Friday, October 10, 2008

In the debate, Obama echoed Carter's "be kind and understanding to our enemies, be tough on our friends" approach to foreign affairs

How in the world can conservative commentators write with a straight face that this woman should be vice president of the United States?
asks Thomas L. Friedman in the New York Times.
Do these people understand what serious trouble our country is in right now?
It's the same question we conservatives would like to put to liberal commentators like Friedman himself, albeit not about their vice presidential candidate, but about their (much more important) presidential candidate.

Whatever the alleged lack of experience that the Republicans' choice for vice-president may have, it can hardly be greater than that of the Democrats' choice for chief executive — a man with only two years in the national legislature.

During the latest debate, Barack Obama skewered John McCain and/or the Bush administration for not acting friendlier toward Iran or North Korea, all the while, in so many words, issuing threats to Iraq and Pakistan. In the third and last debate, Obama went on to lambaste Columbia (totally misrepresenting — i.e., caricaturing — the situation in the process).

We have seen the this fairy tale-type of foreign policy before (speak to all and all will be well or, at least, all problems will lessen and start getting resolved). If Iran is in the threatening, inimical position it is now, it is largely thanks to Jimmy Carter's similar "be kind and understanding to our enemies, be tough on our friends" approach to foreign affairs.

If the Camp David accords were a success, the 39th president's State Department managed to alienate one faithful (if distasteful) ally after another. And two of them — Nicaragua's Somoza and Iran's Shah — were overthrown during his tenure, both of whom were replaced by régimes arguably far more more repressive and more hostile to Washington if not the Western world itself. While Carter — a man at the time almost as young as Obama — preached Americans to get rid of their alleged outdated anti-communism and to focus on America's own alleged sins and those of its allies, Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Grenada, Mozambique, Ethiopia, South Yemen, and Nicaragua fell into the Kremlin's sphere while Moscow proceeded to invade Afghanistan — leading the idealistic (and naïve) Carter to state how shocked he was to have been lied to.

We are seeing similar echoes in today's Democratic candidate and it is without the least hesitation that I say that I will take Palin over Obama any day.

Update: A shortened version of the above text was printed in the International Herald Tribune.

It also appeared on the website of The Cleveland Plain Dealer

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