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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Obama: Confused and Confusing

Not a good quality in a President!

Whether you like President Bush or not, he always knows exactly what he wants and explains it all very directly. There is no mistaking his intentions.

You can't say that about Obama and the saddest part is many Americans are only now discovering that fact. Throughout the long nominating process with it's nearly endless debates and speeches there have been glimmers of a confused and confusing foreign policy focus in the Obama campaign. Just as the Democrat nominating process is about to close, the pieces of that scary puzzle are starting to come together.

By now, everyone remembers the question and the reply:
At A July 2007 Debate, Obama Announced He Would Personally Meet With Leaders Of Iran, North Korea, Syria And Other Hostile Nations "Without Precondition." Question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"... Obama: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous." video here (CNN/YouTube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07)
But the odd thing is that Obama keeps getting asked about that question and the answers keep changing. Is this the kind of "change" voters want?

Jake Tapper points out that In the latest round of confusing and tortured explanations for what Obama really meant, he told the Orlando Sentinel in Florida on May 22, that he would "initiate" talks with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and raise the issue of his support for FARC terrorists in Columbia.

Recently, the international police organization, INTERPOL, confirmed that the documents found on the computer of a FARC terrorist leader documenting the strong support of Hugo Chavez for FARC's reign of murder, kidnapping and drug running in Colombia were authentic.

Speaking to the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami on May 23, Obama said:
"We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments...This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and -- if need be -- strong sanctions. It must not stand."
Just how are you going to isolate Venezuela while initiating meetings at the presidential level?

Jake Tapper asked that question of an Obama advisor and the response is odd to say the least:

"if we are going to isolate the Venezuelans, it may be that we have to engage in a full-on diplomatic strategy with them," the adviser says. Obama was not saying he, himself, would propose such a meeting, nor that he would necessarily participate in that meeting. When Obama referred to "my talks with President Hugo Chavez," he did not mean "my talks," literally (necessarily) -- he meant his administration's talks -- "though it could be him engaging in this diplomacy directly and personally," the adviser says. The point is, all the tools need to be in the diplomacy kit -- isolation, willingness to hold presidential meetings, and everything in between.
So now, the idea of initiating and personally meeting without preconditions has taken on a confused and twisted meaning in Obama land. Is this the right kind of change?

Obama's Iran Policy Just As Confused

Multiple times in 2007 (last item here)and as late as May 4, 2008 Obama insisted he would meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.

But as Curt points out, all that changed a few weeks later when Obama advisor Susan Rice said: “Well, first of all, he said he’d meet with the appropriate Iranian leaders. He hasn’t named who that leader will be."


But let's take him at his word (the current word, not the previous ones) and say he would meet with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khameni. Amir Taheri reminds us how Khameni views negotiations with the United States:

"You have nothing to say to us. We object. We do not agree to a relationship with you! We are not prepared to establish relations with powerful world devourers like you! The Iranian nation has no need of the United States, nor is the Iranian nation afraid of the United States. We . . . do not accept your behavior, your oppression and intervention in various parts of the world."
Taheri also notes that "Last month, Tehran hosted an international conference titled 'A World Without America.'"

And if any delusional do-gooder thinks that it's just the current U.S. Administration that Iran objects to, Taheri points out that Iran has turned a deaf ear to approaches by U.S. Administrations representing both political parties going back nearly 30 years. And no other European or Middle Eastern government has had any luck negotiating a range of critical issues with Iran.

So just what would Obama negotiate? It's clear that the meeting would be a tremendous flop with predictable negative results for the U.S. around the world.

As a further reminder of how dangerous a confused and confusing foreign policy outlook can be, David Reinhard, writing in the Oregonian had this to say:

In trying to talk his way out of his position, Obama's only made matters worse for himself. It began last week when he cited John F. Kennedy's sit-down with Nikita Khrushchev as a precedent: "When Kennedy met with Khrushchev," he said, "we were on the brink of nuclear war."

Uh, no, Senator, the brink of nuclear war came in the Cuban missile crisis more than a year later. In fact, Kennedy's weak performance in Vienna prompted the Soviet decision to put missiles in Cuba, which brought us to the brink of nuclear war.

In Portland on Sunday, Obama said Iran, Cuba and Venezuela "don't pose a serious threat to us" since they spend but one-one-hundredth of what we spend on our military. They're not like the Soviets. "If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us," he said, "they wouldn't stand a chance."

Never mind that the threat posed by terror-sponsoring nations like Iran or terrorist groups isn't their conventional military strength, but their ability and inclination to use unconventional weapons against stronger nations in this age of asymmetrical warfare. The next day in Montana, Obama said Iran posed "a grave threat." Grave? Not serious? Whatever.
It may not matter much to the Obamatons that their candidate spins faster than a Maytag washer stuck on the spin cycle. But when it comes to actually governing, as opposed to campaigning, a clearly expressed policy is the first key to advancing towards objectives. Obama continues to express a desire to bring "change" to foreign policy and national security issues. But consider this: that may not be change for the better. In fact it could be much, MUCH worse.

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