In foreign policy, ‘tough’ is not a strategy, it’s a pose

GOP 2016 CPAC Walker-1

 

When Scott Walker was asked at the CPAC convention how he would handle the challenge posed by ISIS, the union-busting Wisconsin governor had an interesting response:

“I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on American soil. If I can take on 100,000 (union) protesters, I can do the same across the world.” 

Not surprisingly, union members in Wisconsin took umbrage at being compared to terrorists who crucify, behead and burn their opponents alive. Even Walker seemed a bit confused about what he was trying to say. Asked later about the comparison, he explained that “That’s the closest thing I have in terms of handling a difficult situation, not that there’s any parallel between the two.”

No. Not that there’s any parallel between the two.

trumpie

“ISIS, you’re fired!”

Awkward though it was, Walker’s comparison had an obvious motive. He’s trying to sell himself as strong, tough, tenacious, even pugnacious. No mom jeans for this guy, no siree. That theme — toughness toughness toughness — has become the mantra of the entire GOP field on foreign policy, right down to Donald Trump promising the CPAC crowd that no one would be tougher on ISIS than a President Trump. I guess if you can fire Gary Busey, you can fire ISIS too.

In his own CPAC appearance, Marco Rubio extended the theme by also condemning the Obama approach to ISIS. He argued that instead, “they need to be defeated on the ground by a Sunni military force with air support from the United States.”

“Put together a coalition of armed regional governments to confront [ISIS] on the ground with U.S. special forces support, logistical support, intelligence support and the most devastating air support possible, and you will wipe ISIS out.”

The problem is, that pretty much describes the actual policy already put into place by Obama. I suppose the difference would be that while doing the exact same thing as the current president, Rubio would somehow be “tough” about it.

And that’s both the appeal and the problem with “tough.”  Toughness is a necessary trait in a leader, but at some point, those in leadership are asked to go beyond self-description and advocate action. What does “tough” mean in terms of actual policy?

If we’re going to get “tough” on ISIS, are we going to re-insert tens of thousands of American troops into the Middle East and keep them there for years? Are we going to get “tough” on Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine, even if it means a land war in Europe? Are we going to get “tough” on Iran, even to the point of invading the country, occupying it, destroying its nuclear program and installing a more friendly regime that has absolutely no chance of support from the Iranian people?

These are the grounds of the 2016 foreign policy debate. “Tough” is a quality, a trait. It is neither a strategy nor a policy.  And as George W. Bush showed us, it is certainly no substitute for wisdom.

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840 comments
BigTimeJacketFan
BigTimeJacketFan

"Wisdom" is nonexistent on the democrat side - look at the state of the world at this time - chaos reigns.  As I have said before, it is unlikely the coyote-in-chief can point to the middle east on a map.  emperor nero truly fiddles (or golfs) while the world burns.  lurch spends more time talking about global warming (excuse me, climate change) than what these future democrats are doing in Syria and Iraq.

Enoch19
Enoch19

Nobel Prizes don't mean squat.  Obama was given a Nobel Prize for ....um...what was that????


Obama is about to give Iran nuclear weapons.  

He has watched while tens of thousands in Syria and Iraq are slaughtered.  Promising a red line, Obama has stuck his head in the sand.

He has frittered, proclaiming "peace in our time" while ISIS grows in power.

HIs drone strikes are illegal and strategically irrelevant

He would turn known terrorists loose to close Gitmo


This Nobel Prize committee would have given Neville Chamberlain a Peace Prize too.

honested
honested

@Recon2/3 @CherokeeCounty @honested @Captain-Obvious @Normd 

You mean the economic policies that brought us back from the darkness of the Bush Depression and is returning America to prosperity?

Look outside, reality is much different from what you see on wrong wing teevee (or short wave radio as your posts seem to suggest).

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Have I mentioned this hero, lately?

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/House_Member_Introduces_Resolution_To_Abolish_the_Senate.htm


"Whereas the Senate in particular has become an obstructive and useless body, a menace to the liberties of the people, and an obstacle to social growth; a body, many of the Members of which are representatives neither of a State nor of its people, but solely of certain predatory combinations, and a body which, by reason of the corruption often attending the election of its Members, has furnished the gravest public scandals in the history of the nation. . . ."


This text formed the preamble to a constitutional amendment introduced in the House of Representatives on April 27, 1911, by that chamber's first Socialist member, Victor Berger of Wisconsin.

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex Will not happen in my lifetime and I am in my mid-40's. A better idea is to abolish the direct election of Senators and let their appointment go back to the states to protect the states rights over the oppressive central government. 

Menace
Menace

Actually not a bright idea.  Have you read of the history of the 1870's thru the early 1900's?  The Senate was one of the most corrupt organizations going.  State legislatures packed the body with political hacks who did nothing but protect their own interests.  Which were very different from what the country needed.  Worse than what we see today.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

You guys/people.

Here is the deal with the "nuclear option."

It doesn't really matter what rules change was effected; however, what did change was the requirement for a 60% majority to confirm a judicial appointment. Yes, it was that modest. About as low impact as it gets.

However.

It represented a crossing of the Rubicon, inasmuch as Harry Reid finally decided, after recognizing the bleeding obvious, that the GOPers were never, ever, going to cooperate with him, when he decided to send the parliamentarian officer out of the room and make a simple rules change based on a majority of Senators.

(The more you learn about this sorry episode, the more you will agree with me that the Senate should be abolished.)

td1234
td1234

@Visual_Cortex Your statements show that either you have a total lack of historical knowledge of the purpose of the Senate by our founders or you do not like the form of government set up in the Constitution and want to really do away with intent of the document. IMHO, I actually think you know what the founders intended and do not like our system of government. 

Normd
Normd

As I remember the Nuclear option, it was changed to make the person doing the filibuster actually stand up at the podium and hold the floor.  Before all you had to do was say you wanted to filibuster and it would still take sixty votes to stop you.

td1234
td1234

@Normd That is not what Harry Reid did. His nuclear option was to make it only 51 votes for all appointments. 


I think the filibuster should be exactly the way it was in the past. Stand up and hold the floor until you can not talk anylonger. No more threats to stop legislation that actually stop progress.  

Normd
Normd

@td1234 @Normd 


You are correct.  I remember that now.  And I agree with you about the filibuster.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Recon2/3 @DebbieDoRight 

Sorry, but Reid and the Democrats did invoke the nuclear option but stay stupid if you so choose. 

***
Did they just invoke it? Or exercise it? 

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

At least 6 Republican states revisit their stance of resisting Obamacare


Officials in several Republican states that balked at participating in President Obama’s ­health-care initiative are now revisiting the issue amid mounting panic over a possible Supreme Court decision that would revoke federal insurance subsidies for millions of Americans.

The discussions taking place in state capitals around the country are part of a flurry of planning and lobbying by officials, insurance and hospital executives, and health-care advocates to blunt the possible impact of a court ruling.

At least six states where ­Republican leaders had previously refused to set up state marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act are now considering what steps they might take to preserve the subsidies being paid to their residents.

Efforts to hold on to the subsidies are under consideration even in South Carolina, which supported the challenge now ­before the Supreme Court. Gov. Nikki Haley (R) said in an interview that South Carolina may consider setting up a marketplace


http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-states-revisit-obamacare-as-supreme-court-weighs-subsidies/2015/02/27/3a0751dc-b92d-11e4-aa05-1ce812b3fdd2_story.html?tid=pm_politics_pop

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

Oh well let them google it.


"Reid, Democrats trigger ‘nuclear’ option; eliminate most filibusters on nominee."

Washington Post- Nov. 013

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@Recon2/3 @DebbieDoRight -- Whatevah...... I was going to add that your post referenced 11/13 while mine stopped at 7/13 and I needed to apologize for my "misinformation".  Now however, I've decided NOT to apologize; mainly because if i were a republican I wouldn't -- I'd double down on the dumb dumb, so in honor or republicans everywhere, I wont apologize for my error.  Apologizing would be anti-Republican...

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@Recon2/3 -- Clicked on your link - said "Page Not Found".  Boy, am I surprised!


SIDE:  I have no idea how YOU of all people can call someone "stupid".  Not saying that you're, you know, stupid or anything, just saying that at some point, maybe while you were a toddler, your mother dropped you on your head.  Repeatedly.  

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

"republicans should have proceeded with the nuclear option breaking the Democrats filibuster and passing the House version of DHS funding. If the circumstances were reversed and Reid was the majority leader you can be certain he would not have hesitated to go nuclear."


I am ALWAYS amazed by the Right's tunnel vision & their ability of seeing and hearing what they only WANT to see and hear.  For the past 6 years the Dems controlled the Senate and the nuclear option was on the table, which the republicans used at will to slow down government, stop Federal Judges being put on benches, obstruct, and malign!


Now, according to the Conned, "REID would have done it to them", except that he never did it to them, but somewhere in Bizaro world, he would have if given the chance!


It must be EXHAUSTING thinking up more and more evasions and lies and history rewrites -- just to make oneself feel better.


DEFLECTORBURATION --  What republicans do to make themselves feel better about history and math and science and real facts.

td1234
td1234

The US military occupied and controlled Japan and Germany from 1945 to 1952 with more than 100,000 troops and continues to have troops in both of those countries through today. Hostilities in Iraq ended at the end of 2008 and there was no occupation under military control and Obama started almost immediately to pull troops out and to not listen to military leaders. 


breckenridge
breckenridge

Oh dear.  Senate republicans are mad as hops at the clown car republicans in the House over Homeland Security funding.  As well they should be.

Note to Tom Price: YOU SUCK.

td1234
td1234

@LeninTime The US de-nazified Germany after WW2 and they were able to succeed because we kept troops in the country and trained the new people. 

DebbieDoRight
DebbieDoRight

@Captain-Obvious -- I give you 4 out of 5 stars.  One star loss for the "sticking to the present" comment.  You have to always know and remember your history.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Normd @Captain-Obvious

They are spread out through many countries and to "get" them all, you would have to violate the Sovereignty of those countries

***
Which is precisely what we have been doing in Syria. 

Which tells you something about where the priorities of the US and its allies in the region really lie.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Captain-Obvious

Iraqis has no one capable of filling a leadership void once a dictator was toppled by outside forces. Had they toppled Saddam themselves, that leadership would have more likely been developed and in existence.

***
See my point last night about the crucial step of De-Baathification, which locked in this situation.

Normd
Normd

@Captain-Obvious 


There is one glaring flaw to your plan to eradicate ISIS.  As you say, ISIS is not a country.  They are spread out through many countries and to "get" them all, you would have to violate the Sovereignty of those countries.  In other words, invade them.  There are countries in the Middle east that would rather have ISIS than us.  Simply put, OUR boots on the ground will never work.  It must be Middle Eastern armies.  We can only offer support.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

Krauthammer, is right the Republicans should have proceeded with the nuclear option breaking the Democrats filibuster and passing the House version of DHS funding. If the circumstances were reversed and Reid was the majority leader you can be certain he would not have hesitated to go nuclear. Fair play with the congressional Democrats is a fools game. I do disagree with Krauthammer, when he said that the Democrats have won the P/R battle. The public doesn't support Obama's executive order on immigration.

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

@CherokeeCounty @Recon2/3 

I don't know what poll or polls you're looking at all the major polls say that the public doesn't approve. Obama, wouldn't have had much choice.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@Recon2/3  polls show they do support it, and Obama would veto the House bill anyway, even if the Senate passed it.


Republicans need to end the clown show they've started, and actually govern.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

@Recon2/3 @CherokeeCounty 


With all due respect, if you think a President, any President, is going to sign into law something that undoes one of his major achievements, you're just not facing facts.


As to the polls, Jay has posted them repeatedly, but like the whole O'Reilly thing, facts often don't matter to conservatives. I doubt that if I took the time to go back through his posts to provide you with proof, that it would matter.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

Posers - that's a good term for them - hadn't thought of that.

Only so much posing you can do though - before your mark figures you out.

Normd
Normd

@Soothsayer2 


Hmmm...Looks a little like the original bozo...could it be "W"???

EdUktr
EdUktr

The freeze-frame photo of Governor Walker is meant, of course, to make him seem somehow silly.

Pettiness is an AJC specialty.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Nobody_Knows @EdUktr

Ya think it might soothe his feefees if we gave the thousands of examples of right wing outlets picking photos of anyone with a "D" after their name in various unflattering poses?


Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@EdUktr


Either way it has you worked up over nothing.

You are one thin skinned fella. 

NWGAL
NWGAL

Am I the only one to see the humor in Scott Walker strutting in front of signage which reads Conservative Union? I thought the term Union was on the no-fly list for conservatives.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@NWGAL

Well, I think "struttting" is making it look a lot more butch than it is.

"Prancing" was the word that came immediately to mind--I assume that Jay caught some flack from the righties for going with such a hilariously unflattering pic.

I thought the term Union was on the no-fly list for conservatives.

Yeah, and I thought a "Social Welfare Organization" wouldn't be something they'd be crowing about wanting to form/join, but the IRS "scandal" proved otherwise.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Saw that silly flare-up below.

Only the most grotesquely partisan supporters of GW Bush actually believe his administration had any kind of a Plan B in place if our Excellent Adventure's invasion/occupation plan soured.

I don't blame them for trying to put lipstick on that pig and pretend that everything was hunky-dory when he turned over the keys to Obama in 2009, of course. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

By the way, I realize it's unsubstantiated, but the stories about Bush being apparently unaware as recently as January 2003 that there was "more than one kind of Muslim" always seemed totally plausible to me.

He'd have to have been paying attention during his security briefings to know such a thing, one imagines.


Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Vietnam Vet @Visual_Cortex

Why that's as 'Merican as apple pie, and that Original Chickenhawk Thomas Jefferson, who probably never raised a hand to anyone not wearing a dress (and Black).

Vietnam Vet
Vietnam Vet

@Visual_Cortex I find it ironic that those who always talk tough and encourage us to fight wars , have never been in wars: W, Cheney, O'Reilly, Walker, Rubio, Cruz, Mitt, Palin,