History lessons and politicizing foreign policy

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Jack Kelly writes that Barack Obama’s attempts at soaring rhetoric include historically false statements. After the North Carolina primary, Obama said this in defense of his intent to meet with America’s enemies without preconditions:

“I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.”

Jack Kelly says this about the words of the young Barack:

“That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.”

Franklin Roosevelt did not talk directly with the leaders of Nazi Germany, fascist Italy or militarist Japan “before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender.”

“FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb.

Harry Truman also was president when North Korea invaded South Korea in June, 1950. President Truman’s response was not to call up North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung for a chat. It was to send troops.”

When it comes to John Kennedy’s meeting with the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1961, Kelly quotes Elie Abel, who wrote a history of the Cuban missile crisis:

“There is reason to believe that Khrushchev took Kennedy’s measure in June 1961 and decided this was a young man who would shrink from hard decisions.”

“There is no evidence to support the belief that Khrushchev ever questioned America’s power. He questioned only the president’s readiness to use it. As he once told Robert Frost, he came to believe that Americans are ‘too liberal to fight.'”

Kelly points out that John Kennedy was a World War II combat veteran and had served 14 years in the Congress, and thus was “”vastly more experienced” than Obama is today.

“Sen. Obama has no military and little work experience, and has been in Congress for less than four years.”

Kelly writes:

“The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it’s dangerous.”

David Limbaugh notes Barack Obama’s repeated disparagement of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy as “cowboy diplomacy,” and points out the rest of the Democrats and the main stream media’s negative critiques as well.

“But when Mr. Bush, in addressing Israel’s Knesset, compared those who want to negotiate with today’s terrorists and tyrants to an American senator in 1939 who lamented that Hitler’s march into Poland might have been avoided ‘if only I could have talked to Hitler,’ Obama, other Democrats and the mainstream media went ballistic.”

Limbaugh writes that when President Bush articulates “a position with which [the opposition doesn’t] agree, he is politicizing foreign policy…”

“Never mind that Democrats not only have been politicizing foreign policy for the past seven years but also undermining our official policies in the process. Jimmy Carter’s intermeddling with Hamas, Nancy Pelosi’sjunket to Syria, and trips to Iraq by other Democratic members of Congress to sabotage U.S. policy are but several egregious examples.”

For President Bush to make his case against terrorists –

“…it is perfectly logical and essential for him to mention — and refute — the opposition party’s criticisms of his policy. It’s part of how you sell your position.”

Democrats have enjoyed attacking the president’s policies for many years, Limbaugh explains, but have rarely themselves been “taken to task for their irresponsible ‘plans’ to withdraw our troops from Iraq…”

The Wall Street Journal also weighed in with an editorial “How to Enrage a Democrat.”

“If nothing else, we now know what it takes to make a Democrat go nuts. One word: ‘appeasement.’

Notwithstanding that President Bush named no names in his speech to Israel’s Knesset on Thursday, Barack Obama instantly called it a ‘false political attack.’ On him, of course.”

When Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid all cry foul in unison, the Journal says, “something has hit a nerve.”

According to the Journal, President Bush is right that –

“At bottom this dispute is about understanding the nature of the enemy in Iran, Syria and other sponsors and practitioners of Islamic terror. If the tempest over his indelicate words causes the Democratic presidential nominee to think twice about the political cost of trafficking with Tehran or Damascus, uttering ‘appeasement’ will have been worth it.”

This article first posted in May.

©2008 John F. Biver

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