Democrats Missing the Point

Just saw Terry McAuliffe on CNBC. He was carping about Bush, saying we should wait for evidence, not go it alone against Iraq (unless we have no choice — nice out), but that we should do something about North Korea which already does have nuclear weapons.

All I could think was: You jerk. You’re out of your depth and talking nonsense. You and the rest of the Democratic leadership might do better politically to be more cooperative with the Administration on national security. Sure, you’ll be playing second fiddle, but so what? It’s the right thing to do, and there are plenty of domestic issues where you could legitimately advance your own and the national interest by opposing Bush. As it is, the public distrusts the Democrats on foreign policy because it perceives correctly that they aren’t serious about it and are mainly motivated by domestic political considerations.

This isn’t a game, and leadership requires making important distinctions and difficult choices. That’s what Bush is doing, for example, in recognizing that Iraq requires quick action so that it doesn’t become nuclear-armed like North Korea. Meanwhile, we have to handle North Korea with great finesse, in part because Democrats were in charge, and did nothing, when North Korea was at the pre-nuclear stage that Iraq is at now.

“Defining Deviancy Down”

Bret Stephens tells us why the Palestinians are not yet ready for prime time:

I AM often asked whether I favor an independent Palestinian state. I wish someone would ask me instead whether I favor an independent German one.

I favor an independent Germany, of course, but not if it’s going to be the Third Reich. I favor an independent Japan, but not the Japan of Tojo. I might even favor the independent state of Tamil Eelam, but not under a psychopath like Prabhakaran.

In each of these instances, I’d sooner have a benign colonial occupation than a nasty native dictatorship. And the same goes for the Palestinians.

Today, the international community is having trouble accepting the fact that the problem with Palestinian statehood has nothing to do with its borders, much less with the size of its army or the rights it has to its airspace, its water resources, and so on. It has nothing to do with what Israel does or does not do in its military or diplomatic efforts. The problem, rather, is the nature of the state itself, and principally its moral nature. Is it a respecter of the rights of its citizens? Or of the rights of its neighbors?

In the Declaration of Independence, America’s founders did more than insist on their inalienable right to self-determination. They also showed they knew what self-determination was for, and, in so doing, that they deserved to have it. Israelis, too, have shown that they deserve the state they fought for and were given.

By contrast, Palestinians continue to demonstrate, in word, deed and above all in attitude that they have no similar understanding. Until they do so, until they emerge from the moral swamp in which they have put themselves, they ought to remain – along with countless other peoples – stateless.

Well stated.

Will Tony Blair’s Support for the U.S. Be His Undoing?

Val e-diction asks this contrary question in his inaugural post, citing this Jerusalem Post column. The point is that Blair’s visceral pro-American orientation led him to offer early support for the war against Iraq, while Chirac and Schroeder have cynically opposed U.S. efforts in a way that may give them disproportionate bargaining power. The U.S. will thus have to pay off France and Germany to gain their cooperation, while Blair will gain nothing except the enmity of many of his Labour colleagues.

I doubt that this is how events will play out. Bush may decide that we don’t need the Euros (do we?). Blair’s political position may not suffer, especially if we defeat Iraq handily. Still, these concerns bear keeping in mind, particularly if the war goes badly.

Drifting Polls?

William Sjostrom explains elegantly why opinion-poll results may show spurious variation over time and should not be taken at face value.