It turns out that Barack Obama did make the mistake I feared regarding his characterization of the 1945 Yalta meetings between US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and USSR President Josef Stalin.
I think people understand the notion of talking to our enemies," Obama said. "If FDR can meet with Stalin and Nixon can meet with Mao and Kennedy can meet with Khrushchev and Reagan can meet with Gorbachev, then the notion that we can't meet with some half-baked dictator [Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] is ridiculous.Tom Maguire:
Well, Stalin was a fully-baked dictator, but he was also our ally against Nazi Germany when he met with Roosevelt. [SNIP]
Think about this - the probable next President of the United States does not know even the broad outlines of the history of American foreign policy from WWII forward and does not know the history of Democratic icons Roosevelt or Truman.Three things:
1. FDR was in his grave long before Stalin’s USSR became a full blown enemy.
2. Nixon’s meeting with Mao is the exception that proves the rule, but produced the aphorism “only Nixon could go to China” due to Nixon coming into the meeting from a position of strength rather than of supplication. And Nixon’s homework for the trip started well in advance of his second presidential candidacy. (The first was in 1960.)
3. Mikhail Gorbachev was taking affirmative steps to reduce antagonism with the West--not threatening to “bury us” or one of our allies. (Does Obama not remember when the Russian words glasnost’ and perestroika entered the American lexicon? He should remember the latter word since one of its English definitions is 'reorientation'--or, more simply, 'Change.')
Not knowing world history is one thing; not knowing the history of your own country is another; but not knowing presidential foreign relations history when one has a flocking degree in political science with a specialization in international relations from Columbia University and is running for president is a frightening issue. (A commenter to Burt Prelutsky’s observations regarding Ivy League presidents reminds us that, during the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination controversy, some pundits contended that Miers wasn’t qualified to sit on the USSC because she did not attend an Ivy League law school. But, perhaps at least one Ivy League institution should be concerned about one of its more basic programs.)
Unfortunately, Obama’s ignorance of his own field takes its place in a long line of frightening issues regarding the man behind whom the Democrats are uniting to become our 44th president.
(Thanks to Instapundit)
UPDATE: Now Obama campaign says that he never claimed to want to meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions being on the table.
Susan E. Rice, a former State Department and National Security Council official who is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic candidate, said that “for political purposes, Senator Obama’s opponents on the right have distorted and reframed” his views. Mr. McCain and his surrogates have repeatedly stated that Mr. Obama would be willing to meet “unconditionally” with Mr. Ahmadinejad. But Dr. Rice said that this was not the case for Iran or any other so-called “rogue” state. Mr. Obama believes “that engagement at the presidential level, at the appropriate time and with the appropriate preparation, can be used to leverage the change we need,” Dr. Rice said. “But nobody said he would initiate contacts at the presidential level; that requires due preparation and advance work.”
However, LGF finds yet more evidence that the senator says whatever is expedient at a given point in time even if it is 180 degrees contradictory to something he has said earlier. From the CFR debate last year:
QUESTION: In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since.This is becoming tiresome.
In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?
OBAMA: I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous.
UPDATE: Screen Capture from BarackObama.com (click on it to see full version):
Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.Do you get the feeling that my kinsman is making it up as he goes along?
My fellow Americans, especially black ones: is our pride at having the first black American president--even one who comes along and says anything--worth risking our nation's existence over? Because that's what's at stake. Our enemies smell this weakness.
(Thanks to Hot Air)