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First of all, this debate is a good one for the American people to have and it’s one that John McCain will win.
There is no legitimate reason or benefit to be garnered from talking with Iran, other than to legitimize their tactics and rhetoric, which are exactly the same tactics and rhetoric we have been fighting since 9/11.
What Barack Obama is doing is using the mistakes made on the ground in Iraq and the unpopularity of our failings there to criticize the entire Bush policy and take us back to the foreign policy days of Jimmy Carter.
When Bush made his statement to the Knesset, which led to the current Democratic uproar, I believe that he was specifically referring to Carter, not Obama.
Carter has met with terrorist groups. He loves doing it and there is no evidence that it has had any positive effect, other than to give credibility to the terrorist groups themselves.
It is interesting that Obama immediately took the President’s statements to be a reference to him.
It was Carter who met with Hamas.
It was Carter who met with North Korea and set up the crummy deal which lead to that rogue nation acquiring nuclear technology.
Obama has countered the criticism from the GOP by pointing to the Bush Administration’s willingness to talk to North Korea. This is a bogus comparison.
It was John Kerry not Bush who ran on a platform of two party talks with North Korea. President Bush rightly opposed those talks and instead promoted six-party talks which have been effective in slowing down North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
Obama and his surrogates also compare the candidate’s willingness to meet with Iran to President Reagan’s willingness to meet with Michael Gorbachev. This comparison completely ignores the complexities and differences of the two situations and simply lumps all of our enemies throughout history together as equal in both the threat they pose and the political power which they wield.
The Soviet Union was a superpower with deadly weapons that had been aimed at us for 30 years. We had no choice but to go to the bargaining table with them because they were already big enough and powerful enough to demand respect on the world stage.
Ironically, it was years of Obama-like coddling and appeasement which allowed them to accumulate much of this power, particularly in the late 1970’s under President Carter.
By contrast, Iran does not posses the same gravitas on the world stage as did the USSR. They are engaged in a proxy war with us in Iraq and are killing our troops. We should focus on defeating them because we are capable of victory. We should not seek an easy way out by making a deal with them.
They do not have nuclear weapons but are intent on acquiring them. The entire world has said that this is unacceptable and that they should not be given the gift of credibility that a meeting with an American president bestows until they follow the rules set out by the governing authorities on this matter.
That’s the way you deal with nations like Iran. You rob them of the incentives to kill our soldiers by defeating them militarily; you isolate them by refusing to allow them a place at the table until they follow the rules.
You do not “trust but verify” you make them earn your trust through a process of verification.
The whole point of this struggle is to ensure that the Iranian theocracy does not grow into a world power in the way that the Soviet Union did. If that happens, we will have no choice but to negotiate with them, and no good can come out of that in terms of our overarching goal which is to defeat religious extremism in the region and ensure the survival of Israel.
Get it Barack?
The other thing that strikes me as odd, besides Obama’s apparent willingness to take us back to the days of Carter-style foreign policy, is that he and his aides are all over the news claiming that when they say they will hold negotiations with Iran, they are not necessarily implying that they will meet with Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
This can only mean one of two things. That they plan on meeting with the Ayatollahs who control Iran from behind the scenes or with a low-level Ahmadinejad underling.
Could you imagine a sitting U.S. president who is engaged in a war with religious extremists having a friendly sit down with the world’s leading proponent of Islamic theocracy? Why don’t we just skip the middleman a have a friendly chat with Bin Laden, while we're at it?
The other option doesn’t make sense either as it would signal to the world that the Iranian higher–ups are too busy to meet with President Obama, so we have to talk things over with Iran’s Secretary of Transportation, equipped with a fruit basket and a greeting card from Sistani instead.
The trick for McCain is going to be to defend the Bush foreign policy, which should continue, while not sounding like he’s defending Bush.
Obama is defending the Carter foreign policy, but unfortunately most of his supporters weren’t even alive when Carter was president, so linking the two of them is probably not a tactic that will be very effective come November.
Despite this, I encourage Mr. Obama to keep playing on John McCain’s turf.
Friday, May 16, 2008
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Posted by Falling Panda at 3:03 PM