NOTE: for the previous post on "The Sweetest Reward," hat tip to Titus Levi for emailing me the story.
Now onto the next topic. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton is published in today's Los Angeles Times calling Barack Obama "naive" for wanting to engage in dialogue with the leaders of "pariah states" like Iran and North Korea. He spins Obama's statement that Iran, which spends 1% of what the US spends on its military and is therefore too "tiny" to be a threat the way the Soviet Union was a threat to us during the Cold War, as saying Obama somehow believes that the US is responsible for most of the world's problems.
Yawn.... Predictably, Bolton trots out the cynical argument that the USSR used proxy fights in smaller countries like Cuba and El Salvador to spread communism and undermine the influence of the US. He argues that JFK's blunder with his meeting with Krushchev in 1961 led to the USSR's actions that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis. He implies that Iran has no Soviet-style anxiety that things could escalate into nuclear conflict.
Well, there they go again... peddling the great FEAR. Do they truly have nothing left? Joe Klein debunked that Krauthammer-proposed notion here. In truth, it is the Bush Administration's stubborn refusal to engage in top-level talks with the leaders of their enemies that has rendered us less safe. North Korea has now tested a nuclear weapon, and Iran is closer than ever to having the ability to create weapons-grade fissile material. Obama intuitively knows that, while talking to these leaders will fuel their internal propaganda machines, most countries around the world know that those negotiations will not be of the Chamberlain-style appeasement variety. They will be frank discussions giving these leaders a reality check and reminding them that their standing in the world could greatly improve by playing ball with the US on its field.
In 12-Step communities, FEAR is an acronym with two different meanings that perfectly illustrate the differences between the Bush (McSame) and Obama approaches to dealing with the US's enemies. The negative version, that defines the way Bush and McSame operate, stands for "Fuck Everything And Run." Bush's now-infamous ability to deny reality makes him the poster child for this conceit. And his progeny, McSame, is hastily having his portrait painted to look EXACTLY the same. For more on McSame's reversals in just the past six months, or what inspired some of my earlier post, read Glen Greenwald here.
Obama, on the other hand, lives by the positive version of the FEAR acronym: "Face Everything And Recover." He realizes that, as flawed as we are, we have it within us to lead the world to a higher level. He has a broad context, which I believe is something that encompasses his commitment to change. He shows that those things we fear most are often those things we have the most ability to change, primarily to our advantage and in support of our vast strategic and economic interests. For the love of Pete, we are the United States! And we need to grow up and act that way.