Recent GOP Appeasement Talk
After watching the GOP blame Clinton for many of the world’s hot spots as if George W. Bush has had no hand in botching his own entire foreign policy, I have known since Day One how hypocritical these attacks are. The same guys who are blaming Clinton for unresolved issues (i.e.- North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Al Qaeda, etc..) also were the guys quickest to yell “Wag the Dog” whenever Clinton did take action. These same guys were themselves appeasers and isolationists then.
Should Clinton have been more dedicated to dealing with some of these issues over his eight years?
Would Clinton have been discredited by the GOP and its media outlets if he had been more aggressive, on the basis that he was pursuing a “Wag the Dog” foreign policy, and because he allegedly had no credibility due to his lack of military service and a lack of respect from the brass?
Yes. (notwithstanding the fact that the current occupant is a deserter and a micromanager of the brass)
But if you want an excellent example of the rank hypocrisy involved in the GOP’s rush to war when their guy is in the White House, you need to look no further than the comments made by the GOP in their neo-isolationist days bashing Clinton less than four years ago.
Slate’s William Saletan in a May 1999 essay entitled “Yankee Go Home” pointed out that the strongest voices arguing for negotiation and withdrawal in the Balkans then were in fact the same GOP leaders Don Nickles, Tom DeLay, and Trent Lott who are now arguing for the exact opposite with Bush in the White House.
Some of the paragraphs and quotes from Saletan’s story will make you shake your head at the level of hypocrisy we are seeing now, given what these guys said before:
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning," Lott offered on Late Edition. "I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
When asked whether they would authorize Clinton "to use all necessary force to win this war, including ground troops," Lott and Nickles --who had voted a month ago, along with 70 percent of the Senate GOP, not to support the NATO air campaign--said they wouldn't. Nickles questioned the propriety of "NATO's objectives," calling its goal of "access to all of Serbia ... ludicrous." DeLay, meanwhile, voted not only against last week's House resolution authorizing Clinton to conduct the air war--which failed on a tie vote--but also in favor of legislation "directing the president ... to remove U.S. Armed Forces from their positions in connection with the present operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia."
"I don't know that Milosevic will ever raise a white flag," warned Nickles. DeLay agreed: "He's stronger in Kosovo now than he was before the bombing. ... The Serbian people are rallying around him like never before. He's much stronger with his allies, Russians and others." Clinton "has no plan for the end" and "recognizes that Milosevic will still be in power," added DeLay. "The bombing was a mistake. ... And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end."
Cohen said it was "highly unlikely" that Clinton would meet with Milosevic in response to Yugoslavia's release of the three captured American soldiers over the weekend, since the Serbs were continuing their atrocities and weren't offering to meet NATO's conditions. DeLay called this refusal "really disappointing" and a failure of "leadership. ... The president ought to open up negotiations and come to some sort of diplomatic end." Lott implored Clinton to "give peace a chance" and, comparing the war with the recent Colorado high-school shootings, urged him to resolve the Kosovo conflict with "words, not weapons."
And Saletan’s closing paragraph is prophetic:
Some Democrats call Republicans who make these arguments unpatriotic. Republicans reply that they're serving their country by debunking and thwarting a bad policy administered by a bad president. You can be sure of only two things: Each party is arguing exactly the opposite of what it argued the last time a Republican president led the nation into war, and exactly the opposite of what it will argue next time.
Keep in mind the guy we were dealing with then didn't have a nuclear capability, but was engaging in ethnic cleansing. Yet these three brave chickenhawks were in essence calling for retreat and appeasement.
Those who oppose the war should begin reading back to the media these quotes from the GOP.