Reading J. Peter Scoblic's "Negotiation isn’t appeasement" reminded me of a seminar I took at San Diego State. The professor found my essay so compelling he gave me a big fat A. I wrote in my Bluebook final exam essay:
"Who do you want to steal your money -- me, who you know from my many years of service to you, or this youthful stranger with his fancy law degree who is so wet behind the ears he can't find this town without a map and a guide?"
The class: Mexican Government and Politics. The question: In fewer than 500 words, describe the essence of Mexican politics. Today's question: In fewer than 500 words, comment on President Bush's view that talking with some people in this era of terrorism is delusional.
Barack Obama clearly stated that as president he would sit down and talk to anyone "without preconditions." He said it in debate with Hillary Clinton. She stomped all over him for that statement. She should have.
How do you talk to people like this? Hussein Moussawi, a former leader of Hezbollah, an officially branded terrorist organization that has killed Americans in Lebanon and is funded by Iran, once said this about Americans: "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."
To properly understand the context of the argument, Hamas has expressed "hope" that Obama will win the presidential elections and "change" America's foreign policy: "We like Mr. Obama, and we hope that he will win the election." Hamas is also branded officially by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization responsible for killing hundreds of Israelis and some Americans.
Then there are contacts between an Obama foreign policy advisor and Hamas that were ignored by the American mainstream media but were exposed by the Times of London. It reported earlier this month that the Obama campaign was severing ties with foreign policy advisor Robert Malley for meeting with Hamas representatives.
This follows two other advisors dumped by Obama because one secretly met with Canadians to assure them Obama really didn't want to change the NAFTA agreement, and the other called Hillary Clinton "a monster."
But back to Obama, who can't dump himself. The New York Daily News editorializes that Obama's plan to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be far short of appeasement, but, "that's a problem." The Daily News goes on: "What is the man talking about? Until the Iranians relent on their crazed aspirations, Tehran poses an existential threat to the Jewish state. Obama pledges he'll always be with Israel. But it's not Israel that's causing him so much trouble. It's his own insufficiently formulated thinking." Thoughtful Jews will see through Obama and refuse to endorse him for president.
Obama took the bait and blasted the president and Republican candidate John McCain for hanging on to a "discredited" foreign policy and how his changes will make us safer.
He talks about Osama bin Laden issuing videotapes with "impunity," forgetting to mention that Bin Laden can't even leave his cave, possibly somewhere in Pakistan. I wouldn't call that "impunity."
Obama's also wrong on talks with Iran. We have been talking to Iran; they broke off ongoing talks with us. We have brought in European countries to handle the Iranian nuclear problem for naught despite thousands of hours spent by diplomats at the table. Critics assail Bush for not seeking international cooperation, but when he does, he is criticized for not dealing directly with a terrorist government.
So, Obama is wrong about us not talking with terrorist nations. His ill-informed and shallow position that Bush has failed for lack of talks is wrong. He is further wrong when he states that he will sit down and talk to terrorists "without preconditions."
Obama's foreign policy position is delusional and is based on intellectual and factual quicksand. With it, he has forfeited any claim to the votes of thinking people.
Raoul Lowery Contreras anchors and produces a daily newscast for "News and Views 61" on San Diego's TV Channel 61 and is the author of many books.
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