Thursday, March 10, 2005

Never Too Early for Revisionist History

All these positive signs in the Middle East - it's enough to depress the heartiest of Democrats. There has been much in the blogosphere about the appearance of a woman from the Clinton NSA team on Jon Stewart's Daily show, where she bucks up poor Jon by reminding him that North Korea and Iran always offer hope that the Bush admin's foreign policy will fail. You can read about it and the positive news in this article.

Of course, she was just kidding, but in the words of Homer Simpson - it's funny cause its true, and some honest people on the left have already plead guilty to the sinking feeling that, alas, America might be successful in its foreign policy goals of re-shaping the Mideast. Of course, its too early to say we told you so, but I did note that the backfilling is already starting to occur among Dems. I'll explain what I mean by that after quoting from another sight in regard to some of the aftermath of that Stewart interview:

Soderberg herself showed up on C-Span Thursday, and a caller who'd read our item asked about her comments. (Video is available here; the exchange begins at around 6:30.) Soderberg said the whole thing was no more than a bit of tomfoolery:

"This is a comedy show. We were joking about the dilemma of Jon Stewart having criticized the Bush administration over the last four years--what does he do now? And we were joking back and forth. I think anyone who follows the Democratic Party knows that they want America to succeed and President Bush to succeed...

There's nothing better that Democrats would like than to see peace in the Middle East, nonproliferation. What I argue in the book is the last four years of the Bush administration have failed to advance those agendas, and I welcome what appears to be a shift in the administration right now to take those issues on with more realistic policies."

Notice the last sentence, where she claims that the Bush admin had failed to advance peace agendas in the Middle East in the last 4 years, whereas now they are making progress because they are taking a more realistic approach. In more ways than one with Bush's presidency, I'm getting deja vu all over again. Reagan was barely cold in his grave when some on the left (Sidney Blumenthal for one), after conceding what they could no longer deny - that Reagan's policies greatly facilitated the end of the Cold War - attributed the end not to the saber rattling and evil empire talk, but instead to the willingness to sit at the table and negotiate solutions. See, we all had to be Cold Warriors once the war was won, even though Democrats and Europeans were wringing their hands for most of the 80s counting the days before nuclear obliteration.

So guys like Blumenthal vindicate their wrong-headedness during those years by convincing themselves that policies that could have just as easily been instituted by Luxembourg (and were followed by Carter) - sitting around and talking - was what worked in the end, independent of the pretext. Never mind the fact that while Reagan was calling the Soviets the evil empire, Blumenthal was probably saying that such jibes ruined completely the chance to negotiate in the future. Apparently the Soviets were big-hearted and willing to let bygones be bygones. What was eventually achieved at the negotiating table cannot be separated in any way from the policies that preceded such negotiations - those policies were a necessary pre-condition to the ultimate bargained success.

And now we see the process repeating itself in Soderberg's words. You see, we were so wrong-headed in the first 4 years, but now we're taking a more realistic approach, presumably one she is in agreement with now that success looms possible. But wasn't our arrogance in those first four years such that we eliminated any possibility of achieving success when we finally wised up and adopted more realistic policies? You can't swing a cat in DC without hitting some liberal pundit who has made that claim 100 times.

There is one reason, and one reason only, that first Reagan's, and now Bush's foreign policies have been successful - it is because our enemies believed that we would use force if necessary and not back down . And not only our enemies, but the people they oppressed. They didn't believe that about Carter, and they didn't believe that about Clinton. There is no more realistic policy than the bomb.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What foreign policy achievements are you heralding? The Iraqi elections in which 40% of the population largely boycotted the polls and the new government is led by someone who favors an Iranian-style democracy. Did more than 1000 Americans sacrifice their lives so we could make Iraq more like Iran? Are you referring to Syria backing out of Lebanon? By last count the street protest is 100,000 pro-Syrians to 50,000 anti-Syrians and the pro-Syria Prime Minister is headed back into office. Elections in Palestine? What Bush policy led to elections in Palestine?

Let's give it a little while before we judge the Bush "achievements", but the early returns still don't look promising.

6:59 AM  

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