Carol Platt Liebau: "Only in Our Own Minds"

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"Only in Our Own Minds"

Newt Gingrich appeared on "Meet the Press" with Joe Biden (hardly a fair fight). Although they've agreed on some things (e.g. Israel has a right to defend itself), it's amazing how cramped Biden's vision of foreign policy is, versus Gingrich's. Gingrich -- rightly -- understands the importance of projecting American might around the world. Biden actually announced that the United States wasn't capable of doing much anywhere else in the world because our military commitment in Iraq.

Tim Russert asked Newt Gingrich whether our hands were tied because of Iraq, and he answered, "Only in our own minds." And that's the nub of many of the problems that the Bush Administration is facing in foreign policy terms. We're no doubt capable of doing more in many places, but numerous Democrats (and some Republicans) have seized on the difficulties in Iraq as an excuse to oppose any strong action anywhere else -- which leads to problems when Kim Jong Il, Ahmadinejad and Assad interpret our reticence as either a lack of ability or a lack of will.

Gingrich likewise made the point that if we're not sure about what, for example, North Korea has (in terms of a nuclear weapon), we need to err on the side of being strong. In contrast, Biden favors one-on-one talks with Kim Jong Il (which makes him look strong).

That's why I vote Republican.

What's more, Gingrich hasn't flinched from analogizing the current situation in the Middle East to the beginning of another world war -- ugly, but true. As he pointed out, dangerous regimes across the world are allied, from the statue of a Venezualan leftist being unveiled in Iran, to the contacts between Iran and North Korea, to today's story about Iran standing in solidarity with Syria.

Biden, of course, resisted the analogy.


Blogger Dittohead said...

For those who were complaining about "flag-drapped-coffins". Gingrich is trying to terrorize Americans for their vote this fall. How terribly disgusting.....

In an interview in Bellevue this morning, Gingrich said he is "very worried" about Republican's facing fall elections and says the party must have the "nerve" to nationalize the elections.

Gingrich says that as of now Republicans "are sailing into the wind" in congressional campaigns. He said that's in part because of the Iraq war.

Gingrich said Bush should call a joint session of Congress the first week of September. "We need to have the militancy that says, This is World War III". There is a public relations value, too. Gingrich said that public opinion can change "the minute you use the language" of World War III. The message then, he said, is "'OK, if we're in the third world war, which side do you think should win?"

10:21 AM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

I think Carol and Gingrich and everyone else who is so fond of looking in the mirror and admiring their muscular foreign policy should give some serious thought to ALL the ramifications of what they're calling for.

Can we all at least agree that Iraq has taught us a few lessons about knee-jerk gut reactions and the unintended negative consequences they produce? Hmm?

11:00 AM  
Blogger Dittohead said...

The republicans' desperate attempt to retain power has them sounding more and more like bin Laden.

I can only hope Americans can see through the fearmongering and saber rattling being used for political gain.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

It would be far better if libs can open their eyes and acknowlege the true dangers that exist in the world and are aimed in our direction. There's fear-mongering, such as what we see with cries of anguish for the poor when taxes are to be cut, and then there's recognizing real threats, such as those posed by Hussein, and now those posed by Iran and N. Korea among others.

to the duke-stir,

We have indeed learned much from our forray into Iraq, just as we have in every war we've ever fought. I don't see our reactions as "knee-jerk" but rather as an "it's about time" situation. Until Bush, we had been in a war without actually fighting it. It got us 9/11. Unintended consequences, common in all wars, were a result of dealing with an enemy we've never really faced before. What a surprise that it should happen! But the Dem notion of "so nothing and maybe they'll go away", just doesn't do it for me.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Dittohead said...


The problem is that Bush policies made the world less safe. There are more terrorists and the rogue nations are stonger with the US caught in Iraq. Its about time and stay the course is not working.

Fact of the matter is that Bush ran into bin Laden's trap. A destabilized Middle East, allows bin Laden to recruit jihadists, the high oil price due to the destabilized Middle East finances rogue oil producing nations that fund terrorists and weapons procurement. In the long run the US goes bankrupt as we can see with $ 8.4 trillion in debt. China is not going to fund our wars. These have their own best interests.

To counter US presence in the region, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was formed and is led by China and Russia. It includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Currently the following countries have observer status in the cooperative, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan and have expressed an interest in becoming full members.

12:43 PM  
Blogger LQ said...

The prospect of attacking Iran and North Korea, and especially of the war(s) which might result, is disturbing. The fact that I have draft-age children makes it more so.

The only thing even more disturbing is allowing these nations to develop nuclear weapons.

Let's try diplomacy and sanctions, etc. If they don't work however, we have two choices: develop a defense against the weapons, which is unlikely, or use force to prevent their development.

8:19 PM  
Blogger dodger said...

I know I keep using the school-yard bully analogy. I will continue. It's apt.

In my day school-yard bullies were few and far between and were successful in cowing the small coterie that followed them around.

The rest of us made it clear we wouldn't put up with it. Forcefully, if necessary.

It would appear our schools are now turning out bully appeasers by the gross.

Only explanation I can come up with. It's very hard to tell you child that you can't help them with their tormentor at school, that he'll have to figure it out on his own.

But it is the only help you can give him.

It sure won't help to advise appeasement. Makes it worse.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Duke-Stir said...

The schoolyard bully is usually the dumbest one around. He relies on the loyalty of his toadies to keep him insulated from the truth: that he is ignorant, wrong, and not respected but merely feared. But his fear of being exposed is very real, too, and it causes him to be even more ingratiating to his toadies, promising them the moon if only they'll just keep being blindly loyal.

The rest of the kids need to know that this poor sap will go on to see his "legacy" turn to poo. In the case of the schoolyard bully, that means a life of menial labor and kicking the dog (and probably the wife, too) while his self-esteem implodes. In the case of the Unitary Executive, it means that he will see his oafish, reckless terms relegated to the dustbin of history.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Gingrich is exactly right!

There are enormous dangers in the world today. We stand at the threshold of another World War.

The only thing that can stop us from winning this war is if we convince ourselves we cannot.

Sadly, many on the left are advocating that position.

I hope Americans know what is at stake. And I hope they see clearly who stands for winning and who stands for giving up.

11:05 AM  
Blogger amber said...

A comment on the new pacifists in our elementary schools. A couple of years ago my daughter was in kindergarten and one of the girls there hit her and repetedly called her names. The girl spoke little english and her parents spoke even less (Chinese is what they spoke). The school told me that they had a hard time explaining the problem to the parents and had no further options, except to watch the kids in my daughter's class. My response to that was(I was speaking with the principal) "That is fine, however if she hits my child again, I have told my child to hit back and hit hard enough so she does not get up again." They responded they did not like my solution and that it was not acceptable to them for children to return violence with violence. I said I did not care what they thought and if it ever escalated they would find themselve in court.

Now, how long have schools been teaching children it is not ok to defend themselves? Are the wimpy adults we are dealing with now products of that system? I am all for turn the other cheak, but I am not a proponent of lying down.

2:06 PM  

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