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Tilting at Windmills

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July 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NORTH KOREA'S BOMBS....White House spokesman Tony Snow offered up an analysis of Bill Clinton's policy toward North Korea today:

I understand what the Clinton administration wanted to do. They wanted to talk reason to the government of Pyongyang, and they engaged in bilateral conversations. And Bill Richardson went with flowers and chocolates...and many other inducements for the "Dear Leader" to try to agree not to develop nuclear weapons, and it failed....We've learned from that mistake.

Indeed. But perhaps some facts are in order here. North Korea first began reprocessing plutonium during the administration of George Bush Sr. and may even have built one or two nuclear bombs during that period. Then, in 1994, they began preparations to remove plutonium fuel rods from their storage site, expel international weapons inspectors, and build more bombs. Clinton threatened the North Koreans with war if they went down this road, and then, after sending Jimmy Carter to Pyongyang for negotiations, signed a deal to keep North Korea's plutonium under international control in return for the delivery of two light water nuclear reactors, shipments of heavy fuel oil, and normalization of relations.

For the next six years that agreement held together and North Korea built no more bombs. North Korea even made some promising overtures about missile development late in Clinton's term, but there was no time to conclude the negotiations and the Bush administration showed no interest in following up on anything that it associated with the Clinton era. Fred Kaplan tells the rest of the story in "Rolling Blunder" from our May 2004 issue:

On Oct. 4, 2002, officials from the U.S. State Department flew to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and confronted Kim Jong-il's foreign ministry with evidence that Kim had acquired centrifuges for processing highly enriched uranium, which could be used for building nuclear weapons. To the Americans' surprise, the North Koreans conceded. It was an unsettling revelation, coming just as the Bush administration was gearing up for a confrontation with Iraq. This new threat wasn't imminent; processing uranium is a tedious task; Kim Jong-il was almost certainly years away from grinding enough of the stuff to make an atomic bomb.

But the North Koreans had another route to nuclear weapons a stash of radioactive fuel rods, taken a decade earlier from its nuclear power plant in Yongbyon. These rods could be processed into plutonium and, from that, into A-bombs not in years but in months. Thanks to an agreement brokered by the Clinton administration, the rods were locked in a storage facility under the monitoring of international weapons-inspectors. Common sense dictated that whatever it did about the centrifuges the Bush administration should do everything possible to keep the fuel rods locked up.

Unfortunately, common sense was in short supply.

Read the rest to get the whole story. And then ask yourself just who it was who really failed here.

Kevin Drum 6:17 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (149)

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Comments
White House spokesman Tony Snow offered up an analysis of Bill Clinton's policy toward North Korea today

"Tony Snow"..."analysis". Surely this is some kind of joke?

Posted by: cmdicely on July 10, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I calculate Bill Clinton as having been out of office now for 1,997 days as of today - but I suspect the GOP will be blaming him for everything bad for the next 2 decades or so.

(Then magically he'll become another JFK/Truman/FDR to the Republicans - in 2032 GOP Spinmeisters will be saying "The Democrat candidate for this year's election should be more like Bill Clinton - the great Democrat who balanced the budget and made government smaller.")

Posted by: Robert on July 10, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

The North Koreans expelled the international inspectors, broke the locks on the fuel rods, loaded them onto a truck, and drove them to a nearby reprocessing facility, to be converted into bomb-grade plutonium.

According to the left's precedent, the Bush administration should have tried to get 17 UN resolutions while the truck was being moved, then permission from France to enforce them, then wait two years to move on it, to give North Korea time to comply.

Once again, after being criticized for being too unilateral in the multilateral Iraq war, Bush is then criticized by the same critics for not being unilateral enough. Amazing.

Posted by: American Hawk on July 10, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

The administration wasn't interested because the solution to the Korean situation wasn't military, and because the Koreans aren't Muslim.

Posted by: bad Jim on July 10, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

American Chickenhawk nailed it!!

Posted by: Wonderin on July 10, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK
The administration wasn't interested because the solution to the Korean situation wasn't military, and because the Koreans aren't Muslim.

I thought it was that Korea wasn't swimming on a sea of oil.

I mean, that's what Paul Wolfowitz said the difference was.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 10, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

And then according to the right's precedent, the Bush administration should have invaded Paraguay.

Posted by: Mo MacArbie on July 10, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how easy it is to go back and document what was going on during the Bush I and Clinton administrations. Good policy or not, these guys were at least nominally transparent. Why is it so hard to figure out what the hell the Bush Admin has been up to?

Posted by: enozinho on July 10, 2006 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

I loved the part in the news briefing where Tony Snow says that pre-emption now includes diplomacy. Of course, no one followed up and pointed how ridiculous that statement is.

Tony Snow:

What you're seeing here -- and we talked about this a little bit this morning -- preemption is not merely a military doctrine, it's also a diplomatic doctrine.

From the Brookings Institution (Polict Brief #113, December, 2002)

Preemption, defined as the anticipatory use of force in the face of an imminent attack, has long been accepted as legitimate and appropriate under international law.

Posted by: The Bobs on July 10, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

But perhaps some facts are in order here.

We can't type facts up as fast as they spit lies out, unfortunately.

Posted by: latts on July 10, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

No one could have expected that Kim Jong-il would take his stash of radioactive fuel rods and process them into plutonium.

Posted by: Condi on July 10, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Dance, Tony you little bitch, dance faster!

Banana Daquiri, beeeyatch!

Posted by: EF on July 10, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

You Commie-loving losers! If up to you, Al would have to hide under his bed all day long!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on July 10, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

"I did not (thump) have (thump) sex (thump) with that woman, Ms Lewinsky."

Posted by: The Conscience of A Liberal on July 10, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK
I loved the part in the news briefing where Tony Snow says that pre-emption now includes diplomacy.

The Bush Administration has now completely redefined preemption into meaninglessness.

First (see, Iraq) they redefined to mean an anticipatory attack even without an imminent threat.

Now they have further redefined to include diplomacy, rather than attacks.

So, apparently, it now means any military or diplomatic response to any nation that is or is not posing an imminent threat.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 10, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

"I did not (thump) have (thump) sex (thump) with that woman, Ms Lewinsky."

Boy do I miss those days. Clinton could gat a blow job AND contain NK. Bush can't even eat a pretzel without choking, let alone eat one while containing NK.

Posted by: Mike S on July 10, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

My question - did the North Koreans begin uranium enrichment before or after the US began reneging on it's end of the agreement?
Or perhaps a better question - would we be in this position if certain elements in the U.S. government hadn't prevented the light water reactors from being completed?

"Hans Brix?! What the fuck is he doing here? You know how fucking busy I am?"

Posted by: kenga on July 10, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

How is preempting a threat through diplomacy "meaningless?"

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK
How is preempting a threat through diplomacy "meaningless?"

Defusing a threat with diplomacy is not meaningless.

Using the word "preemption", which has a specific definition in the context of foreign affairs, to mean a whole bunch of things other than attack in response to imminent threat as a means of stopping the threat renders the word "preemption" increasingly meaningless.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 10, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

How is preempting a threat through diplomacy "meaningless?"

It's not meaningless. It's appeasment you terrorist -loving sissy. We have to fight them there! Who do you love more, Kim Jong-il or America?

Posted by: enozinho on July 10, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Damn intrusive liberal democrats. They feel so entitled to the truth about Presidential actions with regard to nuclear threats.

Damn intrusive conservative republicans. They feel so entitled to the truth about Democratic Presidential sex acts.

A Presdent jes can't git away with nutin nowadays.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on July 10, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

UNFAIR TO CLINTON AND BUSH II.

It's not a matter of who failed but what failed. What failed was bilateral negotiations that left us one option, i.e., if North Korea breaks the deal and enjoys their side of it unilaterally, we have the moral high ground to invade (or not as practicality dictates). So Clinton is not to blame per se and Tony Snow did not blame him; he blamed bilateral talks with no enforcement options.

We need a deal-deal. If you remember (I realize you are Regressive-Democrats and like to ignore history, but . . .) the only reason there is a North Korea is that China wanted North Korea to continue to exist and intervened in our conquest of North Korea in the Korean War (which is still technically on-going). So, we need a deal Russia and China have "quasi-agreed" to also. We need a deal where, should North Korea break it, we can have our way with them without interference. If we don't have a deal like that, what is the point? It will be the same, we give them things to merely stealthfully and perhaps somewhat more slowly develop their continued ICBM-WMD program.

And you Regressive-Democrat surrender-monkeys; we have to employ the military option in North Korea, hopefully with our friends the Japanese newly militarized and ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us; whichever other allies, true allies, like Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, too.

And, Iraq was not a mistake, nor by historical standards is it (and Afghanistan) anything other than a slightly flawed military masterpiece.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on July 10, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

We need a deal where, should North Korea break it, we can have our way with them without interference.

1997 days into the Bush presidency. . . where oh where is the "deal" that lets us have our way with North Korea?

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on July 10, 2006 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

That's so sad. And it makes me glad I have a life.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on July 10, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

we have to employ the military option in North Korea, hopefully with our friends the Japanese newly militarized and ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us;

Who knew psych wards had internets?

Posted by: enozinho on July 10, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

We need a deal where, should North Korea break it, we can have our way with them without interference.

Yeah idiot, we're sure having our way with Iraq. And who is this "we" white man? Somehow I doubt you're typing this crap from the front lines of any battle.

Posted by: Another Bruce on July 10, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

It's all about the Clenis

Posted by: zAmboni on July 10, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

When Tony Snow states that the Clinton administration made a 'mistake', it should be read as, we recognize that it was a mistake in retrospect.

At the time (1994), both South Korea and Japan were adament in not wanting a war on the peninsula -- can't blame them for that. The Clinton administration's threat of war was a little hollow because of that, so he struck the best deal he could get. In retrospect it was a mistake because it gave the North Koreans an opportunity to pursue a bomb in secret, but at the time it was what we could do. I don't blame Clinton on this one; if I were president (relax) in those circumstances I would have done the same.

Now in 2002 we find out that the NKors have lied to us. Mr. Kaplan believes that we screwed up 1) by not stopping the transfer of fuel rods to the reprocessing facility, 2) being 'shrill' (his interpretation, of course) in our initial response, and 3) not fixing the problems on our side that Mr. Clinton also didn't fix -- normalization, the light-water reactor, etc.

You could dissect each point, and I disagree with Mr. Kaplan on each one. But he misses the larger point -- the NKors, from day one after the 1994 agreement, planned to renege and build bombs. We know this because of the lead time required. Far from 'initially keeping to its side of the bargain', we now know that they didn't.

Mr. Kaplan also complains that the Bush team didn't pursue negotiations properly. He then notes (correctly) that dealing with the NKors is extremely difficult ('Kim Jong-il is clearly one of the world's battier leaders'). In retrospect, the Clinton team also whiffed, since they signed an agreement that ended up broken. So it's silly to condemn the Bush team for clumsy negotiations unless you also want to condemn the Clinton team for the same (and again, I don't condemn the Clinton team).

We also know now that the 'sunshine policy' pursued by the South has been decidedly one-sided: the Skors have put up significant money, food aid, diplomatic forgiveness, etc., and the NKors have taken that without so much as a thank you. The appeasement policy of the South clearly has failed to modulate behavior.

And that leaves us what to do. We simply cannot go to war with the North unless there is a grave provocation -- doing so would condemn several million SKors to death within a day or two (15,000 artillery tubes trained on Seoul). Bilateral diplomacy hasn't worked. Appeasement by the SKors hasn't worked. The only remaining option is multi-lateral diplomacy combined with diplomatic and economic pressure. Whether that will work is doubtful, but that's what we have.

It requires rather more nuanced thinkinng than one ordinarily sees on the comment board at PA to get this, but perhaps a few of you will.

Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Defusing a threat with diplomacy is not meaningless.

The question I asked is "How is preempting a threat through diplomacy "meaningless?""

Using the word "preemption", which has a specific definition in the context of foreign affairs, ...

Really? Where may I find this alleged specific meaning in the context of foreign affairs described? Show it to me.

... to mean a whole bunch of things other than attack in response to imminent threat as a means of stopping the threat

To "preempt" does not mean to "attack in response to imminent threat as a means of stopping the threat" in either foreign policy or in any other context.

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

And Bill Richardson went with flowers and chocolates.

The Republicans also thought the Iraqis would greet the US soldiers with flowers.

What is this thing they have about flowers?

Posted by: Thinker on July 10, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's appeasment you terrorist -loving sissy

Oh, stop it, you big ol' drama queen, you.

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

I loved the part in the news briefing where Tony Snow says that pre-emption now includes diplomacy.

I'm applying this principle to dieting, writing a book on it, and in a year I will have made enough to retire....

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 10, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

There was an indepth discussion of this on Charlie Rose with diplomats that had worked on this for years. Essentially, they said that labeling Korea axis of evil was the impetus for all of this. Nothing was going to work short of a diplomatic apology that will never take place.

What they did not talk about: Bush called Kim Jong on international TV a "pigmy". I saw it; my jaw fell to the ground. We have never replayed it but it has been replayed around the world.

I was an army brat during the occupation times, as children we were lectured about being ambassadors of goodwill for our country. Bush has violated every tenet of diplomacy there is.

No one in our government wants to admit and acknowledge this gross violation of international relations. There are consequences for being so boorish and our country is paying for them.

Posted by: Yoduuuh on July 10, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK
Where may I find this alleged specific meaning in the context of foreign affairs described? Show it to me.

Um, okay. What do I win?

Further, that "preemption" in international affairs refers to the use of force, and that it has been understood to be legitimate only in the case of an "imminent threat", is recognized in George W. Bush's National Security Strategy, here (and Bush does not argue with this concept of legitimacy, though he calls for a more expansive understanding of imminent threats):

For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack. Legal scholars and international jurists often conditioned the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threatmost often a visible mobilization of armies, navies, and air forces preparing to attack.

We must adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of todays adversaries.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 10, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

GOP is wrong, pre-emption is of the nature of war, not diplomacy, and has been so recognized for over 2000 years:

nam extra ulciscendi aut propulsandorum hostium causam bellum geri iustum nullum potest"

"Apart from avenging, or pre-empting an enemy, no war is able to be justly waged."

Cicero, De Re Publica, 3.35, as quoted by Isidore of Seville in Etymologies 18.

(It is worth noting that preventing an enemy is excluded thereby...)

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 10, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Well...

At least Snow didn't try to hide the North Korea failures behind the Iraqi War successes...

Posted by: koreyel on July 10, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

We need freakin solutions not politics. Don't these people give a damn about anything? Their livelihood is at stake too. Why, then, are they playing politics and blaming Clinton?

Conservative economic policy has failed. Neoconservative and paleoconservative (isolationism) are failed policies. Why don't they just admit it and get some positive things done.

Posted by: gq on July 10, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

At the time (1994), both South Korea and Japan were adament in not wanting a war on the peninsula -- can't blame them for that. The Clinton administration's threat of war was a little hollow because of that, so he struck the best deal he could get. In retrospect it was a mistake because it gave the North Koreans an opportunity to pursue a bomb in secret, but at the time it was what we could do. I don't blame Clinton on this one; if I were president (relax) in those circumstances I would have done the same.

North Korea already had an opportunity to persue a bomb in secret, what's more, if we'd built the first LWR, they would have lost the opportunity because that would have led to intrusive inspections.

You could dissect each point, and I disagree with Mr. Kaplan on each one. But he misses the larger point -- the NKors, from day one after the 1994 agreement, planned to renege and build bombs. We know this because of the lead time required. Far from 'initially keeping to its side of the bargain', we now know that they didn't.

What does this even mean? North Korea was willing to move to a point where they couldn't build a bomb at all.

In retrospect, the Clinton team also whiffed, since they signed an agreement that ended up broken.

I suppose Clinton was expected to know that Bush would throw it in the toilet?

It requires rather more nuanced thinkinng than one ordinarily sees on the comment board at PA to get this, but perhaps a few of you will.

The notion that North Korea may want something in return for the Plutonium card that Bush handed them, something better than for Bush to quit saying mean things about Kim, is obviously too nuanced for you.

Posted by: Boronx on July 10, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

And, Iraq was not a mistake, nor by historical standards is it (and Afghanistan) anything other than a slightly flawed military masterpiece.

Comment of the thread so far. If only King Pyrrhus had thought of describing all his victories as slightly flawed military masterpieces history would have treated him so much more kindly.

Oh, and Operation Barbarossa was also no doubt a slightly flawed military masterpiece, along with Napoleon's march on Moscow.

Simply beautiful.

TOH - I salute both you! You give hope to generations of armchair Kissingers...

Posted by: floopmeister on July 10, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Davis X. Machina: nice quote. I'll remember that one.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 10, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

Yoduuuh writes about the 'pygmy' comment: No one in our government wants to admit and acknowledge this gross violation of international relations. There are consequences for being so boorish and our country is paying for them.

I see, so we're not supposed to call evil 'evil' when we encounter it?

What you advocate is a finely nuanced appeasement. Applying your own standard to the last few years, and we wouldn't be allowed to call Rwanda 'genocide'.

The North Korean government is evil. It has brutalized its people for decades. The starvation there is entirely its own fault. They have death camps, concentration camps, and 'corrective labor' camps, which all seem to be the same thing. They punish whole families for the 'transgression' of a single person.

On the international front they counterfeit money, sell drugs abroad, rattle their saber whenever they can, and look to share nuke and missile technology with whoever will buy. And there's the little matter of their repeated assassinations of South Korean government officials over the past 20 years or so.

Good lord: if you can't call that by its proper name, then what good are you?

Kim Jong-il is evil. And he's short. I think 'pygmy' is a good insult.

And Boronx: if your approach to foreign policy is for Bush to quit saying mean things to the pygmy, then you're in the same camp as Yoduuuh.

Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 8:55 PM | PERMALINK

Over five years, the White House has nothing to show for its flip-flop-flop approach to North Korea:

- 2001: no engagement
- 2004: six-party talks only
- 2006: Hill offers direct talks with North Korean counterparts

For more details on Bush five years of ineptitude and failure towards Pyongyang, see:
"Bushs U-Turn on North Korean Talks."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on July 10, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Lovely spiel, Steve White. You cultivate a nice sense of wounded outrage and righteous indignation.

Problem is, the majority of people in countries polled think the US is a bigger threat to world stability and peace than either North Korea or Iran. In my own country Australia a majority of people have a more favourable opinion of China than the US, and we categorise the US as the biggest threat to world peace.

Funny, hey?

Maybe you should instead write a nice post bemoaning how the rest of the world doesn't understand US moral clarity? I'm sure that would convince many people that the US is currently the repository of all moral goodness in the world.

Obviously Gitmo, the ripping up of international treaties, unprovoked and illegal wars, support for repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia, etc has blinded everyone to this unchallenged and eternal truth.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 10, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

so we're not supposed to call evil 'evil' when we encounter it?

You may think what you call something is more important than Kim Jong Il getting nukes, but please forgive us mere mortals if our opinion's differ.

You may think that getting North Korea to bargain away it's nuclear weapons is equivalent to writing of Chekoslovakia, but ... that's just insane.

For all of Bush's morally clear language, for all of Clinton's nuanced diplomacy, it was Clinton who blazed a path where North Korea stopped processing Plutonium, and it was Bush who couldn't even stay on it despite his betters holding his hand.

Posted by: Boronx on July 10, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Floopmeister, the people who think the US is a bigger threat than either North Korea or Iran are -- to be charitable -- not well educated on what the latter two countries are doing.

I could less charitable and applaud the progressive agenda for succeeding in its war on the West.

I honestly don't think you speak for all Australians, but the ones who think like you are rather deluded.

My country makes mistakes, no doubt. Not the ones you mention (must I take them one at a time? *) but we do.

But if you're going to equate us to being as bad, or worse than, North Korea, than perhaps you should be welcomed to North Korea. Fortunately, I suspect the majority of your country isn't that nutty.

* -- yes, I must. To wit --

Gitmo is better run than any maximum security prison in your country or mine.

We haven't ripped up an international treaty. We never signed the ICC, never ratified Kyoto, and used the proper legal mechanism for withdrawing from the ABM treaty.

The war in Iraq may be illegal to you but it isn't to us -- our Congress authorized it, and Congress has the final call in our country.

The Saudis will get what's coming to them.

Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx: Clinton blazed a trail in which the NKors said they'd quit processing plutonium.

Then they admitted they lied.

Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx: Clinton blazed a trail in which the NKors said they'd quit processing plutonium.

Then they admitted they lied.

You should probably read the article if you still think that's true.

Posted by: Boronx on July 10, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

The war in Iraq may be illegal to you but it isn't to us -- our Congress authorized it, and Congress has the final call in our country.

No they didn't. Their authorization was conditional and Bush never met the conditions.

Posted by: Boronx on July 10, 2006 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White - I speak for the majority of Australians. I would charitably suggest that if your end was not inserted in your own provincial rear end you would realise that your attitude and mindset is in the minority within the US, let alone outside it.

This poll was conducted by the most respected polling organisation in Australia, and these results are born out in other countries where such a poll has been conducted.

...the people who think the US is a bigger threat than either North Korea or Iran are -- to be charitable -- not well educated on what the latter two countries are doing.

Really? My university is currently in negotation to open a campus in Tehran, and we have a great number of Iranian students studying here. Autralia has strong commercial links with Iran, as does China, Russia, India, the EU... well, pretty much everyone except for the US and Israel.

The current US government is provincial and naive (yes, it's that word again) in it's worldview. I would suggest that you are too.

The war in Iraq may be illegal to you but it isn't to us -- our Congress authorized it, and Congress has the final call in our country.

Good for you.

The Saudis will get what's coming to them.

And this is simply impotent rhetoric.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 10, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to bash Clinton, shouldn't it be for allowing Pakistan to get a nuclear weapon? North Korea, it seems to me, is a regional failure, because it involves a lot of parties, with competing national interests.

The current President OTOH is just an idiot who mistakes tough-sounding slogans for sound policy. They only get off their butts around election time (see '02,'04,'06) and when the public turns against them (see Katrina). The rest of their time they spend giving each other handjobs and posting 9/11 collages on RedState.

Posted by: enozinho on July 10, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Steve White says:

I see, so we're not supposed to call evil 'evil' when we encounter it?

No. It's called diplomacy, dumbass.

Posted by: Disputo on July 10, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kaplan:

"If we had just paid the North Korean lunatic his Danegeld, he would have been peaceful and cooperative forever."

Law of the Left: "There is no dictator that cannot be dealt with if you just kiss his ass hard enough."

Posted by: klines on July 10, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx says:

Bush never met the conditions

Actually, technically he did meet the conditions -- by lying when he certified that Saddam was involved with 9/11.

Posted by: Disputo on July 10, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Can you buy a freaking clue, Kevin?

If you take off the tinfoil hat and actually look at what Tony Snow is saying, he isn't blaming Clinton for anything.

He is saying that negotiating with North Korea's government is pointless, because we tried it already.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on July 10, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still scanning Kevin Drum's post to see if he offered any solution..............

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on July 10, 2006 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo writes, No. It's called diplomacy, ...

No, your way is called appeasement. Though Klines nails it pretty well with the comment about Danegeld.

And Bush never certified that Saddam was involved with 9/11.

Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Law of the Left: "There is no dictator that cannot be dealt with if you just kiss his ass hard enough."

You mean like this?

I'd say Steve White might actually be right: Saudi Arabia is definitely getting what's coming to them.

Every damn day.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 10, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

And a follow-up on that, Disputo:

Would it be 'diplomacy' not to point out the evils of apartheid?

Would it be 'diplomacy' to refrain from criticizing Somoza?

Would it be 'diplomacy' to abstain from criticizing Pinochet?

Goose, gander.

Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

negotiating with North Korea is NOT pointless. It not only checks the N. Koreans weapon prolifieration; it informs the world of what Kim Jon Il's regime is doing which allows for different ways to deal with the threat, (not sure how much of a threat NK is anyway since any usage of Nukes would mean the end of N.K.) whether through sanctions or other diplomatic pressure could be applied.

As W. has said we're going to give diplomacy a try. It's too bad he didn't try it earlier since according to Sec. of State Albright, the deal Clinton made stopped Kim from being able to make up to 50 nuculear bombs instead of the 10 they have now.

Posted by: D. on July 10, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Calling Kim "evil" is certainly accurate. Whether it was productive or useful is another question entirely, but that may depend on whether to goal was to humiliate him or negotiate with him. Calling him a "pygmy" is just an inexcusable indulgence by someone who has been entrusted with the responsibilities of a head of state.

I really wish I could convince myself adults were in charge - even wrong headed or stupid adults. I could sleep so much better if I could bring myself to believe it.

Posted by: VAMark on July 10, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

No, your way is called appeasement.

Hahahaha. We must invade North Korea now! Graveandgatheringthreat!!! Bush's preemtive diplomacy will strike at the heart of your librul sissy appeasment!! Do you love America or not? Blah blah blah..............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Posted by: enozinho on July 10, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, technically he did meet the conditions -- by lying when he certified that Saddam was involved with 9/11.

I disagree. The condition was that Bush had to find that Saddam was a threat or was in league with terrorists. Bush lying was not a condition.

Bush told Congress he'd satisfied the terms. That's not the same as satisfying them. Given recent history, the burden is now Bush's to prove that his statements to congress were reasonable and were anywhere near the truth. Lord knows he didn't make any effort at the time.

Posted by: Boronx on July 10, 2006 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

and Bush never certified that Saddam was involved with 9/11.
Posted by: Steve White on July 10, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

You are kidding, right?

Try reading the Iraq War Resolution......

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) In General.--That the President is authorized to use
all necessary and appropriate force against those nations,
organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized,
committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on
September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or
persons, in order to prevent any further acts of
international terrorism against the United States by such
nations, organizations or persons.

Posted by: Charles Stanton on July 10, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, once again you are far too kind. How about Tony Snow is a filthy, stinking liar!!!? Why do you always give these scumbag conservative liars deference? Call them out as the prevaricating scum that they are!

It has been said that history is written by the victors, but you are serving as an accessory after the fact. For example, the truth is that conservatives gave North Korea millions to fund their nuclear ambitions in the early 1990s and the Bush family was part of that treasonous exercise. Similarly, popular conservative mythology teaches that Bill Clinton sold nuclear secrets to the Chinese, but the truth is the technology behind the W-88 nuclear warhead got sold to China during the Reagan Administration. St. Ronnie was too busy messing his diapers and drooling on himself to pay any attention to foreign policy from about 1986 on. Far from being responsible for bringing down Communism, Ronnie was barely able to feed himself and should have been removed from office for medical reasons!

Let the truth be told, Kevin!!!

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 10, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

"If you don't believe that Saddam is a grave and gathering danger and poses a real threat towards the USA, then don't vote for me."

Who said that?

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Life in Iraq was better with Saddam in power"
Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

So, Steve W. what is the Bush administratin policy to keep us safe from the lunatic leadership of North Korea? It's a simple question.

Posted by: Mark on July 10, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, who fuckin cares? We're talking about North Korea and what a fine job the current Bush administration is doing in dealing with them.

Posted by: Mark on July 10, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

By demanding that the people in the area; China, Japan, Indonesia and S. Korea are at the table. Those area the people that can make the difference.

btw, what do liberals have against multi-lateral talks?

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

I really wish I could convince myself adults were in charge - even wrong headed or stupid adults. I could sleep so much better if I could bring myself to believe it.

At least you're not in Seoul.

Posted by: B on July 10, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize Mark. I know how easily distracted liberals are. I will stay on topic.

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

You know the funniest line in Kevin's post was when he said they sent Jimmy Carter to follow up on Clinton's efforts. I haven't laughed like that in years. Thanks Kevin.

Seriously, I really thought Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton peacefully resolved the Israeli/Palestinian conflict years ago. It's a mystery that there remains conflict in that region.

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

I can't speak for liberals. But exactly when did the Bush administration start to have any talks, with or without others, with North Korea? How will Indosesia make any difference in the talks? What will they offer? It seems like adding a bunch of other parties is a tactic to NOT deal with the North Koreans because the Bush Administration has no idea of what to do. Pleas explain how these others help the process.

Posted by: Mark on July 10, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

rummy dum dum & bushy fuck head

http://www.guardian.co.uk/korea/article/0,2763,952289,00.html

2000: director of a company which wins $200m contract to sell nuclear reactors to North Korea
2002: declares North Korea a terrorist state, part of the axis of evil, and a target for regime change

-----------

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/dec2003/huss-d24.shtml

In December 1983, Rumsfeld (the current secretary of defense who was at the time the CEO of a large pharmaceutical firm, G.D. Searle) visited Iraq as a personal envoy of President Ronald Reagan ... In March 1984, Iraqs battlefield use of chemical weapons became so obvious that the US government felt obliged to issue a statement condemning it.

-----------

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=HAA20060306&articleId=2067

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford signed a directive that granted Iran the opportunity to purchase U.S. built reprocessing equipment and facilities designed to extract plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. (for domestic power so more oil could be exported)

When Gerald Ford assumed the Presidency in August 1974, the current Vice President of the United States, Richard B Cheney served on the transition team and later as Deputy Assistant to the President. In November 1975, he was named Assistant to the President and White House Chief of Staff, a position he held throughout the remainder of the Ford Administration.
In August 1974, the current Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld served as Chairman of the transition to the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford.

He then became Chief of Staff of the White House and a member of the President's Cabinet (1974-1975) and was the Ford Administrations Secretary of Defense from 19751977.

-----------

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/international/jan-june04/elbaradei_3-18.html

There's a lot of concern why Iran is developing an enrichment program, ** why do they need nuclear energy? ** They have a lot of gas, they have a lot of oil? There's a lot of skepticism there. But the Iranians have their own answers. I am not in a position to say you are right, you are wrong. What I do is check the facts, verify the uranium program, and so far I haven't seen any concrete proof that what Iran is doing is directly linked to the weapon program, and that's why I am saying we are not in a position to say Iran is developing a weapon program, but at the same time I'm not yet in a position to say everything in Iran is exclusively for peaceful purpose.

-----------

** gee, i don't know you brain-dead sales-monkey, ask the people IN YOUR ADMINISTRATION who sold them the fucking nuke plants in the first place

Posted by: tofubo on July 10, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative economic policy has failed.

Ha ha ha ha ha! The overwhelming trend in economic policy throughout the advanced democracies over the last several decades has been to reduce the role of the state, to increase the role of the market, to privatize previously state-owned industries and corporations, to reduce taxes, to reduce protectionism and other barriers to free trade, to reduce government regulation, and generally to adopt "conservative," increasingly market-oriented economic policies. Communism is dead and socialism is taking its dying breath.

But you old-time lefties still won't let go of your failed "dream," will you.

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

By demanding that the people in the area; China, Japan, Indonesia and S. Korea are at the table. Those area the people that can make the difference.

How long has the Bush administration been calling for multilateral talks and what has this accomplished? What has been accomplished is that NK has been building bombs while Bush's supporters have strutted and blustered about how much tougher we are now on the North Koreans. You guys certainly have mastered the art of speaking stickly while carrying a big soft.

Posted by: k on July 10, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Typical for this administration, they make excuses and blame others for their dismal policies. They are to blame for their own failed diplomacy. Everywhere around the world, American priorities are in tatters. Clearly this is the worst possible administration for these challenging times. (If you think about, there never really has been a time in American history where we could afford such dullards in any event. I am not comfortable sending these people off in a time machine either direction. Enough to make Shirley Jackson scream.)

The silly and childish denunciation of all things Clinton was pure testosteronee-driven lunacy. To whom do they turn now that their tantrums have had profound consequences? They have killed thousands, incidentally, and in their mindless denial of scientific progress may yet kill us all. I think we should eat the 23% die-hard American Hawkers first during the hungry times ahead. Their meat is more marblized. Just saying.

Posted by: Sparko on July 10, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Floopmeister, the people who think the US is a bigger threat than either North Korea or Iran are -- to be charitable -- not well educated on what the latter two countries are doing.

Funny that someone who believes what they hear on Fox would accuse another of not being well educated on world events.

Posted by: Thumb on July 10, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

We haven't ripped up an international treaty.

**cough**Geneva Conventions**cough**

Posted by: Mnemosyne on July 10, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, Let's see. Carter, peacemaker, laughter, blah, blah, blah, Every heard of the Camp David Accords?

As for Clinton: The first Intifada went from 1987 to August 1993 (Oslo accords). Not bad for 7 months in office, getting Rabin and Arafat to shake hands. What was Bush doing in late August 2001? Dismissing a CIA briefer after the briefer had "covered his ass"?

The second Intifada started during the 2000 election and has continued up to the most recent escallation. Looks to me like Clinton did a decent job and only lost control late in the lame duck period. Arafat and Sharon were difficult characters.

What's Bush's excuse for sitting on his ass the past five and a half years? "The roadmap for peace"? If that's his idea of successful multilateral peace talks I don't think I favor them for North Korea. In the abstract I don't have problems with multilateral talks. However power has to be exerted and everyone can't have a veto.

That said I think Bush could screw up any diplomatic scenario. He made a "peace deal" in southern Sudan and the last I heard the jihadists in Khartoum are still in power, the main rebel leader is dead, and some third party group of mercenaries are running around committing massacres.

Posted by: B on July 10, 2006 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, after saying you'll "stay on topic" your next post leads back into a post on Clinton's policy in the Middle East. Then you disappear. It makes me think you don't have an answer to the question: when did the Bush Adminidtration begin any kind of talks with North Korea? And how does involving Indonesia and other parties offer any help in resolving the crisis of North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons? What is Bush's policy? Jay? Jay? Are you there? Try not to mention Clinton-he's no longer president-I want to know what Bush will do to keep us safer from North Korean nukes?

Posted by: Mark on July 10, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

Um, okay. What do I win?

Nothing, unless you can explain why anyone should believe the Brookings Institute gets to define "preemption" for everyone else. The concept of preemptive diplomacy clearly predates the Bush Administration, and even if it did not, you don't get to decide the meaning of the administration's foreign policy doctrines.

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

**cough**Geneva Conventions**cough**

Wow, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Geneva Conventions? Why haven't the media reported this? Oh wait, I forgot. They're controlled by the GOP.

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, the U.S. has withdrawn from the Geneva Conventions? Why haven't the media reported this?

Sorry, he's confused. With you guys renaming everything he missed the memo. As of today, "Diplomacy" is "Preemptive Diplomacy" and the "Geneva Conventions" will be called the "Terrorist Testicle Protection Program".

Posted by: enozinho on July 10, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to further discuss the calling Sung-Il a "pygmy". This is just stupid and inflammatory language. It serves no purpose and only pisses off someone who isn't particularly stable to begin with.

Steve White, certainly one can criticize. One can note deeds which do harm or kill people with great disapproval. But it's possible to do this in diplomatic ways. Calling someone a "pygmy" hardly lives up to that standard.

Bottom line in this situation: Clinton's solution was not perfect, but Bush's handling has thus far been a disaster. You cons can argue this until you're blue in the face (actually, more like red in the face), but it doesn't change the facts on the ground.

Incidentally, rarely are there perfect solutions in international relations. Compromise so that everyone in a dispute comes away with something is better than war. All war does is lay the groundwork for the next generation's war.

The exception thus far is WWII, and that's because the Germans and the Japanese were the very clear aggressors and many of their own people came to realize this, and because of the Marshall Plan and magnanimity in victory.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on July 10, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, he's confused.

So are you.

Posted by: GOP on July 10, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Again please accept my apology Mark, I thought my answer was pretty clear. We tried bi-lateral talks, and made concessions and gave away technology all under Clinton, which apparently didn't work considering were still having this problem. By Kevin's own admission, it takes time to develop a weapons grade program. Did you ever think that lil Kim was just buying (and technology) time? How come it is that if an issue isn't black and white, the liberals get confused?

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

It is totally clear and has been to all watching for sometime that the failure of N.K. policy can totally be laid at the feet of the current administration who have gone out of their way via-Bolton and others to sabotage and destroy every vestage of peaceful relations that Clinton/Gore has created.

We are at this juncture precisely because the Bush administration fought tooth and nail to get things this screwed up. The is a policy failure of epic proportion that needs to be laid right at the feet of Team Cheney.

BTW, why did they want this? A cynic might say that they needed to create a market on the pacific rim for the wet-dream missle shield technologies outlined as a strategic necessity in the famous PNAC paper. What distablizing a region and creating an enemy to justify a weapons program? Why yes Virginia. And that's just the surface play, talk to the Clinton NK people and you'll get the other levels of machinations the Bush people tried to drum up.

Posted by: patience on July 10, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

B, I am really glad you brought up the Darfur. Exactly how involved in world's conflicts should the UN be? You demand that they had the say in Iraq, but suddenly their inaction in Africa now rests on our shoulders to do something about?

Let's see how effective the UN really is?

Posted by: Jay on July 10, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

patience, please list the exact countries that have had irreparable harm done to their relations with the US in the past five years.

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Multilateral talks are the only way to get through to the lil fascist and ultimately China will be the country that convinces them to stop.

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, you didn't answer my question. You told me that Clinton's policy didn't work. You did not tell me the Bush policy that would. It's not about black or white or liberal or conservative. It's about straight answers-which neither you or the Bush administration seem capable of giving when asked what is the plan for protecting us from North Koreans nukes. If Kim is buying time what is Bush's response? we don't want him to have time because in time come more nuclear bombs on his side so again please answer the question, what is the Bush plan to deal with this crisis? Thanks.

Posted by: Mark on July 11, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

floop

Problem is, the majority of people in countries polled think the US is a bigger threat to world stability and peace than either North Korea or Iran. In my own country Australia a majority of people have a more favourable opinion of China than the US, and we categorise the US as the biggest threat to world peace.

I think that's a much bigger problem for those other countries than it is for the United States. You need us more than we need you. And with respect to Australia specifically, the alleged public antipathy towards America did not stop the conservative coalition headed by Prime Minister John Howard, who supported the Bush Adminstration's decision to invade Iraq, from winning the 2004 national election.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, actually I brought up southern Sudan. Darfur is in the west.

In southern Sudan the SPLA signed a peace deal with the government last summer. The State Department helped broker them, but I don't think they were technically "multilateral".

Posted by: B on July 11, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Mark, there is no good solution to protect us from North Korean nuclear weapons, short of what we did in Iraq. Bet Saddam is not developing weapons right now.

Kevin, how do you know what the North Koreans are doing at anytime? How can you, or anyone else, say the North Koreans ever stopped developing nuclear weapons?

We don't even know what are own government is developing at this moment with the monsterous black-ops budget.

Posted by: Scott G on July 11, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

I think that's a much bigger problem for those other countries than it is for the United States. You need us more than we need you.

Yeah, because the US is the largest debtor country in the world. We've got to get back all the money you owe everyone, I guess.

Still, the US needs the rest of the world, if nothing else, to affirm the US' image of itself. The only way to occupy the moral high ground is if others put you there, GOP. It's like Machiavelli put it - you can either be loved or feared, but not both.

This US administration has chosen to be feared, yet the self image of being loved is apparently too hard for conservatives to dislodge. Doesn't it get difficult to convince yourself you're The Leader of the Free World (TM) when you are increasingly unloved and no longer respected? This has happened primarily because of the Iraq War and the disdainful and provincial attitude of this administration.

With this thought in mind, may I remind you that none of you wingnuts has been able to admit the unpopularity of the US. Generally you either deny it, or rationalise it (it's all 'alleged', or the fault of everyone else not 'understanding you') but usually you don't let the uncomfortable truth penetrate your little bubble at all.

And with respect to Australia specifically, the alleged public antipathy towards America did not stop the conservative coalition headed by Prime Minister John Howard, who supported the Bush Adminstration's decision to invade Iraq, from winning the 2004 national election.

You obviously don't know much about Australia, GOP. Howard won the election based entirely upon national issues - the Iraq war has never been popular with Australians. Howard won based upon the economy and keeping interest rates down.

And they've risen, BTW.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

The overwhelming trend in economic policy throughout the advanced democracies over the last several decades has been. . . to adopt "conservative," increasingly market-oriented economic policies.

These are not "conservative" economic policies. They are "liberal" economic policies, hence the term "neoliberal". (The type of policy favored by most of the posters here is best characterized as "leftist", not liberal.)

Conservative economic policy, on the other hand, appears to consist of favoring existing business interests and enriching one's friends. Under Bush and the current GOP congress, it's also incorporated massive pork and occasional protectionism. Conservatives only favor the free market when it makes their campaign donors richer; please don't delude yourself otherwise. One need look no further than the Iowa caucuses (perhaps the single most anti-democratic feature of American politics after K Street) to see what conservatives really think of the free market.

(For what it's worth, I favor a liberalized economy like you described, but I don't consider this at all conservative. What the modern GOP has done is best described as "corrupt", or more charitably, "mercantilist." And as many pundits have pointed out, most conservatives turn against the free market as soon as it results in something they don't like, such as gay partner benefits or pretty much anything out of the ruthlessly market-driven entertainment industry.)

Posted by: Nat on July 11, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Just for the record, I'm pointing out Kevin Drum didn't offer any solutions in his lame post.

Drum is just pouting because he thinks somebody criticized Bill Clinton.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on July 11, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

..Just for the record...

That would be the broken record, no?

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Still, the US needs the rest of the world, if nothing else, to affirm the US' image of itself. The only way to occupy the moral high ground is if others put you there, GOP. It's like Machiavelli put it - you can either be loved or feared, but not both.

Sadly, it's even worse than that. Machiavelli wrote that "a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated."

Or, that is to say, the best advantage is gained by being (i) feared and loved; the next is (ii) to be feared and not hated; and the worst of all is (iii) to be hated and feared.

Machiavelli didn't, however, even address the situation of being (iv) hated and not feared, (possibly because a prince in that condition is too pathetic to even give advice to), a situation which the Bush regime seems to have put the US into these days. People hate us, but they don't fear us anymore, our army bogged down in Iraq, our treasury in hock to our Communist Chinese paymasters, so both Iran and North Korea proceed on their merry nuclear way.

Posted by: Stefan on July 11, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

These are not "conservative" economic policies. They are "liberal" economic policies, hence the term "neoliberal".

Sssshhh. Next you'll be telling him the USA is traditionally described as a liberal democracy...

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan - thanks for the proper quote.

The even greater irony is that Mac was writing to give what he saw as practical advice to Princes, and that is the one thing that Bush apparently doesn't need and/or won't accept.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

floop,

Yeah, because the US is the largest debtor country in the world.

So what? It also has by far the largest economy, so this isn't terribly surprising.

Still, the US needs the rest of the world, if nothing else, to affirm the US' image of itself. The only way to occupy the moral high ground is if others put you there, GOP. It's like Machiavelli put it - you can either be loved or feared, but not both.

I suspect the self-image of Australians, for example, is far more dependent on what countries think of them than the self-image of Americans is. You've just identified yet another way in which other countries, including your own, are needier than the U.S. And I think your loved/feared dichotomy is hopelessly simplistic. America has always been both admired and resented, loved and loathed. It comes with the territory. The point is that you need us more than we need you. And you know it. The things you have in common with the U.S., and the things you rely on the U.S. to provide you with, are ultimately far more important to you than any disagreement over Iraq, or over any one U.S. presidential administration. That's why your complaint here amounts to pouting, a temper tantrum. You might jump and down a bit over Iraq now, or Vietnam in the 1960s, or Reagan's missile deployments in the 1980s, or whatever else it may be at any given time, but we both know you're not going anywhere. You don't have anywhere else to go.

You obviously don't know much about Australia, GOP. Howard won the election based entirely upon national issues - the Iraq war has never been popular with Australians.

Well, I must admit, Australian politics is not exactly a major interest of mine, but I think you're grossly misrepresenting the state of Australian public opinion, and the idea that Iraq played no role whatsoever in the outcome of your most recent general election is laughable.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Nat,

These are not "conservative" economic policies. They are "liberal" economic policies, hence the term "neoliberal". (The type of policy favored by most of the posters here is best characterized as "leftist", not liberal.)

They're "liberal" only in the sense of classical liberalism, which in today's political lexicon is more commonly associated with libertarianism. But, hey, if you contemporary liberals want to associate yourselves with free markets, free trade, privatization, deregulation, low taxes and other classically liberal economic policies, terrific.

Conservative economic policy, on the other hand, appears to consist of favoring existing business interests and enriching one's friends.

Oh, stuff and nonsense.

Again, if you're against protection and tariffs and for free trade and globalization, if you're against "pork" and for a lean, mean, low-taxing, low-spending federal government, you're not much of a liberal.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

floop,

By the way, since you mention the U.S. public debt, as you can see from this chart, U.S. public debt as a percentage of GDP is not unusual. In fact, it's lower than both the average for all OECD countries, and the average for the Euro area nations.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

So what? It also has by far the largest economy, so this isn't terribly surprising.

Apart from the EU, of course. The EU, however, is not in hock to it's strategic competitors, as the US is.

You've just identified yet another way in which other countries, including your own, are needier than the U.S.

Oh ,please. That's such a lame 'argument'. How well do you think the US military would do without the Pine Gap installation in central Australia?

That's why your complaint here amounts to pouting, a temper tantrum. You might jump and down a bit over Iraq now, or Vietnam in the 1960s, or Reagan's missile deployments in the 1980s, or whatever else it may be at any given time, but we both know you're not going anywhere. You don't have anywhere else to go.

We do - it's called China and India. They'll be far more important to Australia than the US economically in the future. We are riding economically on a resource (mining/minerals) boom, and it's not the US buying it. What would you need mineral resources for when you've gutted and outsourced your manufacturing base? We are doing very nicely out of the rise of India and China.

That's why our conservative government has already made a point of stating, on the record, that Australia will not be getting involved in any way in the Taiwan dispute. We know who the up-and-coming kid on the block is.

Note, this is not a liberal government stating this policy - it's the most conservative government in the last 50 years in Asutralia, and they've already rushed to reassure China that we won't be lining up with the US in that fight...

And as for cultural connections, we've been building very nice ones with India for quite some time now - cricket, shared political systems, membership of the Commonwealth, etc. I'm sure we'll be getting a few friendship visits from the three carriers that India is currently building for force projection in the India and Pacific islands.

India is viewed far more positively in Australia than the US, BTW.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 2:51 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I must admit, Australian politics is not exactly a major interest of mine, but I think you're grossly misrepresenting the state of Australian public opinion, and the idea that Iraq played no role whatsoever in the outcome of your most recent general election is laughable.

Lordy, lordy. I'm grossly misrepresenting the state of Australian public opinion, am I? What would I know, living here, hey? At least you pdemonstrated how little you know!

This wouldn't be an example of that denial I was talking about upthread, would it?

BTW, Iraq is not in the news here, GOP. It was a non-event in the last election, mainly because Australians might be worried about Islamic terrorism but we don't see ourselves as being at war.

Iraq is an American war, GOP. We might have a few troops there, but only one has died (and that was suicide), and over the last few years it's become accepted that it's another of those US misteps that happen now and then. People shrug and raise their eyebrows, and change the subject.

If more troops die, then there'll be a call to pull them out. At the moment though, it's hardly in the news, and even less in the public mind.

Shocking, I know...

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 3:08 AM | PERMALINK

Check this out GOP - it might give you an example of the way the US is viewed by an increasing number of Australians...

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

floop

Apart from the EU, of course.

The EU is not a country, it's a loose confederation of diverse and argumentative countries without a common language, common culture, or common heritage. The newest additions to the EU are even less conducive to European unity than the previous ones, because they have even less in common. And the fertility rates in most major EU nations are below replacement level, which does not bode well for the future strength and vitality of Europe.

But you appear to be factually wrong anyway, at least on the basis of a purchasing power parity comparison for 2005. The U.S. PPP GDP, at $12.36 trillion, exceeds that of the EU, at $12.18 trillion.

The EU, however, is not in hock to it's strategic competitors, as the US is.

As I mentioned in my last post, according to the OECD, the U.S. public debt as a percentage of GDP is lower than that of the Euro area nations. So you're wrong about this too. Do facts actually mean anything to you, or do you just think you can just make them up?

Oh ,please. That's such a lame 'argument'.

You're hilarious. You're the one who brought up this "self-image" business, and when it backfires on you you declare it's "lame."

How well do you think the US military would do without the Pine Gap installation in central Australia?

About 99% as well as it does with it, probably.

We do - it's called China and India.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Right. Because, as we all know, in all the ways that matter to a modern industrialized democracy like Australia--politically, socially, culturally, economically, historically--China and India are plausible substitutes for the United States.

Honestly, what planet are you living on?

They'll be far more important to Australia than the US economically in the future.

That seems very unlikely. And the idea that Australians are going to abandon the cultural and social and political values they share with the U.S. in favor of Indian or Chinese ones is even more laughable. Do let me know when the next generation of Australian actors and musicians turn their backs on Hollywood and New York in favor of Bollywood and Beijing.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 3:20 AM | PERMALINK

floop,

Lordy, lordy. I'm grossly misrepresenting the state of Australian public opinion, am I?

I think so, yes.

BTW, Iraq is not in the news here, GOP. It was a non-event in the last election, mainly because Australians might be worried about Islamic terrorism but we don't see ourselves as being at war.

Well, good grief, make your mind up. How can Iraq be both so important to Australians that it has seriously damaged the reputation of the U.S. in Australia, and at the same time so unimportant that it was completely irrelevant to the last election? You can't have it both ways, you know.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

floop,

And as for cultural connections, we've been building very nice ones with India for quite some time now - cricket, shared political systems, membership of the Commonwealth, etc.

Oh yes, cricket and the commonwealth! That'll do it. Your arguments just get more and more absurd. Have you ever actually been to India? It's a shithole of desperate poverty, vast disparities of rich and poor, massive political corruption, murderous religious and ethnic conflicts, profound oppression of women, and a deeply repressive sexual morality and social order that makes the values of the American religious right look progressive by comparison. And yet you're seriously suggesting that that is a viable alternative for Australians to the values and culture and way of life of America? You really don't have a clue.


Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

American Squawk: You simply have to be the most gullible dipshit ever to contribute regularly to this site. Cling to that "17 UN resolutions" canard (hungry for yellowcake?) as long as you can; perhaps it will keep you cool at night as the planet heats up and your country goes down the tubes, now that your hero has outsourced common sense and ruined our moral (and literal) economy.

We don't hate America; YOU hate the truth -- and, like a stubborn 12-year-old, you smirk about it.

Posted by: Kenji on July 11, 2006 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Richardson went with flowers and chocolates...and many other inducements for the "Dear Leader" to try to agree not to develop nuclear weapons, and it failed....We've learned from that mistake.

Oh my god, did he just willfully imply that Clinton hoped "the dear (read:illegitimate) leader" would give up his nukes for chocolate?

Does the guy not realise that this emotive bs makes stomachs turn?

The thing is, North Korea holds on to the old but strong diplomatic tradition of bringing gifts along before starting diplomatic talks. Lots of countries do not do that anymore, but North Korea does.

Here is question for Snow, will there be gifts from this Administration if the six party or bilateral talks are pulled out of the mud in which the Cheney faction allowed them to sink?

If there are, will they be as much of a statement as chocolate? A clear reference to starving North Koreans other than chubby Kim? I wanna bet that this Administration gives somthing shiny and tacky at the one oportunity to, in a diplomatic way, say something undiplomatic.... (Like, hey, a$%hole, I think you are fat while your loyal subjects are starving)

Oh and for the record, ofcourse that was chocolate with nuts, proliferation resistant light water reactors and food and energy aid. (aka a "regime survival kit") Snow left that detail out eventhough any Bush II deal will look a lot like that....

Posted by: iuy on July 11, 2006 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Richardson went with flowers and chocolates...and many other inducements for the "Dear Leader" to try to agree not to develop nuclear weapons, and it failed....We've learned from that mistake.

Oh my god, did he just willfully imply that Clinton hoped "the dear (read:illegitimate) leader" would give up his nukes for chocolate?

Does the guy not realise that this emotive bs makes stomachs turn?

The thing is, North Korea holds on to the old but strong diplomatic tradition of bringing gifts along before starting diplomatic talks. Lots of countries do not do that anymore, but North Korea does.

Here is question for Snow, will there be gifts from this Administration if the six party or bilateral talks are pulled out of the mud in which the Cheney faction allowed them to sink?

If there are, will they be as much of a statement as chocolate? A clear reference to starving North Koreans other than chubby Kim? I wanna bet that this Administration gives somthing shiny and tacky at the one oportunity to, in a diplomatic way, say something undiplomatic.... (Like, hey, a$%hole, I think you are fat while your loyal subjects are starving)

Oh and for the record, ofcourse that was chocolate with nuts, proliferation resistant light water reactors and food and energy aid. (aka a "regime survival kit") Snow left that detail out eventhough any Bush II deal will look a lot like that....

Posted by: iuy on July 11, 2006 at 5:40 AM | PERMALINK

Lovely, GOP. It gives Americans such a beautiful image in the world at large to see an American refer to India as a "shithole" and generally discuss that nation with an *appalling* degree of arrogance. China and India are both, in fact, nations in the early stages of huge economic growth and floopmeister is right: when they hit their respective strides, they will easily overtake the USA. The porsperity and, more to the point, the sheer dominance of the United States is not going to last. No country can or will remain at the "top of the heap" forever. It is therefore wise for us to be generous and benevolent in the age of our power so that when the inevitable loss of that power comes, we will be remembered with kindness rather than resentment. Be kind, and kindness will be shown to us in our hour of future need. Be cruel and tyrannical, and we will learn to regret it as the rest of the world dances on our grave. Right now, we're acting like the bully on the playground, and we can guess what happens to bullies who fall from their perches on the top of the social food-chain.

Posted by: brainchild on July 11, 2006 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

Look, I just have to ask... precisely what =is= a good solution in North Korea?

Fact is, there isn't really a military solution in NK short of nuking the whole country to glass without warning. Why not? Because they have a big ol' conventional military, pretty close to Seoul, because that's where the border is relative to the capital. Any conflict with NK that doesn't immediately decapitate it would probably result in the destruction of Seoul through conventional artillery, which could be effected more or less before we could stop it. (Yes, yes, they'd lose in the long run.)

And yes, Kim Jong Il is a nut. We're talking about a guy who not only claims to be the ol' Maximum Leader, but who claims to have divine parentage AND a better golf game than the world record, by better'n ten strokes.

So dealing with NK is fiddly under any circumstances, right? The reason that the current administration has soured on bilateral talks is because, frankly, we don't trust them to hold up their end. There's not any POINT to talks if they don't hold up their end too, y'know. If we grant them security guarantees and food aid and energy aid and then they turn around and say "oh, we developed nukes after all, and we have missiles too, you suck," what does that get us? Or wait, didn't that happen already? ;p

"Multilateral" talks is a code-word for trying to enlist China. Basically, China is the only thing keeping the NK regime above water. All their trade (in things other than drugs and weapon designs!) is with China. All their fuel comes from China. If China leans on NK, it takes, and does so in a way that doesn't get Nutball Kim to incinerate the capital of South Korea in a fit of pique.

However, we really don't have a whole lot of leverage against China on this topic. To the contrary, it's in their strategic interest that North Korea remain a big problem for the US... tying down a bunch of US troops and generally giving us headaches that we have to deal with, instead of working on China to become more democratic and liberal and stuff. Our biggest card is a nuclear Japan (very very bad for China!), but that also pisses off practically everybody else in the region, none of whom have fond memories of the Japanese occupation.

So there's no good solution. There's not even a less bad solution, short of killing off Kim (and I hope someone's working on that!) It's not a "Bush fault!" or "Clinton fault!", there's nothing either administration could do to defuse the problem.

Posted by: Avatar on July 11, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK

TOH:
Do you know about Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, a constitution written by members of General Douglas MacArthur's staff?

we have to employ the military option in North Korea, hopefully with our friends the Japanese newly militarized and ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us; whichever other allies, true allies, like Canada, Australia, and Great Britain, too.
Posted by: The Objective Historian on July 10, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK


GOP:
After you get through debating with an Australian about what Australians think, which you admit to not knowing much about, can you then entertain us by debating with a concert pianist about what playing in a concert hall, or with a professional baseball player about facing a 95 mph fastball, or with a Sanskrit specialist about the internal grammar of the Rig Veda?

Just wondering...

Posted by: keith on July 11, 2006 at 7:09 AM | PERMALINK

There's a professional shill paid to roam Kevin's comments. Can you tell what names they're posting under?

I knew you could.

Posted by: Thumb on July 11, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

The thing is, North Korea holds on to the old but strong diplomatic tradition of bringing gifts along before starting diplomatic talks.

Doesn't matter. Snow was cornered (did you see the pic of him on Think Progress), so he retreated into wingnuttia.

The trailerpark neither knows nor cares what the diplomatic traditions of NK are or were. It's easy to cover for Bush's restart of the NK nuke program by getting a guffaw out of a bunch of guys who never got past the seventh grade.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on July 11, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Well keith, I suspect floopmeister is as much in touch with Australia as you are with America.

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Ah the Texan tripe is in full bloom this morning.

What do you have against multi-lateral discussions texan? Are you an isolationist? A go-it-alone cowboy?

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White: ...our Congress authorized it, and Congress has the final call in our country.

Aw. That's so cute. Precious!

Posted by: George W. Bush on July 11, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK
These are not "conservative" economic policies. They are "liberal" economic policies, hence the term "neoliberal".

Actually, the laissez-faire policies are modern "conservative" policies, which happen to be one of many descendants of the classical liberal economics, they are, essentially, one extreme among those descendants.

"Neoliberal" refers to "new (classical) liberal" and refers largely to the proponents belief that their policy approach is the best adaptation of classical liberal economic theory to the circumstances of the modern world.

(The type of policy favored by most of the posters here is best characterized as "leftist", not liberal.)

I certainly haven't polled the posters here, but the policies of the American "left" are also largely within the classic liberal tradition; they tend toward stronger recognition of the importance of the government role in internalizing externalities, positive and negative, but that role has always been recognized, since Smith, within the classical liberal economic tradition.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

DUH, it hasn't mattered what the FACTS are since 2000...and decades from now, when (as the rest of the world already realizes) the kool-aid drinkers in this country discover, FINALLY, who has actually done most to destroy our freedoms, Constitution, reputation, and future...those in this administration will STILL blame Clinton!!!

Posted by: Dancer on July 11, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

7 explosions rock commuter trains in India this morning.

Why do jihadists hate India?

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Yes Dancer, I would definitely say the left has done the most damage to our freedoms (government regulation, higher taxes, socialized medicine, socialized economy), Constitution (open border policy, denial of recognition of God in the public square, free speech), reputation (waffling on every issue they confront, acquiescing to the UN), and future (see all of the above).

cm, "....internalizing externalities...".
Thanks for the laugh this morning.

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Based on the sheer volume of posts, I'm guessing guys like floop, Jay and GOP don't have sex.

I'm sure you thinking your changing/saving the world with all your logical, earth-shattering posts, but I'm thinking that you are suffering from DSB (Dangerous Sperm Buildup).

You need to clean out the pipes the old-fashioned way. Once you do, you'll realize that 95% of the crap you spout doesn't mean a thing.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on July 11, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Why do jihadists hate India?

Kashmir, partly, and partly because of ingrained Hindu-Muslim tensions. The largest single state sponsor of terrorism in India has been Bush's good friend Pakistan, due to its funding and support of Al-Qaeda allied Islamist terrorist groups such as Harakat ul-Ansar, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Jaish-e-Muhammad.

Posted by: Stefan on July 11, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Why does a liberal resort to personal sexual attacks and innuendos when no longer able to debate the issues?

"Look a condom"

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan knows more about jihadists, and their struggles, than he does Christians or republicans. Just admit it Stefan, you do support the jihadists, those fun loving freedom fighters. How's that hug a jihadist platform coming along?

I am proud of you though, you did find a way to link Bush to violence in India. Well done!

Posted by: Jay on July 11, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Cut 'N Run Jay: How's that hug a jihadist platform coming along?

How's that "raping a twelve year old girl is no crime!" platform coming along?

Posted by: Stefan on July 11, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Why does a liberal resort to personal sexual attacks and innuendos when no longer able to debate the issues?

"Look a condom"

Shorter Jay: my hog is only two inches long.

Posted by: Hank Scorpio on July 11, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Man you guy just don't get it do you. It is really hard to sell missile defense if you don't have some nut case with missiles to defend against. Never mind the SDI doesn't work. At this point we just want to spend money on it to help our friends. If attach on Alaska or Cali is imminent, well we don't have that many friends their and we will be able to get them on their private jets and out of there in plenty of time.

Posted by: bushburner on July 11, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Don P posting as "GOP" wrote:

The question I asked is "How is preempting a threat through diplomacy "meaningless?""

No one said that preempting a threat through diplomacy was "meaningless". You are pretending that someone said that so you can pick a fight and engage someone in one of your long, drawn-out, utterly pointless, belligerently dishonest, maliciously idiotic arguments-for-the-sake-of-argument, through which you seek to satisfy the insatiable and pathological craving of your bloated, diseased ego to prove to yourself that you are better than other people by impressing yourself with your ability to waste their time with bullshit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 11, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK
They're "liberal" only in the sense of classical liberalism, which in today's political lexicon is more commonly associated with libertarianism.

Actually, the mainstreams of the American left and right, as well as the libertarians, are all within the broad ambit of classical liberalism; its only at the extreme fringes (and not the libertarian fringes) that American politics gets outside of classical liberalism.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 11, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Lovely, GOP. It gives Americans such a beautiful image in the world at large to see an American refer to India as a "shithole"

If you want to live in India, go right ahead. I think the vast majority of westerners would agree with my evaluation of the country.

China and India are both, in fact, nations in the early stages of huge economic growth and floopmeister is right: when they hit their respective strides, they will easily overtake the USA.

The national GDPs of India and China may (may) exceed that of the U.S. within a few decades, but their populations will remain desperately poor for the foreseeable future. As I said, the idea that either country presents a viable alternative to the U.S., economically, politically, socially or culturally, is absurd.

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

'Law of the Left: "There is no dictator that cannot be dealt with if you just kiss his ass hard enough."'

No matter what anyone says or does, the wingnuts keeping choosing the opponents they want, rather the ones who are actually in front of them, talking. Throughout the past century, the Repubs have been the appeasers and the Dems have been the ones who actually cleaned up the mess. But go ahead and continue this argument with your own sphincter -- it's a discussion you are well prepared, given your level of knowledge and erudition. And kissing ass is a topic you do have a special angle on.

Posted by: Kenji on July 11, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

...who really failed here.'

That's an easy one.

It been the fault of the isolationist strategy of the current presnit. A presnut with the nothing but visceral hate for NK, thus sending China out to protect the US from NK no matter how many times that irrelevant UN tells the presnit to take ownship of the issue.

Bushie's visceral foreign policy. The "you can't make me" policy.

I see Howard Kurtz has posted the following from Josh Marshall's Talking points:

But a reader of Talking Points Memo isn't buying:

"Let's nip this whole 'Bush is shifting to a more enlightened foreign policy' theme in the bud, shall we? . . .

"The sad truth is that the administration's foreign policy has run aground on the shoals of its own incompetence. As Kevin Drum noted last week, 'the Bush administration literally seems to have no foreign policy at all anymore.'

"Afghanistan is reverting to the Taliban. Iraq is beyond the point of no return. North Korea is acting with impunity. Iran controls its own destiny. Worse, for an Administration that has instinctively favored military action over diplomacy, the nation's military resources are depleted, bogged down, and largely unavailable for any further foreign adventures.

"Yet we have stories emerging that suggest the current foreign policy dilemma is a deliberate course of action chosen by Bush. Time, in a mishmash of its news and style sections, calls it a 'strategic makeover' led by Condi Rice.

"The fact is Bush has boxed himself in, frittering away lives and treasure, and leaving himself with few options. He deserves no more credit for a policy shift than the man serving a life sentence who declares that he will henceforth be law-abiding."

You can't argue with that kind of spot-on accuracy.

That fact that Kurtz posted this shows someone who gets it too, despite the fact that Kurtz pretends otherwise, more that TIME, more the NYT. Access and shield laws be damned - where is the outright truth on current issues in the media.

This is why blogs will matter more to a majority of the people soon, very soon, then do NYT and WP.

Posted by: Cheryl on July 11, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don P, posting as "GOP", wrote: I think the vast majority of westerners would agree with my evaluation of the country.

The vast majority of westerners who are familiar with your writing on these comment pages agree with my assessment that you are a maliciously dishonest, belligerently ignorant fool, driven by your pathologically diseased and bloated ego to prove to yourself over and over again that you are superior to others by wasting their time with bullshit.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 11, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

SA, I glanced at your post and thought it was an open letter to George W. Bush. But then the only thing he already reads is our mail.

Posted by: Kenji on July 11, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

'Law of the Left: "There is no dictator that cannot be dealt with if you just kiss his ass hard enough."'

Yes, just like the left appeased Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Syngman Rhee, Augusto Pinochet, Alfredo Stroessner, Mobuto Sese Seko, Jonas Savimbi, Samuel Doe, Efrain Rios Montt, Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, Suharto, Rafael Trujillo, Anastasio Somoza, Roberto D'Aubuisson, Ferdinand Marcos, the South African apartheid regime, the military regimes of Greece, Brazil and Argentina, Antonio Noriegea, the Iranian mullahs during the arms-for-hostages deal, Saddam Hussein, the Saudi royal family, Pervez Musharraf, Islam Karimov....

Oh, wait. Those are all dictators who were/are coddled and supported by the Right. My mistake....

Posted by: Stefan on July 11, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

GOP wrote: "How can Iraq be both so important to Australians that it has seriously damaged the reputation of the U.S. in Australia, and at the same time so unimportant that it was completely irrelevant to the last election? You can't have it both ways, you know."

Actually, you quite easily can, of course. It's not even remotely far-fetched that Australians would have a negative view of the U.S. and at the same time decide that the U.S. is irrelevant in their local political concerns. Actually, to assume otherwise is rather provincial, not to mention arrogant.

In any case, since you have openly admitted that you know nothing about this, it's rather difficult to take any of your arguments seriously -- not that this is anything new, of course.

Posted by: PaulB on July 11, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The vast majority of westerners who are familiar with your writing on these comment pages agree with my assessment that you are a maliciously dishonest, belligerently ignorant fool, driven by your pathologically diseased and bloated ego to prove to yourself over and over again that you are superior to others by wasting their time with bullshit.

Or just doing what he's paid to do.

Not that those are mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Thumb on July 11, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB,

Actually, you quite easily can, of course.

No you can't have it both ways.

It's not even remotely far-fetched that Australians would have a negative view of the U.S. and at the same time decide that the U.S. is irrelevant in their local political concerns.

The issue isn't "the U.S." but the Iraq War, which Australia supported and sent troops for. How can the Iraq War be both so important to Asutralians that it seriously damaged their view of the U.S., and so unimportant that it was completely irrelevant to their last election?

In any case, since you have openly admitted that you know nothing about this, ...

Since you've openly admitted that you don't know anything about anything ...

Posted by: GOP on July 11, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

My takeaway from Kaplan's article: Credit Clinton (and Gore, btw) for defusing the initial crisis & getting the Agreed Framework in place; fault him for not following up on it (the deal seems to have become a dead letter by about 1996, and Clinton didn't send Albright to try to get it re-started until very late in his adminstration).

Fault Bush for not only perpetuating Clinton's neglect of the agreement, but branding NK as an evil enemy right at the point where he could have made a fresh start. Not to say that NK was just minding its own business & Bush popped them in the nose - but he could have called them on the Pakistan connection & insisted that NK return verifiably to the Agreed Framework without calling them evil and essentially making them think that we were about to pre-emptively attack them. Credit Bush for at least recognizing that it would be a bad idea to follow his apparent first preference & launch that pre-emptive attack - and then fault him again for reacting to the obvious failure of 'Plan A' by largely just stewing about it for four years. (Reminds you of the notorious "My Pet Goat" moment, doesn't it?)

So if you're giving grades on North Korea policy: Give Clinton a B-. Give Bush his customary "Andover C" (i.e. the grade you give to the scion of a rich, famous family when their work deserves a D).

Then pause to note that this is probably above-average for Bush's foreign policy. About the same as i'd give him for Afghanistan, Isreal/Palestine, Russia/Central Asia; better than i'd give him on Iraq, international trade, democracy promotion & Darfur; in fact the only good grade he probably deserves is for fighting AIDS/HIV in subsaharan Africa, and even there the record's mixed.

Posted by: TW on July 11, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

mhr wrote: Anytime Jimmy Carter leaves the US to "negotiate" with foreign countries or opens his mouth abroad about current US policy, the United States government comes out losing.

Anytime the "United States government" of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush "loses", the American people and the people of the entire world win.

I also voted for Jimmy Carter, twice, and there were things that I liked and things that I didn't like about his presidency. It was not all that it might have been, though it was certainly preferable in every respect to Nixon/Ford who came before him and infinitely preferable to the unmitigated disaster of the Reagan presidency.

But Jimmy Carter has been courageous in speaking out against the crimes of the Bush administration, and thereby has benefited all Americans and all people everywhere.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 11, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to bash Clinton, shouldn't it be for allowing Pakistan to get a nuclear weapon? North Korea, it seems to me, is a regional failure, because it involves a lot of parties, with competing national interests.

The current President OTOH is just an idiot who mistakes tough-sounding slogans for sound policy. They only get off their butts around election time (see '02,'04,'06) and when the public turns against them (see Katrina). The rest of their time they spend giving each other handjobs and posting 9/11 collages on RedState.

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Posted by: sam on July 11, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: actually, I've been to India four times, including for my honeymoon. India is the future, my little provincial shill, whether you are aware of it or not.

Arguments about the (undeniable) poverty of India ring a little hollow, BTW, after the shambles of New Orleans. Or didn't you read any Indian commentary about that?

In the meantime India's growth rate is hovering around 10% - and lets not ask if anyone you know has been 'Bangalored' lately, OK.

Don't you wonder why NASA is paying the Indian space program to take their next payload to the moon, while they dick around with the 1970's technology of the shuttle?

So what the hell do you know about India?

Oh wait, don't answer that... given your expertise on Australians and Australian politics (not!) my guess is that you know less than shit about India.

Finally, as for Bolloywood, I presume you're not aware that Bollywood films are now shown on general release in multiplex cinemas in Australia? Damn, some of us even watch them in subtitles.

No, I bet you weren't aware of that.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 11, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kim Jong-il is evil. And he's short. I think 'pygmy' is a good insult.

I see, so insulting foreign leaders is the only way to get them to come to the negotiating table? You freely admit that we couldn't even attack NKor if we wanted to due to the consequences. So all we have left is diplomacy (even Bush realizes that now.) Why the hell would anyone think that the way to convince someone to bow to your demands would be to start by insulting them?

Posted by: Adrock on July 12, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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