Election 2008 Foreign Policy Iraq McCain Obama Politics

Andrew Sullivan nails it.

Andrew Sullivan nails it.  He compares whether Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama would better be able to withdraw troops from Iraq, but then issues this damning and dead-on projection of a Ms. Clinton presidency:

The one thing I do know is that Clinton would be paralyzed. Unable to withdraw swiftly for fear of looking like a “weak” leader, and unable to unite the country behind staying, a president Clinton would mean the status quo in Iraq indefinitely. She is tough when resisting attacks; she has never been tough and effective in forging difficult new policy. On that score, she is merely ideological and brittle and unpersuasive. Like Bush.

4 replies on “Andrew Sullivan nails it.”

Andrew Sullivan shows no evidence to convince me that any of the candidates would be effective at ending our occupation of Iraq. American interests are deeply embedded in Iraq and those interests are not going to diminish under McCain, Obama or Clinton — including our military interests. If any American thinks that any of these candidates are going to shut down our bases and strategic positions there they are drinking the kool aid. If stability ever takes hold in Iraq those interests already there will flourish along with many new ventures.

When Sullivan fully supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq he was predicting nirvana on earth there. He was a major war booster. His predictions did not come true. Now he is predicting who will get our troops out faster or not at all. All of the candidates will begin withdrawals at some point in time if elected President. Andrew Sullivan hates Hillary Clinton. Hates her. Of course Sullivan is going to say Clinton will be “paralyzed” and because of that he is predicting our troops will be there forever under her watch. How does he know this? And the fact that he compares Clinton to Bush but thinks McCain could pull off a withdrawal furthers my feeling that Sullivan has lost his senses in his bottomless hate of Hillary Clinton.

He should stick to showing more pictures of his beloved Beagles and stay out of the prediction racket.

It is true that Frau Clinton would be pathetic dealing with any Moslem with her screechy voice and even more painfully strident but meaningless social ideas. The problem in Iraq is that its government is seen as a puppet of the US, and the US is seen as the puppet of Israel, whom they hate. Couple that with an anti-traditionalist woman leading the US. and you have a foundation of cultural hatred that will swell the ranks of the jihad and will make support of the puppet proIsrael government in Baghdad evaporate like a glass of water in al Nefud.

Either McCain or Obama would be better in terms of interface with Islam. Unfortunately Obama has not established himself as a traditonalist that would be acceptable to the decent traditionalists of the Arab world.


1st: When Sullivan talked about Iraq, he wasn’t predicting “nirvana on earth”. From my memory of the period, he was one of the few people talking about how it would be hard. But he was a rabid war supporters in the lead-up to Iraq – no doubt.

2nd: He does hate Hillary.

3rd: Neither myself nor Sullivan are suggesting that any of these candidates will shut down our bases and get out of Iraq in an irresponsible way.

4th: Predictions are a tricky business; and they are often wrong. But it’s natural and necessary to predict, to project what we think will happen based on what we know.

What Sullivan is saying here is that Hillary – by his estimation, and many others, including mine – voted for the war with Iraq, defended it, and refused to apologize for it for one main reason: because she wanted to look tough and she was afraid of appearing weak. The same can be seen in many of her public spats and positions. Yet, I cannot see a President Hillary Clinton escalating the conflict. Because she cannot do either, she would be paralyzed.

Obama would be able to claim a mandate to withdraw from Iraq as a candidate; and he does not seem afraid of appearing weak. He has maintained that he would meet with foreign dictators despite being called naive; he has maintained a stronger position on civil liberties even as the Republicans portray this position as weak on national security.

McCain – as Mr. Iraq War himself – has the credibility, in Sullivan’s theory, to end the war if he wanted to. Sullivan points out that McCain has made it clear he wants the opposite, but just as Nixon went to China, so McCain could withdraw from Iraq.

You’re right that predictions are a tricky business – but they are the essence of how we make choices. In this case, despite the mainly accurate charges against Sullivan personally, I think his point is valid. It might turn out to be false – Hillary could undergo a conversation as president and govern differently than she has campaigned. But I think it makes sense to project she would continue the same course.

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