Historical analogies most popular with the administration reveal precisely why this deal is so fraught with risk.
Analogies, Sigmund Freud once wrote, decide nothing, but they can make one feel more at home. President Obama is explicitly comparing his diplomatic triumph with Iran to President Nixon’s opening to China in 1972. Nixon, the president explained in a July 14 interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, “understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path” of “very important strategic benefit to the United States” — a point repeated in supportive commentary by Fareed Zakaria, and others. Meanwhile, former Obama National Security Council official Phil Gordon has cast the president’s breakthrough with Iran as a noble contrast to the George W. Bush administration’s alleged rejection of diplomacy with North Korea, claiming that Pyongyang developed nuclear weapons because Bush refused to implement a similar disarmament framework with North Korea negotiated by President Bill Clinton.
It is not surprising that an administration that came into office rejecting geopolitics and poo-pooing strategy in favor of “don’t do stupid [stuff]” would treat history as a plaything for twitter-sized talking points. But the historical analogies most popular with the administration reveal precisely why this deal is so fraught with risk.
Nixon was right to play the China card against the Soviets in 1971 — but for reasons that simply do not apply to Iran. First, in 1971, China already had nuclear weapons and Nixon never asked Mao to abandon them. Second, the Soviet threat to Washington and Beijing, which ultimately drove the two countries together, was incalculably graver than the threat posed by the Islamic State to either Iran or the United States (the president and National Security Adviser Susan Rice have dismissed the Islamic State as “the JV team” and “not an existential threat” so perhaps they do not even really believe their own Nixon analogies). Third, the more militant, pro-Soviet faction in China led by Lin Biao had been purged by 1971, whereas Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Force are on the ascendance and, in fact, will gain billions of dollars as a result of being delisted from the sanctions list. Read the rest of this entry »
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney won’t have to face reporters shortly after his office made a critical error.
For Breitbart.com, Charlie Spiering reports: The White House press office canceled the daily briefing with reporters Tuesday, dodging tough questions after the press office mistakenly revealed the identity of the top CIA official in Afghanistan.
The official was named in a list of participants of a meeting with President Obama during his brief trip to Afghanistan.
[According to the White House, Obama had a private lunch with foreign policy columnists Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, Jeffery Goldberg, Gerald Seib, Fareed Zakaria, Peter Bergen, Susan Glasser, and Peter Beinart.]
After journalists at the Washington Post questioned the White House decision, the press office scrambled to update the list of participants sent to the press pool. Read the rest of this entry »
“As for the columnists, Friedman is the worst. He hasn’t had an original thought in 20 years; he’s an embarrassment. He’s perceived as an idiot who has been wrong about every major issue for 20 years…”
It’s not an ideological dispute, the Observer says, but rather the sense that the paper’s editorials and columns are boring, ineffectual, poorly written and poorly read. The story was based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former Times staffers, mostly on condition of anonymity out of fear of editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal.
Rosenthal was described as a petty tyrant, and lazy in his supervision of an opinion staff that is widely seen outside the newsroom as the voice of the Left-wing establishment.
“Then there’s Maureen Dowd, who has been writing the same column since George H. W. Bush was president…”
John Hawyard writes: One of the most disturbing things about Barack Obama’s reign of lawless executive power is that it has people fantasizing about outright totalitarian dictatorship, and not in a faculty-lounge-B.S. kind of way. We’ve always had to put up with the likes of Thomas Friedman at the New York Times rhapsodizing about the joys of Chinese authoritarianism – provided a duly accredited Democrat gets to be America’s temporary dictator, of course – but now we’ve got Jesse Myerson at Rolling Stone daydreaming about hard-core communism as the solution to America’s ills.
He’s not fooling around, either. He wants the government to guarantee a job and income for every single person, and seize all private property to overthrow capitalism, although he would generously allow the Glorious Peoples’ Republic of America to rent the land back to private individuals… as long as everyone is clear that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the ultimate landlord:
Ever noticed how much landlords blow? They don’t really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for the privilege of staying in boxes that these owners often didn’t build and rarely if ever improve. In a few years, my landlord will probably sell my building to another landlord and make off with the appreciated value of the land s/he also claims to own – which won’t even get taxed, as long as s/he ploughs it right back into more real estate.
Think about how stupid that is. The value of the land has nothing to do with my idle, remote landlord; it reflects the nearby parks and subways and shops, which I have access to thanks to the community and the public. So why don’t the community and the public derive the value and put it toward uses that benefit everyone? Because capitalism, is why.
And the wise and loving State will fix all of that because it really cares about the people, man. Politicians are completely devoid of greed or ambition, and their brilliant plans always work perfectly. Just ask the doctor who spent two hours on hold with the ObamaCare commissars on Friday waiting for approval to perform surgery.
“These are the people who love Freakonomics, who enjoy all sorts of mental puzzles, who like to see an idea turned on its head, but who couldn’t fix a toaster.”
Our technocracy is detached from competence. It’s not the technocracy of engineers, but of “thinkers” who read Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman and watch TED talks and savor the flavor of competence, without ever imbibing its substance.
These are the people who love Freakonomics, who enjoy all sorts of mental puzzles, who like to see an idea turned on its head, but who couldn’t fix a toaster.
The ObamaCare website is the natural spawn of that technocracy who love the idea of using modernity to make things faster and easier, but have no idea what anything costs or how it works.
It’s hard to have a functioning technocracy without engineers. A technocracy made in Silicon Valley with its complete disregard for anything outside its own ego zone would be bad enough. But this is a Bloombergian technocracy of billionaires and activists, of people who think that “progress” makes things work, rather than things working leading to progress. Read the rest of this entry »
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 4, 2013
The GOP and the Tea Party have been called anarchists, arsonists and hostage takers so much this week we’d almost stopped noticing. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman managed to make a few ears perk up on NPR today, though, when he compared the GOP to terrorist group Hezbollah.