Friday, September 28, 2007

Charles Krauthammer’s Refreshing Dip Into Selective History

How much France may have flipped is far from determined and will take more than a statement at the U.N--a statement that more nearly announces Sarkozy’s arrival on the world stage than it does change the mix in Europe. France is heavily Muslim, heavily invested in Iran and ‘nuclear ambitions’ are in the eye of the beholder—Iran claims a need for nuclear energy.

Charleskrauthammer Charles Krauthammer is fifty-seven years old, a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and commentator, appearing regularly as a guest commentator on Fox News. His neocon perspectives can be read in the the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and The Weekly Standard, William Kristol’s increasingly irrelevant magazine. The Post must keep him on board for their difficult (and not always well-defined) role of providing balance in a society that has lost its sense of balance.
Whatever.
Charles sports an honors degree in political science and economics, but /(according to me) he uses history selectively in support of his various arguments Treatises that are invariably supportive of George Bush and the Iraq war, as well as unfailingly validatory of Israel. 
In a WaPo editorial today, titled France Flips While Congress Shifts, he writes
Ahmadinejad at Columbia provided the entertainment, but Sarkozy at the United Nations provided the substance. On the largest possible stage -- the U.N. General Assembly -- President Nicolas Sarkozy put Iran on notice. His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, had said that France could live with an Iranian nuclear bomb. Sarkozy said that France cannot. He declared Iran's nuclear ambitions "an unacceptable risk to stability in the region and in the world."
Nicolassarkozy How much France may have flipped is far from determined and will take more than a statement at the U.N--a statement that more nearly announces Sarkozy’s arrival on the world stage than it does change the mix in Europe. France is heavily Muslim, heavily invested in Iran and ‘nuclear ambitions’ are in the eye of the beholder—Iran claims a need for nuclear energy.
His foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, had said earlier that the world faces two choices -- successful diplomacy to stop Iran's nuclear program or war. And Sarkozy himself has no great hopes for the Security Council, where China and Russia are blocking any effective action against Iran. He does hope to get the European Union to join the United States in imposing serious sanctions.
Well, we have war and it has done damned little for anyone involved. But it strikes me as cherry-picked history, Mr. Krauthammer.“No great hopes for the Security Council, where China and Russia are blocking any effective action against Iran” mirrors much of the world frustration with an America that has used its veto eleven times to prevent majority sanctions against Israel.
Saddamhussein Nor have sanctions actually worked anywhere that they have been used, except to impoverish and harden the hatreds of citizens within the sanctioned countries, who unrelentingly pay the price. Saddam Hussein himself was the world’s star sanction getter-arounder, with the aid and comfort of Kofi Annan’s son.
Society in Iraq paid a horrific price, while Saddam built an additional dozen palaces.
. . . The East Europeans are naturally pro-American for reasons of history (fresh memories of America's role in defeating their Soviet occupiers) and geography (physical proximity to a newly revived and aggressive Russia). . .
The East Europeans may be pro-American, but that has far more to do with Ronald McDonald than Ronald Reagan.
Czechoslovakia (now divided into Czech Republic and Slovak Republic) was twice sold down the river in that last half of the 20th century. The first time by Chamberlain at Munich (whose country do you think he used to buy ‘peace in our time'?) and a second, perhaps even more disgraceful perfidy by Harry Truman at Potsdam.
  • Chamberlain took Czechoslovakia, the 7th most prosperous democracy in the world and exposed it willingly to the horrors of the Nazi jackboot, prisons, assassinations, hanging, the guillotine and mass theft of all private property--for peace.
  • Truman, at a Potsdam meeting with Stalin and Churchill, sentenced an eager and waiting democratic nation to 40 years behind Russia’s Iron Curtain.
Potsdam Tally the fresh memories of that, Charles—nineteen years (1918-1937) of freedom and democracy in an entire century, by the outside influence of a double betrayal--England, then America. An honors degree in political science and economics isn’t worth a fart in a whirlwind without a rudimentary knowledge of history.
The French flip is only one part of the changing landscape that has given new life to Bush's Iran and Iraq policies in the waning months of his administration. The mood in Congress also has significantly shifted.
I’m not sure I’d want to bet a reputation on that particular spin of the wheel. Fear is palpable in the Congress, Republicans afraid of the disaster Republican policy has brought us and Democrats afraid of what Democrats have been afraid of since Roosevelt, their shadows. With an approval rating somewhere between 11% and 24% (depending on the poll), Congress’s mood isn’t strong enough to hang a hat on, much less a prognostication of new life for Iraq and Iran policy.
A few months ago, the question was: Will the Democratic Congress force a withdrawal from Iraq? Today the question in Congress is: What can be done to achieve success in Iraq -- most specifically, by countering Iran, which is intent on seeing us fail?
Iranianpresahmadinejadad A few months ago, the question to anyone outside the rarified atmosphere of Washington was, "How the hell do we get out of here" and it still is.
Do you really think success in Iraq has anything to do with countering Iran? And you have an honors degree in political science? Great god in the morning, Charles, we are failing in Iraq at such a rate and at such a cost (both humanitarian and economic) that all Iran needs do is sit back and watch from the fifty-yard line.
But it was a nice try, a good and loyal little neocon effort to shift responsibility for achievement of success in Iraq away from this failed presidency to an Iranian stalking-horse.
. . . But after the Petraeus-Crocker testimony, the reality of the relative success of our new counterinsurgency strategy -- and the renewed possibility of ultimate success in Iraq -- became no longer deniable.
Gendavidpetraeus1 Just so I have this straight, is this the same General Petraeus who inspired the now famous Move-On.org ad using a play on his name that so terrified Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh that the Congress found its recently lost ability to function and congressionally deplored the ad? Is this General Petraeus you single out as the agent of success in deploying Bush’s surge the same guy that his commander, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided as a sycophant?
That was during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, not an auspicious beginning for an ongoing relationship with your commander. Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that." It’s interesting to me, as just one of those ordinary guys who actually served in our military, that Fallon has not been ordered by his commander—the president—to retract either characterization.
Admiralwilliamfallon My guess, Charles? Fallon would retire rather than carry out the order and his reputation so eclipses what is left of George Bush’s that Bush can ill afford the chance. But there is another attribution to Fallon, of even more interest;
Fallon also privately vowed that there would be no war against Iran on his watch, implying that he would quit rather than accept such a policy.
Then Charles, you sail into the uncharted waters of fantasy-strategies, ruminating on al Qaeda in Iraq and the Sunni insurgency, as if they were the only, or even main insurgencies we (and Iraqis) face;
. . . She (Hillary Clinton) says that it (her policy as president) would depend on the situation at the time, for example, whether our alliance with the Sunni tribes will have succeeded in defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Moqtadaalsadr2 Al Qaeda in Iraq has been accepted as responsible for about 5% of the insurgent activity. Moqtada al Sadr is a gunman extraordinaire and he is Shiite, biding his time, unwilling to expend any effort against us. The warlords we are arming, ostensibly to kick ass against al Qaeda in the south are instead merely building up their strength and sorting things out among themselves (at our expense for weaponry) in anticipation of the real business of civil war and getting their power back.
We are abject failures at strategy, a disaster diplomatically, but we are masters of the fine art of arming the various haters and opportunists of the world. You wrote, in 2004;
"It (the Iraq war) may yet fail. But we cannot afford not to try. There is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the monster behind 9/11. It’s not Osama bin Laden; it is the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world--oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism.”
That’s an extremely interesting take on preemptive war. You are undoubtedly correct about the monster behind 9-11 and the fact that it is neither Iraq nor Osama (you failed to absolve Saddam from 9-11).
But your observation begs the obvious; how do we alleviate the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world by killing off the oppressed? How does it possibly serve us to have murdered (or caused to be murdered) a million Iraqi citizens?
How do we repair and reshape 'social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world-- oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy' by failing to come to grips with those very regimes?
Saudi Arabia was given to the Saud dynasty by the Treaty of Jedda and British Petroleum, with (military) guarantees of sovereignty. Europe, in order to repay their astounding Hitlerian horror of the Holocaust, gave an Arab country to Israel and essentially said, “here you are, live in peace.”
The social ruin of the Arab-Islamic world is essentially a Western ruin and we are ruining it yet, coasting along on the revisionist and selective history of pundits such as you.
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