Judgment Matters

 Update II:  Chris Dodd on Obama and his lack of judgment:

“Over the past several days, Sen. Obama’s assertions about foreign and military affairs have been, frankly, confusing and confused. He has made threats he should not make and made unwise categorical statements about military options.

“We are facing a dangerous and complicated world. The next president will require a level of understanding and judgment unprecedented in American history to address these challenges.

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Update: Obama is now talking irresponsibly and off the cuff about use or non-use of nuclear weapons.  

 The Illinois senator warned Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in a major foreign policy speech Wednesday that he would use U.S. military force in Pakistan even without Musharraf’s permission if necessary to root out terrorists.

Asked about Obama’s speech and his comments about nuclear weapons, Clinton chided her fellow senator about addressing hypotheticals.

“Presidents should be very careful at all times in discussing the use or non-use of nuclear weapons. … I don’t believe that any president should make any blanket statements with respect to the use or non-use of nuclear weapons,” Clinton said.

Asked about the notion of unilateral U.S. military action in Pakistan to get al-Qaida leadership: “How we do it should not be telegraphed or discussed for obvious reasons.”

Pakistan has nuclear weapons and is politically unstable, raising concerns that the current military leadership could be replaced by religious fanatics who would be less cautious in using the weapons.

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Hillary Clinton was correct when she labeled Obama’s answer to a foreign policy question at the last debate “naive” and “irresponsible”.

In a speech today,

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a pointed warning yesterday to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying that as president he would be prepared to order U.S. troops into that country unilaterally if it failed to act on its own against Islamic extremists. [snip]

“It is dangerous and irresponsible to leave even the impression the United States would needlessly and publicly provoke a nuclear power,” Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd said in a statement.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, in a telephone interview, said that Obama’s threat, if acted upon, could inflame the entire Muslim world. “My international experience tells me that we should address this issue with tough diplomacy first with Musharraf and then leave the military option as a last resort,” he said.

Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) said in a statement that he would first apply “maximum diplomatic and economic pressure on states like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia” to do their utmost to combat the spread of terrorism. He also challenged both Obama and Clinton to block a proposed U.S. arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) called Obama’s threat misguided. “The way to deal with it is not to announce it, but to do it,” Biden said at the National Press Club. “The last thing you want to do is telegraph to the folks in Pakistan that we are about to violate their sovereignty.”

Where was all the wisdom about the world Obama claims he acquired as a 6 year old in Indonesia? Where were the insights into world public opinion Obama claims to have due to having a family with overseas relatives? Whatever happened to the notion, as an Obama internet ad claims, that “It’s time to project strength through diplomacy again…”

As usual, Hillary had cogent thoughts on the U.S. – Pakistan relationship which she expressed on July 26, 2007.

US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said if America sends its troops to the tribal region, they should go with Pakistani troops and not on their own.

At a fund-raising dinner arranged for her by the National Association of Pakistani-Americans, she rejected the suggestion by some US officials and lawmakers that the United States should conduct unilateral military operations in the tribal region to destroy alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban safe havens.

Such a move, she said, would not produce the desired results and would create new problems. Only a combined effort by the Pakistani and US troops could destroy militant hideouts in the area, she added.

Ms Clinton said that in January she visited Pakistan and discussed the US-led war against terrorism with President Gen Pervez Musharraf. She said she agreed with the Pakistani leader that the two countries needed to work together to defeat extremists because this war could not be won without such cooperation.

She also emphasised the need for combining military tactics with an economic strategy to address the root causes that bred extremist ideologies.

Ms Clinton said Pakistan not only faced a threat from Al Qaeda and Taliban elements hiding in the tribal territory, but also from extremists living inside the country. To defeat terrorism, she said, it was as important to win the battle for hearts and minds as to win military battles.

Talking about issues confronting the Islamic world, Ms Clinton recalled that when her husband was the president he had invited the leaders of the Middle East to the Camp David presidential resort to forge a peace deal.

The meeting did not produce positive results but later the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat called Mr Clinton to tell him that he was willing to accept all the proposals discussed at Camp David.

“By then, it was too late and Mr Clinton’s term was already coming to an end,” she said.

Ms Clinton said the Pakistani-American community was one of the most successful and talented communities in the US and many of them had achieved their ‘American dreams’ of prosperity.

We know what this Obama speech, larded as usual with flowery sentiments and thrilling adjectives, was all about,

Obama’s endorsement of a more muscular foreign policy — more aggressive even than that of the Bush administration, at least when it comes to Pakistan — is an attempt to shake up a remarkably static Democratic field. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s advantage is built on perceptions that Clinton is more experienced and tougher on foreign policy — perceptions she strengthened in her spat with Obama last week over meeting with leaders of rogue nations. The speech “seems an attempt by Obama to ramp up his campaign to the next phase, where [he] hopes to seem not only a youthful idealist, but a president who would pursue a muscular foreign policy and protect the U.S. from terrorist attack,” Tapper reports.

Kevin Drum quoting right winger John Podhoretz got to the heart of Obama’s nonsense speechifying:

I know I’m going to regret saying this, but I think John Podhoretz hits pretty close to the mark here:

This country is never — never — going to stage a major military action against Pakistan…..Every serious person knows the United States won’t invade Pakistan, even with Special Forces — since the reason we cancelled the proposed action against Al Qaeda in 2005 is that it was going to take many hundreds of American troops to do it. This isn’t 15 people dropping like ninjas in the darkness. It’s an invasion, with helicopters and supply lines and routes of ingress and escape. It would have had unforseen and unforeseeable consequences, but it would have been reasonable to assume the Pakistanis would have turned violently against the United States and hurtled toward Islamic fundamentalist control.

Obama’s naive speech today will not salvage his sunken campaign. The speech wasn’t tough, it was irresponsible. It lacked judgment.

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18 thoughts on “Judgment Matters

  1. admin please make a video of Obama then and now
    then saying – I oppose a dumb war
    and now saying – I will bomb Pakistan and send our troops to the mountain.
    Obama’s campaign is dwindling.
    Oh how I feel so happy for Hillary!!

  2. You know obama supporters were saying Bill Clinton became peace maker in Hillary’s spat with Obama because he knew it was dangerous to Hillary and they were thumping up their chest of how big Obama is!!!

    Then came the National polls placing Hillary 21 points ahead after the spat!!

    Looks like Hillary got the best of Obama – it’s official for those sitting on the wall wondering if Hillary hurt herself by giving Obama more publicity.

    Nope! She used the incident and highlighted Obama’s shortcoming!

    Go Hillary Go!!!

  3. I frankly believe he stupidily took Hillary’s bait by appearing to be a ‘tough’ man. It’s just a ridiculous image. He is corned.

  4. Admin,
    thanks for replying to my post. I was rather feeling invisible:)
    If anything is dumb – it is to declare war against a nuclear power – Pakistan.

  5. Admin,
    If I find the original post of Obama saying those words..I will get that posted on Youtube and post a URL here

  6. Kostner,
    You are absolutely right – Obama wanted to be Hillary!
    He tried very hard to be a man and miserably failed!

  7. To All,

    After reading BO’s speech, BO trying to sound presidential, sounding more like the administration we’re trying to get rid of.. There must be a Rule somewhere (Congressional conduct, Geneva Convention) something, where a personage re: Senator, cannot arbitrarily stand up and threaten a soverign nation publicaly on behalf of the US in essence setting Foreign Policy?..

    Didn’t the WH come out with something recently against Nancy Pelosi going to the ME, said she was breaking the law? Only the president can set Foreign Policy?

    Obama really blew it big time…and I don’t believe we’ve heard the last of it either
    The speech heard round the world…is not a good thing!.

    Mrs. S

  8. I had to wonder…who in the world is advising that man? Do you think he/they knew that Pakistan has nuclear weapons? Did he/they know anything at all about the situation in Pakistan? Is this another Gerald Ford moment, or what?

    I do think he wanted to sound like Hillary sounds when she is talking about some international situations–that is to say, “Presidential.” Only she’s informed and knows what she’s talking about and he/they obviously have not a clue. I had to watch the video clip of his speech twice earlier in the day to make sure I wasn’t havin’ some kinda dream.

    Reminds me of when dubya was runnin for governor of the great state of Texas and he went out huntin with some buddies and shot the wrong kinda bird tryin’ to be macho man. I don’t remember if it was on the endangered species list or if it just wasn’t the species they were huntin’ but his trigger finger happiness cost him a powerful amount of embarrasment.

    Has a Presidential candidate ever caused an international incident before? That’s gotta be some kinda record right there.

    Does anyone think that the OB camp has a clue that they might’ve made a mistake today? and earlier in the week with bush-cheney lite? In the span of one week he’s gone from talkin about “bush-cheney lite” to being “bush-cheney ‘right'”. That’s sorta like being to the right of atilla the hun. How long do we think he’ll hang in there? Any chance that he’ll realize he is way, way in over his head and try and find a way to bow out gracefully? –MollyJ

  9. As todays BO speech circulates through his
    so called college educated supporters the next
    few days, I feel there is going to be a lot
    of head scratching. To make it simple, he is
    telling them the politics of “hope” is a “war”
    in Pakistan. Or as one PoliSci Prof said tonight,
    “one dumb war for another.”

    Today’s speech, although targeted Hillary in
    the specific, actually, awakened the other
    prez candidates. Biden, Richardson, Dodd,
    et al, now will take him on now. Unfortunally,
    he has awakened the Republican candidates,
    as well. As we all discussed a couple of weeks
    ago, Hillary was being CIC while Obama was
    playing in the sand box. Well this is another
    example of Obama playing where he shouldn’t
    He is not ready.

    As a friend and Obama supporter told me tonight,
    he stuck his toe in the waters of foreign affairs and
    drowned. He now is reconsidering his support.

    Bush’s domestic agenda has languished for six years because of their in-ability to execute the war in Iraq at the political policy level not the
    military level. So it is easy for candidates to
    talk up domestic issues. BO’s flowery political rhetoric is less inflamatory on domestic issues
    because all the candidates are on the same
    page.

    However, as I have stated repeatedly in these
    pages for the last month or so, its foreign
    affairs and the Iraq war that the election will
    hinge on. BO looses badly on this round.
    The sound you hear is his intellectual
    supporters jumping off the bandwagon.

    Hillary had a very, very good day.

    l

  10. Molly: Obama’s advisor is Richard Clark.

    Many of the main points of his speech
    are already or soon will be enacted
    as American policy. He really didn’t break
    new ground. What is new, is BO’s willingness
    to start new military action while our
    military is still mired in Iraq.

  11. I’m a bit confused about this, my first reaction was like most of you here, that this is a strange last attempt trying to be taken seriously.

    And most of the other candidates seem to go at him from different angles, however, Hillary says ‘vaguely’ that she agrees.
    Go to justhillary.com and click the link under the Madonna link.

    Don’t know what to make of this yet, it seems Obama had hoped to create a big difference between them, thinking she would attack him again, and by then he would be tough enough to fight back, but she doesn’t, catching him by surprise, not working out quite as he had hoped perhaps. I don’t know, any thoughts?

  12. Gorto, I think you’re right. He assumed HRC would attack him, but she didn’t bother. Probably a smart move on her part.

    BTW, Richard Clarke is a smart guy. I’m surprised the speech wasn’t better, if he was the driving force behind it.

  13. Thanks for the info…I know who Richard Clarke is, and so now things make more sense.

    Hillary’s limited response is good. I’ve only heard about it in terms of one radio station. And her response is not identical…there are some very key differences. SHe talked about Pakistan only if there was credible evidence of OBL whereaabouts, etc. SHe stressed diplomacy again. When your fellow candidates do the obvious criticisms, it’s much smarter for her to agree on some points and leave it to others to do the criticism. This keeps OB from starting another “spat” with her. The limited response provides her with a way to stay “on message” and not give undo attention to OB.

    And the numbers, her numbers are looking very, very good. Not a time to get derailed by somebody so un-ready to be president. –MollyJ.

  14. “This keeps OB from starting another ‘spat’ with her. The limited response provides her with a way to stay ‘on message’ and not give undo attention to OB.”

    Bingo!

  15. From HillaryHub.com:

    New Pew Poll: The last sentence is the most important.
    It shows the trend from April to now.

    “Hillary Clinton now holds a nearly two-to-one lead over Barack Obama. The current survey finds 40% of registered Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say they would most like to see her nominated as their party’s presidential candidate. Obama is the choice of 21% while Al Gore is favored by 12% and John Edwards by 11%. Pew’s April survey had found Clinton with a more modest 34% to 24% lead over the Illinois senator. Over this period, support for the former first lady has increased most among independent Democrats, liberals and moderates, college graduates, middle-aged and older voters.”

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