TCS Daily


Barack Lieberman? Democratic Neocons

By Jacob Aronson - May 4, 2007 12:00 AM

President John Kennedy once praised Winston Churchill's gift for rhetoric as the ability to "mobilize the English language and send it into battle" -- an ability that he too mastered to great effect. In a speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations Senator Barack Obama employed the same language of American value promotion that Kennedy used to inspire a generation to government service. His rejection of the "notion that the American moment has passed" along with belief that "America is the last, best hope of Earth," stands in stark contrast to the defeatism prevalent in the modern Democratic Party.

Obama's Monday night foreign policy speech is more than just clever language. He displays a commitment to moral principles and a serious foreign policy usually found in the halls of the American Enterprise Institute, or the pages of the Weekly Standard: promoting the American interest through a strong offensive military that, in conjunction with diplomatic, political and economic means, is used to remake foreign nations in a liberal democratic image.

Here are some of the main points of the Obama speech:

"We must lead by building a 21st century military [that] stays on the offense." Unlike empty platitudes about doubling the size of the Special Forces, Obama connects our need to "put boots on the ground" with his support for the "expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers...and 27,000 Marines." This also stands in contrast to the John Kerry Democrats who see police force, not military force, as the means to prosecute the Global War on Terror. Winning small wars, like Iraq, requires large armies not just high tech armies. Together with his call to increase the military's understanding of the Middle East, Obama demonstrates an understanding of how our military will actually be used in the 21st century.

"No President should ever hesitate to use force—unilaterally if necessary—to protect ourselves and our vital interests when we are attacked or imminently threatened." Preventive war—military operations to protect against imminent threat—is on the table. Obama does suggest that we use the "full arsenal" of our power, including enhanced intelligence networks and more robust diplomatic efforts. But these efforts should "complement our military" not replace it. In the words of Charles Krauthammer, the mission defines our coalition, not the other way around.

"America must lead...by...securing, destroying, and stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction." The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to un-deterrable rogue states is generally regarded as the main 21st century security threat. Obama doesn't back down. He calls out Iran's "peaceful nuclear power" as bunk and states that we must "prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and work to eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons program." While "aggressive diplomacy" is rightly the first order of business, "we must never take the military option off the table."

In a recent Foreign Affairs article Professor Drezner of Tufts' Fletcher School shows how the Bush Administration used executive power to "reconfigure U.S. foreign policy and international institutions in order to account for shifts in the global distribution of power. American interests are shifting geographically as new powers, such as India and China, displace old powers such as France and Germany. Obama shows a similar acuity when he calls on the U.S. "to build new alliances and relationship in other regions [like Asia] important to our interests in the 21st century."

Far from disdaining multilateralism, the Bush administration put outcome above process. The 2006 National Security Strategy says that "where existing institutions can be reformed to meet new challenges, we, along with our partners, must reform them. Where appropriate institutions do not exist, we, along with our partners, must create them." Obama uses similar words: "reform of [the United Nations, the World Bank, and other organizations] is urgently needed if they are to keep pace with the fast-moving threats we face." Taking a page from Paul Wolfowitz's efforts at the World Bank, he also insists that we must "couple our aid with an insistent call for [government] reform."

"[Terrorists] operate freely in the...disconnected corners of our interconnected world...[U]ngoverned states...have become the most fertile breeding grounds for transnational threats like terror." Barack Obama shows deference to the Administration's belief that failed states run by dictatorial thugs breed terror. Only if we provide "dignity and opportunity" and help build the "pillars of a sustainable democracy" can we hope to have a long-term impact on international terrorism. To assist in nation-building, Obama suggests that we must pressure and reform NATO so it can "contribute troops to collective security operations...[and] reconstruction and stabilization."

The link between human rights and American security is also present. Obama notes that "the security of the American people is inextricably linked to the security of all people." Militant ideology is a problem: "our children are threatened" when "religious schools in Pakistan teach hatred." This was made clear to the current Administration and the American people on 9/11 when the fundamentalist Taliban created fertile ground from which al-Qaeda could recruit and plan.

There were plenty of Democratic tropes. Global climate change is mentioned, and venom for the current administration and the War in Iraq is frequent. But issues like "oil addition" are mentioned not as environmental concerns but as a way to "weaken the hand of hostile dictators." Taken as a whole, and enacted with a willingness to pursue the American interest, Obama's speech shows an understanding—dare I say a conservative understanding—of America's foreign policy challenges. If nothing else it raises the hope that, as Professor Weinberg of Puget Sound reminds us, "candidate Obama may want to bring the boys home, but President Obama will see that decision in a different light."

Jacob Aronson is a research fellow at the World Without War Council.


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23 Comments

Obama's foreign policy
How will he be taken seriously by the muslim world? I've just heard today too, that the Secret Service has to already give him protection,unusually considering how far away it is from the election. How can he have a foreign policy when all muslims states will consider him an apostate? I've read now that his name means 'blessed' in Arabic, from the Koran. Also that his muslim
father abondoned the famil when obama was 2, then his mom married another muslim Lolo
Soetoro from Indonesia where they moved to and obama attended a madrasa. They don't let
christians in those places; so that means he is, or was, a muslim. Now he claims that he and his
wife are Christians. We know that muslim law says that apostates must be killed, as we see them
doing wherever they can get away with it. If he publicy denies he is or was a muslim, they will
hate him for that. He should then tell us if he's more afraid than normal of assasination. Or will
he say that muslims should be free to convert? Then the muslim world will hate him more for
advocating apostacy. If this all comes out, it will also humiliate the muslim world even more,
so they doubly hate him if he becomes president, and America would have that many more
enemies than the current islamofacists. The liberal MSM will never ask him about this, but I
hope somebody has the nerve to bring it up in public. As a slimy politician, he and his handlers
will try to keep all this under the carpet.

Mormons and Muslims
Funny, American Thinker debunks Fred Thompson because he is Southern. Mitt Romney is debunked by the MSM because we are not ready for a Mormon and now we are going to elect a Muslim and the MSM fawns all over him?

It is amazing.

The only Liberal that I could even sleep at night with him in the White House is Liberman. Say what you want, he has integrity. Leadership is about integrity, something the democratic part is utterly devoid of.

maybe there's some hope for this guy, afterall.
I suggest we Libertarians withhold judgement on this guy until we know more about him. I admit I don't know a lot about him, but I am heartened by this article. His election may not be the catastrophe for the nation that say, a Gore or Hiliary presidency would be. At least, I am willing to learn more about him before casting judgement. Meanwhile, I will do what I can to see Rudy elected as the nation's next Commander in Chief.

Not as much baggage
Obama brings to the field something new and different. He's not one of the 60's generation that has brought so much anguish, self-doubt, and malcontent to our nation's psyche. What a disgrace they've turned out to be. He talks strong, but I want to hear him name names. Identify the enemy rather than using rhetoric about supposedly anonymous threats. These threats are real and they are backed by nations, organizations, money, and people. So let him name them. At least Bush has the balls and integrity to do this. Lieberman is the only democrat in Congress that has maintained a clear head. I might include Jane Harman on that lonely list of upright democrats.

Dhimmi?
You raise a very interesting point Dietmar. Can Obama hold his allegiance to the strength and notion of America over the dhimmitude of his fellow democrats?

what a little cut and paste *****
Except for the first 2 sentences, that post is word for word the misleading fearful diatribe you puked a week ago in another discussion. Dare I say thats not surprising from a right-wing knuckle head who refuses to think? Shallow: is the word for you today D. I honestly have higher expectations for people on TCS. Another disappointment around each corner. Do you realize the Democrats are going to control all 3 branches after the 2008 election? You have no one to blame but yourselves. Idiots.

A minor point
Kennedy was referring to Winston Churchill's power of rhetoric, not his own. And Kennedy didn't coin the phrase in the first place.

The full quote occurs in Edward Murrow's introduction to his Churchill war speech excerpts, as Churchill takes office in 1940: "Now the hour had come for him to mobilize the English language, and send it into battle, a spearhead of hope for Britain and the world. We have joined together some of that Churchillian prose. It sustained. It lifted the hearts of an island of people when they stood alone."

Barack Lieberman?
While this article is interesting and if one is to believe these positions, possibly indicative of a serious candidate, I wonder why none of this came out at all during the recent Democratic debate? His responses to the foreign policy questions were very weak and nothing close to the outline provided in this article. At this point, I will gladly support any Republican (including Thompson should he run) over any of the Democrats based entirely upon their positions on the central issue of our time...the fight against a murderous ideology that would have us travel back to 7th century barbarism.

to Bob re cut & paste on apostate obama
Yeah, I wrote those facts last week, just before that article was deleted, so I quoted myself this time. I'll try to find the article where I got the info from to paraphrase. BTW, what part are you claiming is NOT true. The part that he claims he a christian, but was a muslim? Or do you think they let christians in the madrasah in indonesia he attended? Or that barak is also a muslim name? Or that muslims are ordered to kill apostates? Or the point that the muslim world won't mind that a muslim apostate is president?

The problem with Obama is
Obama's problem is saying he "is the best Democratic candidate" is not saying much considering the current state of the party. In order to get through the primaries one has to take the wrong positions on many topics.

Giuliani libertarian?
What I heard said by a LA senator about Giuliani make be thing liberatarians are succeeding.

I would not trust ANY democrat to support libertarian economic policies.

I belive many social conservatives respect the leadership of Giuliani in NYC before and after 9/11/01.

They many not approve of his social life, but I think many in the 'moral' majority now understand morality cannot be legislated, but legislation can weaken moral behaviour.

Laws can't make people moral, but not enforcing laws reduce respect for the law and subsequently leads to more immorality.

Remember how Giuliani started cleaing up NYC, he got the bums spitting on windshields off the street.

More like Donald Obama
Good speech, in the sense of "well written". Underwhelming when it comes to actual policy.

Quote: "That is why my (Iraq) plan provides for an over-the-horizon force that could prevent chaos in the wider region, and allows for a limited number of troops to remain in Iraq to fight al Qaeda and other terrorists."


He wants to get the army off the streets again and back into the big bases. How is that different from Donald Rumsfelds preferred "light footprint" strategy? It would mean abandoning the relatively new counterinsurgency tactics - and the alliances and intelligence and political influence that comes with it. And when a "limited" number of fighters does not translate into lower casulaties, will Obama then "stay the course"? Hardly.

Of course, Obama has covered his bases. If Petraeus is successful, two years from now it may be exactly the right thing to do. If the Democrats manage to defeat us, it may be the only thing that´s left to do. Yes, he is smart in a way.

It is very nice to advocate doing the exact opposite of whatever the current administration is doing. That is all the Democrats have ever done. But once YOU are the administration, that will not help you.

Look...it's completely wired...
The senior management of government already knows what will happen in Iraq after 2008. Everyone has been in those briefings. Done deal.

We must indeed get our guys off the streets of Baghdad. But we will also stay in country with substantial, permanent bases. For months I have used the word Okinawa to describe this reality.

We are still in Japan some 60 years after we overcame their war machine and imposed a new Constitution on their sovereignty. But our troops are not patrolling the streets of their cities. Whatever they do to imposes order on their own citizens...their business. And we don't watch. By the way...don't get arrested in Japan.

There is absolutely no way we are pulling out of Iraq completely. Period. Or Afghanistan. Period. Not before the year 2100.

George Bush will personally be crucified for the sins of the entire government that we all might live forever. The only serious candidate without blood on his hands is, indeed, Barack Obama. Only because he was not in the Senate yet.

Our government definitely needs a clean start. Their adventure at nation building must be summarily put behind us. Americans forget. Military action as foreign policy defaults back to the Powell Doctrine.

"Pound the bejesus out of their ability to wage war and simply walk away. Let the morons pick up their own pieces and, perhaps, learn their lesson. Or we will be forced to smack them around again."

Both parties need Barack Obama to give the nation hope and to reestablish the government's fundamental ability to lead America. Otherwise, we are all pretty angry about this foolishness. And they know it.

This is not about the liberal media pimping us. We are literally more angry about Iraq than we were about Nixon. 2008 cannot come fast enough.

no blood on his hands?
Aren't you worried that the apostate Obama will have blood on his whole body soon though? Apparently the Secret Service is, because they're already body guarding him, although unusual. And if he became prsident wouldn't he have to do one of two things re his apostasy: deny he is one, which would mean he lied about being christian; ro renounce the muslim death sentence for apostates? Either way most of the muslim world will be outraged. I know it's not too important for many americans. But you know how they always say that americans are unaware of the sensiblilities of the rest of the world; here's another case.

Any given politician...
Dietmar,

Such risks go with the territory. The hard line Islamic types have known where Barack Obama lives for a very long time. Let's not overstate this particular risk.

As far as the Moslem world is concerned, Obama is one of their own and capable of understanding their particular sensibilities. Everyone might find that useful.

It would be pretty difficult to image him being elected here if he was still a Moslem today, wouldn't it? Therefore, try as we might, we cannot have it both ways.

Actually, let's kind of drop this line of talk, my friend. One of the crazies might be listening.

Dont worry
After the early 90s when Democrats controlled all three branches and had a liberal supreme court to boot, people wised up quick. Americans saw that with the Democrats in full power that we were slouching toward socialism with high taxes, gun control, and government imposed health care on the horizion. Newt and the reform minded Republicans got us back on track, unfortunately they dropped the ball by being in power too long and putting their political future in front of what was good for America.
If Barak can match his words with deeds and leadership if elected, I would be the first to say I was wrong. History has a tendency to repeat itself. JFK was the last Democrat that I could have voted for.
Baraks' worst enemy could be the left wing of his party if he gets elected.

Thanks
Thanks for pointing the error out and for being civil about it. The first sentence has been corrected.

Jacob

the apostate obama
It's more than a normal risk. The SMS reported that at this stage, way before any election, they don't do body guard work. Maybe somebody out there knows more re timing on that. But how can you say he is one of their own? Their rules say that apostates must be killed. So he would be an insult to all of the muslim world. Do you really think he could visit one of those countries and be able to say the muslims should renounce the fatwa against apostates? I don't think so. Nor could he deny that he is one. RE droppping it tho, I know his handlers will try very hard. And the MSM reporters will probably give him a pass on it. Not serious to americans, but very to muslim countries; they hate apostates and kill them whenever they get the chance.

I have seen the light!
Just kidding.

Barack is attempting to slide to the center in the hopes of grabbing the more level-headed and rational independant voters. It also looks like our author has swallowed the bait and drank the kool-aid being offered.

Obama is a leftist. His actions, words, and past history speak for themselves. The rabid left will never allow him to speak these words in front of major audiences nor will he ever implement the vaporous ambiguities he refers to.

He is simply attempting to be all things to all people.

Not that any of this will make a bit of difference. Hillary will be the Democrat nominee. All that is left is to decide if Obama or Edwards will be the VP nominee. Once that is decided the war chest's of the winner to move into Hillary's and the knives will come out agains the Republican front-runners. Not that the MSM hasn't already...

I think you know
which part is wrong, because I told you about it last week and it was already debunked weeks ago by the media. Obama didn't attend a madrassa.

All the rest of your points I won't argue about, because I don't care, because the points don't matter. Its very obvious you're just trying to talk loud but saying nothing. Honestly, thats the best skill the right has left since W came to town and stripped away any positive attributes, so its not surprising you use it, but disappointing nevertheless. Whats really disappointing is the acceptance by the right of using blatant falsehoods to smear someone, as your comment regarding the madrassa is. You learned it from the leaders of the Republican Party, unfortunately, you're like a child mimicking what he witnesses.

Exactly
I was actually at that speech. It was at the Fairmont Hotel, just a few blocks from my office. (I'm a member of the CCGA.)

This crowd is mainly center-right and center-left -- more center than anything, though. Everything Obama said in that lecture was part of an effort to pander to moderates. And based on the frequent applause, they ate it up.

It's been said before -- by individuals much smarter than me -- that people see whatever they want to in Obama because of his feel-good-yet-incredibly-vague rhetoric. He's aware of this, of course, and uses it to great effect. Who knows where he really stands on any issue? I'm not even sure he does...

Incidentally, Matt Taibbi (no conservative he) described him perfectly in a recent Rolling Stone column:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/13519157/the_low_post_between_barack_and_a_hard_place

debunked by.....CNN!!!!
Some source, the liberal MSM. So you imagine that although his mom was married to two muslims, his muslim father on returning to indonesia would send him to a secular school, in spite of the fact that in obama's own books he spent two years in a muslim school, and two in a christian school.
You say it doesn't matter, and it doesn't to most navie americans about these things. But as president he will be dealing with all those muslim countries who DO take those things seriously, they hate apostates, and are ordered to kill them. They think apostates will go to hell anyway, so they better just kill them now for insulting islam. Imagine he's at an international press conference and somebody asks him if he condems the murder of apostates. Will he condem it? If he does, he's toast, if he doesn't also same toast. So should we believe that he was NEVER a muslim, or that he changed? What muslim in the world will believe that he had two muslim fathers, and attended muslim school, but was always a christian, even though his mother was an atheist(which is also repugnant to muslims)? How will they think he's not muslim with TWO muslim names, Barak and Obama, both muslim names.

don't be a fool
Why does it matter so much to you what Muslims think?Probably 2% of Americans even know what the word "apostate" means. He is running for President of America, why do you care so much what Muslims in other countries think about it? W isn't an apostate, but I'd bet Muslim countries hate him pretty good, that they view him as insulting to Islam, I bet they would love to kill him... so what? Impeachment?
I think you're counting on Americans to be naive to buy into your ridiculous argument.


>"So you imagine that although his mom was married to two muslims, his muslim father on returning to indonesia would send him to a secular school, in spite of the fact that in obama's own books he spent two years in a muslim school, and two in a christian school."

First off, I don't imagine there is such a thing as a secular school in Indonesia. But I don't know.
I don't care anyway. If its a good school, thats what matters. That it taught reading, writing, science, math, etc. That it wasn't a school that taught and preached radical Islam. Thats what matters. So the smear came out, they used the word madrassa to scare us into thinking he is a radical Islamist, the media checked into it further, and confirmed he did not attend a radical Islamic school. In fact, even though he did attend a Muslim school, there were kids of other religions there too.


>"Imagine he's at an international press conference and somebody asks him if he condems the murder of apostates. Will he condem it?"

You can't be serious. Let me just take a guess and say yes, he would condemn it, in the highly unlikely situation that he would be asked such a moronic question. Its murder!

Are you offended that he was, or is, a Muslim? Is that what takes you down this line of thinking? That would make you a bigot. Bad Christian.
Maybe I'm the wrong person for you to argue with about this, becasue I don't care what religion he is or was. In fact, I'd prefer he be agnostic. I'd rather have a President without programmed beliefs, I'd rather he answer his own tough questions and come to a reasoned belief. But even if he does that soul-searching and still decides he wants to be faithful, I'm ok with that too. Someone like Obama, I believe he has done that soul searching, he seems like the kind of guy who has asked tough questions of himself and found answers meaningful to himself, so I trust him. I don't care what religion he is. Only religious bigots care about that.

But to try and disguise your bigotry with concern that Muslim countries will want to assassinate him for being an apostate... how low can you go?

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