Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Obama vs Reagan

A buddy on Facebook posted contrasting videos of Obama saying he didn't have a strategy for dealing with ISIL and Reagan's announcement for bombing Libya.

He said Reagan projected a greater mastery of foreign affairs.  I argued that it was more projection than reality.

Reagan sent arms to Iran in return for vague and unfulfilled promises for help releasing hostages in Lebanon.  Reagan retreated from  Beirut after the Marine barracks bombing of 1983.  Reagan supplied arms to Saddam Hussein, including components of the chemical weapons he used against the Iranians and the Kurds.  Reagan supported brutal death squads in El Salvador.  His national security team turned a blind eye to narcotics traffickers (in the middle of Nancy's "Just Say No" campaign) in order to garner their help in supporting the Contras.

But he DID project certainty.  Reagan held a few simply truths that he hung all his actions on.  One - communism was impossible to function and survive - was a really good one.  Many of the others were disastrous or naive.

Obama is more contemplative.  He's less a "Decider" than a "Ruminator".  This is why they apparently foist John McCain and Lindsey Graham on us every Sunday morning to say we should "do something".  Of course, one year ago, "doing something" would have meant funneling arms to Syrian opposition groups, including ISIS.  Brilliant.  Doing something in 2003 meant invading Iraq.  Brilliant.

There is no good strategy for dealing with the Islamic State.  There is only containment and slowly trying to degrade it.  I have my own ideas, but they are likely to be as frustrating as anyone else's.

For a country that invented mass participatory democracy, we sure don't seem to want to grow up and rationally discuss policies.  Instead, we want to "feel" things about our policies.

Obamacare is working.  And its constituent parts are becoming more and more popular.  But we don't "feel" good about Obamacare, so...  We don't "feel" like the globe is warming, because it was a cool summer here in New England.

We are idiots and deserve the crappy government we will get if the Republicans win control of the Senate.

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