Jay Reding.com

It’s Not About You

Rarely do I say this but Paul Krugman could not be more right:

To all the presidential campaigns trying to claim that the atrocity in Pakistan somehow proves that they have the right candidate — please stop.

This isn’t about you; in fact, as far as I can tell, it isn’t about America. It’s about the fact that Pakistan is a very messed-up place. This has very bad consequences for us, but it’s hard to see what, if anything, it says about US policy.

Krugman is right that no matter what policy choices we might have made in the past, what’s going on in Pakistan is the natural consequence of Pakistan being a failing state. Democracy isn’t going to flourish there because there’s a sizable fraction of the population—if not an outright majority—who has no interest in democracy or peaceful coexistence. Years of poor policy choices by Pakistani leaders have created a cauldron of instability, and an event like the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was an inevitability.

However, this disaster is relevant inasmuch as it makes one consider which candidate is the best fit to lead this country in a turbulent world. Mike Huckabee has been demonstrating that he’s terminally clueless on international affairs. John Edwards once again demonstrated a complete and utter lack of common sense by calling up Musharraf during the middle of this crisis. The last thing Musharraf needed was a Presidential candidate—and not even one who has a shot of getting his party’s nomination—giving him unsolicited advice.

John Podhoretz wondered yesterday if this would spell an end to this political season’s “holiday from history” and force American politicians to get serious about the very real threats that this country will face in the future. Sadly, as Krugman points out, what we’re hearing tends to be more idle boasting than real thought.

5 responses to “It’s Not About You”

  1. Mark says:

    There’s a fine line that’s worth acknowledging here. When Hillary releases photos of her and Chelsea meeting with Bhutto a decade ago and when Giuliani attempts to parallel the Bhutto assassination with his oversight of New York City during the 9/11 attacks, that’s gratuitous and unsavory. But when the adult candidates (most of whom have zero chance of winning) make serious arguments related to the next phase of our policy towards Pakistan, that’s exactly the kind of response we should be hoping for. Six months from now, I predict Democrats in particular will be wringing their hands wondering why they were so quick to dismiss Biden and Dodd in favor of the not-quite-ready-for-primetime celebrity candidates who Chris Matthews has been telling us we have to support for the last year and a half.

  2. adb67 says:

    Edwards has a much better shot at getting the DEM nomination that Rudy or Old Fred does of getting the GOP nomination…..Fred is utterly clueless and Rudy who was a great mayor, is completely ruined by his own doing……

    What I dont get, is how anyone can criticize the current candidates when we did in fact elect GW to office (myself included0. The man had zero knowledge and understanding of world affairs…..still doesnt. Iraq is and has been a disaster and it is pretty well established that the administration falsely led us into war……GW has been a complete disaster…and is the reason I am turning my back on the GOP and voting Democrat (barring Hillary of course). I am embarrassed and ashamed voted for the nitwit in the first place.

  3. Jay Reding says:

    What I dont get, is how anyone can criticize the current candidates when we did in fact elect GW to office (myself included0. The man had zero knowledge and understanding of world affairs

    Mainly because it was a different time then. Foreign policy wasn’t a major issue, and we were still thinking that the post-Cold War “peace dividend’ was in play.

    Iraq is and has been a disaster and it is pretty well established that the administration falsely led us into war

    Bullshit. The argument that Bush “lied us into war” have no basis, and have become the lie repeated so many times that people have just taken them on faith. Does anyone really think that the Administration knew Iraq had no WMDs? That they somehow magically conned the Democrats into believing it too? That they were so powerful in their ability to manipulate reality that they convinced the French, the British, the Iranians, the Egyptians, the Russians, the Jordanians and everyone else into believing the same thing? That argument is so silly that it doesn’t survive a minute of thought.

    The case for war was built on bad intelligence—not deliberate manipulation. The CIA got it wrong, and they and the rest of the bureaucrats have been trying to pass the buck to the White House. The reality is this: everybody thought that Saddam had WMDs, and there was no solid evidence that created enough reasonable doubt to get over that logical supposition. The Clintons thought it, the Democrats thought it, the CIA thought it, and the rest of the world thought it as well.

    If Bush was so Machiavellian to lie the whole world into war, there’s no reason to believe that he wouldn’t have also been so Machiavellian to ensure that WMDs were conveniently placed in Iraq to justify his case. Again, think for a minute: is it even remotely plausible that Bush was such a genius to convince the world that Iraq had WMDs and then simultaneously so stupid as to be caught flat-footed when those non-existent WMDs were not discovered?

    C’mon, that argument is just silly.

    GW has been a complete disaster…and is the reason I am turning my back on the GOP and voting Democrat (barring Hillary of course). I am embarrassed and ashamed voted for the nitwit in the first place.

    The media tells you how much of a disaster he is. Reality says otherwise. Iraq is turning around (although I agree far later than it should had Bush listened to people like McCain earlier). The economy is as strong as it was during the peak days of the 1980s. Unemployment is as close to its natural low as is sustainable. Wage growth is slow, but steady. Libya gave up its nuclear program voluntarily, and if you believe the NIE, then Iran did too—both thanks to Iraq. There hasn’t been another 9/11 on Bush’s watch—which nobody would have thought in the days after the attacks.

    If you want higher taxes, low economic growth, fewer jobs, more immigration, and a much higher chance of another 9/11, then by all means vote Democratic. But cutting off your nose to spite your face is never a sound policy.

    If you think this country is “failed” now, what will life be like with double-digit unemployment, stagnant economic growth, and declining wages?

    The Democrats are almost certainly going to be in control of Congress in 2009. The combination of this Democratic Party in the White House and in Congress would set this country farther back than it has been in decades. It will be the 1970s all over again—stagflation, gas prices at record highs, and a feckless foreign policy that signals weakness our enemies.

    If you care for this country, you’d think about the consequences of putting such an irresponsible party into power. The Republicans have been scarcely better, but at least a Republican in the White House would be a firewall against a Democratic party that would drag this country down far deeper than anything we’ve seen in the last 20 years.

  4. Mark says:

    “The economy is as strong as it was during the peak days of the 1980s.”

    Unless you lived in America’s power centers profiting from the misfortune and disempowerment of the peasantry, the 1980s was the worst economy since the Great Depression. Virtually every industry in Middle America was in a state of meltdown. So saying that “the economy is as strong as it was during the peak days of the 80’s” is enough to generate a negative-nostalgia panic attack for those of us whose communities were decimated in those years.

  5. adb67 says:

    Jay as I said I am part of a middle income family as are my friends and coworkers…..we are all being squeezed while corporate executives are being rewarded….how is that fair or decent. I work my butt off for my company and at the end of each year, despite always receiving the highest performance ratings possible during review, receive the same paltry 3 percent increases as everyone else……the same story holds true al over this country. Fat cats are getting rich while the rest of us are suffering.

    As for Iraq you believe what you will, I have no faith or trust in GW….