Friday, May 16, 2008

Let's play "what's wrong with this picture."

“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,'’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.'’

Hint: I don't mean the Godwin's law violation.



Stephanie said...

Oh, like the Iran-Contra affair?

PG said...

Do you mean the fact that after losing the 1980 election, Carter successfully negotiated the release of the hostages through the "Algiers Accords" of January 19, 1981, which entailed Iran's commitment to free the hostages immediately in exchange for the U.S. pledge not to interfere in Iran's internal affairs?

Or the fact that the "appeaser" Carter froze Iranian assets, expelled many Iranian nationals from the U.S., instituted sanctions including a bar on Iranian oil imports, and made a failed rescue attempt of the hostages?

[Insert joke about old people's memories.] You can't expect McCain to remember tiny details like that instead of focusing on the fact that the release itself occurred minutes after Reagan's inauguration. Obviously the Iranians were wetting their pants over facing Reagan, rather than being ready to negotiate for release in fall 1980 after the Shah's death eased some anti-American bitterness, and the invasion of Iran by Iraq necessitated getting funds unfrozen and sanctions removed.

And McCain is right that Reagan took a tough attitude to Iran once he was in office, e.g. by supporting Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran. Iran certainly couldn't mistake Reagan for a friend, nosiree. What's important in post-Kissinger conservative foreign policy is showing people how big America's dick is; actually achieving a goal such as the release of hostages is secondary.

Chalicechick said...

That too.


Bill Baar said...

Try Carter and the agony in Zimbabwe.

If Obama were smart, he would have agreed with Bush that Borah and appeasement were bad, and here is what I Obama am going to do different.

Obama let the press couple him to appeasement instead and that's a public relations mistake 101.

Better Obama had kept Smantha Powers with a warning to quite telling The Scotsman Obama doesn't really mean what he says on unilateral withdrawel from Iraq and sit her down to craft a sensible Liberal Foreign Policy for the future. (And Powers would know the stupidity Carter brought us to with Africa.)

That Obama couldn't seize the chance does not bode well for his compaign. Defending Sen Borah is not a good start.

PG said...


What on earth does Zimbabwe have to do with the Middle East?

Moreover, your Weekly Standard piece seems a bit internally inconsistent. In one paragraph, Sithole is described as having voluntarily "forsworn violence"; in the next, "Sithole had actually led the guerrilla fight against the white regime until the power-hungry Mugabe deposed him." The article says, "Eighty-five percent of the country's whites supported the agreement in a January 1979 referendum: The illusion of perpetual white rule was dead." Yet it doesn't mention that whites alone ratified the constitution creating a new national assembly.

It's also chronologically inaccurate; Andrew Young became mayor of Atlanta *after* his UN ambassadorship. As best I can tell, the article's author got Young's biography muddled because he wanted to imply that Young had only been a mayor and had no foreign policy knowledge. In reality, the ambassadorship had been preceded by several years in Congress, where Young introduced legislation
prohibiting aid to Portuguese military factions in its former colonies of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau.

I'm really confused as to why you're tying Young, a Clinton friend and supporter, to Obama. I know this Weekly Standard piece is getting copied 'round the web as "Obama promises to be a second Carter - so let's look at some of what Carter accomplished," but these postings are sadly lacking in any reference to Obama's actually having promised to be a second Carter. Frankly, I don't see what Young and Obama have in common besides their race.

Finally, Bush didn't name Sen. Borah in his own speech -- didn't, for example, state, "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, Republican Senator William Borah of Idaho declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.'"

Please link to where Obama has "defended" Sen. Borah, who was a Republican, isolationist, anti-League of Nations, anti-FDR, sympathizer to Hitler. I even checked your blog and couldn't find anything about it. Hearing these vague, unattributed smears against Obama is getting really old. He has plenty of weak spots -- why not be honest about them instead of manufacturing nonexistent ones?

Bill Baar said...

Adolph Reed with a must read in The Progessive on the Obama we know in Chicago.

Zimababwe has nothing to do with the middle east. I was reacting to the comments on Carter.

As for Borah, I doubt Obama even knows who Borah was. Obama thought Bush was attacking him as an appeaser. If Obama had paused a bit, had better advice, he would have attacked Borah himself... agreed with Bush, and then layed out his Foreign policy.

Check Jack Kelly's latest on some of the loopy stuff Obama has been saying of late.

Read the Reed link above and Migranes and Musings blog. Both Hyde Park Progressives who have known Obama for a long time and not at all fooled by him.

Obama's been a gift to Illinois bloggers but he'll be a catastrophe for Democrats.

Migranes and Musings was the first to write of Bill Ayers role in launching Obama's career by the way. From the Boston Globe,

It began as a blog entry in 2005 from a woman to the left of Barack Obama. It turned into a conservative cause célèbre. Then it entered the mainstream consciousness in a prime-time debate on ABC.

And that's when political emotions erupted on the campaign trail.

Sorry for the staccato comments...been a long day.

PG said...


If Obama had paused a bit, had better advice, he would have attacked Borah himself... agreed with Bush, and then layed out his Foreign policy.

I can see why a McCain supporter might think that agreeing with Bush is a winning strategy, but I must say that the last eight years don't bear that out. Some people don't waste their time on stating the obvious, which is why CC noted the Godwin's Law aspect of all this... "Nazis are bad? Hitler was evil? Wow, what a huge insight!" Maybe this is big news for McCain & Bush, but Obama and his foreign policy team have moved on to the 21st century and its specific problems.

Is Iran invading other countries? (Nope, instead the U.S. supported Iraq's invasion of Iran.) Has Iran pursued genocide? (Nope, Jews in Iran today are no worse off than blacks in America in 1955 -- and I've never heard a Republican advocate that another country should have sanctioned or invaded the U.S. to correct its race problem.)

Can anyone tell me what connects 1939 Germany to 2008 Iran except the Republican Party's desperate desire to scare Jews from voting for Obama by promising a second Holocaust if they do?

Bush brought up Hitler, on the occasion of visiting Israel, in order to push the idea that a President Obama would allow Israel to be obliterated and therefore Israel's supporters must not vote for him. There was no other reason to talk about an American senator -- name, state and party left unmentioned -- who believed he could have prevented Hitler's invasion of Poland through negotiation. Thomas Friedman had a nice column yesterday on how such smears operate.

Henceforward, I'm not going to bother responding to comments like, "Defending Sen Borah is not a good start," when you don't even try to back them up when someone calls you on them. Instead of my usual practice of assuming that a person doesn't make a claim unless he can back it up, I'll just assume that unless you've actually provided a link, you're making stuff up out of thin air.