Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 26, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

TALKING TO IRAN....Unsurprisingly, Charles Krauthammer is resolutely opposed to talks with Iran. Also unsurprisingly, his writing on the subject is little more than the darkest and most hysterical sort of agitprop:

Mark my words. The momentum for U.S.-Iran negotiations has only begun. The focus of the entire Iranian crisis will begin to shift from the question of whether Tehran will stop its nuclear program to whether Washington will sit down alone at the table with Tehran.

To this cynical bait-and-switch, there can be no American response other than No. Absolutely not.

....Just yesterday the Democratic nominee for president attacked President Bush's foreign policy precisely for refusing to consult with, listen to and work with "the allies." Another day, another principle. Bush is now being pressured to abandon multilateralism and go it alone with Iran.

Nobody not one person is suggesting that Bush abandon Europe and negotiate with Iran unilaterally, and Krauthammer knows it. Rather, proponents of engagement with Iran believe that we should negotiate both multilaterally and bilaterally: multilaterally with our allies so that everyone has a stake in success, and bilaterally because sometimes you can accomplish things in private talks that you can't in a more public forum. These two tracks can happen simultaneously, both formally and informally, and at multiple levels.

David Ignatius, a more sensible observer who, unlike Krauthammer, understands traditional American strengths and values, has the better argument:

America's best strategy is to play to its strengths which are the open exchange of ideas, backed up by unmatched military power.

....There's no guarantee that a policy of engagement will work. The Iranian regime's desire to acquire nuclear weapons may be so unyielding that Tehran and Washington will remain on a collision course. But America and its allies will be in a stronger position for responding to Iranian calls for dialogue. Openness isn't a concession by America, it's a strategic weapon.

Amen to that. It's time to stop listening to the loons.

Kevin Drum 12:49 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (106)

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Comments

Go read Juan Cole now...

Condi's mouth is wide open spewing her school marm garbage.

Juan, rightfully, pisses in that ugly maw.

Posted by: koreyel on May 26, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

It is amazing how American foreign policy has been hijacked by extremists. When the history of our era is written, there will be many footnotes where the names Krauthammer and Kristol appear.

Posted by: walt on May 26, 2006 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Baghdad Bob must be trusted!

Surely he has learned his lesson!

Posted by: Birkel on May 26, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Gosh, I didn't know we had a nominee for president. Did I sleep through the primariesk or did Krauthammer jump the gone? Please let me know so I can add a bumber sticker to my chariot.

Posted by: Brian Boru on May 26, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

From a December 1798 edition of the Philadelphia Citizen (a fair and balanced mainstream newspaper featuring eight Federalist columnists and one Democratic-Republican [who voted for Adams, and supports everything he does]):

"Mark my words. The momentum for U.S.-France negotiations has only begun. The focus of the entire French crisis will begin to shift from the question of whether Paris will stop its aggressive posture to whether Washington will sit down alone at the table with Paris.

To this cynical bait-and-switch, there can be no American response other than No. Absolutely not.

....Just yesterday the presumptive Democratic-Republican nominee for president attacked President Adams's foreign policy precisely for refusing to consult with, listen to and work with "the allies." Another day, another principle. Adams is now being pressured to abandon multilateralism and go it alone with France."

Adams did the right thing, and averted a potentially devastating war with France. Will Bush?

Posted by: Linus on May 26, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Wake up and smell the fallout! Bush said tonight that we're locked into Iraq! You don't think Iran is next? I can just hear you now Kevin "Well at least we used small nuclear weapons"Do you ever think that some day it might be "And then they came for the pundits"!

Posted by: R.L. on May 26, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Amen to that. It's time to stop listening to the loons.

Kevin Drum 12:49 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (0)

Oh,Kevin! What ignorance. Isn't this where we were in 2002? Don't talk! "Open exchange of ideas, backed up by unmatched military power." But we put the power out front. Why would they converse? Before and since 2001, don't talk? Korea? Israel-Palestine (that you will never bring up as a topic) subsumes this whole area? Don't talk?

Pathetic!

Amhedjaledin, his speeches have variable translations but we only hear the most inciting and everybody goes with the flow of an administration we can't trust!

They know our strength. They know their weakness. We don't appreciate their culture or how they discuss/debate problems, come to concesus. Question: what do they want/need? Answer: at this end..."I don't know." It's our way or the ....

Let's talk without hyping to war.

Posted by: notthere on May 26, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin.......There's too long a list for you to get on the board of The Carlye Group!

Posted by: R.L. on May 26, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

R.L.: What?

Posted by: Kevin Drum on May 26, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter nothere:
We can trust the Iranian government but not the American government.

Shorter Birkel:
Get nothere the psychiatric care (s)he needs.

Posted by: Birkel on May 26, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

It's time to stop listening to the loons.

But they have such a good filter for weeding out the sensible ideas. Only the loons can get through.

Posted by: craigie on May 26, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Where is Krauthammer on Bush's flip-flop on direct talks with North Korea?

Posted by: AvengingAngel on May 26, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Is there any evidence at all that BushCo does not want a new military adventure in Iran? I'd love to be wrong about this.

Right now, it's June 2001 - in a few months, when this government again fails to prevent a terrorist attack in, oh, Los Angeles, they will immediately respond by bombing Iran.

The terrorists will turn out to be white christian separatists from Montana, but that won't make any difference. For the sake of the mid-terms and Bush's codpiece, Iran must be bombed.

And then next stop, Iceland. Fucking geothermal energy - what a bunch of commies!

Posted by: craigie on May 26, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

sympathy for krauthammer:

if people think that the iranians are asking for negotiations because they're prepared to give up their nuclear ambitions, they're nuts. playing for time is their MO, and has been for a decade. whilst reluctant to go straight to bombing right now, i'm yet to hear of a strategy that doesn't get us there eventually, ie, that actually prevents the mullahs from getting what they wknow they need to cement their grip on power.

obviously, if you're cool with ahmadinejad and the turbans having a bomb, that's another thing entirely - chat away.

wait a minute: maybe the hidden imam will disclose his whereabouts and recommend that we all just get along! wouldn't that be just grandy and dandy!

Posted by: lucretius on May 26, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer sounds like one of them Jewish neocons.

Posted by: Myron on May 26, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Charles Krauthammer...another from the Benador stable of regime-change wackjobs led by Charles, Mike Ledeen, Victor Davis Hanson and...oh yeah...Amir Taheri. You know...the one who simply made sh*t up about Iran's clothing code a few days ago.

Every time a Benador hack puts pen to paper it is part of an orchestrated campaign, and the dots should be joined connecting them all, LOUDLY, every time.

Oh, and the WaPo should put a caveat on Charles' column. Something like "The author is a known warmonger who likes to hide his connections to other known warmongers and pretend to have any independent thoughts at all."

Regards, Cernig @ Newshog

Posted by: Cernig on May 26, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: biu991 on May 26, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Actually you know folks like Krauthammer aren't even loons. They're cowards. They refuse to believe that America is strong enough to engage in open negotiations, just like they are constantly whimpering in the corner over every other security 'threat'.

Our country is facing serious crises abroad. It's time to stop listening to these know-nothing, scared-shitless nimrods and start speaking with some real conviction, backed up by the biggest stick money can buy.

Posted by: reader on May 26, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

if people think that the iranians are asking for negotiations because they're prepared to give up their nuclear ambitions, they're nuts

The Iranians are perfectly, legally, entitled to have civilian nuclear technology. They've signed the treaty.

Where's the evidence they want to build a bomb?

No, I said the evidence.

Yellowcake from Nigeria ain't gonna cut it this time, cowboy.

. playing for time is their MO, and has been for a decade. whilst reluctant to go straight to bombing right now,

Well that's comforting, considering it would be:

1. illegal
2. immoral
3. ineffective
4. a great way to drive oil over $200 a barrel.

Have you processed the fact that the Iranians would probably win any confrontation with the US? They have the oil, and hundreds of thousands of US soldiers (sorry, hostages) right next door in Greater Iran.

Believe me, they could do more damage to the US than vice versa.

i'm yet to hear of a strategy that doesn't get us there eventually, ie, that actually prevents the mullahs from getting what they wknow they need to cement their grip on power.

You twit - the conservatives already have a method of cementing their grip on power. It's called an election, and they didn't even need the Iranian Supreme Court to throw it for them.

obviously, if you're cool with ahmadinejad and the turbans having a bomb, that's another thing entirely - chat away.

I'm not cool with Bush and the Redneck Nutjobs having a shitload of bombs - what's the difference?

Lord save us from ignorant, arrogant and self-absorbed US wingnuts with a 30 year grudge against Iran.

Get over it, son.

Posted by: floopmeister on May 26, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

We can trust the Iranian government but not the American government.

Neither one has a very good history of being trustworthy over the past 5 years.

Personally only one of them causes me to wake up in fear. Only one of them has nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Ray on May 26, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

"And then they came for the pundits"!
Posted by: R.L. on May 26, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Why do you think they're going after net neutrality?

If this were WWII and Nazi Germany, Kevin would be begging to turn the Zyklon-B valve on and off.

KD: "really, it's just so complicated, I can't see what harm it could do. . . "

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 26, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Let us all stop listening to the loons and replying to the bedwetters.

Note also that our failure to attack the Soviet Union resulted in the catastrophe that the wingnuts used to warn us about ... only not in this universe.

Posted by: bad Jim on May 26, 2006 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter nothere:
We can trust the Iranian government but not the American government.

Shorter Birkel:
Get nothere the psychiatric care (s)he needs.

Posted by: Birkel on May 26, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

I need psychiatric care but you believe the government? Look at the losses, read the reports. Get a vote. I think I win. 62%* of the US voters don't trust the president/US government. Blog the Iraq votes. If the details aren't right they are still embarrassing. Put them up. We Are Winning. Right?


Posted by: notthere on May 26, 2006 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

What does it mean to have "unilateral and bilateral negotiations"? Have you even thought about this?

I fail to see how it can mean anything except giving the Iranians two counterparties to play off against each other, two choices on a menu where they can get the most lenient bargain, and one perfect excuse to stall the Europeans for six months to a year while the bilateral talks get started.

Starting bilateral negotiations means either discarding or fatally undermining the EU3's effort. "Proponents of engagement" are choosing to ignore this.

Posted by: sammler on May 26, 2006 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

I watched Richard Roths interview with the Irans ambassador to the UN on CNN this morning and I think the latter (cant remember the name) summed up the situation when he said We simply demand to be treated with respect. They are a Persian civilization dating back thousands of years. Believe it or not they have nationalistic pride and resent been constantly harangued. Just look at how Americans get their backs up every time a funny ferner complains about Guantanemo or the US illegally shipping arms to warlords in Somalia e.g. John Bolton during a recent UN press conference.

Posted by: Botecelli on May 26, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

This Administration's gunboat diplomacy has gotten us nowhere - any fool can see that. Is there anyone in this Administration, or among the neocons in general, who can actually think, reason and articulate?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on May 26, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

HAHAHA! ' Stop listening to the loons'
Everytime I swear I'm going to stop coming here Kevin cracks me up. Good one mate. Let me see...your not listening to them over there so we don't have to stop listening to them over here?
Kevin bloody Drum the stand up comedian come on down!

Posted by: professor rat on May 26, 2006 at 6:53 AM | PERMALINK

"prevents the mullahs from getting what they wknow they need to cement their grip on power."

A perfect illustration of one of the reasons we can't have a sensible foriegn policy. "The mullahs" have been in power since the Carter adminstration--what the heck do you mean, "cement their grip on power"?

There was a time--back in 2000 or so--when democratic reformers were making real progress in Iran. Bush cut the legs out from under their popular support by embarking on a policy of confrontation with Iran--"Axs of Evil" and all that.

As long as we insist on making policy in willful ingnorance of the actual facts, our policy will be unsuccessful--didn't Iraq teach us that? Or Vietnam?

Posted by: rea on May 26, 2006 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

The contention that direct talks between the US and Iran will "undercut" the multilateral talks between Iran and our allies has been making the rounds for a few days as a right-wing talking point. The claim reflects either ignorance or intentional dishonesty - in Krauthammer's case, I suspect the latter.

According to Charles Kupchan, director of European Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, "The Europeans are jumping up and down telling the U.S. it's time to engage."

Posted by: Dan Kervick on May 26, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer sounds as if he is writing for Olmert instead of America.....Wtf?
War and death are bearing 'fruits'?
I think the fruit is the loony Krauthammer.

Posted by: Heil Heir Hawke on May 26, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

Linus: Heh heh. Thanks.

Posted by: S Ra on May 26, 2006 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, but the LOONS have the microphone! You just have to know we are up that proverbial creek when you give a brief listen to old spittle Matthews and watch him dance his way around to kiss Bush's ass every day. It was amazing to listen to him proclaim the "dramatic" announcement by Bush that he'd said something "wrong" in the pc last evening. Yeah, that was dramatic only in the pain it caused DER LEADER to have to speak the rehearsed words!

Posted by: Dancer on May 26, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I'm no fan of the Bushies, but let's not deny that the Iranian government is a serious security problem. If talks are drawn out over the next couple of years, it'll likely be dropped in the lap of the next President, possibly Hillary, to deal with an unhinged Iranian regime ankling for a nuclear weapon. Don't doubt for a second that she wouldn't launch a military attack on Iran if she was left with no other option.

Posted by: JohnnyTremaine on May 26, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Bad Jim:

"Let us all stop listening to the loons and replying to the bedwetters.

Note also that our failure to attack the Soviet Union resulted in the catastrophe that the wingnuts used to warn us about ... only not in this universe."

Republished verbatim...
because, sometimes things need to be said twice.

Posted by: koreyel on May 26, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Shortest Birkel: Mommy, you let my meds run out!

Posted by: doesn't matter on May 26, 2006 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

I certainly share Brian Boru's puzzlement over this:

" ....Just yesterday the Democratic nominee for president ..."

Krauthammer's contempt for democratic principles is a given but I wasn't aware we'd ceded away the entire process - Joe Liberman & Co. notwithstanding.

Let the electorate eat cake. The coup must go on?

Posted by: CFShep on May 26, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

From Karen Kwiatowski's Salon article "The New Pentagon Papers":

...While often accused of creating intelligence, I saw only two apparent products of the [Office of Special Plans]: war planning guidance for Rumsfeld, presumably impacting Central Command, and talking points on Iraq, WMD and terrorism. These internal talking points seemed to be a mlange crafted from obvious past observation and intelligence bits and pieces of dubious origin. They were propagandistic in style, and all desk officers were ordered to use them verbatim in the preparation of any material prepared for higher-ups and people outside the Pentagon...
...
...I suspected, from reading Charles Krauthammer, a neoconservative columnist for the Washington Post, and the Weekly Standard, and hearing a Cheney speech or two, that these talking points left the building on occasion.

http://dir.salon.com/story/opinion/feature/2004/03/10/osp_moveon/index.html

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

This offer from Iran presents Dubya and the posse with a real problem. To defuse the Iranian challenge, Dubya needs to actually talk with them and have the talks collapse. Only that would convince our allies that we've gone the extra mile only to find the Iranians intransigent at the end of the journey.

Only one glitch exists in that scenario. How likely and possible will it be to arrange a meeting with the Iranians before the November elections? Summer fast approaches and that always slows down diplomatic efforts. Hell, Dubya's gonna go on vacation in July and be incommunicado for two months. Other crises are likely to intervene as well, further delaying the arranging of the US-Iran Summit.

However, Dubya needs the crisis before the election. Otherwise, he and Rove know they're toast in the fall mid-term elections. The Iranian offer prevents them from just playing the war card (as they did in 2002) because that will also carbonize them. Too bad playing only politics all of the time usually ultimately catches up with incompetents.

Posted by: PrahaPartizan on May 26, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Ms. Rice. Go here: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/
Read this:

>>Randolph T. Holhut:
'My twenty-five minutes with Condoleezza Rice'
Posted on Thursday, May 25 @ 10:22:50 EDT (5835 reads)
Randolph T. Holhut

DUMMERSTON, Vt. - What does evil look like?

Evil wears a black designer suit and is trailed by a gaggle of aides and security personnel.

Evil doesn't enter a room until the bomb sniffing dog has made a pass and the guys with the nice suits and earpieces know exactly who is inside waiting.

Evil keeps a tight schedule, and doesn't linger in the room any longer than necessary.

Evil recites the talking points and doesn't allow you to get a word in edgewise.

Evil invites you to come to one of the fanciest hotels in the world on a Sunday afternoon to get lied to.

If ever there was an illustration of Hannah Arendt's phrase, "the banality of evil," it was my sitting in a dimly lit room at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston on May 21 to have a brief audience with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Posted by: CFShep on May 26, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer's the one who needs meds. Maybe he should diagnose himself instead of accusing everyone else of being dangerous or insane or pathologically whatever he finds convenient to call his enemies this week (coughPROJECTIONcough).

And until I hear he's got a kid in Iraq, he can shut the fuck up about Iraq *or* Iran.

Posted by: Chris on May 26, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

I forgot one of the good points from Kwiatowski's article:

...The talking points included statements about Saddam Hussein's proclivity for using chemical weapons against his own citizens and neighbors, his existing relations with terrorists based on a member of al-Qaida reportedly receiving medical care in Baghdad, his widely publicized aid to the Palestinians, and general indications of an aggressive viability in Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program and his ongoing efforts to use them against his neighbors or give them to al-Qaida style groups. The talking points said he was threatening his neighbors and was a serious threat to the U.S., too.

So that pretty much includes all the hard sell points (falsehoods) for the war doesn't it?

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

David Igantius actually said "unmatched military power" and you guys don't have a problem with that? I thought you've been trying to convince us for four years now that our military is losing to the insurgency in Iraq. I guess when the military is only used as a threat are we "unmatched" but when actually deployed they become criminal and incompetent. Just trying to figure out your insane mindset.

Also, it's obvious to me and apparently most of the radical Muslim world that you really don't understand this enemy. "Openness" to them is weakness. Not having the fortitude to stay in the fight, is weakness. Guess what they think of you and why do you suppose much of the dialogue that emanates from the radicals echos much of what the far left say on a daily basis. They're playing on your weakness.

Posted by: Jay on May 26, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

JJ I will remind you of the 17 cease-fire resolution violations over a twelve year imposed on Iraq by your beloved UN in which the agreement stated that if any one of the resolutions were violated, the allies reserved the right to continue hostilities towards the Iraqi regime. Did your little lefty mind forget that one?

Posted by: Jay on May 26, 2006 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

CFShep has taken an early lead in todays Drama Queen contest. Well done CF.

Posted by: Jay on May 26, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

I don't love the UN. It's just a forum.

I'm just reporting the facts. We report. You decide.

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

obviously, if you're cool with ahmadinejad and the turbans having a bomb, that's another thing entirely - chat away.

And the turbans?

You're warped. Go away.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on May 26, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

CFShep has taken an early lead in todays Drama Queen contest. Well done CF.
Posted by: Jay

(With best Jack Benny inflection and eye roll)

Well!

What, no flowers, Cut&Run?

p.s. That should be 'today's'.

Posted by: CFShep on May 26, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans like Krauthammer seem inclined to want to handicap the United States by refusing to use all the tools in the US toolbox.

The US has a potentially great and varied toolbox on foreign policy issues, and the previous generation of Republicans joined with Democrats in a consensus that all the appropriate tools should be used to advance the interests of the United States. But that was then.

By limiting the tools we are willing to use, Republicans like Krauthammer make US policy less effective, not more effective.

Posted by: vanessa on May 26, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Hugh Hewitt is blogging about Ahmadinajad's letter to President Bush.

You can read the entire letter at the Council on Foreign Relations web site. Hewitt read the letter in its entirety on yesterday's show.

Hewitt says Ahmadinajad is working on a letter that he will send to the Pope in the next few days.

Hewitt thinks Ahmadinajad is more interested in lecturing than talking.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on May 26, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

and previous dialogue with radical regimes has been sooooo effective............

Posted by: Jay on May 26, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin - have you read Ahmadinejad's letter?

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on May 26, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

and previous dialogue with radical regimes has been sooooo effective............

Soviet. Union.

Posted by: Kleb on May 26, 2006 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer's a war-mongering Zionist. That's all you need to know. His loyalites are not primarily to America. He is a traitor to our country, and should be hung by the neck until dead.

Posted by: brewmn on May 26, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

JJ I will remind you of the 17 cease-fire resolution violations over a twelve year imposed on Iraq by your beloved UN in which the agreement stated that if any one of the resolutions were violated, the allies reserved the right to continue hostilities towards the Iraqi regime.

Yes, the UN, in the person of the United Nations Security Council, reserved the right to determine if the agreement was violated. The United States, though, did not act under UN auspices -- Bush famously flip-flopped on whether he would seek an authorization vote in the Security Council. The US, by itself, has no legal authority to enforce UN resolutions.

Posted by: Stefan on May 26, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

whilst reluctant to go straight to bombing right now, i'm yet to hear of a strategy that doesn't get us there eventually, ie, that actually prevents the mullahs from getting what they wknow they need to cement their grip on power.

What on earth does that mean, "cement their grip on power"? They are in power already and have been for the last 27 years -- they don't need their grip cemented.

Posted by: Stefan on May 26, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad we don't have the moral high-ground anymore and too bad we don't have the moral authority to tell anyone else they can't have the weapons we have.

I really don't know where we get off telling them they can't have nukes, when we let the Pakis have them and we cover for Israel.

Posted by: lilybart on May 26, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

and previous dialogue with radical regimes has been sooooo effective............

Well, the Reagan Administration traded arms for hostages with Iran in the 1980s....so according to the Republicans we can negotiate with Iran to give them weapons, but we can't negotiate to prevent them from getting weapons?

Posted by: Stefan on May 26, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I think Charles got his last name from the fact that his brain consists of hammered saurkraut.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on May 26, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see brewmn, wasn't it just the other day the left was crying about Khaled al-Masri and the violation of his civil rights, due process and fourth amendment rights? Yet you would like to hang Krauthammer based on you opinion? You don't consider that a violation of civil rights?

Stefan, I wonder why Germany and France thwarted the efforts to enforce the UN resolutions? Can you say Oil-for-food scandal, dumbshit. "The US has no legal atuhority to enforce UN resolutions", if it wasn't for the US, there would be no UN. dumbshit to the second power.

And finally kleb, can you say military build up that ended the cold war? Can you say deficit spending to accomplish that military build up that Reagan initiated to end the cold war that the left constantly whines about? Dialogue had nothing to do with it. Had you forgotten that already? dumbershit.

Posted by: Jay on May 26, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Hugh Hewitt is blogging about...

Hewitt read...

Hewitt says...

Hewitt thinks...

Sorry, this thread is about unhinged, dishonest right-wing hack Charles Krauthammer. What unhinged, dishonest right-wing hack Hewitt thinks is, as usual, of little interest.

Although perhaps Frequency Kenneth/Down Goes Frazier/etc. tipped his hand as to his multiple identities...perhaps they're Hewitt sock puppets. ;)

Posted by: Gregory on May 26, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

It was January 1980, the day Reagan took office that Iran released the hostages. Just FYI.

Posted by: Jay on May 26, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

It's a pity past US administrations never went to war with the evil, radical Soviet Union and enacted regime change instead of listening to pussies like George Kennan.

Posted by: Botecelli on May 26, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Jay!=SunTzu

Posted by: someOtherClown on May 26, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I really don't know where we get off telling them they can't have nukes, when we let the Pakis have them and we cover for Israel.

I've made this point before, but any Iranian leader who wasn't actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons would be, in some sense, derelict. Consider Iran's strategic situation from Iran's point of view -- to its west, nuclear armed Israel, to its north, nuclear armed Russia, to its east, nuclear armed Pakistan, India, and China, and on its Afghan and Iraq borders the nuclear armed United States, which is also cruising nuclear submarines up and down the Persian Gulf. Iran is a medium-sized country sitting on top of oil reserves, reserves which others would like to get their hands on, in a very volatile and dangerous region. Any realistic assessment of the situation has to take into account the fact that Iran quite probably genuinely feels the need for nuclear weapons to protect itself.

Posted by: Stefan on May 26, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I forget, when did we bomb the USSR?

Posted by: Kleb on May 26, 2006 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Have any of you Dems actually read Ahmadinajad's letter??

Posted by: Moon over Miami on May 26, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

And while we're at it, why the fuck do wingers assume "dialogue" (or for that matter "civil rights") means that we want to hang around a campfire and sing Kumbaya and hold hands and go to a nice group psychotherapy session together.

It just means don't fucking kill anybody unless you absolutely have to.

Posted by: Kleb on May 26, 2006 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

It was January 1980, the day Reagan took office that Iran released the hostages. Just FYI.

The arms-for-hostage scandal was a trade of weapons for hostages taken in Beirut in the mid-1980s. Just FYI.

The Iran-Contra Affair was the biggest political scandal in the United States during the 1980s. It involved several members of the Reagan Administration who in 1986 helped sell arms to Iran, an avowed enemy, and used the proceeds to fund the Contras, a right-wing guerrilla group in Nicaragua....in 1983, members of Al-Dawa ("The Call"), a pro-Iranian militant organization, were imprisoned for their part in a series of truck bombs in Kuwait. In response to the imprisonment, an ally of Al-Dawa, Hezbollah took thirty hostages, six of whom were American. Hezbollah demanded the release of the prisoners for these hostages. Members of the Reagan administration believed that by selling arms to Iran, Iran would influence the Hezbollah kidnappers in Lebanon to release their hostages....Both the sale of weapons to Iran and the funding of the Contras violated stated administration policy and legislation passed by the Congress, known as the "Boland Amendment." The arms sale to Iran began before the first United States hostage was taken, and ended a long time after the last hostage was released.

www.wikipedia.org

Posted by: Stefan on May 26, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

It's a pity past US administrations never went to war with the evil, radical Soviet Union and enacted regime change instead of listening to pussies like George Kennan.

Yes, and why are we just sitting around instead of going to war with evil, radical China?

Oh, right...they own all our debt.

Posted by: Stefan on May 26, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, right...they own all our debt.

Yeah, you've got to be able to fund the next war du jour.

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

It was January 1980, the day Reagan took office that Iran released the hostages. Just FYI.
Posted by: Jay

Jay proves once again he is a know-nothing fuck-twit. Carry on, Jay.

Posted by: ckelly on May 26, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

One hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the most skillful. Seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful.

Posted by: someOtherClown on May 26, 2006 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, right...they own all our debt.


But think of the upside: all that cheap shit one can buy at Walmart.

Posted by: Botecelli on May 26, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Have any of you Dems actually read Ahmadinajad's letter??

I have. Here are some excerpts:

"Of course Saddam was a murderous dictator. But the war was not waged to topple him, the announced goal of the war was to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction. He was toppled along the way towards another goal; nevertheless the people of the region are happy about it. I point out that throughout the many years of the imposed war on Iran Saddam was supported by the West."

"Dont Latin Americans have the right to ask why their elected governments are being opposed and coup leaders supported? Or, Why must they constantly be threatened and live in fear?"

"The people of Africa are hardworking, creative and talented. They can play an important and valuable role in providing for the needs of humanity and contribute to its material and spiritual progress. Poverty and hardship in large parts of Africa are preventing this from happening. Dont they have the right to ask why their enormous wealth including minerals is being looted, despite the fact that they need it more than others?"

"Again, do such actions correspond to the teachings of Christ and the tenets of human rights? "

"September Eleven was a horrendous incident. The killing of innocents is deplorable and appalling in any part of the world. Our government immediately declared its disgust with the perpetrators and offered its condolences to the bereaved and expressed its sympathies."

"In countries around the world, citizens provide for the expenses of governments so that their governments in turn are able to serve them.

The question here is 'what has the hundreds of billions of dollars, spent every year to pay for the Iraqi campaign, produced for the citizens?' "

"The people will scrutinize our presidencies.

Did we mange to bring peace, security and prosperity for the people or insecurity and unemployment?

Did we intend to establish justice or just supported especial interest groups, and by forcing many people to live in poverty and hardship, made a few people rich and powerful -- thus trading the approval of the people and the Almighty with theirs?

Did we defend the rights of the underprivileged or ignore them?

Did we defend the rights of all people around the world or imposed wars on them, interfered illegally in their affairs, established hellish prisons and incarcerated some of them?

Did we bring the world peace and security or raised the specter of intimidation and threats?

Did we tell the truth to our nation and others around the world or presented an inverted version of it? "

Read it all here. Of course, there's plenty of ridiculous shit in there, but I think it shows that he's a thoughtful person - not at all the "madman" we're presented.

Posted by: exasperated on May 26, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

"Let's see brewmn, wasn't it just the other day the left was crying about Khaled al-Masri and the violation of his civil rights, due process and fourth amendment rights? Yet you would like to hang Krauthammer based on you opinion? You don't consider that a violation of civil rights?"

Since you don't believe in civil rights, why do you care? You should be supporting me in my crusade to have Krauthammer hanged.

Posted by: brewmn on May 26, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I stopped listening to Krauthammer years ago. But it's truly dismaying that morally and intellectually bankrupt shills like him (and Kristol, and Bennett, and Brooks, and...) still have the speaking platforms that they do. Supposedly, the invisible hand of the market will always reward performance and punish failure, but on the matter of Iraq, these clowns have been outrageously wrong about pretty much everything -- and the media organs still behave as though their pompous ventings are worth paying attention to.

Posted by: sglover on May 26, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who believes that Iran will give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons under the influence of negotiations is a fool of the highest order. There are only two options: either (1) prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran or (2) use force to prevent Iran from obtaining them. However, option (2) is only a stopgap measure since, eventually, more and more countries, friendly and otherwise, will develop nuclear weapons and you cannot stop them all. I am a bit of a fatalist on the subject since I expect at least one city somewhere in the Western world to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon within the next 50 years.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on May 26, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

All right Yancey, I will call your one city and raise you two.

Gee, this foreign policy analysis is fun.

Posted by: Botecelli on May 26, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

This thread has been a really anemic showing by the trolls. Come on, trolls. Defend Krauthammer. Tell us that he did his country a service in the runup to the Iraq War. And that now he's doing us a service in the runup to the Iran War. Hellooo? Wingnut Internet, where are you?

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

The US, Iran and the world will be much better off if the US and Iran became allies instead of combatants. Iran's democracy, although derided because of control by the mullahs in the US, is no worse than our own, which is controlled by the Electoral College (the established wealthy). Those who want confrontation and conflict should be exposed as sadists, war profiteers and ideological bigots or hysterical North Easterners.

Posted by: Powerpuff on May 26, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an interesting item from another source:

On Friday, Turkey hosted a multinational exercise to practice intercepting weapons materials before they reach a country like Iran, Turkey's neighbor. Warships from the United States, Turkey, France and Portugal participated in the maneuvers, said to be the largest so far of the Proliferation Security Initiative, or PSI, a program started in 2003 by U.S. President George W. Bush.

The whole thing can be found at Rantburg, an article by AP describing a Turkish customs report of transshipment of "dual use" and military technologies to Iran.

If there are to be talks with Iran, this might be the first topic of the talks. And, of course, the PSI should be involved: it is another item of evidence that Bush's foreign policy "failure" is substantially different from "utter failure". I suppose it's regrettable there are no Spanish, Italian or Greek warships involved. Perhaps "great diplomacy" might have made this a NATO exercise, or perhaps not. Curious that France is in the mix.

Posted by: republicrat on May 26, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

America's best strategy is to play to its strengths which are the open exchange of ideas, backed up by unmatched military power.

I am surprised. Do you support the maintenance of America's "unmatched military power"?

Is an open exchange of ideas with Iran possible? It would seem to be more a secret exchange of ideas that none of the Iranians ever hear of. I don't object, but let's also be realistic: the mullahs have never shown openness to any ideas but a narrow Islamism, and they have on the whole become more closed and oppressive over their time in power.

The only goal that is likely of attainment is to demonstrate to our potential future allies that we have always pusued every peaceful option until some ghastly choice is forced.

Posted by: republicrat on May 26, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

...we have always pusued every peaceful option until some ghastly choice is forced.

Or until we can fix the facts around the policy.


Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

And preferably before the mid-term elections.

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

To this cynical bait-and-switch, there can be no American response other than No. Absolutely not.

Why do you consider that to be "hysterical agitprop", as opposed, for instance, to "wrong"? surely it's worth pointing out that communications with Iran have a high probability of being futile.

Posted by: republicrat on May 26, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what Krauthammer's definition of diplomacy is. His unalloyed allegiance to Isarel beclouds his judgement. He should write for the Israeli papers rather than for the news media in this country...Oops, I stand corrected.... in a prozy way, he is already writing for those Isreli papers.

Posted by: Frank on May 26, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Actutally, it all comes down to the Ignatius quote "there is no guarantee that a policy of engagement will work."

Hold on there, Tonto. The question of the age is whether WWII was finally what it took to prove to First World military powers that there was really no upside to war with another First World military power. I am in the camp that that is exactly what WWII proved.

Ironically, how much of that can be ascribed to the existence of nuclear bombs? When it comes to whether Germany will invade France again or whether Russia will annex the Czech republic, its hard to say, but if war is prevented, who cares.

Now comes the issue of First World vs. Second or Third world (funny, you never hear of the "second world"). Perhaps we needed the Iraq war to prove that, notwithstanding the fact that the United States, of course, COULD invade a country like Iraq, that just because we COULD DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE UPSIDE WAS WORTH IT.

Iran is really yet another test.

When people list the options, though, IMO too little weight is given to what "engagement" brings.

I am hard pressed to come up with any long term situation in which "engagement" with another country has not resulted in a corresponding reduction in tension.

Yet, compared with this success, look at how expensive and successful embargos and military engagements are.

Posted by: hank on May 26, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't we open in our negotiations with Sudan?

http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=1&id=5066

Posted by: republicrat on May 26, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer doesn't want peace with Iran. He doesn't even want Iran to stop its uranium enrichment -- at least, that's not his primary goal. He wants to goad the US into attacking Iran because he believes this is in the interests of Israel.

After all, it worked with Iraq.

Posted by: Laney on May 26, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Is an open exchange of ideas with Iran possible? It would seem to be more a secret exchange of ideas that none of the Iranians ever hear of. I don't object, but let's also be realistic: the mullahs have never shown openness to any ideas but a narrow Islamism, and they have on the whole become more closed and oppressive over their time in power.

The only goal that is likely of attainment is to demonstrate to our potential future allies that we have always pusued every peaceful option until some ghastly choice is forced."

Not to put too fine a point on it, but you don't know what the fuck you are talking about. In early 2003, Iran approached us with a comprehensive agenda for negotiations, including strict monitoring of their nuclear energy program and moderation of their stance towards Israel, only to have the hawks in the Bush administration dismiss it out of hand. They were apparently priming for war with Iran even then, and rejecting any hope of a negotiated solution.

You need to get your information somewhere other than Fox News, fella. You might learn something other than the ability to parrot the administraion's propaganda.

Posted by: brewmn on May 26, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

surely it's worth pointing out that communications with Iran have a high probability of being futile.

Can you read? That's not what Krauthammer said.

What makes it hysterical, imo, is Krauthammers record of intemperate, intolerant and paranoid opinionating.

Posted by: obscure on May 26, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Just yesterday the world was excoriating the Bush administration for its unilateralism ... Just yesterday the Democratic nominee for president attacked President Bush's foreign policy precisely for refusing to consult with, listen to and work with "the allies."

He's using the literary "yesterday", i.e. "not all that long ago". He means Kerry during the 2004 campaign.

It's his way of making sure we know who he means when he says, without attribution, that Bush is being pressured to be unilateral. It's quite the disingenuous columnist trick, up there with a seal balancing a ball on its nose.

Posted by: Dan Hartung on May 26, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

In early 2003, Iran approached us with a comprehensive agenda for negotiations, including strict monitoring of their nuclear energy program and moderation of their stance towards Israel, only to have the hawks in the Bush administration dismiss it out of hand.

You mean something like the Ahmedinejad letter? Who, exactly, approached whom?

I support open talks. However, I do not regard people who oppose them as obviously wrong. There are times when negotiations work to the enemy's advantage. This might be one of them, and Krauthammer might be right.

Posted by: republicrat on May 26, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ha Krapslinger (oops I mean Krauthammer) ever been correct in his analysis???

His brain works almost as well as his legs.

Posted by: natural cynic on May 26, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Mark my words."
At least he didn't say make no mistake. I think Charlie needs to read better books.

Republicrat:
You write, sarcastically, I think: "You mean something like the Ahmedinejad letter? Who, exactly, approached whom?"
Are you aware of the second letter that came with Ahmedinejad's letter, from the Supreme Leader/Ayatollah (can't remember his name or exact title) saying that he wanted to negotiate because nuclear weapons are against his religious beliefs? This man is far more powerful than the President, who got elected in the first place b/c the Iranians were pissed off about Bush's attempts to influence their election.
I'm under no illusions about the benignity of the various branches of the Iranian government. Like you, I favor talks on a "trust but verify", or even a "verify because you mistrust" basis. Ordinarily, I also agree with you about not dismissing those who disagree out of hand, but Krauthammer is, at least in terms of politics and foreign policy, barking mad and functionally retarded. Like his president. Bushian/Krauthammerian pseudo-macho swagger may be viscerally satisfying, but it doesn't have real good results.

Posted by: Jim on May 26, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

It has been sad watching Charles' grip on reality slowly loosen and crack. This has nothing to do with his ideology, he is simply going insane.

I have no idea why anyone would pay him at this point in the progression.

Posted by: Mark on May 26, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Krauthammer is really losing his marbles. Wonder why the Post keeps him employed.

How much garbage can one man regurgitate? Thankfully, Ignatius' piece was on the same web page blob, above the Krauthammer's in bolder letters. Having seen him throw up all over us once in Iraq, does he really think we want to see him vomit twice?

Let's Send Charles to fight in Iraq. Wounded soldiers are going back; there must be something even he can do to help protect the troops he sent to war? I can sort of see him pawing the ground like a rat looking for IED's instead of the WMD's they promised us.

Posted by: Martin on May 26, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat: ...the mullahs have never shown openness to any ideas but a narrow Islamism...

That is a common but incorrect interpretation prevalent in the West. Tehran is if anything driven as much or more by practical matters of state than religious ideology. Case in point (emphasis added):

Due to persistent conflicts between the parliament and the Council of Guardians, Ayatollah Khomeini ruled in 1988 that the interests of state ranked above all ordinances that were derived or commanded by Allah.

The Expediency Council was established to institutionalize this principle. Its powers include:

  • Mediating between parliament and the Council of Guardians on disputed legislation

  • Advising the Leader on broad policies of the state

Posted by: has407 on May 26, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

has407: Ayatollah Khomeini ruled in 1988 that the interests of state ranked above all ordinances that were derived or commanded by Allah.

Nice post. But has it actually worked that way? In practice the Council of Guardians overrules everyone, doesn't it?

Posted by: republicrat on May 27, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

"You mean something like the Ahmedinejad letter? Who, exactly, approached whom?"

I would direct you to read the article discussing it in American Prospect online, instead of making snide excuses for the refusal of the Bush administration to engage in diplomacy in a way where war might be avoided.

My argument is that these bastards don't want diplomacy to work. They want a war. You can talk about the supposed mendacity of the Iranians all you want. But if we do engage in military action against them, it will not be because of anything the Iranians have or haven't done.

Posted by: brewmn on May 27, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

republicrat -- By any external observation, the answer is no> The Expediency Council has, and continues to, exert significant influence. It was instituted specifically (as far as any external observer can determine) to deal with the issues--primarily religious issues raised by the Council of Guardians--that potentially put the State at risk; I see little that has changed.

While analysis at a distance is always difficult, I would expect that if the Expediency Council were being deprecated, we would see its leadership being retired, repudiated, or keeping a low profile. Yet that does not appear to be the case (e.g., the recent pronouncement allowing women to attend soccer matches).

That Rafsanjani maintains the chair of the Expediency Council--and that the Council's powers have been expanded since late 2005--seems extremely significant. He is, by any measure, a student of realpolitik.

Posted by: has407 on May 27, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

to my friend who calls me 'warped'

yes, 'turbans'. all my iranian friends (some of whom would rather self-identify as persians) call the mullahs 'turbans', as do both my pakistani friends, when they're not calling the religious nutters 'beards'. get over it. i presume you're all over the kanye west fansites denouncing his use of the word 'nigger'.

as for iran generally: the country is governed by a lunatic, misogynist, homophobic, racist, anti-human, eschatological cult. why give these evil fuckers an inch? or rather, not an inch, why give them a NUCLEAR BOMB? all you soi-disant liberals should take a moment to reflect upon the fact you seem to have less faith in the american system of governance (ie, sometimes people you don't like win elections) than the system cooked up by the lousy, filthy cheating bastards in iran.

and those who think that ahmadinejad won an election should simply learn how to use google: the fact that over 2000 reformist candidates were prevented from running at all was the thing that first aroused my suspicions.

also, go speak to some iranians in your neighborhood (i have quite a few iranian relations and friends, so it's not too hard for me) and ask them how they feel about a/nejad. one bit of advice: stand back while you do so.

Posted by: lucretius on May 27, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

dear has407

does the fact that rafsanjani speculated about the fact that the nuclear destruction of tel aviv would be viable, because israeli retaliation could only 'damage' the islamic world affect your view of him as a 'realpoliker'?

whay not take them at face value?

Posted by: lucretius on May 27, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

lucretius -- It might change my view if that was the only data point. But it's not.

Posted by: has407 on May 27, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

has407 on May 27, 2006 at 1:10 AM

I think that's another constructive and informative comment. A senior cleric in Qom has been publicly denouncing the mullahs for abandoning some of the more democratic policies of Khomeini, but there have also been, as you mentioned, more liberal gestures.

At the time of the WTC bombings I had a more positive attitude toward Iran. I feel as though Ahmedinejad has ended the weak efforts of Khatami to liberalize politics.

Posted by: republicrat on May 27, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat -- Was Khatami doomed to failure by the intransigent conservatives in Tehran, or by intransigent conservatives in the West? Unfortunately we'll never know the answer to that question.

However, I think it's a mistake to discount Tehran's self-interest, specifically the desire to remain in power, which potentially offers levers that are unavailable or ineffective with religious zealots.

Is the quid-pro-quo for avoiding war and nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that the regime in Tehran remains in power? Is that possible or acceptable? Is it better or worse than the alternatives? Maybe. In any case, it's worth consideration, but only possible if we can get beyond the "axis of evil" rhetoric.

Posted by: has407 on May 27, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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