Thursday, October 19, 2006
Personal Aside: The Speculation is that the Answer to North Korea is Obvious Todaybut What About the Future? Paging Destinys Tot: Barack Obama!
What bothers a small number of congressional and White House foreign policy strategists today is not that there will be a sudden eruption with the North Koreans who have the bomb. As a matter of fact, probably the best case scenario, they say, is if Pyongyang fired a nuclear-tipped missile anywhere wed take them out in short order. The same with other possibilitiesif the North Koreans surreptitiously put a bomb on a ship headed this way and detonated it either on the way or near a portthe same thing would happen. Frankly, thats because a tough president named George W. Bush is in charge.
Butand this has been a recurring worry of theirs and mine what happens if, as cyclical politics seems to dictate, that a liberal Democratic president is in office five years down the road? For that reason, these Hill and White House strategists have leaked a few scenarios to the media. Suppose Kim Jong II decides to initiate an invasion of South Korea? If, suppose, he seeks to frighten the U. S. by launching a nuclear-tipped Taepodong missile to the point where it falls near our shores how would a liberal Democratic president respond?
President Hillary Clinton who saw first-hand how the presidency works and who is a serious legislator, could press a button and annihilate the North in a matter of minutesbut would have to consider the risk to a major U. S. city. As the Wall Street Journal described it in a revelatory article by the prescient Bret Stephens: would that president Hillary Clinton or, as Time magazine so foolishly hopes, Barack Obama risk Seattle for Seoul?
Perhaps Lady Hillary would: I do think her nerves are of steel. But the soft ever so soft and lovely...Barack with those limpid, soulful eyes the fellow who plaintively entertains dreams of his lost father who skipped could he muster the iron to do it? As one who has seen him up close several times, let me say I dont believe the presidency is sufficient enough of a magic cloak which it would have to be to get him up to size. Hes had scant experience: a few terms in the Illinois state Senate where he wasnt in the leadership and a term in the U. S. Senate where he was canonized as the medias destinys tot ala Lynn Sweet without his evidencing the slightest hint of ability thus far. I havent detected any steel in the man. Rather: putty. Malleable putty, to be shaped any way pragmatism requires. All I hear are the exclamations of the Democratic adolescents of all ages: whooeee! Our first African American president! Whoooeee! Can I have your autograph? Will you tell us how youve suffered, man? Did you feel lonely at Harvard?
Okay, President Obama. Now hear this. The North Koreans have sold al Qaeda a few batches of weapons-grade fissile material tied to the agreement that the targets would be in nations lacking a retaliatory capacity such as Denmark or Italy. Selling al Qaeda the raw material rather than a bomb would enable it to slip through inspection undetected. Terrorists could pick up the material, build a weapon and explode it as a dirty bomb or plant it securely somewhere for a future threat. Here you are: tall, graceful, with a Colgate smile, the Harvard Law grad who hasnt yet supplied a glimmer of elucidation of jurisprudence. The so-called University of Chicago law professor. Now: President Obama. What do you do?
Huh? Hes the man who deplores Bushs warrior-like proclivity. Bush has issued a warning of severe consequences for North Korea because an area of Norway has been turned into a desert. Do you think the tall, statesman-appearing Barack has the interior sinew of intellectual steel to face up to Kim? I dont. In four appearances sitting by my side in the studio taking calls Ive yet to have seen a firmness in his approach. Rather his style with my program is to try to reconcile two diametric opposites and then do an impotent fade. Sitting at his side in the Oval Office would be David Axelrod. Nope. That still doesnt do it for me. Frankly Id rather it be crafty, slippery, duplicitous Rahm Emanuel than Axelrod in that office. I can see Barack trying to cut a deal, getting what he thinks is a deal, winning the plaudits of the New York Times and booting it in the scope of history. And all of us paying the price for being whimpering, simpering aesthetes toadying up to a severely under-qualified first-time African American icon for a perfect photo op.
This President Barack Obama piffle is evidence of great Democratic party poverty. One of these days the Democratic party has got to grow up. This idea of nominating for president a media-chic superstar to fill the shoes of a Franklin Roosevelt or a Harry Truman or to rival a Hubert Humphrey or a Henry Jackson sounds good to the Democrats but they are so, so far away from understanding what the presidency requires that to even fool around with Obama shows its inner shallowness. It has to begin to realize that some day it will be forced to govern and all the media posturing in the world will come to naught if it doesnt have the right person.
Mark me down now as saying that the ardors of a campaign with negative ads and the like are needed to winnow down the plaster of Paris statue of Obama who evidently is higher up on the scale of potential nominees than many of us thought. Which means that the Democratic party, savoring a presidential victory, is salivating for an icon without understanding that he has to be more than a distinctly under-average male model-type who to date at least has won headlines by uttering the most prosaic thoughts. Like his so-called great oration as the Democratic keynoter the one that expressed the unique concept that we are not hyphenated Americans but just Americans. I wonder how long it took Axelrod & Associates to conjure up that line?
What will Axelrods manufactured media idol as processed by Lynn Sweet, buffed to a high gloss by the inestimable Carol Marin and packaged with bedspread-sized front page photos in Chicagos Democratic Party newspaper of record do about North Korea?