I am angry.
First off, for an American President to stand before a foreign governing body in a foreign land, as President Bush did with the Israeli Knesset, and bash any American political opponent is beyond belief. That, in and of itself was disgraceful and he owes the American people an apology for doing such a thing. Our political debates are here, not in other lands. It was putrid behavior on his part. Putrid. I use the word very deliberately.
This is not to mention how inane his remarks were:
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,"
"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is - the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
The speech does explain a great deal about the situation we are currently in. President Bush does not seem to know, or grasp the difference between negotiation and appeasement. He further cites an isolationist Republican Senator from Idaho, William Borah who lamented in a rather bizarre fashion that he had wished he could have spoken to Hitler before the Nazis invaded Poland. The ultimate act of appeasement before World War II was by Neville Chamberlain of England who appeased Hitler and the Nazis in a fruitless effort to win ‘peace in our time.’ The appeasement came when Chamberlain negotiated away the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia, forcing the Czechs into giving away part of their country to Nazi Germany.
American Presidents, before President Bush, have all negotiated with other countries with varying degrees of success. We maintained diplomatic relations with Japan right up to December 7, 1941. No one called those relations with Japan appeasement and upon the attack on Pearl Harbor, we went to war.
It had become obvious that there was a threat with the Soviet Union that loomed greatly at the end of World War II. American Presidents, one and all, Democrat and Republican maintained and kept diplomatic negotiations with the Soviets. No one called it appeasement. In fact, many fans of Ronald Reagan credit Reagan for his willingness to go one on one with the Soviets. To his credit, his willingness to remain at the table, and even be tough at the table, proved to be beneficial. No one called this appeasement. No one ever called Richard Nixon an appeaser after he opened diplomatic relations with China.
President George H. W. Bush was often referred to as a ‘wimp’ from people in his own party for his deft ability to interact effectively with world leaders of every ilk. (It is interesting that the very people who inferred that George H. W. Bush was wimpy never served in the military and were very much chicken-hawks, whereas Bush was a decorated war hero.)
George W. Bush, not to be confused with his father, was inferring, quite obviously, that electing Barack Obama would be to elect an appeaser because Obama wants to open or maintain diplomatic relations with even our enemies. Again, the President, does not have a clue that there is a difference between negotiation and appeasement. Obama wants to ‘talk’ and he has given no indication that he has any desire to appease. He is actually simply looking to do what many of his predecessors have done.
Some might criticize him that he’s willing to talk without pre-conditions. Maybe he shouldn’t----or maybe he should.
The philosopher Dallas Willard has a great line. “The system we have now is perfectly designed to produce the results we are now getting.”
Our current method of foreign policy has gotten us where?
Our military is still fighting in Afghanistan. The soldiers in Afghanistan are too few in number and are under-equipped to be able to do their job properly because of the war in Iraq. We invaded Iraq because of weapons of mass-destruction that United Nations inspectors said did not exist (and who were eviscerated by the Bush administration) and we found that the United Nations inspectors were, in fact, correct.
We invaded Iraq to ‘fight the war on terror.’ Of course, the nations that were harboring terrorists at that time were Iran and Syria. So, we invaded Iraq. This kind of logic makes me think that if George W. Bush had been the Prime Minister in England in 1939, observing Germany and Italy, he’d have invaded Italy and proclaimed that getting ‘Mussolini’ was going to solve the world’s problems. Meanwhile, the real threat would have remained.
As a result, our military has been placed in the precarious position of fighting two insurgent wars at the same time. Historical precedence for fighting insurgencies with great success is rather limited, I’m afraid.
Meanwhile our relationships with other countries goes like this.
Most of Europe holds us in contempt. Tony Blair’s career was destroyed by siding with the United States. France and Germany, in hindsight, look brilliant.
Saudi Arabia, George W. Bush’s one true friend, laughed in his face when he asked them to please increase oil production. This is his second visit this year asking his friends to please help.
Under George W. Bush, our current foreign policy reminds me of a game we boys used to play in the 6th grade. We’d line up in the boys’ room and see who could urinate the furthest. We all learned that one kid was the champion so the game soon ended. We also got a bit more mature and realized the stupidity of this game. But this, now, is how the Bush administration conducts its foreign policy.
The system we have now is perfectly designed to produce the results we are now getting.
Barack Obama was simply stating that what we are doing now is not working so perhaps a change of tactics might be in order.
George W. Bush, who doesn’t know the difference between appeasement and negotiation decides to protest this to leaders of another country.
His speech was mindless, historically inaccurate, and putrid.
And I’m still angry.