“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Presto Chango! Obama's Magic Foreign Policy Show

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa Republican congressman on Monday defended his prediction that terrorists would celebrate if Democrat Barack Obama were elected president, despite a rebuke from aides to John McCain, the GOP's apparent presidential nominee.

"(Obama will) certainly be viewed as a savior for them," Rep. Steve King told The Associated Press. "That's why you will see them supporting him, encouraging him."

King said his offices have been bombarded with calls — positive and negative — since he said Friday that al-Qaida "would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror."

King cited Obama's pledge to pull U.S. troops from Iraq, his father's Muslim roots in Kenya and his middle name, Hussein, which King said has a meaning to terrorists.

Asked about the remarks as he campaigned in Mississippi, Obama said, "I think that Mr. King has it backwards. The fact that the continuation of a presence in Iraq as Senator McCain has suggested is exactly what, I think, will fan the flames of anti-American sentiment and make it more difficult for us to create a long-term and sustainable peace in the world.
Who is right? I think there is truth in what both of them say. The Islamists would like to see the US President withdraw his infidel army from Islamic lands and there's no question that our presence irritates the Islamists. The biggest problem (in the minds of the left) seems to be that cowboy diplomacy that has enflamed "anti-American sentiment" around the world. Their simple solution seems to be to bring the troops home. They reason that by doing so, the world will once again respect us and we can then spend all that money on domestic social issues.

Their simple solution is that we leave Iraq and the war is over. Problem solved and it's back to the glory days of the great Clinton years.

Presto change-o!


  1. Gaza redux, all over again. You win by killing the Jihadis en mass. Anything else is a loss. Those are the rules they set up, and I see no reason not to oblige them.

  2. It was the moslem world that declared war on us...

    it was the islamic governments that attacked and held our ships for ransom

    oh yeah... 1783....

  3. Well. We all have something to look forward to this election season. An extremely ill-defined WOT will finally, after seven years, be given proper delineation by one or the other candidate. He/she who does will end up taking home the color TV.

  4. Jackson Diehl in yesterday's WaPo:

    The FARC's Guardian Angel


    But in their totality, the hundreds of pages of documents so far made public by Colombia paint an even more chilling picture. The raid appears to have preempted a breathtakingly ambitious "strategic plan" agreed on by Chávez and the FARC with the initial goal of gaining international recognition for a movement designated a terrorist organization by both the United States and Europe. Chávez then intended to force Colombian President Álvaro Uribe to negotiate a political settlement with the FARC, and to promote a candidate allied with Chávez and the FARC to take power from Uribe.

    All this is laid out in a series of three e-mails sent in February to the FARC's top leaders by Iván Márquez and Rodrigo Granda, envoys who held a series of secret meetings with Chávez. Judging from the memos, Chávez did most of the talking: He outlined a five-stage plan for undermining Uribe's government, beginning with the release of several of the scores of hostages the FARC is holding.

    The first e-mail, dated Feb. 8, discusses the money: It says that Chávez, whom they call "angel," "has the first 50 [million] available and has a plan to get us the remaining 200 in the course of the year." Chávez proposed sending the first "packet" of money "through the black market in order to avoid problems." He said more could be arranged by giving the FARC a quota of petroleum to sell abroad or gasoline to retail in Colombia or Venezuela.

    Chávez then got to the plans that most interested him. He wanted the FARC to propose collecting all of its hostages in the open, possibly in Venezuela, for a proposed exchange for 500 FARC prisoners in Colombian jails. Chávez said he would travel to the area for a meeting with the FARC's top leader, Manuel Marulanda, and said the presidents of Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia would accompany him. Meanwhile, Chávez said he would set up a new diplomatic group, composed of those countries and the FARC, plus Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, for the purpose of recognizing the FARC as a legitimate "belligerent" in Colombia and forcing Uribe into releasing its prisoners.

    In "the early morning hours," the FARC envoys recounted in a Feb. 9 e-mail, Chávez reached the subject of whether the release of Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate who is the FARC's best-known hostage, would complicate his plan to back a pro-FARC alternative to Uribe. "He invites the FARC to participate in a few sessions of analysis he has laid out for following the Colombian political situation," the e-mail concluded.


    I bet. to get those hostages freed? That is the question.

  5. to get those hostages freed? That is the question.

    we could cause the oil refineries in hugo's back yard to breakdown....

    all via cyber warfare ya know...

  6. It was a point of pride to Reyes that as difficult as FARC's position had become, the Colombian army under Uribe's administration had not succeeded in targeting any of the FARC leaders or locating and freeing any of their captives. Failure in the first probably wasn't a political problem for Uribe; failure in the second, I think is. And there is increasing domestic pressure to negotiate. The Ecuador operation was undoubtedly a double-edged sword and absent further, near-term advances or capitalization may serve his political rivals better than he.

    My 2 cents.

  7. "An extremely ill-defined WOT will finally, after seven years, be given proper delineation by one or the other candidate."


  8. Hey, don't go swiping my early-morning optimism, cutler. That's just mean.

  9. Speaking of: It Takes a Village is awful, cutler, but if you really want a politically, philosophically flesh-crawling read, pick up anything by Amitai Etzioni. Holy crap, gave me nightmares.

    (Was it just a handful of years ago that progressivism of all kinds was feeling new vitality? Why yes, it was. Seems like light years ago now.)

  10. well Cutler,

    Here is Jonah facing the brutal debating skills of Jon Stewart. The basic flaw with his book becomes apparent here as well.

  11. Meanwhile, Spitzer is still trying to cut a deal with the prosecutors--
    Spitzer in 'Transition Talks'; Had Planned to Quit Last Night
    Spitzer's Resignation Could Still Come As Early As Today

    Gov. Eliot Spitzer had planned to announce his resignation at 7 p.m. last night but abruptly changed his mind on advice from his lawyers, according to New York political figures familiar with developments.

    Spitzer ExposedOfficials in the New York state capital, Albany, say Spitzer's resignation could still come as early as today, and that Spitzer was involved in "transition talks."

    "It is inevitable; it is just a question of when," said one cabinet-level New York state official.

    Lt. Gov. David Paterson and his chief of staff reportedly spent the morning reviewing organization charts and assessing which members of the Spitzer administration might be kept on once he resigns.

    At the same time, political sources say Spitzer's lawyers are already in negotiations over what criminal charges the governor could face in a plea negotiation.

    Political Sex Scandals ReduxOne source said prosecutors are focusing only on financial crimes involving alleged violations of the law in the way Spitzer moved money through a series of accounts to pay for his prostitutes.

    An offer to resign as governor could be part of any negotiated package, according to former prosecutors.


    And Hillary, who has promised, promised I tell you, to release her(and Bill's, filed jointly)tax returns, still stalls on that front. Maybe they are on the coffee table? Or maybe, they are out of copy paper for the copy machine?

  12. bobal, she's a lieberal fascist and paper is simply a dead tree so, nope, no tax returns go public.

  13. They show all the money Bill made cuddling up to shady characters in the Gulf, and elsewhere, plus God knows what. Maybe even payofffs for pardons. Nothing to be proud of you can be sure, or they'd be released by now.

    Save a tree, post 'em online!

  14. I'd show Hillary mine, if she'd show me hers:)

  15. "The Islamists would like to see the US President withdraw his infidel army from Islamic lands and there's no question that our presence irritates the Islamists."

    Perhaps after Muslims withdraw from Western lands.

    Are there more Westerners in Muslim lands or Muslims in Western lands?

    Crossing borders via mass immigration or force of arms is imperialism, just different methodologies.

    Is there any debate that there is a relationship between western leftists and islam?

  16. Idiot Legislators

    Tim Couch has proposed a bill soaked in Kentucky bourbon laced stupidity

    Kentucky Representative Tim Couch filed a bill this week to make anonymous posting online illegal.

    The bill would require anyone who contributes to a website to register their real name, address and e-mail address with that site.

    Their full name would be used anytime a comment is posted.

    If the bill becomes law, the website operator would have to pay if someone was allowed to post anonymously on their site. The fine would be five-hundred dollars for a first offense and one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

  17. From the Telegraph:
    Martina Navratilova, the former Wimbledon champion, has retaken Czech nationality 30 years after fleeing communism in the country of her birth to live in the United States.

    Martina Navratilova
    Martina Navratilova plans to maintain dual nationality and retain her US passport

    The 51-year-old tennis player had previously said she feels ashamed of the US under the presidency of George W Bush.

    "We elected Bush. That is worse! Against that, nobody chose a communist government in Czechoslovakia," she told a Czech newspaper last year.

  18. In Mississippi the populist rhetoric continues:

    Barack Obama vowed to raise the minimum wage, intervene to prevent more houses being repossessed by predatory mortage companies and pay teachers more so educational standards would improve and the United States can compete better with China and India.

    Does raising the minimum wage simply raise the cost of everything?

  19. Well, Doug, it's ugly all over. Commenter at Washington Monthly (Kevin Drum's site) last week on the tone of the discourse at liberal/Democratic blogs:

    "Shithead" has just gained 10 points on the insult market. Invest now. "Asshole" is down 12, but still a good buy for the long haul. Analysts claim that the relatively obscure "blackguard" could make a comeback, but the day traders are throwing their spare change at "fuckwad." Most industry watchers agree that the increasing emotional stakes in the primary season are the main variable driving the expletives and ad hominem markets at the moment.

  20. Peckerwood.

    I was called that:)

    And I'm not even certain what it means. Might be a compliment.

  21. Peckerwood.

    I was called that:)

    And I'm not even certain what it means. Might be a compliment.