Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Yucky! Politics.

<--See also: Oh! That's what he meant.

People are gonna think I have something against Sen. Edwards now.

I know, I know, it's a cheap shot but I had to put this video up.



h/t to the Roe Conn Show at WLS, Chicago.



On a sort of side note, after reading reports and viewing portions of the recent Democratic debate, I still have to say that if I had to choose between the front runners, I still have to go with Hillary Clinton. (Pardon me while I choke down my vomit.) Apologies to the Obama supporters, but the senator really did need to have a new hole torn after making that remark about sitting down with the likes of Castro, Kim, Ahmadenijad, and Chavez. I didn't have to wait for Hillary's response or commentary from the newscasters before my stomach dropped out from underneath me. I would hope that most college students that has taken one political science class would understand the terrible mistake he just made.

Diplomacy is fine and dandy but you don't have meetings with these kinds of leaders off the cuff. Hillary had some of it right. Doing so would hurt her and help them. Having such a talk gives an air of legitimacy that those leaders can take back home with them and say, "See? I'm so powerful that even the President of the United States had to sit down with me." In the context that Sen. Obama was using, he seemed to be willing to meet with these people in order to show that America is willing to talk and that if we can open a dialogue, we can progress our relations. Sorry, Senator, but that's just an idealistic fantasy. I can tell you right now that such a meeting would follow like this: They make a demand for us to make a concession. We promise to consider such a concession if they do such and such. They refuse to do such and such or if they do, they don't actually go through with it. At which point, we refuse to make our concession, or if it had already begun, we stop. Sound familiar? [cough]North Korea, Balkans, Libya, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Iraq[/cough] The proper way to have a "diplomatic" dialogue is to start with low levels. The absolute only time, ever, that our head of state meets with them is if we bring to the table a carrot that they can not resist or a stick they can't avoid. Small talk that leads to nowhere is not the job of the President, ensuring that America's interests are served is.

7 comments:

Kapitano said...

I think you're absolutely right that it would make no sense for any American president to meet with any of the foreign leaders you mention - as things stand at the moment.

It would be absurd for Bush to denounce Ahmadenijad one day, fly to Iran for talks the next, then denounce him again when he got home. It would make the mad Iranian look strong and the stupid American look vacillating.

But sometimes a presidential visit can serve as a very public signal that existing negotiations by diplomats have reached a stage that they can now shift into a higher gear.

What is said on the visit is indeed small talk, but the fact that the visit has occured at all is a signal understood by all.

Nixon going to China was like that, I believe.

Sometimes it misfires. When Regan was negotiating in person with Gorbachev about arms reductions, Gorbachev made himself looks extremely good by putting forward some concrete proposals, and Regan made himself look more of a fool than usual by first accepting then rejecting them.

Season said...

I have been waiting for you to post about the debate....Go Hilary!!

japanesewhispers said...

Sitting down and talking what a novel idea for an American. Why try that when shooting, bombing and killing has gained your the respect and admiration of the entire world. Personally, I think if El Presidente Bush did more talking and less killing the US would have a more favourable world opinion. As it goes right now The US is probably looked upon as the most scariest country abroad and The UK (The US's closest ally) is now re-thinking it's stance on intelligence sharing in attempt to curb US human rights abuses. I think it's sad that the closest allies of the country that once stood for freedom around the world are now questioning whether such a close alliance is in it's national interests.
The only reason Hilary meant that it would hurt her is that she would no longer be appealing to the uneducated masses who believe the US propaganda that has demonised these people. Fair enough some of them are demons. However, she's not looking after the interests of the US, she's looking after the iterests of a future Madam President. Consequently, should she become President does Bill then become the First Man or the First Gentleman? Not that I'd call him a gentleman.

David said...

@Kapitano:

Managing to get a meeting with the President of the United States sends out a huge signal. But what is that signal is always the question and we have to be mindful of that. It has always been my belief that everything that the US does is for its own strategic interest. (We just like to sweeten it up with words like “freedom,” “democracy,” and “liberty.”) I just can not see how a meeting with these tin pot dictators would accomplish anything other than they can bother us enough for us that we’d actually sit down with them. What does Obama think that he can accomplish? These guys want to stay in power but America can’t give them a guarantee (which Kim is openly asking for) because why? It closes down economic opportunities. We’re constantly looking for new markets and if these guys die or are booted out, then we can come back in and start earning $. That and there’s always the threat to our existing markets such as South Korea, and all of South America.

As for Nixon and Gorby. I don’t know if it was fully realized at the time but Nixon’s visit to China was in the cards since before he came into office. It’s kind of an interesting case in American foreign policy because although the Congress did not want to like Beijing, Nixon knew that like it or not, they were going to have to deal with the PRC. It was just the reality of the situation. However, there was interesting way to exploit that situation that worked to America’s advantage even while it had been trying out détente since the Ford administration. That advantage was the Soviet-Sino split. Russia and China hated each other. America played on that. Getting close to China (despite even more frosty relations with Beijing than with Moscow) actually drove those two countries to us. How? Bascially it was this: Washington feared a Beijing-Moscow alliance but it knew that the two countries hated each other. Moscow viewed Beijing as a rising threat and competitor. Beijing refused to be dictated to by Moscow like all the other communist states. So Washington worked to prevent a Beijing-Moscow alliance. Moscow tried to prevent a Beijing-Washington alliance. And Beijing tried to prevent a Moscow-Washington alliance. End result: Nixon’s trip to China to open up the Chinese Markets and the beginnings of the Soviet Union’s willingness to cool down the nuclear posture with the SALTs.

I’m not sure which arms reductions talks you are referring to with Regan. However, I do know that Regan’s ace card for his meetings was his Star Wars program. As I had said in the post, when you come to the table, you either bring that scrumptious carrot or that big stick. Regan brought the stick saying that if you don’t get serious, we’re going to start deployment of a satellite system that can knock down them down. Arguably, what doomed SDI wasn’t that it was bad technology as many have said but the fact that Congress wasn’t going to support it. Too much money. The Soviets could have exploited that knowledge if they weren’t so eager to accept western aid at the time.


@Japanesewhispers: I think I am just going to have to say that I disagree with you over the correct course for American foreign policy. Please understand that I am not saying that diplomatic dialogue shouldn’t be given a chance. What I am saying is that dialogue coming directly from the President to Dictator X is not appropriate. Actually, I’d have to struggle to find an instance when it would be.

I tend to doubt that the intelligence network between the US and the UK (and incidentally, Australia and Canada) is going to be limited in such a way that it would hurt either party. But I would have to see more writings on that subject because honestly, I have not heard anything about it.

As for Hillary. Hillary is plainly seen as playing up the “experience” card. Her next opponent is Sen. Obama and she is exploiting he naiveté when it comes to foreign policy which is how this subject got started. And as for that “experience” it rings true. Even Sen. Biden who deals with foreign policy in Congress took a similar stance as Hillary. Is she looking out for her best interests? Of course, she’s trying to get elected and she’s using that card.

And to answer your question, Bill Clinton would be the First Gentleman but he would be called President Bill Clinton—with “Bill” always present to distinguish him from President Hillary Clinton.

Lord help us if she wins, and then comes in Jeb, and then followed by Chelsea, who in turn is followed by one or both of the Bush twins. That gets us to what? 2048?

japanesewhispers said...

That would then get you the Monarchy that the founding fathers originally wanted

David said...

^We tried out royalty with the Kennedys. In the end, all they can hold on to is a senate seat. Hmmm... although, if we get a constitutional amendment through that would allow for a foreign born citizen to become president, then the Kennedy clan might get another member into the White House-- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. (He's maried to Maria Shriver who is the niece of President Kennedy by way of his sister...I think.) It sure would make for some interesting family meetings especially with Senator Ted Kennedy.

herb said...

I have to say I kind of agree with you. I think that, as much as he's being beat up by the Dem field, Obama is kind of naive, and this is showing a true kink in his armor.