Sunday, December 03, 2006

Hagel v. Lieberman

By Michael J.W. Stickings

On CBS's Face the Nation today:

-- Lieberman: " believe that America is a mighty enough nation that we should never fear to talk to anyone. But anyone who believes that Iran and Syria really want to help us to succeed in Iraq, I just is missing the reality. Asking Iran and Syria to help us succeed in Iraq is like your local fire department asking a couple of arsonists to help put out the fire. These people are flaming the fire. They are the extremists. They are supporting terrorists in Iraq, in Lebanon and of course in the Palestinian areas."

-- Hagel: "That’s not the point. Of course the Iranians and Syrians are not going to come to our assistance. Of course not. But they are going to respond in their own self-interest. All nations respond in their own self-interests. Talleyrand once said that nations don’t have friends. They have interests. He was right. It’s not in the interest of Syria or Jordan or Iran to have a failed state that would be a complete mess for the middle east."

Hagel's right. Lieberman just doesn't get it. And with Iraq the disaster it is today, and with no good options facing the U.S. as it prepares for eventual withdrawal, why not at least talk to Iran and Syria? Why not open up those lines of communication to Iraq's key neighbours? Why not try to find out what they want, how they would deal with Iraq? Why not work the diplomatic channels in pursuit of a regional effort to deal with Iraq?

Because it's us and them, says Lieberman, "mighty" America and the terrorist-supporting extremists, displaying the Bush-like good-versus-evil worldview that got the U.S. into this mess in the first place and that has prevented Bush and the warmongers from understanding, and effectively responding to, the realities on the ground in Iraq.

It's wishful thinking. It's ignorance. It's stupidity. But there's Joe Lieberman for you.

Think Progress has the video and transcript here.

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