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Not anti-

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday July 2, 2008 11:18 AM

From the Financial Times, via an intellectual-property scofflaw pal of mine:
Obama camp signals robust approach on Iran

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran is the biggest threat facing the world, according to one of Barack Obama's senior foreign policy advisers....

In an interview with the Financial Times, Anthony Lake, a former US national security adviser who has worked with Mr Obama since the start of his campaign, also urged the US to learn lessons from its traumatic withdrawal from Vietnam regarding pulling out of Iraq....

Mr Lake depicted the Democratic candidate as a tough-minded realist rather than an anti-war politician....

He stressed that Mr Obama, even after withdrawing troops from Iraq over 16 months as he has promised, would maintain "a residual presence for clearly defined missions". These would include military training, and "preparedness to go back in if there are specific acts of genocidal violence".

"That is not 'cut and run and let's just see what happens'," Mr Lake said.....

Highlighting a parallel with his first posting as assistant to Henry Cabot Lodge, a US ambassador in 1960s Saigon, he said: "It is common sense that we could not leave Vietnam successfully unless we left behind a government in Saigon that could govern successfully.

"It seems obvious in retrospect; it was not obvious enough to too many politicians at the time. In Iraq it's the same problem."...

Mr Lake was sympathetic to aspects of Mr McCain's idea of a League of Democracies, one of the centrepieces of the Republican's foreign policy plans.

...[H]e backed the general idea of a grouping that was "not an anti-Russian device but an effort to find ways for the democracies to act together on issues of defence of our common values . . . specifically on issues when the UN can't act".

Even that notion might be difficult to digest for European countries wary of offending Moscow or seeming to sidestep the UN. But as Mr Lake's words indicate, Mr Obama could yet be a demanding partner for the rest of the world.

* * *

So Obama is "not anti-war." I was always taught that in English a double negative added up to a positive.

I really wonder -- not for the first time -- why so many people think the Democratic party is more anti-war, or rather less pro-war, than the Republicans.

It's interesting too that the ancient campaign to keep Russia in a box -- which dates back to well before the US was Top Country, and has now entered its third century under the new management -- seems to be cranking up again. That was high on the agenda in the Clinton years, but seems to have been rather back-burnered under Bush.

Plus ca change: Palmerston and the Whigs were always more interested in an aggressive policy against Russia than the Tories were. Although the parallel is a bit inexact; there really are no conservatives in the 19th-century sense anymore, and certainly none in the Republican Party.

Still, it's fun in a grim kind of way to hear these themes and motifs recur.

Comments (1)


good god ..Lake !!!!

thats who's pourin' wisdom
into the ample porches
of the obama ears

the man's got a brain full
of dried paste balls

listening to him must be like
reading the stampings
in a dead commerial traveller's
pass port book

i think he actually worked
for president pierce
come to thin of it
he might even have crossed pens
with old Pam hizzseff

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