April 2022

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

« Waiting | Main | Service industry »

May 09, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

justcorbly

It recently occurred to me that if the presidents of my Cold War youth had adopted a Bush-like stance on security -- "...if I don't like you, I won't talk to you, but I'll stomp my feet and threaten to send the Marines,and maybe I will..." -- I'd very likely not be here. But, at least I would have had a chance to put those Duck and Cover lessons into practice.

David Wharton

Justcorby, the Bush administration led multilateral diplomatic efforts to curb nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea, and used diplomacy, not force, to try to dissuade the Syrians and Iranians from interfering in Iraq. True, he did invade Iraq, but only after years of diplomatic efforts, and calls for regime change by lots of people.

So who exactly is doing the foot-stomping? (Hint: it's not Bush).

justcorbly

Funny, David, I seem to remember rather a lot of just plain refusing to talk with the Bad Guys.

greensboro transplant

"It recently occurred to me that if the presidents of my Cold War youth had adopted a Bush-like stance on security -- "...if I don't like you, I won't talk to you, but I'll stomp my feet and threaten to send the Marines,and maybe I will..." -- I'd very likely not be here. But, at least I would have had a chance to put those Duck and Cover lessons into practice."

You're either teasing or terribly naive. The US has a splendid record of creating or attempting to create regime change since WWII.

off the top of my head, there's Indonesia, Guatemala, Iran, Cuba, Vietnam, Panama, Chile, Grenada, and Haiti.

please tell me who we talked to? don't cite diplomacy and the USSR. Kennedy went to the wall with the soviets over nukes in cuba. and i don't think he was going to back down.

David Wharton

Justcorby, can you site some specific instances where the Bush administration has refused diplomacy? Because I think your memory is faulty.

justcorbly

Lot's of Cold War regime change, yes, but no attack on the USSR, the primary adversary. (All that regime change was seen as improving our position on the chess board.)

Don't mistake a disdain for Bush's approach to foreign policy with an insistence that diplomacy is for whimps. Sure, Bush has engaged in diplomacy, but his administration has also often insisted that it didn't want to talk with hostile governments.

I woulnd't have trusted Bush to make sensible decisions during the Cold War re: nuclear weapons.

Having lived through the Cuban MIssile Crisis, complete with Duck and Cover, I think it's evident that diplomacy won that day. It's wrong to point to that as an example of a president who avoided diplomacy. No weapons were fired and talks between the two regimes resulted in a solution. I don't think Bush would have accepted that solution.

winstongator

Has the US engaged in direct one-on-one talks with NK? That first MSNBC link is from 2006, 5 years after Bush took office, and only after the other parties involved, with much more at stake than the US - Japan, SK, China - were the ones pushing for talks.

2nd link: "Experts say it is a shift in Bush administration strategy toward Iran, which has previously been defined by diplomatic isolation and sanctions; last year, the program began but with only a $3.5 million budget"

""The administration seems to want to proceed with this in a way that does not implicate them in direct talks with Hamas, or in a way that lends U.S. recognition to Hamas' takeover of Gaza," said the diplomat," (2008) Hamas was elected at least 2 years earlier.

This administration only goes to diplomacy after its harder line stances produce no results, they only go to it when forced. The example I see of the refusal to talk is Cuba - almost 50 years in, and what progress has that policy gained? It's also hard to negotiate when our policy goals seem to be regime change. Why would a government want to negotiate with us if they feel we just want to work to overthrow them? With the 'axis-of-evil' speech, Iran's election brought us Ahmadinejad and took out Rafsanjani (best described as a pragmatic conservative, who supports a centrist (but nonetheless Islamist) position domestically and a moderate position internationally, seeking to avoid conflict with the United States). Is that the move we want other countries making, away from centrists and towards more radical leaders?

David Wharton

Justcorby, again you don't back up your assertion with any facts.

Winstongator, the complaint justcorby made was that the Bush administration refuses to negotiate. Maybe you disagree with its insistence on multilateral talks with North Korea, but that's changing the game from "Bush won't negotiate" to "Bush won't negotiate the way I think he should."

Isolation and sanctions against Iran were instituted by the Clinton administration and by Congress, were continued by Bush, and are favored by Hillary as opposed to Bush's multilateral talks. Ahmadinejad was probably elected because of meddling mullahs rather than popular anti-Bush sentiment.

RE: Hamas, so you don't like the diplomatic approach the Bush adminstration has taken. Fine; just don't try to say it isn't diplomacy (see above).

And Cuba? You're blaming Bush for a diplomatic policy that started when W. was 16 years old? I'm speechless.

Bush critics screamed for more multilateralism after the Iraq invasion, but then when his administration insisted on multilateralism in Iran and North Korea, they're saying, "oh, not THAT multilateralism. The U.S. needs to go it alone in THESE situations," helpfully (to our enemies) exposing the U.S. to all the diplomatic risks with no added benefits.

I get it. You don't like Bush. Don't worry; he's going to be out of office soon, so everyone can stop making up phony critiques now.

Ed Cone

It's a dodge to say the Cuba policy preexisted Bush so he's not responsible for it. His long years in office saw a different geopolitical scene, and perhaps new opportunities in Cuba specifically; at a certain point, the choice was his.

Iran is another case in point: 9/11 offered us a changed world in which we could perhaps work with them. Our invasion of Iraq (launched after we cut off diplomacy and inspections and alienated key allies) not only strangled that relationship, it greatly strengthened Iran's power in the region.

JC may have oversimplified things, but this administration has been proud of its undiplomatic ways. I'm disappointed to see a thoughtful commenter like you lapse into the "you don't like Bush" refrain -- this stuff is a reason people don't like Bush, not the other way around.

greensboro transplant

"Having lived through the Cuban MIssile Crisis, complete with Duck and Cover, I think it's evident that diplomacy won that day. It's wrong to point to that as an example of a president who avoided diplomacy. No weapons were fired and talks between the two regimes resulted in a solution. I don't think Bush would have accepted that solution."

IIRC, kennedy put a naval blockade into effect. And if IIRC from my history classes, that's an act of war. that's not diplomacy. did he go to the UN and demand sanctions? did he ask for multilateral talks with the USSR? where is the diplomacy that ended the crisis?

David Wharton

No "may have" about it. The Bush administration proud of its undiplomatic ways? I think it's proud of the way it has conducted its diplomacy (as any administration would be), but the left narrative has been that the Bush administration is uniquely bellicose. I suppose it is compared to Jimmy Carter's administration, but not compared to Bill Clinton's.

More diplomatic history here.

Ed Cone

"the left narrative is that the Bush administration is uniquely bellicose. . I suppose it is compared to Jimmy Carter's administration, but not compared to Bill Clinton's."

I don't recall Bill Clinton launching a major war, much less invading a country that hadn't attacked us.

A lot of people who started out in the Bush administration are not proud of its diplomacy. In any case, pride in failure is not a virtue.

9/11 presented a great opportunity for global leadership by the US. Failure to seize that opportunity is one of the great failures of this administration. Cheney and Co. misunderstood the moment, and their blunders in strategy and execution have cost us dearly.

greensboro transplant

Ed: just curious, from your point of view, how should iraq have played out? if the admin had made the correct decisions, what would have happened in the last 5 years? what would iraq and the world look like today?

Ed Cone

We should have let the inspectors continue to do their work, and worked with our allies on a policy to replace the sanctions regime. This was the moment for something new, not just the next move in a post-Cold War game.

And obviously, any invasion of Iraq should have been accompanied by an honest appraisal of the occupation phase -- I'd put the administration's lack of interest in that stuff in the failure-of-diplomacy realm.

At the same time, we should have been keeping our focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, and leveraging success against al-Qaeda and success in diplomacy there to show the world that we were serious about fighting terrorism and serious about working with the Muslim world.

I can't tell you for sure what the world would look like today, but I can imagine a world in which we had not sacrificed our moral authority and global goodwill, and chewed up our military and taken a huge toll in lives.

justcorbly

No, David. I did not complain that the Bush administration refuses to negotiate. Obviously, they do. In fact, I don't recall complaining at all. I said I'm glad Bush wasn't in office during the Cold War.

But, here's a complaint: The right-wing has spent most of the Bush administration attempting to position advocates of diplomacy as weak and wimpy bleeding hearts who are so naive that they want to disarm the U.S. and rely completely on talking with obvious bad guys.

That's obvious nonsense.

When you deal with threatening regimes, and threatening organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah, you need to use every tool at your disposal. That includes force and the threat of force, both of which can be useful in encouraging some folks to actually realize that negotiating may be their best option.

Kennedy's blockade of Cuba, for example, was an act of war, but it was implemented in conjunction with a diplomatic effort to persuade the Soviets to pull missiles and weapons out of Cuba.

There is much in Bush adminstration behavior and right-wing rhetoric that suggests Bush would have implemented the blockade but ignored the diplomatic track.

David Wharton

JC, If you want to talk in pure hypotheticals and generalities, fine (waiting for Ed to scold the commenter for making unjustified sweeping statements about whole groups of people ...).

True, Ed, Clinton didn't invade any countries that didn't attack us. He just bombed the bejesus out of them and then joined NATO in invading them, but some people at Brookings think a Bush-like invasion would have shortened that war. Go figure.

justcorbly

What hypotheticals and what unjustified sweeping statements?

The Bush adminstration has been openly disdainful of diplomacy in regard to regimes and organziations it considers beyond the pale. The administration was infamously disdainful of diplomacy in the runup to its attack on Iraq. The adminstrations allies in the media often share this disdain in seemingly testosterone driven delight.

Citing instances of the Clinton adminstration doing something that appears similar to Bush adminstration behavior is is silly. Why would you expect me to modify my opinion of Bush when you tell me Clinton did the same thing? You don't know my opinion of Clinton, but I've notice that it is common for right-wingers to imagine that it's a black and white world, with no shades of grey.

Ed Cone

DW, it is to your credit that you tacitly admit the inanity of equating Kosovo and Iraq by immediately saying maybe we should have actually invaded Kosovo, although of course the scope and scale of that hypothetical invasion would not have been on the order of our ongoing Iraq campaign. I just don't think "bellicosity" is the standard here, at least in isolation. Few people (and none I've seen in this conversation) lament our military involvement in Afghanistan. In fact, I lament that there wasn't more of it. It's the mix of arms and diplomacy that has been off in this administration, to our lasting detriment.

winstongator

DW - I was commenting on your point in particular - yes we may have been negotiating, but only as a last resort. As for policies being started in other admins, I would be critical of them also, as I am critical of Hillary's 'I won't talk to them' attitude. As I also was critical of B. Clinton's policy and execution in Somalia, and the ridiculuous bombing of a medicine factory in Sudan. Yglesias's point is 100% related to HILLARY and nearly 0% related to Bush.

To write off my or any criticism of Bush's foreign policy as "You don't like Bush" is childish and laughable. I can point you to a speech by Anthony Zinni from a couple years ago critical of how we went about things in Iraq. One of his key points is that the bombing of Iraq under Clinton could have collapsed Saddam's regime, and what was our plan then? At that point Zinni didn't have one, but quickly got to work on it. I don't think his plan got much attention after 2000.

The comments to this entry are closed.