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A Talk-Is-Cheap Foreign Policy; Obama doesn’t get it. Tiny Iran; Obama’s big learning curve.
NRO ^ | May 19, 2008 | Anne Bayefsky

Posted on 05/21/2008 6:26:08 AM PDT by Tolik

Two excellent articles by Anne Bayefsky  [highlights are mine] 

A Talk-Is-Cheap Foreign Policy
Obama doesn’t get it.

Democrats are right to feel upset about President Bush’s appeasement accusation. It is their Achilles’ heel in this election and they know it. The foreign-policy mantra of the Obama campaign amounts to this: Talk is cheap.

Over the next five months we will see the many tentacles of such a strategy emerge and the comeback “that’s political” — as Obama has objected — will be treated with the disdain it deserves. Determining how to deal with the enemies of freedom and democracy is as political as it gets.

Would-be President Obama’s first moves concerning the state sponsors of terrorism bear repeating — from now until November 3:

From Obama’s website: “Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions…. Talk to our Foes and Friends: Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe.”

From a July CNN debate: “Would 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?” Senator Obama: “I would.”

The assumption here is that the leader of the free world sitting down to talk with a leader of the unfree world is like shmoozing with a friend over a cup of coffee about some creep you misjudged on a bad date — where there’s no endgame except commiserating for its own sake.

Talking with the enemy, however, is not such an encounter. The goal is to change the status quo in your favor, either by altering the subsequent behavior of your foe or your allies.

Achieving that aim is never cost-free. The buildup to any high-level diplomatic encounter is carefully prepared and highly orchestrated. The event itself will have consequences that need to be foreseen and manipulated.

The first inevitable consequence will be the appearance of legitimacy, that is, some measure of equality and serious grievances on both sides.
In fact, columnist David Brooks reported this past weekend that Obama has already referred to claims of terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas as “legitimate.”

For the steep price of fostering moral confusion, what will America get in return? Will our erstwhile allies and fair-weather friends be mollified by a photo-op? Will the semblance of discourse on our side yield more chips than the boost in ratings the enemy will achieve in his own neighborhood? The answer to both questions is an obvious “no.”

So there will be a second inevitable consequence — the necessity of having to give something up. One might try to assert that the photo-op itself was the “consideration,” and the appearance of legitimacy and accompanying grievances is all you’re prepared to offer. But that position won’t fly, since having lent legitimacy to the other side, turning round and ignoring them entirely will endear you to no one.

And so you ask, What’s the least you can give? Time. Time for diplomacy. Time during which you make no major hostile moves against your foe.

And time for the foe to, say, move a nuclear-armaments program further towards completion and nuclear arms into the hands of individuals who want nothing from you except to blow your brains out. Or as the non-diplomats would describe the time spent: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

This Obama strategy has many corollaries. High on the list will be placing the United Nations at the cornerstone of any diplomatic agenda. The U.N. will be front and center regardless of its appalling record in realizing its raison d’etre — to protect peace and security, promote human rights, and respect the equality of nations large and small. This past year the U.N. apparatus condemned the United States for human-rights violations more often than 98 percent of all other U.N. members. But in a talk-is-cheap universe, the U.N.’s endemic anti-Americanism will be sloughed off as mere hot-air or just blowing off steam. Harmless, until America looks around the U.N. for allies to stop genocide in Sudan, starvation in Zimbabwe, subjugation in Lebanon, totalitarianism in China, slavery in Saudi Arabia, torture in Burma, or nuclear-weapons programs in North Korea and Iran, and discovers that in the world of U.N. diplomacy the real villains “R” U.S.

A New York Times editorial highlights another corollary — they call it yearning for a more civilized dialogue. Iranians champion a similar thought — they call it a dialogue among civilizations. Naturally, Iranian authorities consider their own country — in which stoning, public hanging, and cross-amputation are legally-sanctioned punishments — as one of those civilizations. A civilized dialogue with anti-civilization President Ahmadinejad brings to mind U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour’s September 2007 visit to Tehran for a “Human Rights and Cultural Diversity” conference. The day after she listened attentively to the president’s speech and dialogued with his officials, the regime executed 21 people, stringing up the bodies on cranes in public places.

In other words, talk isn’t cheap at all. And a President Obama’s stunningly specious foreign policy will be paid for in blood, sweat, and tears.

— Anne Bayefsky is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She also serves as the director of the Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust and as the editor of

Tiny Iran
Obama’s big learning curve.

‘It’s terrorism, stupid.” Nothing short of blunt talk will do in light of Sen. Barack Obama’s comments this past week on Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah. They are the most significant indication to date of the looming catastrophe for American national security posed by an Obama presidency.

Here is Obama in his own words, speaking in Pendleton, Oregon on Sunday night: “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union… In Iran they spend 1/100th of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn’t stand a chance.”

How does one begin a course for a presidential candidate in Terrorism 101? Where has Obama been for the past three decades during which the greatest threats to peace and security have moved beyond the sphere of state actors operating alone? After 9/11, why doesn’t Obama recognize the capacity of relatively small entities to wreak havoc, at comparatively little cost, on a nation as large and strong as America?

Despite Obama’s claim to be a foreign-policy realist, his fancy foreign-policy footwork contains as much realpolitik as a dancing sugar-plum fairy. Obama is keen to explain his hankering for an early heart-to-heart with Iranian President Ahmadinejad — with whom he would “be willing to meet separately, without precondition during the first year of [his] administration” or his desire to engage in “direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.” His strategy so far has been to deny the undeniable transaction costs of an unconditioned presidential get-together: the undeserved legitimacy conferred on a would-be mass murderer, the time lost while a nuclear-weapons program continues in full swing, and the betrayal of brave local dissenters.

“Tiny” and not “serious” move us another step closer to the edge. The unfortunate reality is that Iran not only poses a serious threat already, but it does stand a chance of carrying out its dire program. Ahmadinejad, in addition to his professed affinity for genocide, is funding terrorist proxies in Lebanon and Gaza who believe they have started the job and are committed to finishing it. The message Obama sends in denying that Iran has “tried to pose a serious threat to us” is that a grave threat to the peace and security of Israel is not a threat to the peace and security of the United States. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, of “Israel Lobby” fame, would be proud. But even the anti-nuclear-anything activists in the Democratic party should begin to worry about a president who thinks the consequences of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel can be confined to the locals.

Official U.S. policy holds Iran to be a state sponsor of terrorism, along with Cuba, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. Not only has Iran tried, and is trying, to pose a serious threat to us, in some ways it is a greater threat than that posed by the Soviet Union. The terrorist organizations or non-state actors whom these rogue states sponsor are not subject to the same economic and political pressures that could be brought to bear on the Soviet Union. Madmen and religious fanatics driven by a belief in the imminent reappearance of the 12th Imam following worldwide chaos, or visions of virgins in post-suicidal heaven, or who just hate us more than they love their children, are not susceptible to the rational calculus of Mikhail Gorbachev.

But according to his recently reported conversation with New York Times columnist David Brooks, Obama believes the problem with Hamas and Hezbollah is that the poor things don’t “understand that they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” We need to hear more about where in the governing Hamas Charter (with its overt anti-Semitism and manifest dedication to the destruction of Israel), and Hezbollah’s takeover plans for Lebanon, Obama finds legitimate claims. And the solution according to Obama? “The U.S. needs a foreign policy that looks at root causes of problems and dangers.”

Hezbollah Leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah couldn’t have said it better himself. Oh, wait: He has said it himself. Remember Iranian proxy Nasrallah in Beirut on September 30, 2006, just after he sent 4,000 rockets into Israel: “This experience of the resistance, which must be transferred to the world, relies on faith, conviction, trust, and the moral and spiritual willingness to give sacrifices. Also, it depends on the thinking, planning, organizing, training and armament, and as is said: dealing with the root causes.” Surely, Obama ought to know that invoking the language of “root causes” to illuminate the behavior of Hamas and Hezbollah plays into the nefarious strategy of these terrorist organizations and their sympathizers.

How about the tiny factor? On the one hand, we could all hum tip-toeing through the tulips along with Obama and Tiny Tim. On the other hand, we might cast our minds back to “tiny” anthrax envelopes or think about “tiny” suitcase bombs or “tiny” nanotechnology innovations in chemical and biological weapons. I also wonder how all those developing countries, allegedly ready to embrace us once again with a President Obama, will enjoy the big boy’s view of their tiny status.

Coming from a man who aspires to bear the single greatest responsibility for the peace and security of the free world, the resemblance to “peace for our time” is the least of Obama’s problems. The real problem is a book with a name like “Terrorism for Dummies” would have to become bedside reading at the White House.

Anne Bayefsky is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She also serves as the director of the Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust and as the editor of



TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: annebayefsky; barackobama; elections; iran; jihad; obama; obamatruthfile; terrorism; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 05/21/2008 6:26:09 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; neverdem; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; ...

Nailed It!

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

2 posted on 05/21/2008 6:27:00 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Of course if a homocide terrorist explodes a nuclear device in the heart of Washington, a President Obama will get no second chance to recover from his naivete about the enemy and his true nature.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

3 posted on 05/21/2008 6:35:00 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: Tolik

No, no. In Mr. Obama’s mind talk is precious and action is cheap.

And that’s fact, Jack!

4 posted on 05/21/2008 6:37:14 AM PDT by RexBeach
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5 posted on 05/21/2008 6:37:39 AM PDT by bcsco (To heck with a third party. We need a second one....)
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To: RexBeach
A President Obama would be in full time on the job training, when you remember he's never had CEO experience.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

6 posted on 05/21/2008 6:42:36 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop

The man May/Might be intelligent, but his Ignorance is scary to most folks over, say, 55 and recall the 70s as adults.....

7 posted on 05/21/2008 6:44:06 AM PDT by litehaus (A memory tooooo long)
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To: Tolik
“root causes”

Whenever you hear that you know what follows is full-throated liberalism.

The only 'root cause' that matters is the imperfect nature of man.

8 posted on 05/21/2008 6:49:42 AM PDT by AU72
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To: goldstategop

I wish I lived in the Liberal World where all the problems can be solved with just some smooth talking... OK, time for a coffee break and reality check.

9 posted on 05/21/2008 6:50:28 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: goldstategop
Obama is clueless as to the real threat posed by non-state actors and to the role Iran plays in supporting them.

The difference between Obama and McCain in this area is much like the difference between Carter and Reagan. Remember the Iranians thumbed their noses at Carter and laughed at his impotence and failure at Desert One as they desecrated the bodies of the military personnel he left on the field. When Reagan was inaugurated they immediately started “playing nice”. By his statements alone they are measuring Obama and, strangely enough, at least one of their surrogates... Hamas... is actually publicly advocating his election.

10 posted on 05/21/2008 7:19:40 AM PDT by RedEyeJack
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To: litehaus

I think McCain’s advantage will those same voters you mentioned....over 55. Our younger generations have no clue what hardship is, and how America has dealt with foreign challenges in the past. The wars we have witnessed have been guided by technology, and most have been over in days or weeks. The Iraq war, despite it’s problems, is historically one of the most successful wars in history with low casualty rates and rapid success in taking over a foreign country of significant size.

Older voters saw the cold war, saw Vietnam, and have witnessed pure evil. They see Obama as a lightweight amateur who has absolutely no clue on foreign policy. Those views are not likely to change with those voters.

11 posted on 05/21/2008 7:23:27 AM PDT by ilgipper
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To: litehaus

Lets just face it. He is as dumb as a post and just as stupid as the people who vote for him.

12 posted on 05/21/2008 7:33:49 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: apache

Obama will have no problems with the terrorist cause he is muslim. He is thier pass to the US of A

13 posted on 05/21/2008 7:39:23 AM PDT by coolarrow57 (Muslims lie, thats thier thing.)
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To: Tolik

Good post, T. BTTT.

14 posted on 05/21/2008 8:36:51 AM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: Tolik

15 posted on 05/21/2008 8:49:51 AM PDT by doug from upland (Stopping Hillary should be a FreeRepublic Manhattan Project)
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To: Tolik

Japan’s a small country too. Took 4 years to finish them off and 2 A-bombs to do it.

16 posted on 05/21/2008 8:54:06 AM PDT by toddlintown (My kingdom for a beer!)
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To: Tolik
obamamamam's whole schtick seems to be "looking cool" let's just say that some international emergency - like 9/11 - comes up during his he going to do the right thing, or just his usual knee-jerk response in an effort to look cool to his brethren?

Will he use America haters like revWright or michelleO as his "advisory council"?

I don't want a "hip" or "cool" President, I want a President who will look out for, and protect this country. This guy obamamamamam is jimmy carter all over again.
17 posted on 05/21/2008 8:55:11 AM PDT by FrankR (OBAMA is the VAST WRIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY...)
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To: FrankR; toddlintown; doug from upland; metesky; Piquaboy; ilgipper; RedEyeJack; AU72; ...
"... obamamamam's whole schtick seems to be "looking cool"..."

That probably nails it, Frank!

'Cool-Is-The-Rule, But Sometimes, Bad-Is-Bad!'

He's campaigning as a hip-hop pres, but he's still a hollow suit in a world of enemies. The DNC will soon have to decide how to get rid of him.

How do I phrase this without getting banned:

Jesse and Al knew when to leave the stage and collect the money!
This maroon still hasn't learned the rules
................ FRegards

18 posted on 05/21/2008 1:37:01 PM PDT by gonzo ( What Part Of "Shall Not Be Infringed" does anyone have a problem with? The USSC will soon wonder ..)
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To: Tolik

Thanks for the ping.

19 posted on 05/21/2008 2:56:55 PM PDT by GOPJ
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