the Soviets would end up on the “ash heap,” saying the Chinese regime would end up in the same place “if they do not change their virtues.” For a candidate who does not need another reason to remind people of George W. Bush, it was a moment that did just that.
Gov. Perry had a strong performance, talking much more fluently about Pakistan and Afghanistan than most people expected, then talking about how to stop China from stealing our intellectual property. (What Hirsch is talking about is anyone’s guess.)
Cain, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich also seemed willing to turn the clock back to an uglier, earlier period when waterboarding was permitted and the rest of the world’s views didn’t matter, which it seems most have moved past.
What Mr. Hirsch is talking about is the fact that Cain, Bachmann and Gingrich won’t hesitate to use proven intelligence-gathering methods to protect the United States. Apparently, Mr. Hirsch thinks we’re better off being appeasers rather than doing what’s necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.
Mr. Hirsch apparently doesn’t believe CIA operators who’ve written that waterboarding KSM helped the CIA break him, leading to the breaking up multiple major terrorist plots, including a planned attack on Los Angeles.
If my choices are being liked or preventing terrorist attacks by waterboarding KSM, I’ll opt for waterboarding KSM every time.
Mr. Hirsch needs to get a job with CODEPINK. He doesn’t belong writing about national security.
Based on this article, it isn’t a stretch to think President Obama’s foreign policy was long on ideology and short on dealing with reality:
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
The revelations, in secret memos from US embassies across the Middle East, expose behind-the-scenes pressures in the scramble to contain the Islamic Republic, which the US, Arab states and Israel suspect is close to acquiring nuclear weapons. Bombing Iranian nuclear facilities has hitherto been viewed as a desperate last resort that could ignite a far wider war.
The Saudi king was recorded as having “frequently exhorted the US to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons programme”, one cable stated. “He told you [Americans] to cut off the head of the snake,” the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir said, according to a report on Abdullah’s meeting with the US general David Petraeus in April 2008.
Thanks to Jim Hoft’s digging, we know that Sen. Obama criticized President Bush for not pursuing diplomacy:
â€œIt is absolutely clear that this administration and President Bush continues to not let facts get in the way of his ideology..They need, now, to aggressively move on the diplomatic frontâ€¦They should have stopped the saber rattling, should never have started it.
It’s clear, based on the cables released by Wikileaks, that then-Sen. Obama was an appeaser when it came to Iran, that his policy was based more on cooing like a dove than on sounding like a tiger.
President Obama obviously didn’t learn the Reagan Principle. Simply put, the Reagan Principle is to not negotiate with rogue nations or superpowers until he’d built up his forces until these rogue nations or superpowers were scared of his military superiority. Only then did Reagan start negotiations with America’s enemies.
Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, warned in February that if diplomatic efforts failed, “we risk nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, war prompted by an Israeli strike, or both”.
It’s time that the Obama administration admitted that their national security policies are incoherent and based more on Obama’s proclivity towards passivity than on reality.
The more I read on the subject, the more President Obama reminds me of Jimmy Carter’s appeasement. Looking back through history, thoughtful people understand what a disaster Carter’s national security policies were and how they started the modern terrorist movement.
Monday, President Obama issued a statement on the latest terrorist attack. It would’ve been nice had President Obama reacted quicker. William McGurn’s WSJ op-ed puts things in perfect perspective:
The December headlines remind us that we have no shortage of these nasty regimes. In China, the government sentences Liu Xiaobo to 11 years in prison for writing a letter calling for legal and political reforms. In Iran, security forces fire on citizens marching in the streets. In Cuba, pro-government goons intimidate a group of wives, mothers and sisters of jailed dissidentsâ€”with President Raul Castro characterizing these bullies as “people willing to protect, at any price, the conquests of the revolution.”
In all these cases, the cry goes up: Where is the president of the United States?
For a man whose whole appeal has been wrapped in powerful imagery, President Obama appears strikingly obtuse about the symbolism of his own actions: e.g., squeezing in a condemnation of Iran before a round of golf. With every statement not backed up by action, with every refusal to meet a leader such as the Dalai Lama, with every handshake for a Chavez, Mr. Obama is defining himself to foreign leaders who are sizing him up and have only one question in mind: How much can we get away with?
President Obama’s staff rushed in immediately to tell him he’d won the Nobel Peace Prize but they waited 3 hours before telling him about Iran’s latest killings. What’s worse is that it took President Obama 3 days before talking about the foiled terrorist attack.
Anyone who remembers Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia remembers that then-Sen. Obama’s response was tepid whereas Sen. McCain’s answer was strong. Here’s Obama’s initial statement:
â€œI strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict,â€ Obama said in a written statement. â€œNow is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint and to avoid an escalation to full-scale war. Georgiaâ€™s territorial integrity must be respected.â€
Contrast that with Sen. McCain’s initial response:
â€œ[T]he news reports indicate that Russian military forces crossed an internationally recognized border into the sovereign territory of Georgia. Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.
â€œThe government of Georgia has called for a ceasefire and for a resumption of direct talks on South Ossetia with international mediators. The U.S. should immediately work with the EU and the OSCE to put diplomatic pressure on Russia to reverse this perilous course that it has chosen.â€
The Russian invasion of South Ossetia happened on August 10, 2008. It wasn’t until August 12, 2008 that then-Sen. Obama reacted forcefully. I noted in this post that then, too, Obama was vacationing in Hawaii:
Obama, on vacation in Hawaii, on Tuesday read a statement blaming Russia for increasing tensions in the Caucasus.
â€œNo matter how this conflict started, Russia has escalated it well beyond the dispute over South Ossetia and invaded another country,â€ said Obama, 47. â€œThere is no possible justification for these attacks,â€ he added.
Liberals quickly criticized President Bush for not reacting quickly enough after the 9/11 attacks for their liking. Chief among those critics was Marty Meehan:
Meehan was quoted as saying “I don’t buy the notion Air Force One was a target … That’s just PR. That’s just spin.”
Nary a peep was heard from President Obama’s allies in the print media when he took 3 days to denounce the Iranian regime’s violent squashing of the people’s uprising.
President Obama’s reticence to quickly respond to a terrorist attack makes the United States look timid. It also makes us look weak in the terrorists’ eyes. (If there’s anything that President Obama is good at with regards to national security, it’s that he’s great at procrastination and making the United States look positively wimpy.)
This is why we shouldn’t have elected a toy messiah to do a man’s job.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I’m not shocked to find out that John Murtha doesn’t think military victory is achievable in Afghanistan. He’s been a defeatist since the 1980s.
Democratic Rep. John Murtha, just back from a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan, said
Monday that he never got a clear definition of what constitutes an â€œachievable victoryâ€ for the United States and fears that American commanders are assuming more time for the war effort than voters at home will allow.
â€œI am still very nervous about this whole thing,â€ Murtha told POLITICO. â€œIf you had 10 years, it might work; if you had five, you could make a difference. But you donâ€™t have that long.â€
A top Democrat on military matters, the Pennsylvania lawmaker captures the skepticism facing the White House as President Barack Obama prepares to commit up to 35,000 more troops to the war effort. Obama has chosen a military forum, West Point, for his nationally televised speech Tuesday night, but Congress is the real test and a better reflection of the unease among everyday Americans.
john Murtha has been declaring defeat for a long time. He declared defeat in Somalia while our troops were still fighting there. After the Clinton administration pulled out on Murtha’s advice, Osama bin Laden told an ABC correspondent that America was a paper tiger.
Rep. Murtha told the Bush administration that Iraq was fighting a civil war and that a military victory was impossible. Fortunately for Iraq, the Bush administration ignored Murtha’s advice. Instead of following Murtha’s defeatist advice, President Bush doubled down with the surge and won a decisive victory. They defeated the insurgents and the Iranians while giving Iraqis the gift of liberty.
On another note, it’s insulting to hear David Rogers say that “everyday Americans” are uneasy with winning a war. By nature, we LOVE winning wars. It’s true that a small portion of Democratic pacifists are apprehensive but they don’t even make up a majority of their party, much less a majority of Americans.
Rep. Murtha, it’s time you retired. It’s time you quit waving the white flag of defeat. They say that there’s no such thing as an ex-Marine. You’re proof that there is. You’re a national disgrace because you stand in opposition to the U.S. military’s winning wars.
It appears as though the Obama administration is back to treating terrorism as a law enforcement matter instead of taking it seriously:
A senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is accusing the Obama administration of quietly ordering the FBI to start reading Miranda rights to suspected terrorists at U.S. military detention facilities in Afghanistan.
The move is reportedly creating chaos in the field among the CIA, FBI and military personnel, according to Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. The soldiers, especially, he says, are frustrated that giving high value detainees Miranda rights, the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, is impeding their ability to pursue intelligence on the battlefield, according to a story first reported by the Weekly Standard.
“What I found was lots of confusion and very frustrated people on the front lines who are trying to, well, make Afghanistan successful for the United States and its allies,” said Rogers, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee.
Rogers, a former FBI special agent who served in the U.S. Army, just returned from Afghanistan and a visit to Bagram Air Base, where he said the rights are being read.
“I witnessed it myself, talked to the people on the ground,” he said. “What you have is two very separate missions colliding in the field in a combat zone. Again, anytime that you offer confusion in that environment that’s already chaotic and confusing enough, you jeopardize a soldier’s life.”
The thought that terrorists captured in Afghanistan are being read their Miranda rights is assinine because it gives terrorists the option of not telling us what they know about local terrorist organizations.
I never thought I’d live long enough to say this but here goes: President Obama’s national security policies almost make Jimmy Carter look competent and strong. I’ve asked this before and I’ll repeat it again and again: There’s little in terms of actions that President Obama deserves praise for. His apologies while abroad haven’t strengthened relations, either.
People say that President Obama is pursuing a foreign policy of weakness. While I don’t disagree with that opinion, I think that’s understating things. President Obama’s policies are creating a permissive attitude in which terror-supporting nations like Iran and North Korea and that terrorist organizations like Hamas are exploiting.
That’s because he hasn’t employed the Reagan Principle. In negotiations that essentially brought the USSR to its knees, President Reagan didn’t start negotiating until he’d scared them with a display of power and steadfastness. Once the other side understood that President Reagan was a man of his word and that his word packed a wallop, the negotiating table slanted significantly in the United State’s direction.
That’s a principle that Bill Clinton never learned and that President Obama likely doesn’t want to learn. God help us all for the next 36 months.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Gerald Warner’s article is today’s must reading. In his article, Mr. Warner claims that President Obama doesn’t know who the enemy is, then provides examples of President Obama’s war:
Obama’s problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the US Constitution. Obama is not at war with terrorists, but with his Republican fellow citizens. He has never abandoned the campaign trail.
That is why he opened Pandora’s Box by publishing the Justice Department’s legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley, Virginia to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda.
“Don’t be discouraged by what’s happened the last few weeks,” he told intelligence officers. Is he kidding? Thanks to him, al-Qaeda knows the private interrogation techniques available to the US intelligence agencies and can train its operatives to withstand them – or would do so, if they had not already been outlawed.
So, next time a senior al-Qaeda hood is captured, all the CIA can do is ask him nicely if he would care to reveal when a major population centre is due to be hit by a terror spectacular, or which American city is about to be irradiated by a dirty bomb. Your view of this situation will be dictated by one simple criterion: whether or not you watched the people jumping from the twin towers.
Today’s Democrats are forever worrying about “America’s image in the world.” That’s a lovely notion in peacetime but it’s dangerous in wartime. Worrying about “America’s image in the world” potentially gets in the way of national security officials doing their constitutionally mandated duties. Specifically, it might cause them to pull punches in interrogating HVTs.
It’s time Democrats, especially this wet-behind-the-ears president, understood that they serve the American people first, not the European elitist snobs. It’s time Democrats learned that the least of their worries are Tea Party attending Kentuckians who believe in the Constitution. It’s time Democrats learned that military people returning from Iraq or Afghanistan aren’t potential terrorists.
In short, it’s time that Democrats stop living in the soft puffy world that they’re currently living in. I’ll close with Mr. Warner’s closing paragraph because it’s a great summation:
President Pantywaist’s recent world tour, cosying up to all the bad guys, excited the ambitions of America’s enemies. Here, they realised, is a sucker they can really take to the cleaners. His only enemies are fellow Americans. Which prompts the question: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly?
I won’t say that President Obama hates America. I’m perfectly comfortable, though, saying that President Obama’s first priority isn’t putting the United States’ interests first.
It isn’t a stretch to say that President Obama’s plan of restoring America’s image in the world is off to a bumpy start.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
We now know the price to be paid for President Obama’s inaction with the Somali pirates. We know because they’ve hijacked another boat, this time capturing another 16 hostages:
Pirates captured a U.S.-owned and Italian-flagged tugboat with 16 crew including 10 Italians on Saturday in the latest hijacking in the busy Gulf of Aden.
“We can confirm that 10 Italians were kidnapped but we have no further details,” an Italian foreign ministry official said.
Andrew Mwangura, of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, said the crew were believed to be unharmed on the tugboat, which he added was operated from the United Arab Emirates. He said the tugboat was towing two barges at the time of capture but there were no details on their cargo. “This incident shows the pirates are becoming more daring and violent,” Mwangura told Reuters by phone.
Why shouldn’t they be daring? It’s not like President
Carter Obama will do anything to strike fear in their hearts.
Had this happened under either President Bush, the response would’ve been predictable, swift and violent. They would’ve made examples of the pirates plying the waters, then they would’ve literally struck them where they live.
Doing nothing and hoping the problem disappears isn’t a policy. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. This is what happens when people elect someone who hasn’t had time to think military strategies through. This is what happens when the commander-in-chief is reluctant to trust his officers.
That’s why experienced foreign policy and national security experts think the Obama administration will be as ineffective and timid as the Carter administration. Based on what’s happened thus far, there’s no reason for them to change their minds.
Ed’s analysis is right on the money:
This emphasizes the need to react swiftly, using the full might of our power, when piracy arises. In a real sense, this is asymmetrical warfare, only with a profit motive rather than theological extremism pushing it. If we scale down our response to the same level as theirs, or incrementally rather than overwhelmingly higher, then we play on their ground and not ours. If we expect to have a realistic deterrent in our navy, then we have to allow them to unleash their full fury on the pirates, all of the pirates, when they dare to attack American shipping, and Western shipping in general.
The principle behind using overwhelming force in this situation is simple: Hitting the pirates and their home bases ups the ante. It tells them that for every cost they inflict on us, we’ll inflict five times as much on them. Let’s see how long they want to play under those terms.
The price for their piracy thus far has been minimal to nonexistent. It isn’t dissimilar to southwest companies hiring illegal immigrants because they represented cheap labor. When raids were increased on those companies, the hiring of illegal aliens died because they no longer represented cheap labor anymore.
These pirates haven’t paid a heavy price yet. How will they react if there’s an actual cost in terms of blood and treasure? Perhaps they’d be brave enough to continue. If they were brave and we had a real commander-in-chief, a real commander-in-chief would give a simple order: As long as they attempt ship hijackings, their ships and their villages will get turned into rubble.
It’s a shame we don’t have a real commander-in-chief. It’s a crying shame they didn’t get the memo that nobody messes with our VP.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
According to this BBC article, it only took 60 days for President Obama’s plan to abandon Afghanistan surfaced:
“What we’re looking for is a comprehensive strategy [for Afghanistan],” President Obama told the CBS programme 60 Minutes on Sunday. “There’s got to be an exit strategy. There’s got to be a sense that this is not a perpetual drift.”
WRONG MOOSEBREATH!!! There’s got to be a sense of perpetual vigilance and perpetual focus. That comes from this simple strategy: We win. They get annihilated. Anything less is unacceptable.
Then-Sen. Obama spent the campaign telling audiences that Iraq was a mistake because “it diverted resources away” from “the real war on terror” in Afghanistan.
Exit strategies are for those who want to fight halfheartedly. It’s a strategy if you’re content with one Vietnam-like engagement after another. That’s a strategy for losers. That strategy’s only been used by Democrats.
I’m sure liberals will talk about this point in the Powell Doctrine:
Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
There’s only one problem with citing only this portion of the Powell Doctrine: it’s citing only one part of a much bigger doctrine:
- Is a vital national security interest threatened?
- Do we have a clear attainable objective?
- Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
- Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
- Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
- Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
- Is the action supported by the American people?
- Do we have genuine broad international support?
It’s amazing how quickly things change when exit strategy is put into context. Put in its proper context, it’s more likely a warning against fighting without a plan or the intent of winning. It certainly doesn’t imply setting timetables for withdrawal. It’s shameful to think of it as a rationalization for abandoning a valiant ally like Hamid Karzai.
Thus far, I’d sum up President Obama’s foreign policy actions like this:
Court our enemies and abandon our allies.
In other words, a Jimmy Carter repeat. Those of us who were of voting age remember how ineffective those policies were.
Mr Obama, who last month ordered the deployment of an additional 17,000 US troops to Afghanistan, acknowledged that military force alone would not be enough to achieve Washington’s objectives, which included the defeat of Taleban and al-Qaeda militants.
Military force won’t rebuild Afghanistan but rebuilding Afghanistan isn’t possible until we’ve annihilated the Taliban and al-Qa’ida. If there’s a lesson learned in Iraq that must be transferred to Afghanistan, it’s that it’s imperative to dramatically improve security on the ground if we’re serious about rebuilding.
Thus far, that concept seems lost on the Obama administration.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I’ve never hidden the fact that I don’t think highly of Rep. Jim McDermott, especially after his trip to Baghdad right before the war started. Let’s recall that Rep. McDermott said that he’d trust Saddam Hussein more than he’d trust President Bush:
The controversy ignited on September 29 when Bonior and McDermott appeared from Baghdad on ABC’s “This Week.” Host George Stephanopoulos asked McDermott about his recent comment that “the president of the United States will lie to the American people in order to get us into this war.”
McDermott didn’t backpedal at all: “I believe that sometimes they give out misinformation…It would not surprise me if they came out with some information that is not provable, and they, they shift it. First they said it was al Qaeda, then they said it was weapons of mass destruction. Now they’re going back to and saying it’s al Qaeda again.” When Stephanopoulos pressed McDermott about whether he had any evidence that Bush had lied, the congressman replied, “I think the president would mislead the American people.”
An American official floating unsubstantiated allegations against an American president during a visit to Baghdad would be troubling enough. But McDermott compounded his problem by insisting, despite its twelve years of verifiable prevarication, that the Iraqi regime should be given the benefit of the doubt on inspections and disarmament. Said McDermott on “This Week”: “I think you have to take the Iraqis on their face value.”
In Rep. McDermott’s mind, Saddam deserved “the benefit of the doubt” but it wouldn’t surprise Rep. McDermott if President Bush misled “the American people” to take us to war.
That’s awful on its own but it isn’t the only stain on Rep. McDermott’s thin record. Other than consistently seeing the United State through a hostile lens, what has Seattle’s Congressman-for-Life done?
Steve Beren’s campaign has a summary of what he’s been about this session:
Jim McDermott and his fellow Democrats took control of congress in 2006 with claims to a mandate and big promises, but the latest (May 20) Rasmussen survey found that voters have a very, very low opinion of congress. Excerpts from the report follow:
“Just 13% give the national legislature good or excellent ratings, while 47% say it is doing a poor job…Over half of Republicans (58%) say congress is doing a poor job. That number has dropped slightly over the past month. Just 31% of Democrats give cngress poor ratings. That number has increased slightly over the past month… Just 12% of voters think congress has passed legislation to improve life in America within the past year. Most (61%) disagree and say congress has done nothing to improve life throughout the nation. Voters have little hope for the near future. Just 37% think it is even somewhat likely that congress will seriously address important problems in the next six months. Most (56%) say that congress is unlikely to face up to the issues of the day. Seventy-one percent (71%) think Members of congress are more interested in furthering their own political careers than helping people. Just 14% disagree.”
That’s congress for you. That’s the Democrats. That’s McDermott’s congress: failure, disappointment, nothing to improve the nation, not facing up to the issues of the day, more interested in his own political career than helping people. That’s McDermott, and that’s McDermott’s congress.
There’s a reason why Congress’s approval rating is lower than President Bush’s approval rating. The Democratic leadership has worked hard to ‘earn’ the reputation of being a do almost nothing congress. Their first year, their list of accomplishments was that they got a minimum wage bill passed. I noted at the time that that’s only because they attached it to the Iraq War supplemental bill and while they included tax cut for small businesses. It’s also worth noting that the Iraq War supplemental passed moths after President Bush proposed it.
Another ‘accomplishment’ of this ‘Do Almost Nothing Congress’ is their letting the Patriot Act lapse, thereby blinding our intelligence agencies to huge amounts of intelligence. If terrorists hit us in the United States, the blood will be directly on the Democrats’ hands.
Rep. McDermott has advocated single-payer universal health care, something that even its advocates say has its faults. Here’s what an AMSA study said about single-payer:
Although there are some advantages and some disadvantages to each system, universal health care confers the greatest number of advantages. They include:
- Every individual would receive necessary medical coverage, regardless of age, health, employment, or socio-economic status.
- Health care spending would decline because centralized billing procedures would reduce administrative overhead. Consequently, a larger percentage of the cost of health care would actually be spent on patient treatment.
- Increased access to preventive care and the ability of government to purchase prescription medications in bulk would also help drive down health care costs. However, the corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.
- Patients can choose their physician and physicians can choose the most appropriate treatment for their patients.
- There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.
Removing the profit motive for health care, or anything else for that matter, and that product will stop getting produced in a heartbeat. I’ll bet the ranch on that. AMSA says that “the ability of government to purchase prescription medications in bulk would also help drive down health care costs” is a positive, then notes that “the corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development.” COULD lead to a “reduction in overall research and development”???
This is what Rep. McDermott’s been pushing as long as I’ve seen him in the House or Representatives. It’s a system with serious flaws. It hasn’t worked anywhere it’s been tried.
Jim McDermott’s list of accomplishments is almost as thin as Barack Obama’s, which is saying something considering Sen. Obama has been in the Senate 17 less years than has Rep. McDermott. It’s time for Seattle voters to ask the question whether they want someone who’s done next to nothing to continue representing them or if they’d rather have someone with a positive agenda representing them. If they want someone who’ll actually get positive things done, then that eliminates Rep. McDermott from consideration.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
When John F. Kerry writes an op-ed, fisking it is extremely easy. This time is no different. It doesn’t take long before spotting Senn. Kerry’s first false premise:
When Bush accused “some”, including Obama, Bush aides explained, of “the false comfort of appeasement,” McCain echoed this slander. “What does he want to talk about with [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad?” McCain asked, fumbling to link Obama to the Iranian president’s hateful words. Soon, a GOP talking point was born.
Lost in the rhetoric was the question America deserves to have answered: Why should we engage with Iran?
In short, not talking to Iran has failed. Miserably.
First off, people have talked with Iran. That’s what’s “failed. Miserably.” Secondly, we knkow that terrorists think that Americans are paper tigers. At least, they used to think that during the Clinton administration. They didn’t think twice during Jimmy Carter’s administration, either. Apparently, Sen. Kerry still hasn’t learned the principles behind the Reagan Principle.
The Reagan Principle is what I call President Reagan’s habit of not negotiating with evil empires until that evil empire was scared out of its wits. Sen. Kerry obviously didn’t remember that Reagan didn’t have a summit with the Soviets until his second term. Reagan’s not having a conversation with the Soviets didn’t seem to turn out too badly.
Bush engages in self-deception arguing that not engaging Iran has worked. In fact, Iran has grown stronger: continuing to master the nuclear fuel cycle; arming militias in Iraq and Lebanon; bolstering extremist anti-Israeli proxies. It has embraced Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and spends lavishly to rebuild Afghanistan, gaining influence across the region.
Sen. Kerry says that President Bush “Iran has grown stronger” because of President Bush’s not sitting down with Ahmadinejad. While it’s true that Iran is stronger than it was 4 years ago, that doesn’t prove that it’s a result of President bush not having a summit with Ahmadinejad. In fact, I’d suggest that Sen. Kerry can’t prove that meeting with Ahmadinejad wouldn’t have more disastrous consequences than not meeting with him.
In fadct, Sen. Kerry should study this history lesson about JFK and Kruschev:
MR. SPIVAK: Mr. Vice President, according to news dispatches Soviet Premier Khrushchev said today that Prime Minister Macmillan had assured him that there would be a summit conference next year after the presidential elections. Have you given any cause for such assurance, and do you consider it desirable or even possible that there would be a summit conference next year if Mr. Khrushchev persists in the conditions he’s laid down?
MR. NIXON: No, of course I haven’t talked to Prime Minister Macmillan. It would not be appropriate for me to do so. The President is still going to be president for the next four months and he, of course, is the only one who could commit this country in this period. As far as a summit conference is concerned, I want to make my position absolutely clear. I would be willing as president to meet with Mr. Khrushchev or any other world leader if it would serve the cause of peace. I would not be able wou- would be willing to meet with him however, unless there were preparations for that conference which would give us some reasonable certainty, some reasonable certainty, that you were going to have some success. We must not build up the hopes of the world and then dash them as was the case in Paris. There, Mr. Khrushchev came to that conference determined to break it up. He was going to break it up because he would, knew that he wasn’t going to get his way on Berlin and on the other key matters with which he was concerned at the Paris Conference. Now, if we’re going to have another summit conference, there must be negotiations at the diplomatic level, the ambassadors, the Secretaries of State, and others at that level, prior to that time, which will delineate the issues and which will prepare the way for the heads of state to meet and make some progress. Otherwise, if we find the heads of state meeting and not making progress, we will find that the cause of peace will have been hurt rather than helped. So under these circumstances, I, therefore, strongly urge and I will strongly hold, if I have the opportunity to urge or to hold, this position: that any summit conference would be gone into only after the most careful preparation and only after Mr. Khrushchev, after his disgraceful conduct at Paris, after his disgraceful conduct at the United Nations, gave some assurance that he really wanted to sit down and talk and to accomplish something and not just to make propaganda.
Here’s JFK’s response to Nixon’s answer:
MR. KENNEDY: I have no disagreement with the Vice President’s position on that. It, my view is the same as his. Let me say there is only one uh, point I would add. That before we go into the summit, before we ever meet again, I think it’s important that the United States build its strength; that it build its military strength as well as its own economic strength. If we negotiate from a position where the power balance or wave is moving away from us, it’s extremely difficult to reach a successful decision on Berlin as well as the other questions.
Nixon and JFK seemed show that they shouldn’t meet with Kruschev without there first being preparations done at the ambassador and SecState levels. It appears as though Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain didn’t learn that lesson. I’d suggest that they both learn history better if they’re going to deal with a hostile world.
One lesson that liberals apparently haven’t learned from the 1990′s is that talking with Iraq allowed them to bribe foreign ‘dignitaries’ with the OFF money. Clinton kept on issuing threats, followed by Saddam making a token gesture, followed by his not obeying the latest UNSC resolution. Some good talking with Saddam did.
We also know that talking and negotiating with the North Koreans didn’t prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons.
If talking with our enemies is the be-all, end-all, then the UN should be Utopia. It isn’t. It’s a festering sewer of corruption and inaction. It’s a joke to serious diplomats and statesmen.
Here’s something that must be answered:
Direct negotiations may be the only means short of war that can persuade Iran to forgo its nuclear capability. Given that a nuclear Iran would menace Israel, drive oil prices up past today’s record highs and possibly spark a regional arms race, shouldn’t we be doing all we can to avoid that conflagration?
Ahmadinejad is this century’s Hitler. What makes anyone think that anything but military strikes will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons? Here’s what President Bush rightly said to the Knesset:
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is, the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (Applause.)
What “ingenious argument” would Sen. Obama or Sen. Kerry use to persuade Iran that they’re heading down the wrong path? Taking a pacifist’s approach is the best path to a peaceful world is the path that arrogant men take. History has proven that approach to be a fool’s approach.
During the Reagan administration, Sen. Kerry said that installing the Pershing II missiles in Europe and developing SDI would lead to a dangerous escalation in the Cold War. Eight years later, the Soviet Union had crumbled just like the Berlin Wall had been torn down.
It’s obvious that Sen. Kerry will still stay on the wrong side of history because he hasn’t learned from history. That isn’t just stupid, it’s insanity.
Cross-posted at California Conservative