February 18, 2003

Now It's Joshua Micah Marshall's Turn...

Now it's Joshua Micah Marshall's turn... to bang his head against the wall. This time it's over the fecklessness of the Bush Administration's Korea policy, and the nonexistence of the Democratic foreign policy establishment:


Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: Which is more embarrassing?

1) The fact that Brent Scowcroft, the president's father's foreign policy guru, keeps on having to resort to the opinion pages to warn the president away from some new foreign policy disaster? (These public missives, of course, are widely and I think correctly seen as veiled messages from former President Bush.)

Or

2) The fact that the Democrats apparently have to rely on Scowcroft because they have no public figure of sufficient credibility and expertise who can publicly sound the alarm when the president marches off into another bout of foreign policy ridiculousness?

Here's a hint. It ain't #1.

In Sunday's Washington Post Outlook section, Scowcroft and Daniel Poneman tell the White House what everyone who is a) paying attention and b) not afflicted by a rich foreign policy fantasy life should know by now: that time is not on our side with North Korea and that we must act now.

Tempting as it may be for them, the folks at the White House simply can't let this situation drift into another disaster which they can then pass off on their political and press sycophants as the fault of Bill Clinton.

Very tempting, I know. Just terrible for the country.

Posted by DeLong at February 18, 2003 09:26 PM | TrackBack
Comments

I believe Scowcroft is the official Saudi mouthpiece. He says what the Saudis are thinking but are too cowardly to say for themselves. Anything he says about N. Korea should be considered vis a vis his day job.

Posted by: beck on February 18, 2003 10:51 PM

I'm sorry, but North Korea turned into a ripe disaster during the eight-year Clinton presidency; Bush inherited an existing mess. That doesn't mean Bush can do no wrong or that he should ignore it now; it does mean that I wish the Democrats would show some shame for having enabled Clinton's fecklessness.

I changed from a life-long Democratic voter to a Republican voter because, by 2000, I felt in my bones that we'd wasted eight years in foreign policy and that disasters were imminent. I didn't (couldn't) foresee the exact disasters, but then neither could the Kagans in _While America Sleeps_ (published in summer 2001).

When Democrats talk about economic policy, they not only have much smarter things to say than the Republicans, they also actually have a solid track record of impressive success. When they talk about foreign policy, they not only seem to rely heavily on denial and wishful thinking, but they actually have a record that is at best questionable.

Some day, I'd like to be able to vote in an election without having to choose *either* economic policies I know are bone-headed *or* foreign policies that please the French but are -- again, I'm sorry -- also bone-headed.

Posted by: Erich Schwarz on February 18, 2003 11:21 PM

I identify with most of what Erich Schwartz says above. The Democrats under Clinton and Rubin did a good job on the economy, while the Bush adminsration is going the loony tunes Jude Wanniski route. Bush's cowardice on trade compares unfavorably to Clinton's support of NAFTA. But in foreign policy the Democrats have become timid and reactionary. Scowcroft repesents the old guard, closely allied with the status quo in the Arab world. By contrast the Bush adminstration is showing vision and courage in confronting the terror regime in Iraq, and in its not so secret plan to unseat most of the Arab regimes in the Middle East in what Christopher Hitchens has called "political slum clearance".

The Democrats are burdened with a sense of guilt, a sense that America's success comes at the expense of those less sucessful. That debilitating neurosis had prevented them from stepping up to the plate in response to 9-11.

Something comparable is at work in Democratic failures in domestic policies, for example in education. The Democratic impulse is to dumb down education at in the name of equality. The unfortunate results of this are plain to see.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 19, 2003 02:30 AM

Can't we give Clinton a rest? Does everything Bush does (or not do) have to be seen as yet one more opportunity to rehabilitate Clinton?
As in so many areas, with North Korea Clinton left a mess. Whether Bush will make a bigger mess, remains to be seen. Any sound-thinking individual with children, is praying that he (magically?) manages to steer a course which disarms North Korea without obliterating Seoul. Do I know how to do this, with any degree of certainty, without transferring the problem in a worse form to the world five years from now? I'm sorry, no. But I do know that the probability of human civilization as we know it surviving in a world where twenty or more nations have nuclear bombs and missiles to send them, is not high.
Maybe at least on this one, we can leave partisanship aside. Fairly or not, Bush will be judged on how this one turns out. Let's just hope the results are such that he will be judged favorably - because the alternative, where he is judged unfavorably, is catastrophic to us all.

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on February 19, 2003 04:36 AM

I disagree. Bush's foreign policy has been almost as bone-headed as his economic policy. Fueled by frustration, hubris, inflated assessments of our power and an underestimation of our political and economic vulnerabilities, we are engaged in various courses of action and inaction that I fear will grave consequences both for the perceived legitimacy of our global leadership and our ability to resolve effectively more significant international crises, such as N. Korea, the Al Qaeda threat, Kashmir, Taiwan, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and arms proliferation generally.

Remember the Suez Crisis of 1956. Not only did the resort to military action there have disastrous effect on any independent international leadership role for Britain and France, it also distracted US and international focus from the Hungarian Revolution (at a time that we now know the Soviet Politburo was deeply divided over intervention). Distrust between the US and its European allies was so high as a result of Suez that senior American diplomats in the Eisenhower Administration even speculated that the revolution was a French plot to distract attention from Suez.

Zbigniew Brzezinski has a good op-ed piece in the Washington Post today which raises some excellent points about our rush to war in Iraq.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27771-2003Feb18.html

Posted by: Ben Brackley on February 19, 2003 05:56 AM

Erich Schwarz,
I find it interesting that you would switch at that time, and I presume your bias would lend itself to overlooking clinton's failures. That being said what were the missed opportunities that George W. Bush, pre 9-11, was going to accomplish.
I simply do not see that they would have done anything differently, or they would have been more isolationist, correct? There plan was to switch from Clinton's focus on terrorism, to a focus on Iraq, and China, correct? What was their plan regarding North Korea, before 9-11 and how would it have prevented the current crisis if implemented sooner?
Do you really think calling them part of an axis of evil, then posturing as if we are going to attack one of the other three axis no matter what the evidence calmed that situation down?
What policies from 1992 would you have advocated that Clinton failed to enact?
I think I would like to criticize Clinton a little because he could have done more, I think in the former Yugoslavia earlier, he could have done something in Africa, etc., but wasn't it the Republican Congress that was most against these things?

Posted by: theCoach on February 19, 2003 08:49 AM

The discontinuites between President Clinton's foreign policy and that of President Bush are often exaggerated. It was under Clinton that regime change in Iraq was declared a goal of US foreign policy, and the use of force was not ruled out. The Republicans criticize Clinton for not going to war with Iraq in 1998, but they wouldn't have supported him at the time if he had proposed doing so.

There are continuities, but after 9-11 there is a need for an extra element of audacity, of confidence, of willingness to strike and strike hard, which is available only on the political right.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 19, 2003 09:55 AM

"The Republicans criticize Clinton for not going to war with Iraq in 1998, but they wouldn't have supported him at the time if he had proposed doing so."

Heh. I think you're right.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on February 19, 2003 10:08 AM

I don't understand why the Clinton Administration is even contemplated to be holding the bag for the mess with North Korea. For crying out loud, it's 2003! When are these Republicans going to take responsibility for anything?

As far as I can tell, the 1994 agreement with the North Koreans prevented the manufacture of over 100 nuclear weapons.

Yes, the North Koreans started a uranium enrichment program on the sly, which the Clinton Administration briefed the incoming Bush Administration on in 2000, but now it is over two years later, and all the Bush Administration has done is rattle sabers and spout bellicose nonsense. In fact, according to the speechwriter David Frum, North Korea was included in the axis of evil out of political correctness, because the Administration didn't want to seem anti-Muslim or anything in last year's State of the Union address.

The Bush's inherited a difficult and dangerous problem with North Korea and instead of continuing the course, they treated it as a problem, not to solve, but to use to sell missile defense. They say they cannot be appeasers, but what the hell are you going to do. North Korea, without moving any artillery pieces, is capable of hitting Seoul with 500,000 shells per hour.

So, in the near future, North Korea will have nukes, which could very well trigger an arms race between Japan and China. America will have worn out their welcome in East Asia, and it will all come back to Clinton's penis.

Posted by: wetzel on February 19, 2003 10:14 AM

Erich et. al:

Regarding NK, what is the alternate policy that Bush is advocating, that you find so superior? If Clinton's policy was such a disaster, why did Powell praise it in January? And why did they have Clinton's negotiator Bill Richardson meet with the NK?

From the 1/9/03 Wash Post:
Powell lauded what is known as the Agreed Framework. "The previous administration I give great credit to for freezing that plutonium site," he said. "Lots of nuclear weapons were not made because of the Agreed Framework and the work of President Clinton and his team."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A30476-2003Jan8¬Found=true

Bush from the beginning dissed SK pres Kim and the Sunshine Policy, and instead used inflammatory rhetoric denigrating the Agreed Framework that succeeded in riling Kim Jong Il and upsetting South Korea. (Are these signs of success to you?) Now of course Bush is desperate to get back to at least to the Clintonian Framework.

Posted by: Rich Phillips on February 19, 2003 10:35 AM

I don't care who's to blame, dang it, I just don't want to glow. Fix it, Bush!

Posted by: Jason McCullough on February 19, 2003 10:43 AM

Rich Phillips is right. There are things to criticize Clinton for, but his North Korea policy isn't one of them. The Republicans should realize this and shut up about Clinton.

The Democrats in turn should stop saying "what about North Korea?" as a way of criticizing Bush for his Iraq policy. One size fits all is a poor approach to foreign policy.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 19, 2003 10:44 AM

As Novak said if Clinton hadn't reached the agreement he did with the NK instead of NK having a couple of nukes they would have had 100 by now.

Posted by: GT on February 19, 2003 11:14 AM

Yes, the North Koreans started a uranium enrichment program on the sly, which the Clinton Administration briefed the incoming Bush Administration on in 2000

Let me point out, the uranium enrichment program HAS NOT RESULTED YET IN ANY ENRICHED URANIUM!

The current crisis is about PLUTONIUM. Clinton got Korea's plutonium program shut down, and it stayed shut down until Bush sabotaged the North-South discussions and then threatened North Korea with war!

Posted by: IssuesGuy on February 19, 2003 12:29 PM

In the previous message there should have been quotes around "Yes, the North Koreans started a uranium enrichment program on the sly, which the Clinton Administration briefed the incoming Bush Administration on in 2000". I had added HTML for italics but that didn't work...

Posted by: I on February 19, 2003 12:33 PM

Well, it's a mess, that's for sure, but it is also indicative that many problems are pretty damned difficult, and that partisan finger pointing usually obscures more that it illuminates. The differences between Iraq and North Korea are many, but one of them is that the North Korea cannot be dealt with out very, very, substantial cooperation with China, South Korea, and Japan, whereas as more unilateral approach is possible with Iraq, which is one reason why we see the Bush Administration taking different tacks on the two regions. Also, time could be on our side with North Korea, if some way to keep them bottled up can be devised by the concerned powers, until that starvation state implodes. Hussein, or his sons, sitting on the 2nd largest known reserves of very fungible crude oil, however, can hold out for a very, very, long time. Hopefully, the Chinese will come to understand how Japan may react to North Korea, and decide it is in their interest to see that little psychopath stifled, and the South Koreans' very understandable fears can be dealt with. Anybody who wants to be President of the United States has got to be nuts.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 19, 2003 12:36 PM

"The differences between Iraq and North Korea are many, but one of them is that the North Korea cannot be dealt with out very, very, substantial cooperation with China, South Korea, and Japan, whereas as more unilateral approach is possible with Iraq."

This is quite an interesting statement. Whether it is valid or not is most important. I am concerned that Iraq may be far more complex for a unilateral approach than we assume.

For instance: Do we need Turkey, or not. We have offered 26 billion dollars in aid for Turkish support. Turkey wants 32 billion. Apparently we think Turkish support worth at least 26 billion dollars. How unilateral can we really be in Iraq.

Posted by: randall on February 19, 2003 01:18 PM

I agree with almost everything Will says, except that I don't think a nuclear state imploding sounds pretty. And Dear Leader himself is 2d generation, indicating that hereditary autarchy is alive and well in NK.

It's a little like hoping the survivalist down the street will die in his sleep, rather than in a blaze of glory. Yikes.

PS - or is "autarchy" self-rule?

Posted by: JRoth on February 19, 2003 01:28 PM

"Remember the Suez Crisis of 1956. Not only did the resort to military action there have disastrous effect on any independent international leadership role for Britain and France, it also distracted US and international focus from the Hungarian Revolution (at a time that we now know the Soviet Politburo was deeply divided over intervention). Distrust between the US and its European allies was so high as a result of Suez that senior American diplomats in the Eisenhower Administration even speculated that the revolution was a French plot to distract attention from Suez. "

Unfortunately, Dwight Eisenhower goofed up badly on this issue. He also messed up by allowing the Russians to move into Berlin. His record is far from perfect. Then again, no human being is flawless. We can only hope that their correct decisions outweigh their errors in judgment.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 19, 2003 01:34 PM

randall, I didn't mean to imply that complete unilateralism was possible with Iraq, just that it allowed for more unilaterlism than any approach to North Korea. Having said that, your point is well taken. I wonder if the 10 billion anually sent to Israel and Egypt would be better spent elsewhere?

JRoth; like I said, anybody who wants to be President of the United States is nuts....

Posted by: Will Allen on February 19, 2003 01:41 PM

JRoth:

"Autarky" = self-sufficiancy, as in no international trade.

"Autocracy" - rule by one man.

NK has tried both, only really succeeded at the latter...

Posted by: jimbo on February 19, 2003 01:50 PM

“The current crisis is about PLUTONIUM. Clinton got Korea's plutonium program shut down, and it stayed shut down until Bush sabotaged the North-South discussions and then threatened North Korea with war!”

“The current crisis is about PLUTONIUM. Clinton got Korea's plutonium program shut down, and it stayed shut down until Bush sabotaged the North-South discussions and then threatened North Korea with war!”

My guess (and that’s all any of us possess!) is that Kim Jong II is desperate for money. This nation is not exactly an economic powerhouse. The crap was going to hit the fan regardless who was in the White House, George W. Bush, Al Gore, or the Bugs Bunny.

There is no way realistic way that you can exonerate the record of Bill Clinton on this matter. His administration should have negotiated a better deal with the North Korean slime ball. He gave up the proverbial farm far too easily. I also strongly doubt that Kim Jong Il is willing to die for some nihilistic value system. Thus, it is best that we place unrelenting pressure on his regime.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 19, 2003 01:56 PM

At the time, no substantive criticism of Clinton's policies was heard, either from within his own party, or from the opposition. Whose fault was that, that nothing meaningful could possibly have been heard? Which party was so set on a lynch-mob mentality that they pre-empted any national political discourse about matters of substance? Assuming for the sake of argument that the US might indeed have been sowing the seeds of its current troubles in the late nineties, which party abdicated its responsibility to point out actual errors that were going to have consequences, and opted instead for all-Monica, all the time?

The Republicans left Clinton to handle the mundane business of governing without much in the way of objections; one can only assume they decided to be more interested in his private life because they weren't able to discuss real issues. Like a passenger in a car yelling non-stop obscenities at the driver, and beating him about the head, but still expecting him not to steer over a cliff... Not so amusing, I'm afraid, when contrasted with the sense of panic this administration's driving induces.

And the thing is, the rest of the world kept telling the USA this. People were incredulous -- how could everyone be so obsessed with a blue dress when you ought to have been talking about, er, for instance... Korea. Or the Middle East. Overvaluation in the dot-com market. You know, the important stuff that a president is supposed to be taking care of. Clinton made mistakes, I'm sure. But the Republicans bear some of the blame; considering what they were doing to him for years on end, it's astounding he managed as well as he did.

Well, one thing is better now than in the Clinton era, anyway: the quality of the opposition.

Posted by: Canadian Reader on February 19, 2003 04:50 PM

The doctrine of preemption is dead
Iraq will be the first and the last one.

There is absolutely no public support for it outside the USA.

Even in the USA it has been made possible only by the conjunction of:
- 9/11
- an inept opposition
- an intense media propaganda


From this evening NYT
"Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who has been one of President Bush's strongest supporters, said today that he had recently spoken to Mr. Bush "with candor and loyalty, as real friends do" and had "invited him not to cultivate isolationism." As many as three million antiwar protesters marched in Rome on Saturday. Afterward, Mr. Berlusconi insisted that military action against Iraq must be carried out under the auspices of the United Nations."

Posted by: gogol on February 19, 2003 05:13 PM

When are these Republicans going to take responsibility for anything?

After another Democratic President and Congress achieve something successfull. Then the Republicans will claim that Bush was responsible.

As for defending against the threat posed by a nuclear North Korea, the worst they could do is hit one of the population centers of what Bush views as the hostile Left Coast. Until they can reach a state where Bush picked up electoral votes, he has no incentive to back up his trash talk with action.

As long as he follows the prescription laid out by The Rumsfelds in the 80s, targetting piece-of-cake countries like Panama and Grenada and Central American countries and Iraq, he can ignore serious confrontations with nuclear threats like North Korea and biggies like China.

Today Iraq! Tomorrow, Monaco!

Posted by: Cowboy Kahlil on February 19, 2003 05:21 PM

"I've got to hand it to him: Never has so much been done in so little time to help so few," Mr. Gephardt said.

Posted by: Bruce Ferguson on February 19, 2003 07:35 PM

I am shocked by the utter callousness of those opposed to toppling Saddam Hussein, their indifference to the suffering of the Iraqi people under his monstrous regime. For them the deaths of millions count for nothing compared to the need to oppose Bush because he is a religious Republican cowboy from Texas.

Most liberals today seem to believe that there is nothing worth fighting for. How far we have come from the days of FDR and Harry Truman.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 20, 2003 02:03 AM

Joe Willingham:

I'm shocked that supporters of the Bush regime even tries to motivate a war with Saddam, by saying that anything else would imply that you are indifferent for the starvation and similar things the Iraqi people has to endure.

Bush is definitely not going to war because he cares for the Iraqi people (if the war would be "succesful", maybe it would be a positive externality, but it is not the principal cause).

A policy where we focus on the Iraqi people for once, instead of the oil the Bush regime wants to get their hands on, would mean that we remove the sanctions. They don't work (look at Cuba), they don't harm Saddam, they only harm the Iraqi people. The problem with this is that Saddam (the bad guy he is), doesn't care about the Iraqi people. The sanctions just give him a good reason to blame the US & UN for the starvation and thru his dictatorship to fool big parts of the civilian population to believe that the main problem is not Saddam, but USA.

Also, if we look at some effects of the war the last time "Bush the older bombed Iraq", we see immense suffering for the Iraqi people. In some parts of southern Iraq, the cancer rate among infants is extremely high. This is the effects of ammunition spillovers from the American army.

What I agree on is that Saddam must be removed. He's a bad guy, and a threat mainly to the countries in the Middle East. He's most likely not involved with Al Qaida or similar activites. Before a war should be an option, follwing things should be tried:
- To strongly support the opposition in Iraq, both politically and financially.
- To give more resources to Hans Blix and his team.
- To demand to be able to talk to Iraqi researchers without Government control, if not allowed, give them political asylum in the West and get the information that way.

If nothing works after really trying several activities the peaceful way, well, then a war could be the solution. But a war right now? Why, Is Saddam such a big threat today? Why not Korea? What happened to the war against Al Qaida? The whole thing spreads a feeling that this war is so strongly lobbied from the Republicans because they failed to find Bin Laden (dead or alive, I believe it was), they failed with North Korea etc.

For example, why go the diplomatic way with North Korea? They are without doubt a bigger threat to the world then Saddam.

Mikael S, Milano.

Posted by: Mikael on February 20, 2003 02:36 AM

Mikael: Thanks, but save your breath. According to Willingham and his kind, everyone opposed to an invasion is a traitorous apologist for Saddam Hussein and nothing you or anyone else could say will shift them from this conviction. The best we can do is get them to abuse us rather than to spout xenophobic bigotry about the French and other nations which show more restraint.

Posted by: andres on February 20, 2003 10:13 AM

David Thomson writes:

"There is no way realistic way that you can exonerate the record of Bill Clinton on this matter. His administration should have negotiated a better deal with the North Korean slime ball. He gave up the proverbial farm far too easily. I also strongly doubt that Kim Jong Il is willing to die for some nihilistic value system. Thus, it is best that we place unrelenting pressure on his regime."

Well, what progress has Bush's so-called NK policy accomplished? Jong Il mothballed his plutonium reactor--what better deal was Clinton supposed to get, and what has Bush gotten? If it was just a matter of pressure, as you claim, why did Bush explicitly take military action off the table?

Bush's macho non-policy has backfired "big time" as Cheney would say. That is why they even resorted to using Clinton's negotiator to try to get back to the Agreed Framework. It is incredible that Bush apologists try to pin this failure on Clinton. No matter how much you try to prop him up, Bush is just in way over his head.

Posted by: Rich Phillips on February 20, 2003 10:46 AM

Why the arguing? We have several very serious foreign affairs crises at hand and had better attend to them. There is a war looming in Iraq, and America has very little support. The war on terrorism goes on. North Korea is on the verge of producing a steady supply of materials for atomic weapons. Perhaps if we stopped looking for blame and shaking fists at anyone who does not agree with the Administration on every point we might begin to put together a foreign policy that could gain broad support.

Posted by: randall on February 20, 2003 11:30 AM

AND I don't believe Scowcroft is acting at the bequest of Democrats. So lets face it, the Dem's aren't doing anything really.

Senate Democrats continued their filibuster Wednesday blocking a vote on President Bush’s nomination of Miguel Estrada to the federal appeals bench. But they still haven't built the require number of votes to simply vote em out, right?

From what I can see the Dem's simply arn't really doing anything except sitting on their hands. I don't like Hillary, Edwards, Kerry, and certainly not Liberman. I don't think Tom Daschle has any business even being in Washington and hopefully with his next election, Tom will need to look for employment elsewhere.

As new poll over on talkleft says:

* The Democrats in Congress down from 68% to 38%, a decline of 30 points

They still don't have spine and they still are not doing much.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 20, 2003 11:47 AM

Well, we do decidedly like just those Democrats and others you might care to criticize. We do love Senate Democrats, except for Zell Miller who is really a Republican.

Posted by: jd on February 20, 2003 12:32 PM

"According to Willingham and his kind, everyone opposed to an invasion is a traitorous apologist for Saddam Hussein and nothing you or anyone else could say will shift them from this conviction"

Wrong. There are responsible opponents of military action, who are not anti-American, General Scowcroft for one. There are pacifists who oppose all military action, and isolationists who believe that the US should not be involved with other nations except to trade and travel. I don't agree with their philosophies, but I don't think that they are bad people.

My point is that most of the opponents of the war make it too easy on themselves by ignoring the humanitarian impact of leaving Saddam Hussein in power. You won't see many Iraqis at those peace demonstrations. In fact, there is widespread support among Iraqi exiles for some sort of US military action. They don't like the idea of their country being invaded, but they like the idea of leaving Saddam Hussein in power even less.
By killing hundreds of thousands of his subjects and driving four million into exile Saddam has made a lot of enemies. His political base is actually quite narrow; it's mainly within his own tribe.

Opponents of military action like to impugn Mr. Bush's motives. What they ignore is that it is possible to support Mr. Bush for reasons that may not be his. Let's say for the sake of argument that Mr. Bush wants to invade Iraq so the Bush family can get control of lucrative oil contracts when the new government comes to power. The people of Iraq would none the less be better off without Saddam Hussein, even if the president overthrew him for reasons that were less than pure.

People on the left like to talk about motives and intentions, and they have a great gift for discerning what those are when it comes to American leaders. I am more interested in outcomes than motives. The smiles on the faces of the people when Kabul was liberated are more important than somebody's speculations about the administration's motives.

President Clinton managed to get widespread European support for invading Serbia and seizing part of its territory. It as an illegal act, but it was morally right. Today the people of Serbia have a democratic government, and Milosevic is on trial for war crimes in The Hague.

Why don't the people in Iraq deserve the same support as the people in Bosnia and Kosovo? The situation in the Balkans is still a mess, but a mess is better than a dictator with a history of starting wars and committing genocide, especially one whose hobby is nuclear research.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 20, 2003 01:04 PM

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/19/opinion/19FRIE.html

Saddam does not threaten us today. He can be deterred. Taking him out is a war of choice — but it's a legitimate choice. It's because he is undermining the U.N., it's because if left alone he will seek weapons that will threaten all his neighbors, it's because you believe the people of Iraq deserve to be liberated from his tyranny, and it's because you intend to help Iraqis create a progressive state that could stimulate reform in the Arab/Muslim world, so that this region won't keep churning out angry young people who are attracted to radical Islam and are the real weapons of mass destruction....

Posted by: randall on February 20, 2003 01:19 PM

Randall has it exactly right. But for political and legal reasons Bush has to present the issue in terms of self defense.

Tony Blair was candid enough to come close to saying this at his last press conference.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 20, 2003 02:53 PM

>>But for political and legal reasons Bush has to present the issue in terms of self defense.>most of the opponents of the war make it too easy on themselves by ignoring the humanitarian impact of leaving Saddam Hussein in power.>President Clinton managed to get widespread European support for invading Serbia and seizing part of its territory. It as an illegal act, but it was morally right. Today the people of Serbia have a democratic government, and Milosevic is on trial for war crimes in The Hague.<<

Number one, factual correction: it was Tony Blair who led the moral argument for action on Kosovo, and got Clinton on board.

Number two, factual correction: the bombardment and securing of Kosovo *did not remove Milosevic from power in Serbia*. (Just as Ronald Reagan did not pull down the Berlin Wall with his bare hands.) Milosevic persisted in power for some months, then refused to accept electoral defeat -- in an election conducted democratically and fairly, one notes -- and popular demonstrations forced him out.

(I think the Latin term for your elision of historical fact with regard to Serbia is 'post hoc, propter hoc', no?)

As for Friedman's assertion that Saddam is the one threatening the authority of the UN: I see that very much as a tug of war between Bush and Saddam, with the rope tied around the UN's neck. You really think that dictating terms and timings to the UN in order to satisfy the strategic wishes of the US Chiefs of Staff doesn't undermine the organisation's credibility?

Posted by: nick sweeney on February 20, 2003 04:00 PM

Damn, I dunno what happened with that first graf. Let's try again:

"most of the opponents of the war make it too easy on themselves by ignoring the humanitarian impact of leaving Saddam Hussein in power."

That's a gross misunderstanding of the position of those opposed to an attack on the terms currently offered by the US (with Poodle Tony following behind). In fact, most opponents of the war make it pretty damn hard on themselves, since they're well aware of the possible humanitarian impact of continued containment, but believe that it is, of all current alternatives, the least worst option.

The question that's being asked, across Britain at least, is "will a war leave the people of the region any better off?" And I say that most supporters of the war make it far too easy on *themselves* by ignoring both the humanitarian and geopolitical impact of launching an attack to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

And the burden of proof is undeniably on the war party.

Posted by: nick sweeney on February 20, 2003 04:06 PM

[Chinese] friends, with every great world war has come a new security system. World War I gave birth to the League of Nations and an attempt to recreate a balance of power in Europe, which proved unstable. World War II gave birth to the U.N., NATO, the I.M.F. and the bipolar American-Soviet power structure, which proved to be quite stable until the end of the cold war. Now, 9/11 has set off World War III, and it, too, is defining a new international order.

Peking Duct Tape By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, NYTimes 02-16
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/16/opinion/16FRIE.html

Now, the last time I wrote that bringing war to the Middle East with pure unaltered (Judeo-)Christian "moral clarity" is taking a chance at starting WWIII, I was mocked by the war-mongers contigent of Professor DeLong's comment section. But, then again, I guess that talking about WWIII is perfectly fine IF it is used to make a case FOR war. Otherwise, it is your usual liberal-stupid-arrangant-nonsense, isn't it?...

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on February 20, 2003 04:54 PM

"And the burden of proof is undeniably on the war party."

This is patently false. Those who yell the loudest for peace often are inadvertently responsible for much bloodshed. History is replete with numerous examples of death and destruction caused by both war mongers---and pacifists! The latter have no right to the claim of acting more prudently. World War II could have been entirely avoided had the pacifists not pushed their appeasement policies. We cannot allow them to make the same mistake with Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 20, 2003 06:09 PM

"Now, the last time I wrote that bringing war to the Middle East..."

The exact opposite is true. The Western world basically embraced a live and let live philosophy with the Muslim world. The Islamic militants started this mess and we are merely putting a stop to this nonsense.

"...with pure unaltered (Judeo-)Christian "moral clarity" is taking a chance at starting WWIII"

So called Judeo-Christian moral clarity has nothing to do with anything. A purely secular argument can easily be made to support our actions. We are at great risk if we seriously listen to those who have had their thinking damaged by pseudo-intellectuals who are unable to think and follow a logical argument. Our present crisis demands more than the philosophical premises of the “it’s all relative” folks.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 20, 2003 06:24 PM

War-mongers just love the period between WWI & WWII as perhaps the one time in recent history when they were correct.

Will they ever give credit to the side that encourages non-warlike options, which saved us from WWIII with the Soviets. I'm talking about the Berlin Air-Lift, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I'm sure other instances we don't even know about. The people who kept the peace had to deal with war-mongers then too.

Posted by: Dan on February 20, 2003 08:55 PM

"This is patently false."

And yet your examples don't even come close to justifying this assertion. Strange, that. One might think that you were begging the question, even.

"The latter have no right to the claim of acting more prudently."

The war party has no right to that claim, either. But the those opposed to war (who are not 'appeasers', however hard you wish it were so, in a classic case of 'false dichotomy') have the benefit of the doubt: a point emphasised by Thursday's statement from the Archbishops of Canturbury and Westminster.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2782509.stm

The notion that those who do not buy into Bush's war policy do so without considering its possible outcomes -- the issue I specifically address, and you do not, TweedleDave -- is nothing more than a smear. And your rhetorical make-up kit is full of smears.

oh, you've added more idiocy:

"The Islamic militants started this mess and we are merely putting a stop to this nonsense."

So Saddam Hussein is an Islamic militant now? That'll be news to Osama bin Laden. Funny how, to me, it seemed that focusing on Iraq was a way for the White House to divert attention from its pitiful attempts to deal with said Islamic militants, not least those supported by their friends in Riyadh.

"Our present crisis demands more than the philosophical premises of the “it’s all relative” folks."

It demands a truck-load more than the bull-in-a-china-shop mentality of the 'our war, our rules, and dissent is treason' folks.

Posted by: nick sweeney on February 20, 2003 08:57 PM

"Number one, factual correction: it was Tony Blair who led the moral argument for action on Kosovo, and got Clinton on board."

I will happily stand corrected and give Bill Clinton's pal Tony Blair the credit. Did anyone see Blair's last press conference? It was a masterpiece. He answered every question candidly and at the same time tactfully. His reasoning was clear and compelling. His combination of moral fervor and tight logic was not something often seen in political speeches. Mr. Blair is risking his political life on the outcome of this war. This is not a man who likes to court unpopularity. He's not some sort of right wing cowboy. Clearly he is convinced in his mind and conscience that standing up to Saddam Hussein is the right thing to do. I think he is the most honorable and courageous political leader in the world today.

"Number two, factual correction: the bombardment and securing of Kosovo *did not remove Milosevic from power in Serbia*. (Just as Ronald Reagan did not pull down the Berlin Wall with his bare hands.) Milosevic persisted in power for some months, then refused to accept electoral defeat -- in an election conducted democratically and fairly, one notes -- and popular demonstrations forced him out."

OK, I shortened the causal chain a bit, but the fact is that if NATO hadn't have attacked, Milosevic would probably have stayed in power.


Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 01:12 AM

"I think he is the most honorable and courageous political leader in the world today."

I admire his moral vision; I question his choice of friends with which to deliver it.

(He's meeting his 'friend' Berlusconi today. The BBC correspondent joked that it was a meeting of 'Europe's most right-wing leader... and Silvio Berlusconi.')

So, I don't regard as honourable his naivety in allying himself with those who don't share his morals, particularly when he imputes that vision to them. The man also is suffering from a combination of domestic megalomania and an international inferiority complex. I don't regard that as ideal in a leader.

"the fact is that if NATO hadn't have attacked, Milosevic would probably have stayed in power."

My Serbian friends dispute this, suggesting that Kosovo was the last desparate attempt of Milosevic to shore up power through an appeal to nationalism; but those friends were part of the opposition (B92) before the Kosovo attack, so you can judge it on face value.

Posted by: nick sweeney on February 21, 2003 04:31 AM

Unfortunately, there's a lot that can't be said about the long-term objectives that go hand in hand with occupying Iraq. This New Yorker article does come close, though:

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?030217fa_fact

It's a mistake to look at Iraq, or North Korea or Al-Q'aida in a vacuum, in my opinion. If you think in terms of: (1) a long-term global war on terror (that we did NOT start), (2) restricting the spread of WMD and (3) that the assumption that terrorism is "stateless" may be false, then Iraq makes a lot more sense.

First, from a long-term perspective, the US and the UN won't be able to discipline ANY bad actors ANYWHERE if words don't have meaning. If Iraq isn't held fast to its agreement with the UN, then there's no hope for multilaterism in dealing with North Korea or any other bad actor on the global stage. And at the moment, Iraq is flaunting its agreements and everybody knows it.

Second, it's very important to take terrorist pressure off Israel. Occupation of Iraq cuts the umbilical cord between the radical mullahs in Iran and their Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon.

Third, occupation of Iraq puts an incredible squeeze play on Syria, which gets caught between a bunch of hostile states and its leadership gets delegitimized. Syria is a big state sponsor of terror.

Last, the whole world is watching, and judging the intensity of the US commitment to fighting a serious long-term battle with terror. From a decades-long-view, Iraq is just a very small first step toward making the world a little bit safer.

And North Korea is a big deal, but multilateral pressure (including help from China) will have no impact whatsoever if the UN and US wimp out completely on Iraq. Because North Korea's watching too, and realizes that if multiple agreements with Iraq can't be enforced, then how can the world hope to make North Korea do ANYTHING when their geographical position allows them the negotiating chip of holding Seoul hostage?

Posted by: Anarchus on February 21, 2003 06:59 AM

Nick Sweeney writes about Tony Blair:

"The man also is suffering from a combination of domestic megalomania and an international inferiority complex."

From what I have read Tony Blair's administration does suffer from a sort of domestic megalomania. The complaint is that they are obsessed with micromanaging people's behavior to conform to the canons of political correctness.

I don't think Blair suffers from an international inferiority complex. But that description fits Chirac to a "T". Chirac should be ashamed of himself for the way he has supported Saddam Hussein and undermined NATO and the EU.

From what I've heard Berlusconi talks a good line about reform, in particular breaking the stranglehold of the labor unions on Italy's economy, but hasn't done much about it. I'm disappointed to see that he is wavering in his support of President Bush's position on Iraq.


Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 08:26 AM

"Number one, factual correction: it was Tony Blair who led the moral argument for action on Kosovo, and got Clinton on board."

That's not what my copy of War In A Time Of Peace says.....

Oh, that TalkLeft poll:

* President Bush down from 88% to 52%, a decline of 36 points.
* Secretary of State Colin Powell down from 88% to 76%, a decline of 12
points.
* Vice President Dick Cheney down from 69% to 45%, a decline of 24 points.
* Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld down from 78% to 56%, a decline of
22 points.
* Attorney General John Ashcroft down from 65% to 51%, a decline of 14 points.
* House Speaker Dennis Hastert down from 52% to 33%, a decline of 19 points.
* The Republicans in Congress down from 67% to 43%, a decline of 24 points.
* The Democrats in Congress down from 68% to 38%, a decline of 30 points

Basically, everyone's cratering.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on February 21, 2003 08:37 AM

'I don't think Blair suffers from an international inferiority complex. But that description fits Chirac to a "T".'

Au contraire: Chirac has an international megalomania to match his domestic megalomania. Right now it's quite useful. In contrast, Blair is overly awed by populist demagogues. And the US should be ashamed of the way it has undermined NATO and the UN by presenting them with the alternatives of becoming rubber-stamps for American expansionism or of being ignored.

"From what I've heard Berlusconi talks a good line about reform, in particular breaking the stranglehold of the labor unions on Italy's economy, but hasn't done much about it."

Berlusconi has done much to reform the Italian judiciary, primarily to escape prosecution. He is the richest man in the country, controls six of the country's seven national TV stations, a quarter of the publishing industry, and owns its largest sporting enterprise. (Many Italians were astonished to hear of the two million who protested last weekend in Rome; it was not reported on BerlusconiVision.) When the Economist runs an editorial saying that he's unfit to govern Italy, even the most uncritical conservatives must raise an eyebrow.

It's not hyperbole to say that he is fulfilling Mussolini's dream of uniting state and corporate power.

(I'd recommend that people read 'The Dark Heart of Italy' by my former colleague Tobias Jones: FT review here:

http://makeashorterlink.com/?P26B16D83

)

Posted by: nick sweeney on February 21, 2003 08:57 AM

Anarchus above has it exactly right. Other rogue states like North Korea are waiting to see what happens in Iraq. If Saddam Hussein isn't taken out, it will be a major setback for peace and stability in the world.


Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 09:06 AM

>Berlusconi

Italy needs a strong conervative leader. But Mr. Berlusconi, with his record of being a crook and his many conflicts of interest, is not the ideal choice for the job, to put it mildly.

"Au contraire: Chirac has an international megalomania to match his domestic megalomania. Right now it's quite useful. In contrast, Blair is overly awed by populist demagogues."

Nick, did you reverse the names in those two sentences? You were saying that *Blair* is the international maniac. I was saying that it was Chirac.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 10:05 AM

"Other rogue states like North Korea are waiting to see what happens in Iraq. If Saddam Hussein isn't taken out, it will be a major setback for peace and stability in the world."

North Korea rather seems to be taking complete advantage of our focus on Iraq, and seems to have decided that if they use this period to become a nuclear force they will then have far more bargaining leverage in dealing with America.

North Korea seems far more dangerous than Iraq, and becomes more dangerous now by the month. If our policy on Iraq has restrained North Korea, I surely do not know of the evidence.

Posted by: edward on February 21, 2003 11:30 AM

Why is it that containment of Iraq is not the policy? I really do not understand.

Posted by: edward on February 21, 2003 11:51 AM

Even if North Korea has no nuclear weapons, attacking it militarily is not an attractive option. They are 30 miles from Seoul, and can wreak devastation on the South Korean capital with artillery. Casualities on all sides would be large. The North Koreans know this. The reason they want nuclear weapons is to extort money from the United States.

The best policy is to ignore North Korea for the moment and let Kim Jong Il and the other scumbags make all the noise they want. There's nothing we can do right now that would be particularly useful. Paying attention to them except on military radar screens is only playing their game.

First let's get rid of Saddam Hussein. Think we can think about whether there is any way to liberate the inmates of the death camp known as North Korea.


Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 12:06 PM

I am still puzzled. Of course, North Korea is a horrid dictatorship. But, a war with North Korea would mean vast destruction through the region. The Administration was successful in destroying the terrorist regimes in Afghanistan. Why not continue the war against terrorism and contain Iraq and North Korea.

Also, I can not imagine China or South Korea opting for a war of liberation against North Korea. Containment worked against the USSR. Why not continue such a policy? Perhaps I am naive, but I worry that serial "nation building" is not what will best serve America.

Posted by: edward on February 21, 2003 12:19 PM

Edward: Iraq has continually flaunted multiple UN Security Council resolutions for the past decade . . . . . . and in response, a wretched blockade has been kept in place that's starved the Iraqi people while Saddam has built palaces and chased after WMD. There's nothing we've done (yet) that would do anything other than encourage North Korea to flaunt nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

Containing Iraq may dramatically slow their pace of acquisition of WMD, but it doesn't help at all in the global war against terrorism. And there's no way to prevent the flow of money and weapons from Iran across Iraq and into Syria and Lebanon to aid Hezbollah. Unless the regime in Iraq is changed.

And there's no way that anyone with a brain thinks that war against North Korea can make sense outside of a disaster scenario. BUT. It's possible that a massive display of force that brings Iraq into compliance with its UN obligations might "encourage" North Korea to take its nuclear non-proliferation agreements more seriously. Or perhaps not.

The North Koreans are a crazy breed. Read the accounts of the murders of US Army Capt. Arthur Bonifas and US Army Lt. Mark Barrett at Panmunjom in 1976 and it's clear that the North Koreans are deranged to the point of being psychotic. The only thing to do with North Korea may be containment, but that'll have a better chance of working if they fear the U.S. military. Even dogs understand fear.

Posted by: Anarchus on February 21, 2003 02:07 PM

Edward,

Containment *is* the policy for North Korea. Nobody is proposing to attack North Korea. The New York Times article referenced below explains why containment won't work for Iraq.

If you have trouble getting the article I can email it to you.


NY Times, Feb 21, 2003 http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/21/opinion/21POLL.html

A Last Chance to Stop Iraq
By KENNETH M. POLLACK

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 02:09 PM

"Nick, did you reverse the names in those two sentences? You were saying that *Blair* is the international maniac. I was saying that it was Chirac."

No, Joe, you said that Chirac had an international inferiority complex. I quite disagree. It's Blair who diminishes quite noticeably on the international stage, in his fawning towards leaders who are even bigger domestic demagogues, and the irony is that he's loved internationally for it.

And Anarchus: keep up the racist generalisations, won't you? They're so endearing.

Posted by: nick sweeney on February 21, 2003 08:13 PM

Chirac has delusions of grandeur. He thinks in terms of European socialist superstate led by France and Germany (in that order) as a counterweight to the US. Some of the other European countries don't share his vision. If Europe splits, the majority of European counties may decide to remain allied to the US.

The way he has pulled the rug out from under NATO and split the EU in the middle of this crisis is a remarkable display of treachery and ingratitude. He really should be ashamed.

When Iraq is liberated the Iraqis will remember who their friends were.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 21, 2003 09:27 PM

"Why is it that containment of Iraq is not the policy? I really do not understand."

There is a very good reason: North Korea is a totally different situation---and possesses nuclear weapons. Iraq apparently does not pose this much of a threat. Why allow their situation evolve to that point? It is senseless to treat each threat in the exact same manner.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 21, 2003 10:38 PM

"And Anarchus: keep up the racist generalisations, won't you? They're so endearing."

I perceive no "racial generalizations" whatsoever. He is merely commenting on the cultural values of this nation. Please note he is not including the South Koreans in his criticism. He is solely pointing at the warped North Korean Communists. And these folks are indeed "deranged to the point of being psychotic." Please indulge in your fatuous political correctness elsewhere.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 21, 2003 10:46 PM

""the fact is that if NATO hadn't have attacked, Milosevic would probably have stayed in power."

My Serbian friends dispute this, suggesting that Kosovo was the last desparate attempt of Milosevic to shore up power through an appeal to nationalism; but those friends were part of the opposition (B92) before the Kosovo attack, so you can judge it on face value."

I have some swamp land in Florida to sell to anyone who believes this nonsense. Milosevic would have almost certainly remained in power had he not been humiliated by the United States and its allies. The nascent democracy in Serbia was very fragile. Milosevic is an old style communist gangster who wouldn't have hesitated to murder those who stood in his way. The same presently holds true for Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: David Thomson on February 21, 2003 11:00 PM

"Chirac has delusions of grandeur. He thinks in terms of European socialist superstate led by France and Germany (in that order) as a counterweight to the US. Some of the other European countries don't share his vision. If Europe splits, the majority of European counties may decide to remain allied to the US."

Not likely. The european countries that do support the US and their inconsequent foreign policy are few. Of course Britain, where we have the right hand of Mr.Bush. Then the racist government in Denmark, the criminal prime minister in Italy and the conservative homophobic prime minister in Spain. The other developed countries in Europe will probably not support the US if a major split would occur.

Once again I'm shocked that some people even tries to motivate the war with moral reasons.
A. In the world today there are plenty of countries led by dictators, more than 100 I believe.
B. The US has focused their "moral attention" to two of these, Afghanistan and Iraq. And bear in mind that attacks against Afghanistan was planned even before 11/9. By a mere coincidence these two countries have large resources of oil. Of course only by coincidence. I guess after Iraq the US is going to free Burma. Or?

I don't dispute that Saddam is a bad guy, but please, spare us the arguments that it would be out of moral reasons.

Posted by: Mikael on February 22, 2003 06:44 AM

Nick Sweeny, your "racist" criticism is delusional. Start with this paragraph from the ultra-PC New York Times - are THEY racist? If so, God help us all:

"After decades of living through North Korean threats, and after five recent years of "sunshine" engagement with the North, which has given the South a much clearer idea of how poor the North really is, many South Koreans seem to view North Korea more like a crazy aunt than a strategic threat." - Thomas Friedman, New York Times, November 20, 2002

Shortly before he was murdered in cold blood at Panmunjom, US Army Capt. Arthur Bonifas had a negotiating session with a Captain from the North Korean Peoples' Army (this is excerpted from an actual transcript):

N.Korean Captain: "Your hooligan today drove his jeep like a mad dog . . . . and hit the structure and destroy it. In this way your hooligans continue to commit provocations against our personnel when on duty. Don't be seeking for a way to evade the responsibility for this criminal act. Admit and apologize for that."

Capt. Bonifas: "You will have to explain to me how this is a criminal act, a scratch on a concrete foundation."

N.Korean Captain: "Don't make a silly attempt, but admit and apologize."

Capt. Bonifas: "Last night, someone attempted to break into our guard post next to the Panmunjom Bridge. This is a very serious incident, I believe, more serious than talking about a scratch in a concrete foundation. Will you investigate that matter?"

N.Korean Captain: "Don't make nonsense."

Page after page of that pattern goes on.

Mr. Sweeny, you may see a racist behind every tree if you wish, but please leave me out of it. Your ignorance is truly objectionable.

Posted by: Anarchus on February 22, 2003 09:20 AM

"Milosevic would have almost certainly remained in power had he not been humiliated by the United States and its allies."

What nonsense. You have no idea what would have happened. Milosevic had been humiliated before and did not give up power. Stop pretending that you have irrefutable proof of things you can only speculate about.

Posted by: ben on February 22, 2003 02:38 PM

"CHIRAC HAS A FRIEND [Andrew Stuttaford]

Mugabe, apparently. Here’s what Zimbabwe’s dictator said yesterday:

“All I can say is that all the European Union should behave like France.”"

Do I need to add anything else?

Posted by: David Thomson on February 22, 2003 06:40 PM

David Thomson writes:

"CHIRAC HAS A FRIEND [Andrew Stuttaford]

Mugabe, apparently. Here’s what Zimbabwe’s dictator said yesterday:

“All I can say is that all the European Union should behave like France.”"

Do I need to add anything else?
-----------------------------
Depends on the conclusions you draw from this.

Is Chirac a strange guy with dubious foreign policy contacts? Yes.

Does it automatically mean that he also is wrong on the Iraq issue? No, of course not.

I thought that guilt by association was something you left behind in high school or around that time, perhaps earlier. Are you still there Mr.Thomson?

Posted by: Mikael on February 23, 2003 03:11 AM

“I thought that guilt by association was something you left behind in high school or around that time, perhaps earlier. Are you still there Mr.Thomson?”

Guilt by association? You are totally misinterpreting the definition of this term. I am in no way, shape, or form, guilty of this offense. One has every right to point to the evil Robert Mugabe’s “very good impressions about France.” The latter is “unilaterally” thumbing it nose at the rest of Europe in supporting the Zimbabwe scum bag. This is evidence of Chirac’s poor judgment. Hey, what can I say? Why don’t you direct your questions to Mugabe? These are his own words, and not the utterances of Chirac’s opponents:

“Chirac is 'uniting world', says Mugabe
By Alex Duval Smith in Paris

22 February 2003

Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, and his wife, Grace, left their five-star Paris hotel last night at the end of the France-Africa summit, praising French hospitality and President Jacques Chirac's role in "uniting the world.

"We've had tremendous hospitality, we felt at home," said Mr Mugabe, who woke up yesterday, his 79th birthday, in the palatial Plaza Athénée hotel. "We leave with very good impressions about France."”

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=380481

Posted by: David Thomson on February 23, 2003 11:01 AM

Charles de Gaulle must be turning over in his grave to see such a weasel as his successor.

I speak French, and love traveling in that beautiful country. But something has gone wrong with the French soul. It is most distressing.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 23, 2003 02:48 PM

If you are trying to say that, the millions of us, that oppose a war are wrong, because Chirac also opposes a war: You're very guilty of what I said.

If you trying to say something else, like Chirac is noot such a good president or that his foreign policy is not alltogether very good, then that's another issue. But if you are trying to say this, what has this do to with the discussion here? Nothing.

Posted by: Mikael S on February 24, 2003 03:06 AM

mugabe is practicing terror, starvation, and ethnic cleansing (mdc tends to be mostly of a specific group, plus whites) to continue in power, and is a truly atrocious person. his support of chirac and his policies should serve as a condemnation (as i'm sure hearing ruch or reagan say something positive about something would be a negative in your books)

given that saddam hussein, mugabe, nelson "crazy racist mofo" mandela (he's not so good outside of integrating SA), etc support anti-war sie, that's a negative...

"racist" hahahahahaha no such thng as a "north" korean ethnic group... only "korean"... so no it's not... and well, the nk regime are crazy mofos (people are screwed...)

Posted by: libertarian uber alles on February 24, 2003 09:52 AM

North Korea is a big concentration camp. Half the people are guards, and the other half are inmates. Either of those positions is hard on a person's mental health.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 24, 2003 03:40 PM

If you are trying to say that, the millions of us, that favor a war are wrong, because Bush also favors a war: You're very guilty of what I said.

If you trying to say something else, like Bush is not such a good president or that his foreign policy is not altogether very good, then that's another issue. But if you are trying to say this, what has this do to with the discussion here? Nothing.

Posted by: Joe Willingham on February 24, 2003 03:47 PM
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