BROUHAHA: What a curious quarrel: President Bush, in
Israel, describes the policy of appeasement that led to World War II and the
Holocaust, and Senator Barack Obama and his supporters take umbrage, claiming he
has been viciously insulted.
Instead of protesting that Bush has implied that Obama would be soft on terrorist masters (because Obama has said he would meet - personally and without preconditions - with Iranian terrorist master Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even as Ahmadinejad's regime is killing Americans in Iraq, squashing freedom in Lebanon, developing nuclear weapons and threatening Israel with genocide), Obama might simply have said: "On this one point, Bush and I agree. I, too, would oppose a policy of appeasement. I, too, look not to Neville Chamberlain but to Winston Churchill as a model."
Politics aside (if we can manage that for a minute), the key issue is not whether you talk to terrorists, despots and tyrants. The issue is what you say - in particular (1) what you are willing to offer and (2) what you are prepared to threaten.
A president who doesn't know is a president who isn't ready to negotiate. A president should sit down with a sworn enemy only when it's clear that a deal - beneficial to our side - is not merely possible but imminent. Anything else is diplomatic malpractice that can only lead to diplomatic defeat.
Also, while everyone is by now familiar with Bush's controversial snippet, how many have taken the trouble to read the passage in context? Do so. It's below. Then decide whether you think these lines were "outrageous" (as Sen. Joe Biden said) or "disgraceful" (as Sen. John Kerry said) or "reckless and reprehensible" (as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said) or "beneath the dignity of the president" (as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said) or "a cheap political attack" (as DNC chairman Howard Dean said):