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Thread: Obama Needs a History Lesson

  1. #1
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    Obama Needs a History Lesson

    [QUOTE]Obama Needs a History Lesson
    By Jack Kelly

    In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama said something that is all the more remarkable for how little it has been remarked upon.

    In defending his stated intent to meet with America's enemies without preconditions, Sen. Obama said: "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."

    That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.

    I assume the Roosevelt to whom Sen. Obama referred is Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our enemies in World War II were Nazi Germany, headed by Adolf Hitler; fascist Italy, headed by Benito Mussolini, and militarist Japan, headed by Hideki Tojo. FDR talked directly with none of them before the outbreak of hostilities, and his policy once war began was unconditional surrender.

    FDR died before victory was achieved, and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Truman did not modify the policy of unconditional surrender. He ended that war not with negotiation, but with the atomic bomb.

    Harry Truman also was president when North Korea invaded South Korea in June, 1950. President Truman's response was not to call up North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung for a chat. It was to send troops.

    Perhaps Sen. Obama is thinking of the meeting FDR and Churchill had with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in Tehran in December, 1943, and the meetings Truman and Roosevelt had with Stalin at Yalta and Potsdam in February and July, 1945. But Stalin was then a U.S. ally, though one of whom we should have been more wary than FDR and Truman were. Few historians think the agreements reached at Yalta and Potsdam, which in effect consigned Eastern Europe to slavery, are diplomatic models we ought to follow. Even fewer Eastern Europeans think so.

    When Stalin's designs became unmistakably clear, President Truman's response wasn't to seek a summit meeting. He sent military aid to Greece, ordered the Berlin airlift and the Marshall Plan, and sent troops to South Korea.

    Sen. Obama is on both sounder and softer ground with regard to John F. Kennedy. The new president held a summit meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev in Vienna in June, 1961.

    Elie Abel, who wrote a history of the Cuban missile crisis (The Missiles of October), said the crisis had its genesis in that summit.

    "There is reason to believe that Khrushchev took Kennedy's measure in June 1961 and decided this was a young man who would shrink from hard decisions," Mr. Abel wrote. "There is no evidence to support the belief that Khrushchev ever questioned America's power. He questioned only the president's readiness to use it. As he once told Robert Frost, he came to believe that Americans are 'too liberal to fight.'"

    That view was supported by New York Times columnist James Reston, who traveled to Vienna with President Kennedy: "Khrushchev had studied the events of the Bay of Pigs," Mr. Reston wrote. "He would have understood if Kennedy had left Castro alone or destroyed him, but when Kennedy was rash enough to strike at Cuba but not bold enough to finish the job, Khrushchev decided he was dealing with an inexperienced young leader who could be intimidated and blackmailed."

    It's worth noting that Kennedy then was vastly more experienced than Sen. Obama is now. A combat veteran of World War II, Jack Kennedy served 14 years in Congress before becoming president. Sen. Obama has no military and little work experience, and has been in Congress for less than four years.

    The closest historical analogue to Sen. Obama's expressed desire to meet with no preconditions with anti-American dictators such as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the trip British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and French premier Eduoard Daladier took to Munich in September of 1938 to negotiate "peace in our time" with Adolf Hitler. That didn't work out so well.

    History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days, noted a poster on the Web log "Hot Air." The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it's dangerous. As Sir Winston Churchill said:

    "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

    [/QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/05/obama_needs_to_study_history_b.html[/url]

  2. #2
    [QUOTE]History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days, noted a poster on the Web log "Hot Air." The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling. But in a presidential candidate it's dangerous. As Sir Winston Churchill said:
    [B]
    "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." [/B][/QUOTE]

    This is so true. And it is exactly why we need to open a dialogue even with people we dont like. If we simply keep shutting our opponents off, we will simply be repeating the same mistakes over the last 8 years,

    Funny there are 2 Right wiing "heroes" that were criticized for "talking to the enemy" but it ended up turning out ok.

  3. #3
    FDR wasn't talking to Germany, Japan or Italy during WW11 he was kicking their asses. He was talking to Russia before they turned us.

  4. #4
    As far as this article goes it is accurate and Senator Obama certainly took some liberties with the facts and the chronology of events.

    However, Roosevelt did attempt to keep diplomatic lines between the US and Germany, Japan, and Italy as long as possible. Our ambassadors and members of the state department attempted to keep the lines of communication open. Of course when war began even this ended. No leader holds face to face discussions and negotiations with the leaders or nations they are fighting or even attempts to maintain diplomatic relations.

    Truman did meet with Stalin after WWII at Potsdam. Technically the two nations were not enemies, but it was clear they we didnt like or trust one another.

    I find it interesting that Obama would talk about keeping the lines of communications open as a democrat and reference the action of Democratic Presidents when his ideas are much more similar to those of Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan.

    Eisenhower did not meet directly with the Russians, but his VP Nixon did meet with Kruschov and he planned a direct meeting with the Russian leader that was spoiled by the U2 Spy Plane incident.

    As President Nixon traveled to and met face to face with the leaders of China and the Soviet Union at the peak of the Cold War. This led to Nuke treaties, improved relations with both nations, and increased pressure on the Soviet Union.

    Reagan met with Gorbachev several times and those face to fact meetings and negotiations were important to improved relations and the end of the Cold War.

    Obama's idea of making progress by not cutting off the lines of communication is backed by historical precedent, he just referenced the wrong Presidents.

  5. #5
    when reading this drivel one of the first things to stand out was this portion; "History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days, noted a poster on the Web log "Hot Air." The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling."

    where to begin on this ridiculous statement?

    First, many politicians, liberal and conservative, take a history class in college. In fact, for many of them, it is a required course. Asinine.

    second, this author uses this ridiculous quote, a quote you would expect to hear from one of the morons that call up Rush's show, as the final word in his "professional" column...and its from an anonymous poster to boot! Asinine.

    But more embarrassing then this end quote in the article is the fact that the ENTIRE article is factually flawed and biased. Obama never stated that these three presidents only talked to enemies [I]while we were in the middle of a war[/I]. Never did he make this stipulation when articulating the argument that historical figures were not afraid to have an open dialogue with the enemy.

    The author, and the posting drone that started this thread, make the argument that all three presidents did not negotiate with their enemies during war. Where did Obama refer to [B]only declared war negotiations between enemies?[/B] The answer is he simply never made that stipulation. Obama's point is that sometimes you need to have the courage to open up a dialogue with countries that you do not agree with. Obama's historical references are 100%factual and accurate. All three presidents negotiated with countries that had dangerous tension with us. The example of JFK and the cuban missile crisis is the most obvious example. We were in a cold war with russia and hours away from blowing up the entire planet. JFK, through Bobby, was negotiating with Russia to open up a dialogue and avoid the end of the world. Serious enough for you?

    For FDR and Truman, there are more historic examples of them negotiating with adversaries then just Stalin. But to play along the writer's artificial boundaries, he is still horribly flawed. The writer's quote;"But Stalin was then a U.S. ally, though one of whom we should have been more wary than FDR and Truman were. Few historians think the agreements reached at Yalta and Potsdam, which in effect consigned Eastern Europe to slavery, are diplomatic models we ought to follow. Even fewer Eastern Europeans think so." [B]The argument about whether this diplomacy was effective has nothing to do with the premise of the article. [/B]The argument was that Obama's historical examples about presidents negotiating with hostile leaders were inaccurate. Talk about changing the goal posts....


    Bottom line, even going with the [B]artificial[/B] boundaries set up by this writer and the mindless lemming that posted it, it actually has no relevance to two of the enemies Obama has been most vocal towards negotiating with; Iran and Cuba. We are not at war with either country, despite what the 'John Wayne' war hawks would have us believe. What this article is really advocating is military intervention in Iran. The writer's goal was to discredit the notion that respected presidents would openly negotiate with enemies and, at the same time, discredit Obama. He tried to do this by manipulating Obama's words by making an artificial argument. And the lemmings followed him off the cliff. Isn't it ironic how many of the people who are most ardent about starting wars, like this writer and dick cheney, are not the ones that have to see combat or risk their lives. They are the tough guys sitting behind a desk talking tough and sending our brothers, sisters and fathers to back them up.
    Last edited by intelligentjetsfan; 05-11-2008 at 09:01 AM.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;2532790]when reading this drivel one of the first things to stand out was this portion; "History is an elective few liberals choose to take these days, noted a poster on the Web log "Hot Air." The lack of historical knowledge among journalists is merely appalling."

    where to begin on this ridiculous statement?

    First, many politicians, liberal and conservative, take a history class in college. In fact, for many of them, it is a required course. Asinine.

    second, this author uses this ridiculous quote, a quote you would expect to hear from one of the morons that call up Rush's show, as the final word in his "professional" column...and its from an anonymous poster to boot! Asinine.

    Now, perhaps more embarrassing then this end quote in the article is the fact that the ENTIRE article is factually flawed and biased. Obama never stated that these three presidents only talked to enemies [I]while we were in the middle of a war[/I]. Never did he make this stipulation when articulating the argument that historical figures were not afraid to have an open dialogue with the enemy.

    The author, and the posting drone that started this thread, make the argument that all three presidents did not negotiate with their enemies during war. Where did Obama refer to [B]only declared war negotiations between enemies?[/B] The answer is he simply never made that stipulation. Obama's point is that sometimes you need to have the courage to open up a dialogue with countries that you do not agree with. Obama's historical references are 100%factual and accurate. All three presidents negotiated with countries that had dangerous tension with us. The example of JFK and the cuban missile crisis is the most obvious example. We were in a cold war with russia and hours away from blowing up the entire planet. JFK, through Bobby, was negotiating with Russia to open up a dialogue and avoid the end of the world. Serious enough for you?

    For FDR and Truman, there are more historic examples of them negotiating with adversaries then just Stalin. But to play along the writer's artificial boundaries, he is still horribly flawed. The writer's quote;"But Stalin was then a U.S. ally, though one of whom we should have been more wary than FDR and Truman were. Few historians think the agreements reached at Yalta and Potsdam, which in effect consigned Eastern Europe to slavery, are diplomatic models we ought to follow. Even fewer Eastern Europeans think so." [B]The argument about whether this diplomacy was effective has nothing to do with the premise of the article. [/B]The argument was that Obama's historical examples about presidents negotiating with hostile leaders were inaccurate. Talk about changing the goal posts....


    Bottom line, even going with the [B]artificial[/B] boundaries set up by this writer and the mindless lemming that posted it, it actually has no relevance to two of the enemies Obama has been most vocal towards negotiating with; Iran and Cuba. We are not at war with either country, despite what the 'John Wayne' war hawks would have us believe. What this article is really advocating is military intervention in Iran. The writer's goal was to discredit the notion that respected presidents would openly negotiate with enemies and, at the same time, discredit Obama. He tried to do this by manipulating Obama's words by making an artificial argument. And the lemmings followed him off the cliff. Isn't it ironic how many of the people who are most ardent about starting wars, like this writer and dick cheney, are not the ones that have to see combat or risk their lives. They are the tough guys sitting behind a desk talking tough and sending our brothers, sisters and fathers to back them up.[/QUOTE]

    Good post, as was the one by Tacitus. This is the usual moronic gotcha nonsense that takes a perfectly sound statement and twists it into something it never was intended to mean. There are plenty of issues one could have with Obama, but trying to make him out to be completely uneducated about American history is truly stretching it. When you have to resort to this sort of tactic to denigrate an opponent, the game is lost.

  7. #7
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    It is unfortunate that we don't have a decent candidate for president from either side. A country this large and powerful and all we come up with is a ancient insider and a smooth talker with no substance. It is a shame. May miss my first vote of my lifetime.

  8. #8
    it's better than the last 2 elections. did you vote then?

  9. #9
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    Like I said , "May miss my first vote of my lifetime."

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=PocketJet;2532830]Like I said , "May miss my first vote of my lifetime."[/QUOTE]

    That is your opinion and you are, of course, enititled to it. But judging by the record turn outs for this democratic election, not eveyone agrees with you.

    Maybe some people are jaded because of propaganda hit pieces like the article posted in this thread. And then you have lemmings that do not have an original thought in their head and simply post articles that are factually inaccurate. This is the part of politics that push the average American away from the process.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=PocketJet;2532830]Like I said , "May miss my first vote of my lifetime."[/QUOTE]
    wow, and you think these candidates are bad? classic. The winner of the last 2 has been fabulous:eek:

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