Conservatives generally don't make sense, and neo-conservatives even less so. But all the same, I still expect to at least understand whatever twisted logic they're using to explain they're bizarro point of view. Supply-Side Economics is a joke, but I at least understand what the basic principle's supposed to be. But one thing that continues to elude me is the neo-con stance on diplomacy.
From a recent Bush criticism of Obama:
"I'm not suggesting there's never a time to talk, but I'm suggesting now is not the time ... to talk with Raul Castro," Bush told a White House news conference after being asked about Obama's willingness to meet with the new Cuban president, Raul Castro.
"It will send the wrong message. ... It will give great status to those who have suppressed human rights and human dignity," Bush added
It will give great status?? What the hell is that even supposed to mean? How are we legitimizing them when we go there and tell them to stop being such a-holes? Are we supposed to imagine that it gives hooligans "great status" when they get sent to the principal's office? Is it a mistake to be polite to bums on the street, lest we end up encouraging them to stay bums?
Believing the Bullshit
And this is one of the biggest problems with conservatism: The new generation doesn't understand that the old generation was bullshitting. So now they're repeating bullshit spin without understanding it was always bullshit spin. And that's all this ever was. If Cuba starts treating their people decently, it won't be because they were trying to lure us to engage in diplomacy. And we already saw with North Korea that diplomacy got us results and non-diplomacy made things get worse.
And that's just a no-brainer. This wasn't supposed to be real. Warhawks always denounced diplomacy and insisted we establish these deal-breaking hoops for these countries to jump through because they're warhawks who wanted war. They hate diplomacy and this was their backdoor way of ending diplomacy. But no one seriously believed that these preconditions improved anything in these countries. Believe it or not, most dictators aren't clamoring to talk to our leaders.
And sure, there actually is some theory behind this. For example, the Soviets took advantage of Nixon during the Watergate mess. But that was because they knew Nixon was only there to divert attention from Watergate and was desperate to come back with any kind of treaty he could get. And so they put him through the wringer to make sure he came out with the crappiest deal possible because they knew they could. But that's at a level of gamesmanship that today's neo-con can't even comprehend and has nothing to do with Bush's theory of wanting to deny "status" to our enemies. They want to deny diplomacy because that's what they've been instructed to do and fail to understand why.
And now you've got a whole generation of "tough" fools who have no idea what a con-game this always was. They've been trained to think this is what "serious" experts do. And so you've got people like Bush, McCain, and Hillary looking at Obama like he was a crazy neophyte for wanting to do what diplomats have always done. And they really imagine they've got a point because they have no idea what they're talking about.
The New Era
And all this plays into Obama's hands, so we can read things like:
Obama quickly fired back, saying: "The American people aren't looking for more of a do-nothing Cuba policy that has failed to secure the release of dissidents, failed to bring democracy to the island and failed to advance freedom for 50 years."
Obama repeatedly has advocated meeting without preconditions with leaders of such hostile nations as Cuba and Iran, saying current U.S. policy is not working and it is time for a fresh look at ways to improve relations.
"The next president has a job to do to repair our image and to send a signal ... that a new era is being ushered in and that we are not afraid to talk to anybody, including those who we have grave problems with," Obama said.
And that's a big Duh-Four, good buddy. Alienating the rest of the world does no good, and saving diplomacy for the countries that don't need diplomacy is idiotic. Warhawks have always seen diplomacy as nothing but a fashion show, and under the Bush Administration, that's all it ever was. But diplomacy serves a real function, and it's about time we finally got a president who really understands what it's for. If we're so weak that we're giving Raul Castro the upperhand just by talking to him, we've got bigger problems than Cuba.
And what's sad is that this "new era" Obama speaks of is just the old era, back before the crazies were finally allowed to install the policies they had been demanding for decades. And things got so bad so quickly that all the old ways look new again. So Obama gets to look like the smartest guy in the room simply because he was paying attention. But these days, that's enough.