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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Is Mike Huckabee Running for the Republican or the Democratic Party Nomination?

Looking over his September speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, I have to wonder where his rhetoric really diverges from Hillary Clinton's or Obama's on foreign policy. Just some choice quotes to begin with.
"Well, let me begin by saying that to say that American foreign policy needs a change in tone or attitude, or an opening up and reaching out, is obviously saying that O.J. Simpson might’ve had a bad month. This administration’s bunker mentality has been counterproductive, both at home and abroad. They’ve done a poor job of communicating and consulting with other countries, just as they have, frankly, with the American people."
Which is more of the multilateralist rhetoric we've been hearing from Democrats since Day 1. It's less clear which countries we were supposed to be communicating with and how. It's also nice to see Huckabee start out by comparing US Foreign Policy to O.J. Simpson. It's just a throwaway line but it's an ugly one and one that conservatives would have jumped all over if it had come from Obama or Edwards.
"There’s a sense in which our situation with prestige in the world in a great deal like many of us experienced as a child, growing up in a neighborhood where there was one kid, one kid who was just exceptional at everything he did. He made A’s, and never anything else; he could run faster; he could jump higher; he could throw the ball further; he never struck out..."

"Now, remember when that kid was braggadocios about it, and every time he did something exceptional he’d just rub your face in it? Now, when that was the case, what was your attitude toward that other kid in the neighborhood? What did you think about him? You were hoping that, just once, he’d strike out; maybe that he would miss the catch that would save the day, or that he would miss the easy slam dunk, or that he would just get a C on a spelling test...I know that’s an oversimplification, but I do believe that it explains, somewhat, of the situation that we face as a nation."
I don't think this even needs commenting on, it's the same ugly routine liberals have been pulling for years, teaching Americans to feel guilty about what America has accomplished and trying to package it as a down home metaphor. The United States pours a sizable amount of money into the UN and into foreign aid, into a variety of programs to aid agriculture and farming abroad, even when it competes with American agriculture. When the tsunami struck, we raised hundreds of millions for our worst enemies.

Yet in Huckabee's mind, America is the Golden Boy who deservedly needs to be taken down a peg.

Huckabee goes on into a decent recapitulation of the Muslim Brotherhood accompanied by the usual buzzwords about diversity. And then he takes a left turn into Liberalsville with a whitewashing of Islamic terrorism by blaming Europe for "persecuting" Muslims. Yes Europe which is currently bending over so far backward for Muslims that it could be a circus contortionist.
"And it’s also difficult for us, with our culture of assimilation, to understand that life for European Muslims is different from life for American Muslims. Muslims in Britain, or the Netherlands or Germany, are second-class citizens because those countries have more homogenous populations that don’t as readily integrate the insiders. Instead of melting pots, Europe has separate pots boiling over with alienation and despair. And in some countries, like France, it’s more a lack of economic integration while in others, like Britain, it’s more a lack of cultural integration. But whatever the reason, Europe is a much more fertile breeding ground for terror than even is the United States."

"Unintentionally, some of our closest allies are producing some of our clearest threats. Because of our special relationship with Britain, and all of our similarities with them, most Americans don’t realize that it’s very different to be a Muslim citizen of Britain than a Muslim citizen of the United States."
Yes, it is very different. A Muslim citizen of Britain finds it socially acceptable to call for the murder of his own government's soldiers and anyone who protests that will be arrested. A Muslim citizen in Britain can expect that banks will remove piggy banks and stores will remove hamburgers on his behalf. He can expect to build a massive mosque, to assault Jews and Sikhs and drive out native Britons from their homes. Pity the poor British Muslim.

"And we have to understand that while educated Muslims in Europe may not be materially deprived, many of them feel socially and emotionally deprived by a lack of acceptance."
What's that? It's the sound of the world's smallest violin playing for the emotionally deprived Muslims of Europe. Maybe Huckabee can airlift therapists to them?
Besides the threat of small groups of educated people launching isolated attacks, we face the danger of mass movements of the dispossessed and discontented rising up in the Islamic world and overthrowing their governments, movements like those that led to the current government in Iran, when the shah was overthrown, and the Palestinians’ election of Hamas, and then their takeover of Gaza.
The dispossessed? Are you kidding me?
My goal in the Muslim world would be to correctly calibrate a course between maintaining stability and promoting democracy... Our best challenge in the Arab and Muslim worlds is a lack of a viable, moderate alternative. On the one hand, we have existing repressive governments that stay in power by force and suppression of basic human rights; many of which we support, either with our oil money, like the Saudis, or with our foreign aid, like the Egyptians, who are our second-largest recipient. On the other hand we have radical Islamists, who are willing to fight dictators with terror tactics that moderates are too humane to use.

We can’t export democracy as if it were Coca-Cola or KFC, but we can nurture moderate forces in all over these countries where al Qaeda seeks to replace modern evil with medieval evil. This moderation may not look like, and it may not function exactly like our system; it may be more like a benevolent oligarchy; it may be more tribal than individualistic. But both for us and the people of those countries, it’ll be far better than the dictatorships than they now have or the theocracy that they would have under the radical Islamists.
How very... well moderate. But if we're not supporting the current dictatorships or the Islamic revolutions, who are these moderates whom we're going to support? No don't wait for Huckabee to answer that question in his speech, he never does.

Hello Sir, would you like to buy Mike Huckabee's foreign policy in a bag? No you can't look inside the bag to find out who these moderates are that we'll be supporting. That's a surprise for later.

Really this is fantastically meaningless, we've got a foreign policy of supporting some phantom moderates, somewhere. But luckily at least we're going to solve the oil problem under Huckabee.
These folks have had us over a barrel, literally, for way too long. Saudi Arabia funds madrassas all over the world that teach extremism. The first thing I’d like to do as president is to send Congress a comprehensive plan for energy independence, which we will achieve by the end of my second term
Okay what's this magic plan for energy independence in 6 years or so?
Now, I know there are those who will say, that’ll take 20 years. Well, I compare the lackadaisical pace of work similar to when you bring your car in for service, with the urgent, concentrated effort made when a NASCAR driver pulls up for a pit stop. We’ve got to view becoming energy independent like a pit stop, where every second counts. Not like dropping off the family station wagon for Gomer and Goober to work on when they can get around to it.
Oh spare us the hot air and the condescending down home metaphors and lay out a &%%$@ energy policy.
We need to explore, to conserve, and pursue all avenues of alternative energy, whether it’s nuclear, wind, solar, hydrogen, clean coal, ethanol, and other biomass and biodiesel.
Great. So the Huckabee energy independence plan consists of the same rhetoric we've had since the Carter administration. The only difference is that Huckabee mentioned nuclear, though I believe GW Bush has too.

So he's got an energy independence plan, minus the actual plan part (and that's the most important part of the plan, you can't have a plan without a plan) which consists of talking about "exploring" alternative energy. Of course exploring is PolitSpeak for "Let's throw a hundred million dollars in grants at it to make everyone feel better and not accomplish anything."

This is not a plan. A plan involves the specific funding and use of specific technologies. Not more tripe about solar and wind power, which is about as feasible and economical as harnessing a thousand bats to your generator and waving a broom at them to make them fly. (See I can do down home metaphors too)
The administration has quite properly said that it will not take the military option for Iran off the table. Neither would I. But if we don’t put some other options on the table, eventually the military option becomes the only viable one. Right now, we’re proceeding down only one track with Iran: armed confrontation. Nothing would make Osama bin Laden happier. He would welcome war between the United States and Iran, his two biggest enemies. I’d try to do anything that would avoid brightening bin Laden’s day.
So basically let's cut a deal with Iran to make Osama bin Laden unhappy. Lovely. Actually Al Queda has worked with Shiite terrorists. Osama Bin Laden has had documented contacts with Iran and he's on record as opposing AQI's attempts to stir up a Shiite-Sunni civil war.

In fact the 9/11 Commission Report has quite a bit on contacts between Hezbollah, Iran and Al Queda, Page 240.
While in Sudan, senior managers in al Qaeda maintained contacts with Iran and the Iranian-supported worldwide terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is based mainly in southern Lebanon and Beirut. Al Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah.

Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al Qaeda figures after bin Ladin's return to Afghanistan. Khallad [bin Attash, a high-level Al-Qaeda operative[10]] has said that Iran made a concerted effort to strengthen relations with al Qaeda after the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, but was rebuffed because bin Ladin did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.

Khallad and other detainees have described the willingness of Iranian officials to facilitate the travel of al Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from Afghanistan. For example, Iranian border inspectors would be told not to place telltale stamps in the passports of these travelers. Such arrangements were particularly beneficial to Saudi members of al Qaeda. Our knowledge of the international travels of the al Qaeda operatives selected for the 9/11 operation remains fragmentary. But we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi "muscle" operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001
But not to worry folks, Huckabee's got it covered
Both al Qaeda and Iran seek not just to dominate Israel, but to destroy her and to control the Palestinians. The Huckabee administration would not waver nor flinch in standing by our ally, Israel.
Yes except for the part where the Huckabee administration will waver, flinch and begin taking the diplomatic track with Iran, as he has just described. I mean let's be consistent for a moment here.
We have to be as diplomatically aggressive as we have been militarily aggressive since 9/11.
Oh boy that will scare the living daylights out of them. Maybe we can recruit France to teach us some diplomatic aggressiveness.
Normally we speak to Iran only indirectly, through the Swiss embassy in Tehran. Our recent direct negotiations about Iraq have been very narrowly focused, not very productive because we really weren’t exploring the full range of issues. We have valuable incentives to offer Iran in exchange for helping us to stabilize Iraq, not supporting the Taliban, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and abandoning their nuclear ambitions: trade and economic assistance, full diplomatic relations, and security guarantees.
Whoohoo. It worked so great with North Korea, every time we tried it, it's bound to work with Iran. Never mind the part where Iran is run by a theocracy that sees its religious duty as supporting Jihad, we'll offer them FULL DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS, security guarantees that are worthless and money, lots and lots of money, so they can do exactly what North Korea did and accelerate their nuclear program.

Man that's diplomatically aggressive.
And while there can be no rational dealings with al Qaeda, Iran is a nation-state looking for regional power. It plays the normal power politics that we do understand, and can skillfully and rightfully pursue
Yes and it isn't going to set them aside because Mike Huckabee offers them a few million in trade goods.
The wisdom of Sun-Tzu, from nearly 2,500 years ago, is relevant today: Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer.
Yes, just don't surrender to them.
We haven’t had diplomatic relationships with Iran in almost 30 years, most of my entire adult life, and a lot of good it’s done. Putting this in human terms, all of us know that when we stop talking to a parent, or a sibling, or even a friend, it’s impossible to resolve the differences to move that relationship forward. Well, the same is true for countries. Our experience in Iraq should prove a valuable lesson for Iran.
So is Iran our parent or our brother? Well at least we know Mike Huckabee's plan is to take foreign policy advice from Dr. Phil. I bet if we just start talking to them, we'll find out we have lots in common. I mean at the end of the day, don't we all just want to conquer the world in the name of Allah and hang disobedient women?
When we first invaded Afghanistan, Iran helped us, especially in dealings with their allies, the northern alliance. They wanted to join us in fighting al Qaeda, hoping this would lead to better U.S.-Iranian relationships. The CIA and the State Department supported the partnership, but some in the White House and the Pentagon did not. And when President Bush included Iran in the axis of evil, everything went downhill pretty fast.
And now we've come circle with apologetics for Iran, blaming poor relations on American policy and the full text of Obama's foreign policy address. Thank you Mike Huckabee. If only Bush hadn't included Iran in the Axis of Evil, I bet we'd be great friends today.
As the only presidential candidate with a theology degree, along with several years of political experience, I know that theology is black and white. Politics is not.
So politics is morally relativist but theology isn't? And isn't morality involved in politics too or only theology? We should ask Al Gore, I think he was going for a degree in theology too.
Now, Musharraf claims that he agreed to our demands on September 12th 2001 under Richard Armitage’s threat to “bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age.” Instead of making such a threat, I’d rather promise to help build them into the 21st century. If we can help meet the needs of Pakistan’s poor, they have less reason to support the religious parties.
Well I can't see anything wrong with this plan. We'll just spend lots of money on any people who might want to kill us, until they have so much money that they don't want to kill us anymore. Then we'll pat them on the heads and give them a big hug.

Oh yes Pakistan has a population of nearly 200 million, much of which is rural and poor. And all the aid we sent to Indonesia and Gaza only made them hate us more.

But in closing;

"DR. FLANAGAN:Governor Huckabee, thank you very much for what I think was, as I said, a very nuanced and comprehensive of the terrorism issue. I think you’ve set a very high standard among the candidates this year in analysis of this problem and we wish you the best of luck in the future. And I welcome you back here to CSIS at some point. Thank you."

Thank goodness the Kerry "nuance" is back. Reading this, I'm not so sure if Huckabee beat the Clinton or became the Clinton machine.

3 comments:

Keli Ata said...

I really hope and pray he doesn't become president. Much as I like metaphors all of these parables Huckabee is throwing out would drive me up the wall in four years. Honestly!

And you're right. That O.J. slip was VERY ugly. So basically he's comparing the US to Simpson, a famous, powerful and wealthy athlete who deep down is a no-good *n* who kills his own wife and her friends (US citizens and her allies? An anology?)?

Very ugly indeed. I'm surprised nobody called him on the carpet over that one.


Hmmm. Moderates Muslims in the Middle East...such as?? Fatah, which got its roots from the PLO, which is still listed on the federal registry as a foreign terrorist organization? Or Hamas which is also on the list?

LemonLimeMoon said...

Everyone of the people running are living in a cave. huckabee, a prostestant minister is a bleeding heart liberal. his views are based on polls and what he suspects people want to hear. But this is the truth will every other candidate as well. not one good one in the bunch.
I want Barry Goldwater!

Keli Ata said...

That's exactly part of the problem. All of the candidates are playing the ratings game and watching for every fraction of change in polls.

Although Rudy seems the most consistence in his platform.

Run Run Rudolph!

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