Saturday, May 31, 2008

Keep Friends Close, Enemies Closer

You know that saying that goes: "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer"? Well, recently I thought about a certain Presidential candidate and his idea of international diplomacy. Some of you may already be aware. Barack Obama has agreed to meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba without preconditions. And, on top of that, he refuses to re-visit Iraq to reassess the situation, and refuses to meet with General Petreaus. You might see the strange logic in this. Or, perhaps you think this is a stroke of genius.

Of course it's genius people. We legitimize regimes that do not pay attention to international sanctions and agreements with the highest form of diplomacy available: a Presidential visit. And, then we slap our own people in the face. Our ally Iraq, Maliki's government and our troops clearly are less worthy of being spoken to than a man who denies the Holocaust, or another man who has already tested nuclear weapons right near our ally Japan. Obama has got this one right. He's keeping his enemies close like bosom buddies, and keeping his friends at arm's length.

But, perhaps there is another option. Maybe, keep your friends close, and talk to your enemies when they start obeying international law....just a thought.


Anonymous said...

There are a number of factual inaccuracies here, but the main point is this: the American President shouldn't be afraid to talk to some tinpot dictator if it advances our interests. Hell, both JFK and Reagan weren't afraid to talk to the Soviets, and they had 3,000 ICBMs pointed at us; so we shouldn't be afraid to talk to Hugo Chavez and other petty 3rd world despots. Did Reagan and Kennedy thereby 'legitimise' the USSR? I suppose you will, according to your logic, think of General Petraeus as the equivalent of PM Chamberlain because the US Military is currently talking to (and paying off) our former-enemies, the Sunni Arab tribes and ex-Baathists of central Iraq.

Moreover, this nonsense about pushing our friends away -- it is precisely President Bush, and the Republican Party (with its ludicrous talk of 'freedom fries' and 'Old Europe') that has pushed our best friends away to such an egregious extent that the _British_ and _Canadian_ publics view Red China as better than the USA, the vast majority of our NATO allies view us as reckless man-children, and all the while the Admin. is cozying up to the Shiite government of Iraq -- parties such as SCIRI, politicians like al-Hakim and al-Maliki, who are supported by -- guess who? -- that's right: Teheran. So we have the same friends in Baghdad. Curious, that.

So much for keeping our friends closeby and our enemies closer.

As for this nonsense about keeping enem

Anonymous said...

delete last sentence fragment.

Michael Powers said...

In recent days Obama has made his intentions more clear, and has decided to only meet with certain preconditions in the case of Iran (of course he only said this while in the company of pro-Israel lobbyists), but I will hold him to it.

I am not at all against hard diplomacy against these regimes, but my point is that we need to set the table before we sit at it. Furthermore, I am not condoning anything the current administration has done. However, I do think Petraeus has done an admiral job with the pile of crap that was put on his lap. We have stabilized large portions of the country, and the Iraqi police are now taking matters into their own hands. And, I do know that the Maliki government is in cahoots with Tehran, but then the question remains: "Is the friend of an enemy my friend or my enemy?"