Isakson preaching the ‘Hans and Franz’ school of foreign policy

140207_2723958_Pumping_up_with_Hans_and_Franz_anvver_3In a speech to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson argued strongly for implementing a more aggressive and more muscular approach to American foreign policy. For example, Isakson explained, the only reason that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is dabbling in the Ukraine these days is because “they knew we weren’t about to go in and confront them.”

And the proposed nuclear deal with Iran? “It’s a choice between strength and acquiescence,” Isakson told the crowd. “And I think it’s about time we stopped acquiescing to the Iranians and start to show our strength.”

He took a similarly aggressive line toward ISIS, the brutal Islamic jihadist group now terrorizing much of Iraq and Syria.

“If somebody would cut off your head, burn you in Times Square, or kill themselves in order to kill you, there’s only one to deal with it,” he told the chamber audience to applause. “Kill them first. We need to get aggressive and take them out.”

In such statements, the senior senator from Georgia is drawing heavily on the approach pioneered by two highly respected Austrian experts in international affairs. You know them as Hans and Franz, from the old Saturday Night Live skit and more recently in a series of State Farm commercials. In the skit, two skinny, out-of-shape comedians don absurd muscle costumes, prance and preen on the stage and call other people “girly men” and “sissies”. And the reason it’s funny is because we know that it’s just macho posturing by two skinny, out-of-shape comedians in muscle costumes.

It’s a lot less funny when politicians do it. To use the example cited by Isakson, no U.S. president is going to send American troops to confront Russia over the eastern half of the Ukraine, for the same reason that President George W. Bush did nothing when Russian troops invaded the country of Georgia in 2008. It’s just not worth a potential world war. Bush knew it. Putin knows it. And Isakson knows it too.

Then there’s ISIS. We need to “kill them first,” we need to “get aggressive and take them out,” Isakson says. Mighty big talk. But on the other hand, Isakson rushes to assure us that it “doesn’t mean a land war in the Middle East.” Oh no. We have to “kill them”, but in a war? No. What we need is “a commitment to our men and women in uniform, to give them the authority and the orders they need to do what’s necessary in that part of the world.”

What exactly does that mean? The United States has already launched some 6,000 airstrikes against ISIS in the past few months, we’ve conducted special forces raids to take out its leadership and we’ve got more than 3,000 military advisers and trainers on the ground in Iraq. Short of this land war that we are assured isn’t necessary, what more should we do?

It’s particularly revealing to hear Isakson stress the importance of giving our military “the authority and the orders they need to do what’s necessary” against ISIS. In his State of the Union speech back on Jan. 20, President Obama made the same argument, pleading with Congress “to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.”

Eight months have passed. Isakson and his fellow Republicans control the Senate. They control the House. They control the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Isakson is a member. But despite the president’s pleading, they have done nothing to give our military “the authority and the orders they need to do what’s necessary” because they can’t even agree among themselves about what that resolution should say, and because they don’t want the responsibility should something go wrong.

Even Hans and Franz would be appalled. As they would say, hear me now and believe me later.

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1618 comments
MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

To Lenin:

You have assumed that I believe that ". . .one should primarily engage with one's leaders in a relationship of trust, rather than constant vigilance and criticism," just as you have assumed to know Obama's motives for his decisions in the Middle East.

I do not simply "trust" Obama; I have studied his thinking for almost a decade, more than most who are responding in cliched thought on this blog have done.  It is not a matter of "trust" but of knowing his mind and how it works in some depth, as well as comprehending his vision for this world's future. 

However, I do believe that Americans should be watchdogs of their democracy so I believe that you and others should be free to assess as you do.  Likewise, I should be free to critique what I see are the limitations in your thinking.

JKLtwo
JKLtwo

@MaryElizabethSings obama is a Chicago crook run by other crooks.  If you have studied him then you would know this.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Hedley_Lammar 

I find it offensive you rail constantly against all that is America. Yet continue to live here and enjoy all its benefits. 

**
You sound like a good rah-rah right winger.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@LeninTime @Hedley_Lammar 

Hedley also ignores the important role of the loyal opposition in a democracy that points out errors so they may be corrected or avoided. 


I have never understood why social criticism is considered treasonous in some quarters.  Doesn't such criticism itself illustrate the value of the democracy that allows it?

skydog12
skydog12

OK got to run.


I`m driving down to Louisiana to meet with got. We are going to swim through the bayous and catch a few gators.


Libs you got my coverage for Acworth.


VC watch Louisiana while we are out.


LeninTime
LeninTime

@MaryElizabethSings RE: Obama's stated goal of regime change in Syria

Of course, there is plenty of information out.  It is a matter of reasoned interpretation of that information or of those facts.  And, it is plain ole arrogance to presume to be able to read Obama's intent and purposes.
You are presenting yourself as the all-seeing God who knows all. (Pure arrogance.)

**
With all respect, ME, that's just pulling the wool over your eyes. There is no room for 'reasoned interpretation' concerning the Obama administration's stated goal of regime change in Syria, about the fact that it exists. Obama has stated repeatedly that he wants to see Assad leave, all you have to do is google it. About the ultimate end game of that strategy, of course, people can differ. But that's not what you seem to be saying.

And I find it a little offensive frankly for you to suggest that it is 'arrogance' for me to read those statements and actions on the part of the Obama administration and come to my own opinion on them. If that is not exercising my responsibility and right as a citizen of a democracy, then what is? 

Moreover, there is more than a touch of authoritarianism in your suggestion that one should primarily engage with one's leaders in a relationship of trust, rather than constant vigilance and criticism.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LeninTime @Hedley_Lammar @MaryElizabethSings Then why has his government managed thus far to withstand the assault against it, if it had no popular base at all?


Because certain people treated well under his regime benefit from its survival. 


Having a friend in Moscow doesn't hurt either. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LeninTime @MaryElizabethSings And I find it a little offensive frankly for you to suggest that it is 'arrogance' for me to read those statements and actions on the part of the Obama administration and come to my own opinion on them.


You are allowed to come to your own opinion. And be criticized for it. 


I find it offensive you rail constantly against all that is America. Yet continue to live here and enjoy all its benefits. 

foo2u
foo2u

Be back in a bit... Ima run out to the parking deck and bench press my Hummer a few hundred times for lunch...

td1234
td1234

@foo2u You first have to be here before you can leave. 


Just sayin

YouLibs
YouLibs

@foo2u


You forgot to designate substitute tormentors,

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

Liberals condone violent regime change only when the change is from right to left.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Oh and there's our good liberal Hedley condoning mob murder again.  ("A fate Mr Gaddafi deserved after 40 + years of brutal rule")

Brutal leaders aren't just made to face trial and punishment. They can be savagely murdered by a mob and that's apparently okay in the minds of certain of our liberals.

This is something to keep in mind, folks, as we witness the rise of ever more openly fascistic elements in this country with the Donald Trump phenomenon. Fascism in America, when it comes, could very well come, to the surprise of some, with the full support and cooperation of a good many good of our 'liberals'.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Hedley_Lammar @LeninTime 

The Libyan people had a trial ( civil war )

**
And after years of attacking the evil Bush/Cheney regime and its crimes, just behold how quickly some of our liberals are to trample on international law, which they so fervently defended when it was under attack by the other party.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LeninTime Oh and there's our good liberal Hedley condoning mob murder again.  ("A fate Mr Gaddafi deserved after 40 + years of brutal rule")


The Libyan people had a trial ( civil war ) The prosecution won. 


Brutal leaders aren't just made to face trial and punishment. They can be savagely murdered by a mob and that's apparently okay in the minds of certain of our liberals.


Child's play compared to his brutality. The guy actually had a cooler built to store political enemies where he kept them frozen. Just so he could visit their bodies on occasion. Rape rooms for young women.


Im not in favor of mob rule but Jesus the guy was a monster. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LeninTime @Hedley_Lammar And FTR Gaddafi should not have been killed. But after fleeing the rebels and captured passion won the day.


He should have stood trial. Where his many atrocities would have been documented. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LeninTime

the rise of ever more openly fascistic elements in this country 

See, I think perhaps there you are wrong. I don't think those fascistic elements ever really fade away. They are leveraged as retail-political needs dictate, and kicked to the curb when no longer needed by the establishment.

We survived and overcame a well organized domestic terror campaign against Black Americans; we can surely overcome this latest primary-challenge rot.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@DebbieDoRight 
It's actually nowhere near as complicated as your breathless litany suggests. 

It's just that Obama's actions are manifestly corrupt and reactionary, if one only opens one's eyes to see them.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@LeninTime @DebbieDoRight  It's just that Obama's actions are manifestly corrupt and reactionary, if one only opens one's eyes to see them.


Lets just say what is obvious to you might not seem the same to others and leave it at that. 

Kamchak
Kamchak

Alex Jones?

Bilderberg!

Chemtrails!

NWO!

FALSE FLAGS!

Funny stuff. 

Just guffawin

Kamchak
Kamchak

@td1234 

If I was the one who posted a link from InfoWars you might have a point, but since I didn't, you are pointless.

Again.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@_GodlessHeathen_ Yeah


Nobody every said anything about Michelle Obama 


Who is a lawyer BTW not a  " hot piece of *** " which Mr trump seems to prefer. 


“You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of a**.”


Wonder if he would introduce the First Lady with those remarks at state functions ?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@_GodlessHeathen_ @Visual_Cortex

Well the middle one is courtesy of Mr. Trump.

The first seems a reasonable take given Trump's own ridiculous immigration rhetoric.

The last? Ok. Mighta crossed a line. Give you that one (1).

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@_GodlessHeathen_

I'm just trying to find where anyone "attacked" her.

I likened Trump's latest marriage to one between Xavier Cugat and Charo. Did you consider that to be an "attack"?

Because I have no bone to pick with either. Charo was, IIRC, fine with acknowledging that she married for money. And more power to her for it.

GaBlue
GaBlue

@_GodlessHeathen_

Who attacked her? Is noting she's not from here an attack? If so, then isn't her husband "attacking" millions of people whenever he notes they're not from here?

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA Your visual image of a comparison is not even close but at least it is not as bad as the image of comparing with Hillary. That one is like comparing a new born with afterbirth. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Kamchak @_GodlessHeathen_

GH's objections weren't entirely unfounded. I could just think of better ways to articulate them. Like say, "Could we maybe keep the candidate's wives out of this?" 

Or more to skydog's actual point, "Could we maybe keep the candidate's marital choices out of this?"

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@GaBlue @_GodlessHeathen_

Valid points, but I do think Deb's bit about her being so desperate for a green card that she was willing to schtup the guy might've qualified.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@Visual_Cortex 

 GH's objections weren't entirely unfounded.

I didn't claim they were unfounded, I said it was selective.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@_GodlessHeathen_ 

 You're kidding about not being able to see attacks, right?

Moochelle says, "What?"

I'm sure you were just as vociferous in your defense of FLOTUS after several regulars here used that particular word, right?