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Oh, Great — Why Now?
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Oh, Great

Via Vastleft at Corrente piece, Now I feel better about everything!, the Associated Press reports that Obama aligns foreign policy with GOP

GREENSBURG, Pa. – Sen. Barack Obama said Friday he would return the country to the more “traditional” foreign policy efforts of past presidents, such as George H.W. Bush, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

First of all to the headline writer – JFK freely and openly admitted he was a card carrying member of the Democratic Party, so they weren’t all GOP Presidents, just two-thirds of them.

OK: Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, “October Surprise”, Iran-Contra, Panama, Grenada, Saddam Hussein, WMDs, Lebanon, Taliban, al Qaeda, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, death squads, A.Q. Khan, Bitburg, Haiti, Somalia, the Shi’ia uprising after Gulf War I, &c. ad nauseam.

I realize that the Camp David agreement and the Dayton peace accords aren’t as exciting, and the last two Democratic Presidents were reluctant to project US military might all over the world, but they weren’t getting people killed with great regularity, especially innocent people and members of the US military.

The man knows next to nothing about post World War II American history, and, apparently, neither do his advisors.


1 Michael { 03.30.08 at 4:04 pm }

This is really meaningless pablum, as far as I can tell. And I disagree that the last Democratic president was reluctant to project force.

2 Bryan { 03.30.08 at 4:39 pm }

You are entitled to your opinion, but not to your own facts. I lived during these times and know what was going on. There are records galore of what happened. If that string doesn’t strike chords of recognition, you need to do some reading.

The only reason you might think that Clinton projected force is because you don’t know what Reagan and GHW Bush did. The NATO campaign in Kosovo was the major military operation undertaken by Bill Clinton.

3 Michael { 03.30.08 at 6:01 pm }

I didn’t say that Reagan and GHW didn’t project force. I think that it’s foolish to go back to that cold war mentality, and I think Barack Obama isn’t making much sense here, which is why I said I think it’s meaningless pablum. I don’t know why you think I’m agreeing with him.

4 Steve Bates { 03.30.08 at 9:20 pm }

Michael, the sentence Bryan disagrees with is this one: “And I disagree that the last Democratic president was reluctant to project force.” In your reply, you don’t address his objection at all; you incorrectly imply that Bryan said you were agreeing with Obama. I’ve read his comment three times now, and nowhere does he say or imply that.

What Bryan does say is that Reagan and G.H.W. Bush projected force internationally using the U.S. military much more actively than Bill Clinton did. That is a fact, and you will find it difficult to buttress any argument against that fact. And clearly no one on this thread thinks a return to Cold War mentality is a good idea.

5 Bryan { 03.30.08 at 10:39 pm }

I have been listening to La Chanson de Ronald for two decades and am heartily sick of it. Ronald Reagan was a disaster for the US and we are still paying his debts, and reaping the blowback from his adventurism.

The “Great Communicator” meant he could lie with a straight face and no one would call him on it. It was under Reagan that the media lost its way and forgot its purpose, covering for the man at every step because “he was such a likable guy”.

Jerry Ford was the last Republican the press looked at skeptically, and they over did it in his case. He wasn’t a great leader, but he wasn’t as bad as people remember thanks to the media.

Reagan and Bush created Saddam Hussein as a regional power. They created the groups that became the Taliban and al Qaeda. They got people killed all over the world, and yet, refused to react to real humanitarian crises. They are not people anyone should admire or emulate.

Bill Clinton fired cruise missiles after we were attacked by al Qaeda; got blamed for the mess Bush left him with in Somolia; and reacted to problems in the Balkans by participating in a NATO response.

Something that most people don’t give him credit for is his attendance when those who died in the service of the US were returned to the country. He attended memorial services for those who died, but didn’t announce it to the media. He attended some of those memorials here, because local units were involved, but if you didn’t spot Air Force One on the Eglin runway, you wouldn’t know it. He didn’t give speeches, he attended as a mourner and sat behind the families.

If you are looking for people to emulate for a constructive foreign policy, you could do a lot worse than the last two Democratic Presidents, who are admired and respected around the world for what they accomplished. They don’t need armored conveys to travel the world, because the world likes them.

6 Michael { 03.30.08 at 11:28 pm }

I’m not happy with what Obama is saying here, is what I’m saying. But the solution isn’t to look to the past, the cold war presidencies of Republican and Democratic administrations were founded for many years on a balance of power equation that no longer exists. This whole pandering nonsense is offensive to me and it’s why I wouldn’t be a very good politician. People don’t want to hear that their heroes were not so heroic.

7 Bryan { 03.31.08 at 12:16 am }

I’m only reacting to what the candidate says, and there is no other information available to judge someone for a job that none of them has ever had.

FDR was the last President to face an economy like today, and the US has never been this isolated in the world. There is no example to follow.

We have a mess that is going to take a good deal longer than 8 years to repair, and we need some one willing to point out who did it.