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Posts Tagged ‘foreign policy’

Sarah Palin met with world leaders for two days, presumably to educate herself on foreign policy. So what’s the only news we have about the affair? Click here for the answer.

Well, sex sells, I guess. Now only if Dubya was hot, the world might have been such a peaceful place…

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John McCain gave a speech today where he said:

We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the “surge” was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops − which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq. Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn’t test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn’t matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. […]

Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn’t just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. He would choose to lose in Iraq in hopes of winning in Afghanistan. But had his position been adopted, we would have lost both wars.

Reacting to this, Matt Welch (editor of Reason Magazine) says:

What interests me here is McCain’s classic trait of personalizing all policy debates. If you disagree with him, it must be because you are dishonorable, and placing politics ahead of country. He, on the other hand, continues to be motivated by a love of country more pure than Karen Carpenter’s singing voice, at a severe political cost that only a torture-surviving stoic would be willing to bear.

I think that is an accurate depiction of McCain, and one of the reason I sincerely hope he never becomes president. As Welch adds:

I don’t know about Obama (literally), but I can tell you this: The next time we face what McCain hyperbolically described as “a crisis as profound as any in our history,” President McCain will argue − stoically, and with patriotic sadness more than nationalistic anger − that the only thing he hates more than war is anyone daring to suggest that escalating troop levels yet again isn’t the answer to the transcendental crisis du jour. Will such sentiments work politically in 2008? I don’t know. But it’s likely his only hope.

Read the whole thing.

And incidentally, I am a HUGE fan of Karen Carpenter’s voice and the songs she sang.

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It was inevitable, after all. No one really expected the peaceful demonstrations of unarmed monks- no matter how many- to overthrow a miltary dictatorship. Yet, in this age of false propaganda, it is rare to have a genuine public movement for democracy, and Myanmar was perhaps the most genuine of them all. When such a thing is crushed, as it was, swiftly and brutally, a deep sense of regret is perhaps not out of order.

What was shamefully out of order, however, was India’s response to the situation. For days, India dithered and hesitated. She issued statements that meant absolutely nothing, and when the junta emerged victorious, she -no doubt relieved at not having to deal with change –resumed business as usual.

I do not dispute that India – like any other country – should put its interests first. But is it really in India’s long term interests to have Myanmar ruled by a hated military dictatorship? Will our causes not be better served by a free, stable, democratic Myanmar, where the rightful position of Prime Minister will be finally occupied, eighteen years after legitimate elections were nullified by the military, by a lady who was once a college girl in Delhi, who India awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru award in 1993, and who is – despite being under house arrest for two decades- one of the greatest beacons for freedom the world has ever known?

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Chalmers Johnson says in an interview to Pasadena Weekly:

But in the macro, I would say above all the fact that we were so flummoxed by 9/11. We were so surprised by a non-state actor bringing such enormous damage to us that we reverted to old ways of thinking. We had to go back and find a state that was responsible. We were not any good at chasing down al-Qaeda … so we began to redefine the issue in a way that the office of the Secretary of Defense could deal with it, namely to say that a secular Arab dictator was a root cause of al-Qaeda. This was absurd on its surface. We had to invent an enemy we could easily crush and destroy, which is what we went after, and we were awfully naive about the consequences of doing something like that.

I think that is an excellent summary of the mess in Iraq.

Also at the beginning of the interview:

PW: How do you go from being a Cold Warrior working for the CIA to writing a trilogy on American imperialism, as you’ve called it?

Chalmers Johnson: As John Maynard Keynes, the great English economist, once put it: “When I get new information, I change my position.”

How I wish the Indian Left politicians had a similar outlook!

Read the whole thing, it is worth it.

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