mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Foreign Policy Posturing
Democrats Give Abe an Earful
Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • wigwag

    “Narcissistic posturing” seems to be the norm in the United States Congress. Of course when it comes to narcissism, no one can hold a candle to the American President.

    • Anthony

      Except for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who thought bombing weak countries was the equivalent of Chuchill’s leadership during the battle of Britain. Am I really wrong?

      The claim that Bush was Churchill was as stupid and arrogant as the claim that Obama is Lincoln.

      • f1b0nacc1

        Yes, you are really wrong.
        Bush may have been compared to Churchill by someone (certainly not by me), but it was an inapt comparison at best. When did Bush ever say that he thought of himself as Churchillian, by the way? Of course Churchill was not without his own flaws…
        On the other hand, Obama openly compares himself to men that he is unworthy even mentioning. It is difficult to think of an American president who had as high an opinion of himself and at the same time accomplished so very little.

        • Anthony

          Watch this. It can’t get much worse. Also, notice that he actually walking like a bodybuilder, as if he back muscles are just too strong for him to walk like a normal person. What a joke.

          BTW: this attack is not meant to defend Obama. However, I am suggesting that all of our politicians these days seem like egomaniacs. Although because they are more belligerent and cruel, the Republicans among them are more dangerous.

          • f1b0nacc1

            So you don’t like his body language and that makes him a Churchill wannabe? Perhaps a Schwartzenegger clone, but hardly Churchill. If that is the best you can come up with, just acknowledge you were wrong here and let it go, you just look silly trying to defend it.
            You want to criticize the optics of the carrier event, fair enough, but that is a very different thing than comparing himself to Churchill. As for the GOP being belligerent and cruel, that really is beneath you. I expect that sort of nonsense from FG, but you strike me as a better educated individual. You want to disagree with policy and suggest that these guys are misguided, even foolish…fair enough, we can disagree on that. But belligerent, cruel?

          • Anthony

            Don Rumsfeld made the analogy to Churchill, just as Obama’s supporters made the analogy to Lincoln.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/2223075.stm

            My reference to belligerence and cruelty comes from the fact that many of the GOP presidential contenders really seem to believe that invading Iran is a sensible and workable strategy. I wholeheartedly believe that it is not. At least Obama has kind of learned the lesson the regime change in the middle east is a recipe for disaster. I say “kind of” because he chose to intervene in Libya, which was a terrible decision that we are still living with.

            The GOP didn’t used to be so bad. Ronald Reagan basic principal was peace through strength, a completely sound idea, and George HW Bush used to say that he was strong enough to keep the peace. To borrow a phrase that George Will used to describe Lindsay Graham’s foreign policy platform, many Republicans, and other uber hawks like Professor Mead, seem to have adopted a “no nation unbombed strategy.” If it were up to the right wing of the Republican party, we would have already invaded Iran and Syria and would be poised to push Russia out of the Ukraine. I mean, come on, this is crazy.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Regarding Rumsfeld, he was certainly no true Scotsman….(grin)….
            As for your reference to the GOP, so you don’t care for their policies. While that is certainly your prerogative, it hardly qualifies them as cruel and belligerent, merely of a different approach to the problem. Without a lengthy discussion of our differing positions on these issues, surely you can concede that reasonable people can disagree? I have never heard of any serious conservative (yes, you can find some ignorant yahoos on the right just as I can find them on the left, but let us be serious and talk about those with something approaching rationality) who would advocate invading Iran out of sheer malice of lust for destruction. I favor military action (not invasion, it isn’t necessary for our purposes) against Iran, but not for its own sake, but rather in order to achieve a broader goal. Does that make me cruel and belligerent? I might argue (as you tacitly concede) that Obama’s policy for Libya certainly is at least as ugly as anything the GOP was in favor of. I don’t care for Obama’s policies, and tend to think of him as a highly unsavory individual, but I would hardly consider all those who hold the same views to be necessarily evil or unworthy.
            I won’t speak for WRM, as I don’t share many of his views (I felt he was utterly wrong regarding Syria, and simply deluded concerning the Ukraine), but once again, these are differences in perceived goals vs gain, not questions of moral failing.

    • f1b0nacc1

      An affirmative action president….we really shouldn’t be surprised, and many of us aren’t.

  • Anthony

    Shinzo Abe brought this on himself. He keeps right wing crackpots in his government even when they say things that are totally unacceptable.

    To make an analogy, sensible southerners in both parties acknowledged a long time ago that slavery and the confederacy were morally wrong. That realization tremendously helped their region heal and make real economic and social progress.

    “Abe’s Former Advisor Promotes Apartheid”

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/02/15/abes-former-advisor-promotes-apartheid/

    This is like if a major Republican figure were to come out and say that the Klan is a great American institution.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Now here, you are absolutely correct.

      • Andrew Allison

        But completely off-topic. Abe is presumed to be speaking for his country. Crackpots in his government, like those (on both sides) in ours, are speaking for themselves. “Postwar, we started out on our path bearing in mind feelings of deep remorse over the war. Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries,” Abe said. “We must not avert our eyes from that. I will uphold the views expressed by the previous prime ministers in this regard.” seems pretty close to an apology to me, and the fact that he didn’t specifically identify individual atrocities (of which there were many) but made a blanket apology seems reasonable.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I don’t entirely disagree with you, but I will offer two observations:
          1) Abe DOES tolerate some of the worst of the ultranationalists in his government, and that suggests that he finds their views at least tolerable, which they are not. If an Israeli government included some of the loonier members of Shas (though I repeat myself), we would rightfully be appalled, as we would if a British government included some of the more extreme members of the various leftist parties. I would normally disagree with Anthony about which horizon the sun rises upon, but here he has a point.
          2) Abe, like all other post-war Japanese PMs has refused to acknowledge Japan’s role as the aggressor and instigator of WWII in the Pacific, and has avoided accepting Japan’s responsibility as a nation for the atrocities committed during the war. This stands in stark contrast to the postwar German government’s open embrace of their collective responsibility AS A NATION for the abominations of WWII in Europe. Japan still hides behind evasions and legalisms to avoid accepting their responsibility, and this is a valid criticism of them. If Abe isn’t going to come clean, then I really cannot criticize those who are going to call him on it.

          • Andrew Allison

            Now you’re going Anthony on me [grin]. The Prime Minister speaks for Japan, and the nutcases in government there (and here) for themselves.
            Based upon http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apology, it appears to me that Japan has, in fact, apologised.
            Abe specifically endorsed https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_war_apology_statements_issued_by_Japan in his speech.

          • f1b0nacc1

            No, if I were ‘going Anthony on you’, I would first insult you, then terminate the conversation citing your ignorance….(grin)
            In a parliamentary system, members of the cabinet are in fact the responsibility of the PM, and Abe is indeed accountable for their statements. More to the point, as head of his party, he also has a role in disciplining backbenchers who get out of line. Try to imagine what would have happened if a latter day Enoch Powell made a ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech today. The calls for the leader of his party to disown him would be overwhelming, and (quite frankly) well taken. Abe stands at the head of a party, gets to fly in a cool plane, and people stand up when he enters the room. The price for all of those perks is that he has to actually behave like a real leader…
            Regarding Japanese apologies in the past, they regret the pain that has been inflicted, when they are forced to acknowledge it that is, and they show regret for the war. What they do NOT do is admit culpability for starting the war, prosecuting it in the way that they chose to, and for the actions that they took during the war. The non-apology apologies (I am sorry that you were hurt) don’t cut it for most of the world, and they don’t cut it for me. The Japanese ask what they must do, and I say that they need to do what Germany did…admit their role, admit they started it, and admit that they did terrible things while fighting. The US (the VICTOR, I should point out) has done that time without end, and it is a point of pride that we have done it. The Japanese still persist in trying to paint themselves as the victim, excuse their actions, and ignore inconvenient or unpleasant evidence of their numerous atrocities. Worse, there is ample evidence that this was part of a planned diplomatic strategy dating from the last days of the war, when they knew that defeat was upon them.
            I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that Japan can (and should) be welcomed back into the community of nations once they confess and show real regret for their actions (not simply that someone was hurt, but that they were the ones that did the hurting), and I agree with those that point to the Chinese practice of using Japan’s former crimes (Nanking comes immediately to mind, as does the infamous Unit 731), is cynical at best, but the consistent refusal of Japan to take responsibility for their actions makes it impossible to trust them, or even forgive them completely.

          • Andrew Allison

            Let’s agree to disagree about the difference between government policy and spouting off, and about the definition of apology. As to the rest, did I miss the official US apologies or expressions of remorse to the peoples of Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, et al. for what we visited upon them, or are people in glass houses throwing rocks?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Actually the US has apologized extensively for its many transgressions in Vietnam, and someday I hope will do so with regard to our misadventures in Libya. I am not aware of anything in Afghanistan or Iraq that we should apologize for, unless you mean abandoning them too early. Let us be clear, Japan started an aggressive war with no justification other than conquest, something that even our worst detractors cannot suggest the US had in mind in any of the four examples you gave.

    • Tom of the Missouri

      Why would a Republican make a comment about the Klan?. The Klan was composed entirely of Democrats. You are like the narcissist congress. You like to posture but you know or care so little of history that you speak at inappropriate times and confuse your context.

      And speaking of people with questionable advisors. Have you ever criticized the American Congress for having a former Klan leader Robert Byrd as one of their leaders for a generation until recent times. ? Have you ever criticized Jimmy Carter for his fond mentor Lester Maddox? Have you ever criticizes in any context Bill Clinton’s mentorship by and praise of the racist Klan sympathizer William Fulbright? Of course you didn’t. You just try to associate Republican’s with the Klan who never ever had any association with it whatsoever.

      And by the way, Republicans never had to acknowledge that the confederacy and slavery were morally wrong. Republicans from the party of Lincoln started and won a war to end it and also were deeply supportive and involved in the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s which was resisted fiercely my Democrats. The major civil rights laws would never have passed had it been left entirely to the Democrat party.

      • Anthony

        Tom, he admits to only being in country 30 years.

  • Anthony

    Does any of the above really matter beyond fodder for commentary on a perceived slow news day (on the Hill)? http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/04/shinzo-abes-bet-on-americas-fading-memories/391814/

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    What happened to their Cultural Sensitivity? Prostitution is acceptable in Asian Cultures and US military bases have their medical personnel checking the whores and issuing ID cards in order to suppress VD outside US bases in Asia.

  • iconoclast

    “his government’s responsibility…”

    Who knew that Abe’s government had done this?

    Jerks. Blood guilt is medieval and ignorant.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service