Two weeks ago, the Atlantic did an interview with Barack Obama, in which he inelegantly compared Israel to a “sore”. They just did the same interview with John McCain. He has a different take on things, that’s for sure. He is in touch with reality. The interviewer is not, really, and can’t even acknowledge his own motivations, as the exchange below demonstrates:
JG: Do you think that Israel is better off today than it was eight years ago?
JM: I think Israel, in many respects, is stronger economically, their political process shows progress – when there is corruption, they punish people who are corrupt. The economy is booming, they have a robust democracy, to say the least. Bin Laden has not limited his hatred and desire to destroy the United States to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, though Israel is one of the objects of his jihadist attitude. What you’re trying to do is get me to criticize the Bush Administration.
JG: No, I’m not, what I’m –
JM: Yeah, you are, but I’ll try to answer your question. Because of the rise of Islamic extremism, because of the failure of human rights and democracy in the Middle East, or whether there are a myriad of challenges we face in the Middle East, all of them severe, all of them pose a threat to the existence to the state of Israel, including and especially the Iranians, who have as a national policy the destruction of the state of Israel, something they’ve been dedicated to since before President Bush came to office.
JG: What do you think motivates Iran?
JM: Hatred. I don’t try to divine people’s motives. I look at their actions and what they say. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the state of their emotions. I do know what their nation’s stated purpose is, I do know they continue in the development of nuclear weapons, and I know that they continue to support terrorists who are bent on the destruction of the state of Israel. You’ll have to ask someone who engages in this psycho stuff to talk about their emotions.
And here he is answering questions about Obama, naiveté, and the favorite concept of the left, nuance:
JG: Senator Obama has calibrated his views on unconditional negotiations. Do you see any circumstance in which you could negotiate with Iran, or do you believe that it’s leadership is impervious to rational dialogue?
JM: I’m amused by Senator Obama’s dramatic change since he’s gone from a candidate in the primary to a candidate in the general election. I’ve seen him do that on a number of issues that show his naivete and inexperience on national security issues. I believe that the history of the successful conduct of national security policy is that, one, you don’t sit down face-to-face with people who are behave the way they do, who are state sponsors of terrorism.
Senator Obama likes to refer to President Kennedy going to Vienna. Most historians see that as a serious mistake, which encouraged Khrushchev to build the Berlin Wall and to send missiles to Cuba. Another example is Richard Nixon going to China. I’ve forgotten how many visits Henry Kissinger made to China, and how every single word was dictated beforehand. More importantly, he went to China because China was then a counterweight to a greater threat, the Soviet Union. What is a greater threat in the Middle East than Iran today?
Senator Obama is totally lacking in experience, so therefore he makes judgments such as saying he would sit down with someone like Ahmadinejad without comprehending the impact of such a meeting. I know that his naivete and lack of experience is on display when he talks about sitting down opposite Hugo Chavez or Raul Castro or Ahmadinejad.
And, he’s able to put himself in the other guy’s shoes. Check this out:
JG: Do you believe that Israel will have to go into Gaza in force to deal with the rockets, and if Israel did, would you support it?
JM: It depends on what you mean by force. They’ve responded with air strikes, and identifying Hamas leaders and, you know, quote, responding. Would they respond with massive force? I don’t know. I know from my conversations with them that they are deeply concerned. They’re a democracy. How would an American government, how would American public opinion respond, if there were constant shelling, and kids had fifteen seconds – fifteen seconds – to get into a bomb shelter. I don’t know what the government of Israel is going to do. It somewhat depends on whether these attacks will discontinue or if other things happen. I did get the distinct impression, nothing specific, but I got the impression that the patience of the Israeli government and the people is growing short.
It is so refreshing to hear a politician who can clearly state obvious reality. And he’s not thin-skinned and full of himself.
I’m a fan.