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57 Varieties of Obama’s Foreign Policy

May 11, 2008

Why does Heinz Ketchup say “57 varieties”, when it’s just one kind of ketchup. Oh right. That’s the internet for you.

Another question. Regarding tonight’s Obama-related controversy, why did Barack Obama refer to the “57 states”. Answer: he was making a joke. I think. But the point about John McCain rings true: he would be accused of having a senior moment. Not so for the changeyhopey one. [Update: He says he misspoke. Whatever.Don’t call it a Dan Qualye moment though.]

I don’t quite know where to jump in on the Obama train here- my previous foray into serious territory garnered zero discussion– but my qualms about Obama becoming president- no make that cold sweats and heart palpitations- come from his truly frightening grasp of foreign policiy. As in the case of Pastor Wright, Obama is giving indications he is uncertain of where he stands, or more disturbingly, is uncertain he should really tell voters what he thinks.

Consider his blatant reversal on his willingness “to meet separately, without preconditon” with some of our most heinous enemies. I mean, he said in a debate inf front of millons of people that he would. It’s even on his website.Yet the NYT can uncritically report his advisor claiming “Senator Obamas opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views.

Regarding the NYT article: what a barrage of boot-licking propaganda. It goes to great length to communicate the supposed inaccuracies of the McCain campaign regarding Obama, and it does nothing to question the veracity of the Obama advisor’s spin. The advisor:

“for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”

Well duh!

The NYT reporter agrees:

An examination of Mr. Obama’s numerous public statements on the subjects indicates that he has consistently condemned Hamas as a “terrorist organization,” has not sought the group’s support and does not advocate immediate, direct or unconditional negotiations with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president. (emphasis mine)

So, like what Obama said at this CNN debate:

Question: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

OBAMA: I would.

And from Obama’s freakin’ website:

Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.

I guess that’s tough presidential diplomacy without preconditions and a lot of due preparation and advance work like packing a suitcase and making an itinerary.

This is the thing: Iran knows what it needs to do. Talking tough in person really won’t accomplish anything new. It’s a photo op, after which the status quo resumes.

This article is one of the most skewed I have seen in a while. It tries to make McCain out as the villian while uncritically accepting the Obama campaigns attempt to pull back it’s changeyness on Iran so it’s not so changey. See Hamas is a terrorist organization, not a state, and Obama won’t talk to Hamas. He’ll just talk to it’s major state sponsor. See? It all makes sense, no contradiction. Oh yeah, he won’t meet with the president of that state sponsor of terror do deliver his tough words until after the proper preparationa and ground work. Which means what exactly? Not much if you ask me.

Another toubling – inded jaw-dropping comment from Obama:

I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.

I recently looked up JFK’s Inaugural address, and indeed he did say:

So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

But he also said this:

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

And that’s just regarding the JFK reference. Jack Kelley, in a very compelling and well-supported column, demolishes Obama’s outrageously innaccurate narrative regarding his Democratic forbears:

I assume the Roosevelt to whom Sen. Obama referred is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our enemies in World War II were Nazi Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler; fascist Italy, headed by Benito Mussolini, and militarist Japan, headed by Hideki Tojo. FDR talked directly with none of them before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender.

FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb.


Obama is young and inexperienced. For some that is a plus, I think because the idea is that the old and experienced have messed up the world, so why not try something different? “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”. The thing is, sending someone young and inexperienced into the most powerful job in the world is not without it’s historical precedents and dangers:

Elie Abel, who wrote a history of the Cuban missile crisis (The Missiles of October), said the crisis had its genesis in that summit.

“There is reason to believe that Khrushchev took Kennedy’s measure in June 1961 and decided this was a young man who would shrink from hard decisions,” Mr. Abel wrote. “There is no evidence to support the belief that Khrushchev ever questioned America’s power. He questioned only the president’s readiness to use it. As he once told Robert Frost, he came to believe that Americans are ‘too liberal to fight.'”

That view was supported by New York Times columnist James Reston, who traveled to Vienna with President Kennedy: “Khrushchev had studied the events of the Bay of Pigs,” Mr. Reston wrote. “He would have understood if Kennedy had left Castro alone or destroyed him, but when Kennedy was rash enough to strike at Cuba but not bold enough to finish the job, Khrushchev decided he was dealing with an inexperienced young leader who could be intimidated and blackmailed.”

It’s worth noting that Kennedy then was vastly more experienced than Sen. Obama is now. A combat veteran of World War II, Jack Kennedy served 14 years in Congress before becoming president. Sen. Obama has no military and little work experience, and has been in Congress for less than four years.

I can’t imagine someone less qualified to be President. Tell me why I’m wrong.

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