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  • Blaming Others Only Works So Long

    Spot on op-ed by Jackson Diehl in the Washington Post this Sunday. Diehl writes:

    New American presidents typically begin by behaving as if most of the world’s problems are the fault of their predecessors — and Barack Obama has been no exception.

    Now comes the interesting part: when it starts to become evident that Bush did not create rogue states, terrorist movements, Middle Eastern blood feuds or Russian belligerence — and that shake-ups in U.S. diplomacy, however enlightened, might not have much impact on them.

    The first wake-up call has come from North Korea — a state that, according to established Democratic wisdom, would have given up its nuclear weapons years ago if it had not been labeled “evil” by Bush, denied bilateral talks with Washington and punished with sanctions. Stephen Bosworth, the administration’s new special envoy, duly tried to head off Pyongyang’s latest illegal missile test by promising bilateral negotiations and offering “incentives” for good behavior.

    North Korea fired the missile anyway. After a week of U.N. Security Council negotiations by the new, multilateralist U.S. administration produced the same weak statement that the Bush administration would have gotten, the Stalinist regime expelled U.N. inspectors and announced that it was returning to plutonium production.

    When the inspectors were ousted in 2002, Democrats blamed Bush. Now Republicans blame Obama — but North Korea’s strategy hasn’t changed in 15 years. It provokes a crisis, then demands bribes from the United States and South Korea in exchange for restoring the status quo. The Obama team now faces the same dilemma that bedeviled the past two administrations: It must judge whether to respond to the bad behavior by paying the bribe or by trying to squeeze the regime.

    A second cold shower rained down last week on George Mitchell, Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East. For eight years Democrats insisted that the absence of progress toward peace between Israel and its neighbors was due to the Bush administration’s failure at “engagement.” Mitchell embodies the correction. But during last week’s tour of the region he encountered a divided Palestinian movement seemingly incapable of agreeing on a stance toward Israel and a new Israeli government that doesn’t accept the goal of Palestinian statehood. Neither appeared at all impressed by the new American intervention — or willing to offer even token concessions.

    Those aren’t the only signs that the new medicine isn’t taking. Europeans commonly blamed Bush for Russia’s aggressiveness — they said he ignored Moscow’s interests and pressed too hard for European missile defense and NATO membership for Georgia and Ukraine. So Hillary Clinton made a show of pushing a “reset” button, and Obama offered the Kremlin a new arms control agreement while putting missile defense and NATO expansion on a back burner. Yet in recent weeks Russia has deployed thousands of additional troops as well as tanks and warplanes to the two breakaway Georgian republics it has recognized, in blatant violation of the cease-fire agreement that ended last year’s war. The threat of another Russian attack on Georgia seems to be going up rather than down.

    Obama sent a conciliatory public message to Iranians, and the United States joined in a multilateral proposal for new negotiations on its nuclear program. The regime responded by announcing another expansion of its uranium enrichment facility and placing an American journalist on trial for espionage. Obama told Iraqis that he would, as long promised, use troop withdrawals to pressure the government to take over responsibility for the country. Since he made that announcement, violence in Iraq has steadily increased.

    Obama is not the first president to discover that facile changes in U.S. policy don’t crack long-standing problems. Some of his new strategies may produce results with time. Yet the real test of an administration is what it does once it realizes that the quick fixes aren’t working — that, say, North Korea and Iran have no intention of giving up their nuclear programs, with or without dialogue, while Russia remains determined to restore its dominion over Georgia. In other words, what happens when it’s no longer George W. Bush’s fault? That’s what the next 100 days will tell us.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Blaming Others Only Works So Long

    1. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      The article above assumes that we have a president that is concerned about all the rogue nations. Well, we don't have such a president.

      His view is that they are all rogue nations because of the American policies, full of arrogance and insensitive to other cultures.

      As a candidate when he was asked what he would do as a president about the terrorist attacks that US faced, his response was that he would make sure that we were prepared to cope with any attack first (first responder training, evacuation plans etc) and last on his list was his pursuit of the perpetrators. Majority of Democrat appeasers and the president believe in the pre-9/11 approach to terrorism as a law enforcement activity.

      So, he views Iran, N.Korea and other terrorist nations as essentially friendly nations if only we adjust to their sensitivities. He has consumed too much of the Kool-Aid of his messianic powers that he is distributing to his cult followers.

    2. Danny , AL says:

      George Bush never set out wanting people around the world to love him and he never promised that he was going to solve all of their problems. President Obama has a dangerous world to deal with and the sooner that he gets that the better off the United States will be. The sharks are circling waiting for him to stick his hand out before they bite.

    3. leonard hrica says:

      i think the conciliatory attitude taken by obama and his "team" demonstrates both a desire to label conservatives as wrong in their approach to foreign policy(if they had been just a littler kinder and gentler)and that the liberal way is the best way to get at the heart of the matter(we are a planet of people)this somewhat "hopeful ignorance" about despotic governments shows a lack of understanding about power/behavior/politics….

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