Saturday, May 17, 2008

Nothing to add

Another smart takes on the "appeasement" issue from the best columnist in the world, Mark Steyn.

H/T: Powerline via True North

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This seems to debunk the malarkey that Bush wasn't talking about Obama. From two correspondents reporting from Israel before this story grew legs:

Here's NBC's John Yang:
Speaking on background, a senior administration official says the president's language to anyone -- the official specifically mentioned Obama and former President Jimmy Carter's suggestion that the U.S. talk to Hamas -- who has suggested engaging with rogue states or terrorist groups without first getting some leverage ...

And CNN's Ed Henry:

Although the president didn't name names, administration officials are privately acknowledging this was a shot at Barack Obama and other Democrats.

Kinda' blows Steyn out of the water.

But please do keep this story going. It's a good thing for Obama.

Rich

Mark Heuring said...

Senior administration officials - ah, gotta love leaks.

But how does that blow Steyn out of the water? From the column:

Actually, he wasn't – or, to be more precise, he wasn't talking only about you.

Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here]concept is an original idea.


Nice try, though. And we'll see how much this discussion helps Obama.

Best,
Mark

Anonymous said...

Mark,
it blows his assertion that Obama is a self-absorbed ninny out of the water. That seems to be one of several themes the Right is trying to spin out of this. That Obama is thin-skinned and narcissistic. But everyone and his brother new what Bush meant.
Furthermore, regarding Steyn, his assertion that talking will not accomplish anything is preposterous. Ironically Steyn takes Mo Mowlam to task for believing talking to bin Laden might change things. Now I am not suggesting Mowlam is correct to talk with OBL, but Mowlam had tremendous success with Adams and McGinnis. There is peace in Northern Ireland and the place has been transformed. And BTW, Steyn was opposed to negotiations with the IRA, and it is obvious that he is still bitter that those negotiations worked when he makes statements like Mowlam "...oversaw the process by which the IRA's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness became ministers of a Crown they decline to recognize." Who cares if they don't recognize the crown. There is peace in Northern Ireland and the barbed wire and check points are, for the most part, gone. I just can't grasp this bullheaded intransigence to dialogue. And I am not talking about negotiating with bin Laden, but why entirely cut off Hamas or Iran. Regarding Hamas, I see no real difference between Obama's position and McCain's. And where differences do exist, as with Iran, I still don't see a problem with negotiating. I seriously doubt Ahmadinejad is going to come around. He is a malignant pip squeak idiot. But he is an elected pip squeak idiot. He will eventually be replaced. Furthermore, Khameini may be different, there are other players and coalitions in Iran, the Iranian populace is believed to be very amenable to US culture and influence, and Iran is one of the youngest countries, demographically speaking, in the world. So what is wrong with having a president use diplomacy intelligently and pragmatically? Diplomacy is no quick and easy fix, but neither is invading and occupying a foreign country. Both McCain and Obama have this potential, but McCain seems to have decided to follow the Bush doctrine. That is truly unfortunate. Does he really believe Bush's intransigence has been a success? And if diplomacy does ever yield positive results, will Mark Steyn be bitter about being on the wrong side of that argument, and twist the results to fit some future case?

Rich

Mark Heuring said...

Rich,

It's pretty simple. Talking itself doesn't do anything. The reason Libya came around is that Gadafhi saw what happened to Saddam and didn't want to meet the same fate. And talking to Hamas and Ahmedinejad grants them legitimacy they don't merit. My opinion - your mileage may vary.

You do understand that Ahmedinejad serves at the pleasure of the mullahs, right? And that means Khameini. We've been hearing for 30 years now that this mullah is different, this guy's a moderate, oh, we can work with that guy. None of it is true. They've always had guys out front - Abolhassan Banisadr, Rafsanjani, etc., etc., and it hasn't made a bit of difference. Ahmedinejad has office because he serves the purposes of the mullahs. The moment he doesn't, he's gone.

What you do have right is that many of the people that the mullahs subjugate would gladly turn to the West if given the opportunity. The mullahs are, by and large, old. They will go eventually. I don't want to fight a war in Iran because if we are patient enough and do enough to encourage real opposition, we'll get a better result. But in the meantime we may get our hand forced because the mullahs continue to pursue nuclear capability.

And to bring this thing back full circle, that's what the speech before the Knesset was really about, more than anything else. It was Bush saying that the U.S. continues to support Israel. If Obama becomes president, I hope he'll do the same. But as you know, there are people in Obama's party that would cut Israel loose if given the opportunity. When Sharon said that Israel will not be Czechoslovakia, it was simply a variation of the same theme - never again. Bush honored that notion on Thursday. Perhaps Obama will someday, too. If he's president someday, I especially hope he does. Steyn is skeptical. I am, too. You feel otherwise. There's a decent chance we'll find out. And that's it for this particular discussion - you've kept me so busy that I haven't had time to write about anything else today. . . . :)