Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, July 7th, 2006.

The Bush Doctrine Is Dead

Bush Administration

According to Bob Schrum on tonight’s Hardball, today President Bush “announced the end of Dick Cheney’s dominance in foreign policy.”


The announcement was made in a presidential press conference in Chicago. After President Bush went on — and on — at some length about stuff nobody cares about or believes any more — like No Child Left Behind works real good and what the economy needs is more tax cuts — he took some questions from Chicago reporters. And the first question was about North Korea.

Q Mr. President, Japan has dropped the threat of sanctions from its proposed Security Council resolution about North Korea. Why was that necessary? And how do you punish or penalize a country that’s already among the poorest and most isolated in the world?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that the purpose of the U.N. Security Council resolution is to send a clear message to the leader of North Korea that the world condemns that which he did. Part of our strategy, as you know, has been to have others at the table; is to say as clearly as possible to the North Korean, get rid of your weapons and there’s a better way forward. In other words, there’s a choice for him to make. He can verifiably get rid of his weapons programs and stop testing rockets, and there’s a way forward for him to help his people.

I believe it’s best to make that choice clear to him with more than one voice, and that’s why we have the six-party talks. And now that he has defied China and Japan and South Korea and Russia and the United States — all of us said don’t fire that rocket. He not only fired one, he fired seven. Now that he made that defiance, it’s best for all of us to go to the U.N. Security Council and say loud and clear, here are some red lines. And that’s what we’re in the process of doing.

The problem with diplomacy, it takes a while to get something done. If you’re acting alone, you can move quickly. When you’re rallying world opinion and trying to come up with the right language at the United Nations to send a clear signal, it takes a while.

And so, yesterday, I was on the phone with — I think I mentioned this to the press conference yesterday — to Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin; the day before to President Roh and Prime Minister Koizumi. And Condi, by the way, was making the same calls out there to her counterparts, all aiming at saying, it’s your choice, Kim Jong-il, you’ve got the choice to make.

So we’ll see what happens at the U.N. Security Council. I talked to Condi this morning first thing, in anticipation of this question, and she feels good about the progress that can be made there.

No more Lone Ranger foreign policy. No more unilateral action. No more charging around the globe doing whatever we want. Now we’ve got to get the world to speak with one voice; we’ve got to rely on diplomacy, because we have no other bleeping options.

Back on Hardball, Schrum and Norah O’Donnell said that we don’t have a credible threat of force, and sanctions are not supported by the UN security council, so all we’ve got left is diplomacy. But as Schrum also said, “It was time for diplomacy six years ago.”

Somebody — I think it was O’Donnell — said that she’d never heard Bush use the word diplomacy as often as he used it today.

But Bob Schrum also said, “He can’t talk his way out of the problems he has right now.”

The problem isn’t just that Bush should have started diplomacy six years ago. It was that shortly after he became President in 2001 he trashed years of diplomacy that had gone on before. And he did this because he is an asshole.

Go here for some background on how badly Dubya bleeped up North Korea:

So here’s where we stood when Bush II became President: Kim Jong Il was (and remains) a genuinely horrible leader whose people were starving, and western intelligence agencies at least suspected he was processing uranium. But relations with South Korea were improving, the IAEA was still inspecting, and the plutonium processors were still sealed.

But then there was Bush.

Kim Dae Jung came to Washington in March 2001 to pay respects to the new U.S. President Bush and ask for his support for the Sunshine Policy. And what happened?

Bush dissed him, that’s what. The arrogant little twerp snubbed a Nobel Prize winner and friend to America. And when word of the snub reached North Korea, the “Sunshine Policy” died.

The late, great Mary McGrory wrote:

    We should perhaps remember that President Bush has never liked talking to Koreans. His first overseas visitor was the estimable Kim Dae Jung, whom Bush snubbed.

    Bush, as he was eager to demonstrate, was not a fan. Kim’s sin? He was instituting a sunshine policy with the North, ending a half-century of estrangement. Bush, who looked upon North Korea as the most potent argument for his obsession to build a national missile defense, saw Kim, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, as nothing but trouble. He sent him home humiliated and empty-handed. [McGrory, “Bush’s Moonshine Policy,” The Washington Post, December 29, 2002; emphasis added].

As a reaction to Bush’s unexpected hard-line stance, North Korea cancelled scheduled reconciliation talks with South Korea.

And it was Bush (and Condi) screwups that got Kim Jong Il back into the plutonium processing business, as explained here. Note that the Republican Noise Machine persuaded much of the press and public that Kim Jong Il had broken the 1994 agreement made with the Clinton Administration to stop processing plutonium. But in fact Kim Jong Il had stopped processing plutonium. The Bushies raised a stink about North Korea processing uranium, which was a whole ‘nother matter and not nearly as much of a concern as processing plutonium, as explained here. And as I explained here, in 2002 Condi explained that North Korea is just so much more manageable than Iraq, and if we just stand up to them they’ll mind us like housebroken puppies. Two years later, North Korea announced it had nuclear weapons. Brilliant.

Click here for the entire “Blame Bush for North Korea’s Nukes” archive.

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Righties Being Wrong

blogging, Bush Administration, conservatism, Iraq War

I don’t know why this popped into my head this morning — possibly because it’s turning out to be a lovely summer day — but as I sipped coffee and admired the aforementioned day through the window I remembered something. Last April a rightie blogger predicted “this is going to be a vindicating summer for supporters of the Bush Administration.”

The MSM is predictably trying to throw cold water on this new story as AJ Strata comments on the NY Times take. But the pure and simple fact is as I told you this is going to be a vindicating summer for supporters of the Bush Administration.

Well, it’s July 7. “Vindication summer” has been a bust so far.

The cause of last April’s optimism on the Right was the firing of Mary McCarthy from the CIA on allegations that she leaked classified information to reporter Dana Priest. Naturally the Right Blogosphere immediately declared McCarthy to be a traitor. But they were also very certain McCarthy’s would be just the first head to roll. They were supremely confident that the noggins of Larry Johnson, Ray McGovern, and the like would soon follow.

I guess they were wrong.

What Really Happened is that two weeks after CIA Director Porter Goss fired McCarthy, Goss himself was fired. McCarthy, who maintains her innocence, dropped out of the news. Conventional wisdom says that Goss was fired because he unwisely butted heads with John Negroponte, or else because of his association with one “Dusty” Foggo, who had fallen into bad company. Since then, there have been no new developments on the McCarthy story that I’m aware of, although she’s mentioned in this WaPo Op Ed from June.

One suspects the White House wants the firing of Mary McCarthy to drop into a very deep memory hole.

Much more recently righties celebrated the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a major turning ponit in the war in Iraq. I wrote at the time, “since it’s unlikely this will make any bleeping difference to the insurgency or the activities of the Iranian-sponsored Shiite militias — whoop-dee-doo.” This rightie blogger found my attitude shocking.

Well, guess what? The pace of killings in Iraq has increased since Zarqawi’s death, and even the American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, admits that killing Zarqawi has not made Iraq safer.

The non-effect of Zarqawi’s death wasn’t a hard prediction to make if you have even a rudimentary idea of who’s doing what to whom in Iraq. The reality is that diverse factions are killing each other for diverse reasons. Al Qaeda is only one of the factions, and a small one at that. But since the righties persist in maintaining their simplified cognitive model (bad guy terrorists v. good guy coalition), they don’t get it.

Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin, who has made a career of stirring up hatred of ethnic (and other) minorities, is bashing “Democrats” because of a bigoted remark made by Sen. Joe Biden. Naturally, if one Democrat makes a bigoted comment, all Democrats must be bigots. That’s logical, right? Oh, wait …

One wonders why a bigoted remark would bother Malkin, since bigotry is her stock-in-trade. (See David Neiwert for the connections between Malkin and white supremacists.) Jill at Feministe expresses my views on the matter. See also Jill’s Crazy Conservative Round-up.

Be sure to add your own favorite examples of righties being wrong to the comments.

Update: Speaking of Malkin — David Weigel of Hit and Run has a follow up to the story about UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton, the target of a Malkin hate campaign who recently committed suicide. True to form, Malkin expresses no contrition for her possible contribution to Denton’s state of mind. Instead, she complained that Weigel’s asking for a comment is some kind of harrassment.

“Making Malkin angry is like shooting orca in a barrel,” says Weigel. Heh.

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