Dover Bitch

Monday, April 30, 2007

The only thing we have to fear

Once again, Atrios beats DB to the punch.

Our leaders showed more courage when they informed us that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself " instead of telling us to be scared all of the time. True leaders will move us past the notion that what we want is a Great Protector to keep away the demons.

I didn't get to write anything about the debate last week because I was heading out of town that night. But, for me, the worst part of the entire thing was when Biden was asked what three nations represent the biggest threat to America.

The answer to that is what Atrios wrote. Fear is the top enemy facing our country. If the last six years have taught us anything it should be that we do stupid things when we act out of fear. There is a small, but loud, group of people in America who want nothing more than all-out war. They are, quite frankly, lunatics.

But when the entire country is in a fear-driven tailspin, as we were after 9/11, these nutcases start sounding reasonable to the average person. Especially somebody too busy with work and family to pay attention to all the details and comb through the dissembling.

Who are the top three enemies? That question doesn't deserve an answer because looking at the world that way is a recipe for disaster. The Axis of Evil was a blunder of epic proportions. Foreign policy based on a ranked system of threats to be eliminated is a worldview underscored with death, not diplomacy.

By the way, here's how Biden answered:

Brian Williams: Time is up, Senator.

Senator Biden, from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, what three nations, other than Iraq, represent, to you, the biggest threat to the United States?

Biden: The biggest threat to the United States is, right now, North Korea.

Iran not as big a threat, but a long-term threat.

And quite frankly, the tendency of Putin to move in a totalitarian direction, which would unhinge all that's going on positively in Europe.

And it requires us to make two fundamental changes in this administration's policy.

We have to jettison this notion of preemption as a doctrine, and we have to jettison the notion of regime change. Replace it with prevention; open our ears and talk, before things become crises.

And, two, we have to move in the direction of making sure that we deal with the one thing that no one's talking about, and that is conduct change, not regime change.

Think of the folly of what this administration has acted on. It has said, "By the way, give up your weapons, the very thing that's us from attacking you. And once you give them up, then we're going to take you out."

That's the logic of this administration. That's why we've lost respect all over the world.

My goal would be to reestablish America's place in the world.

It's not a horrible answer. Conduct change as opposed to regime change sounds like a winning strategy to me. But it would be nice if some of our leaders would remind us all that America is the greatest force for good in the world when we keep a level head about us. When we are so scared that Bill Kristol speaks for the majority... that's not so pretty.

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