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Tag: Foreign Policy

False Hope in a False Idol

Posted by – 11/2/08

From Canada’s National Post:

Anti-Americanism didn’t begin with George Bush and it won’t end with an Obama presidency. With rare exceptions, America has always inspired hatred and contempt, and for reasons that aren’t about to go away. Those who expect America’s haters to convert on November 4 need to get out more.

Many, many scholars have examined the phenomenon of anti-Americanism, some likening it to a kind of secular religion that explains all the world’s evils, from poverty and injustice to wars and environmental destruction. My explanation is less complicated: America is an unparalleled success, and with success comes envy and resentment, especially of those who don’t have it. 

America is loathed because its brand of free-market capitalism remains ascendant, having outperformed European-style socialism and utterly defeated Communism, ideologies that attract many if not most of the world’s intellectuals. More than two centuries since its founding, the U.S. shows no sign of losing either its economic or military supremacy.

Solomon notes the various world intellectuals who have been for centuries celebrating the perceived failings or coming demise of the US.

And I thought this part was interesting:

Their backpacks could be counted on to display the Canadian flag, the better to avoid unpleasantries (German youths, reviled for their country’s Nazi past, sported backpacks with Swiss flags).

Last year when I was in Europe, I remember an Aussie telling me that I should work up a good Australian accent since, as opposed to their sometimes behavior to Americans, the Europeans didn’t mind Aussies or Kiwis all that much.

It’s a worthwhile read, I’d recommend it to anyone affected by Pollyanna Obamaism.

The Problem with McCain, Republicans

Posted by – 10/17/08

I’ve hesitated in writing this. Not because I feel I shouldn’t speak a word against McCain, but because I knew this thing was going to be a whopper. I haven’t much free time these days, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest a few hours in this topic right now. Typically, my more lengthy pieces have been small comments I knew I wanted to make that grew as I wrote them. Having mulled over and discussed the following for some time now, I knew this was not going to be a perfunctory post. However, I’ve promised this to several of you, and it’s high time. You can think of this as the I am not a Republican counterpart to my previous I am not a Democrat. More…

Still in the tank: reactions to the two debates

Posted by – 10/5/08

Is anyone else enjoying the dramatic irony of the mainstream media’s reactions to the VP debate when compared with the first presidential debate? We’re supposed to believe that Biden vs. Palin came down to substance vs. style. If you’re not sure which one is the positive, I don’t blame you. When the libs watched the VP debate, it was incredibly clear: the man with substance was the winner. When they watched the presidential debate, it was also incredibly clear: the man with nuanced style was the winner.

Nevermind the baseless authority with which Biden spoke and rattled off facts — ones that are easy to come by, of course, given their incipience in Joe’s head — the Dems absolutely loved him. And since the mainstream media is packed to the brim with Dems, what do you expect the columns might be filled with this week?

So they’re in love with factless substance now? Great.

Obama, on the other hand, seems to know very little about a lot of things. And though Palin’s been blasted over the last few days for her folksiness and inability to adhere to the Dems pre-determined agenda, somehow every one of Obama’s absolutely show-stopping public train wrecks have been swept under the rug. Nothing to see here, move it along. Shoo.

Obama’s teleprompter-powered speeches might make some weak in the knees, but his reticence does nothing to impress me. I suppose I can’t blame him. Every time he reacts instinctively, he tends to be wrong. Iran? Wrong. Georgia? Wrong. Freddie and Fannie? Wrong.

Yeah, gotta love that nuance. And all that substance from the Senatorial veteran. Facts don’t matter in the Obamanation. It just has to sound right.

Without Pre-conditions? "I would."

Posted by – 10/3/08

I liked Joe Biden’s answers in the Democrat’s debate much more. Hillary had it right, too. She wouldn’t meet without pre-conditions, just as no one with any kind of foreign policy experience would do.

Because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are. I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse.

Wrong again!

Posted by – 10/3/08

Yup, that’s me. I got it wrong again. Turns out the Veeps looked more presidential to me than either of the heads of their respective ticket. Yeesh.

Of course there was Biden, the foreign policy hand of his ticket, getting his math on Afghanistan wrong. Not that I had the numbers with me, but when Biden let this one out, I immediately said, “You know, that doesn’t sound right, and if he’s wrong, he’s gonna get nailed on that.” Welp, he was wrong.

3 weeks of Iraq – $6.3 billion
7 years of Afghanistan - $150.5 billion

(UPDATE: More on Joe’s ignorance of Lebanon. And Joe being wrong on Gaza and the West Bank.)

He also doesn’t seem to have nearly as firm a grasp on the Constitution as he appeared to have during the debate. To answer Gov. Palin’s famous question, “What does a VP do?” Ace responds, “Under the Constitution, the VP only has two things to do: break ties in the Senate and wait for the President to die.” More information on Ace’s blog, but essentially almost nothing Biden laid out concerning the VP in the Constitution was correct.

I think the best thing that could’ve happened with the moderator, Gwen Ifill, was the news coming out so close to the debate that she has a book about the historic nature of Obama coming out on inauguration day. I think it forced her to be fairly even handed. She was just as tough on Biden as she was on Palin, and certainly didn’t produce the kind of underwhelming questions that her colleague did the week previous. One thing of note: she didn’t ask any questions on energy, which was odd. Not to worry, Gov. Palin took it upon herself to answer one (or several) anyway.

I think Palin did much better than most people expected, given the public perception of her based on several poor interviews. I have a tiny little conspiracy theory about that. Can I share? I know it sounds ridiculous, but McCain is known for enjoying the fun of tactics, maneuvers, and outflanking professional observers. Do you think there’s a chance that the campaign intentionally set her up to appear less than impressive before the debate? I dunno. Just a thought. (UPDATE: Justin Hart at Culture 11 seems to share my conspiratorial thought: “She basically had to show up and not get sick on camera.”)

Biden did fairly well, in my opinion. None of his toes tickled the back of his throat once all night. For Anchor Joe to come off a debate with nary more than a couple stutters is a miracle. Maybe a miracle of modern medicine, even. Brokaw’s pre-debate analysis: Joe needs to be succinct. “And for Joe Biden to be succinct, he may have had to undergo a gene transplant today.”

Who won? Oh, that depends so much on the rubric you use to determine a debate winner. The Governor is still a Rorschach test. Few that hated her before have changed their minds. It’s all in the undecideds; strategically, that’s really the only demographic either campaign should care about now. Just like with the first post-debate polls, the results are all over the place. Here’s one from Frank Luntz’s focus group:

I think the real winner will be whoever gets a sizable boost in the polls after this. I was impressed enough with Palin’s performance, but ultimately, all that matters is the results of the election come November 4th. Every little thing up to that is merely a chess move.

A more important question is…

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

In Response to Larissa

Posted by – 9/29/08

This comment response grew to the point of absurdity in length and earned itself the status of a post. It is in response to my friend Larissa’s comments here about Braceletgate. Wait, I promised not to do that.

Well! To which comment shall I respond? First, glad to have you here. I always enjoy a lively debate.

I haven’t gotten an opportunity to really opine on the happenings of Friday night’s debate yet as I’ve been working and getting sick all weekend. The one probably led to the other.

In short, my thoughts are this: reactions to the debate are absolutely all over the place. Pundits have a mishmash, smorgasbord of opinion. A poll can be found to agree with almost anyone’s perception of the debate. Diehard Republicans and Democrats, a group to which I believe you reside, seem to be sure their respective candidate wonderfully trounced the other and came off looking great. In the last two days, I’ve seen and read The Faithful of both camps feverishly repeating the rhetoric from spin alley, and the broad spectrum of polls taken after the debate, both scientifically and otherwise, seem to reflect the defined positions of those being polled more than anything else. What’s funny is that much of the criticism of the candidates could be, and actually is, applied to either. You mentioned that you thought McCain was rude and disrespectful. I’ve heard the same argument leveled at Obama for his continuous interruptions and references to McCain as “John.” (I had actually not read the arguments about McCain being disrespectful anywhere until I looked up network news coverage of the debates to get their poll numbers. Seems that was a common thread amongst former Democratic operatives like Stephanopoulos.) What a person saw in the debate depends largely on the political lenses through which they watched. More…

Obama shouldn't have mentioned his bracelet

Posted by – 9/28/08

The mother of the fallen soldier asked him not to.

…she has turned down any subsequent interviews with the media because she just didn’t, she just didn’t want it to get turned into something that it wasn’t. She had told me that in an email that she had asked, actually asked Mr. Obama to not wear the bracelet anymore at any of his public appearances.”

And apparently Obama even minced her request to end the war:

“I didn’t get to say what I wanted to say. I just cried,” Tracy Jopek told the newspaper. “It wasn’t for anything but for him to know this is real, something he needed to know. . . I do believe (the war) needs to end, but I believe it needs to be done very carefully and very thoughtfully.”

To me, there is a clear difference between wanting the Senator to know the reality of war and putting in a personal request to end the war because it hurts too much. Either way, of course, I’d rather have a Commander in Chief that understands just how horrible and necessary war can be. The desire to pull out of Iraq because soldiers have died and are dying is simply ridiculous. Do we seriously give up when the scenario is anything other than no lives lost? How did we get to this idea that it isn’t our soldiers’ duty to protect and defend our country at any cost?

Let’s be straight on this: we ALL want the war to end. But I for one am not willing to tuck tail and run. And anything less than victory is defeat. That’s not hawkishness. That’s reality. It’s a concept with which Obama desperately needs to become familiar.

Remember this news… it'll be important

Posted by – 9/22/08

Seriously, read this story and mark it down on your calendar.

IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran’s stonewalling of his agency was a “serious concern.”

I have the sneaking suspicion that in the coming years, half the country will over-react to this report and the other half will pretend the report never existed.

So, that's TWO now

Posted by – 9/19/08

For the record, there are now two major issues on which McCain is proven to have been right, while Obama was wrong. Or at best, “present.”

Number One, The Surge. At this point, I think we can all agree that McCain’s push for a troop surge in Iraq was the best idea at the time. The best admission of being on the wrong side of history we can get out of Obama was during O’Reilly’s interview:

“I think that the surge has succeeded in ways that nobody anticipated,” Obama said while refusing to retract his initial opposition to the surge. “I’ve already said it’s succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”

It’s safe to say that Obama’s wildest dreams were that it would end poorly, increasing his chances at election. The Dems derided the surge then just like they’re cheerleading the economic instability right now. Lame.

Number Two, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I’d say this WaPo editorial pretty much sums it up.

In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – while Mr. Obama was notably silent. “If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole,” Mr. McCain warned at the time.

Obama certainly has shown a lack of judgement in choosing his advisors, especially if he’s going to play the “I’m not part of the Washington establishment” game.

Whoops. I’m really starting to wonder about the intelligence possessed by the Obama camp. Is Obama really so naive/shortsighted/mean-spirited? Or can so much of the campaign missteps be blamed on the unending string of staffers he inevitably throws under the bus? The latter, of course, would call into question Obama’s judgement regarding advisors and staffers with whom he surrounds himself. Either way, not looking good. And regardless, his dubious connections are merely tangential to the real problem with Obama: bad, small, ineffective ideas for the country. If you’re confused or disagree, go back to the top and start over.

The Ground Noise and the Static

Posted by – 9/4/08

I mean, do these people think they’re actually making a point here? What’s the point? That they’re moonbats?

Wooooo! WOOOOOOOOOO! Watch them carry me out for making an idiot of myself! WOOOOO! Watch them deprive me of my rights!

UPDATE: Here’s a pic of the first protester that people are talking about. I didn’t consider it a distruption, myself.

UPDATE II: Video of the Code Pink protestors being taken out, courtesy of James Lileks.