“Nonesense on Stilts”

By Joe Campbell
February 29th, 2008

From the Associated Press:

“What’s lost by embracing a tyrant who puts his people in prison because of their political beliefs?” Bush asked rhetorically. “What’s lost is it’ll send the wrong message. It’ll send a discouraging message to those who wonder whether America will continue to work for the freedom of prisoners. It’ll give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity.”

A U.S. president’s decision to talk with certain international figures can be counterproductive, Bush said.

“It can send chilling signals and messages to our allies,” he said. “It can send confusion about our foreign policy. It discourages reformers inside their own country.”

Sometimes, it is astounding how obtuse Mr. Bush can be.

Ezra Klein:

The idea that Bush — who regularly hangs out with, and thus “lends the status of the office and the status of our country” to the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Russia, China, and Egypt — would ever try and take a strong, principled stand against meeting with, much less supporting, repressive autocrats…well, it’s what my grandmother would call chutzpah, and what the rest of us would call “nonsense on stilts.”