Free Markets, Free People

Short-sighted Partisan Politics Makes For Bad Decisions

And nothing could make that point better than this:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates isn’t ruling out spending more on missile defense than what he’s asked for in next year’s budget if North Korea or other nations increase threats against the United States.

Gates said the missile tests by North Korea over the past week appear to have attracted more support on Capitol Hill for missile interceptors.

Candidate Obama was pretty darn sure that these interceptors just weren’t needed because, you know, they just weren’t! Russia isn’t our enemy anymore and we get along fine with China – where’s the threat?!

Well during the entire lead up to the 2008 presidential campaign, North Korea and Iran were flinging missiles around right and left each, seemingly, with longer ranges and larger carrying capacity.

Ignored. In fact, as I recall, Obama dismissed Iran as not much of a threat at all. Something about Iran being a ‘tiny’ country that ‘doesn’t pose a serious threat.’ Certainly not one that required a missile defense.

Politics. All politics. Nothing based in reality, but instead dismissive rhetorical hand-waves designed to please the base. And those who controlled Congress picked up on the tune and danced to it.

Now, suddenly, by doing almost exactly the same thing they’ve done for some years, North Korea has managed to resurrect the need for a missile defense?

Why now?

Well that’s easy. Now they’re governing, suddenly not having an armed missile land on friendly territory during their watch is a priority.

Politics. The only real reason they opposed it previously is because the other side wanted it.

Of course, if questioned about why this is different than when NoKo and Iran did this sort of thing the last few times, I’m sure they’d find a way to spin it that they think wouldn’t make them seem so short-sighted, petty and partisan (read the article, there’s plenty of spin included).

That won’t change the fact one bit that they were indeed short-sighted, petty and partisan.


10 Responses to Short-sighted Partisan Politics Makes For Bad Decisions

  • When it comes to foreign policy NEVER believe anything any candidate says (whether it’s Bush saying we’ll be humble, or Obama ruling out missile defense spending increases).   In fact, I don’t even pay much attention to most public pronouncements.  Look at the personnel in the bureaucracy, follow as much as possible the internal debates.   Obama kept Gates.  He put Republicans in high positions, he has a large number of military people at high levels, from National Security Advisor on.  That suggests continuity in foreign policy, and an emphasis on maintaining stability over change.   Political rhetoric is for elections, it doesn’t mean much afterwards.  That’s true for candidates from all parties.  It should be no surprise.

    • Also from the keyboard of Scott Erb (one year ago):

      Huxley, it’s pretty clear I haven’t been supporting Obama. If I had more than vague hopes about him, I would. But I fear he’ll be too much for big government, and despite our disagreement about Iraq, I think we agree that too much government bureaucracy, taxation and spending is a bad thing.

      Erb must be back in his “I’m not on my knees for Obama” phase. Any bets on how long it will last? Two days? One week?

      • You seem to think my post was being critical of Obama.  I’m actually impressed that he has focused on having people with military experience in top position, that he kept Secretary Gates (who I respect very much), and is taking a bi-partisan approach to foreign policy.  Those are all good things.

        • You agree that his actual foreign policy actions are not in line with his pronouncements. You agree that Obama lied throughout his campaign. If you don’t think calling Obama a liar is being critical, then it’s just another example of your post-modern idiocy.

          MY point was that OF COURSE you don’t see it as a bad thing. You can’t follow your own pronouncements with any consistency — why would you see it as a bad thing when someone else talks out of both sides of his mouth?

          • I’m a political scientist.  I’ve worked in DC.  I know for a fact that what politicians say in campaigns are not to be taken too seriously.   Once they are in office, they learn things they didn’t learn before, they are forced to compromise to get things passed, and they deal with a world quite different than they dealt with before.  This is true for Obama, McCain, Bush, Kerry, Reagan, Carter, on down the line.   This is also not controversial; it is pretty much accepted fact.  That’s why I look at basic principles, character, integrity and intelligence as traits to vote upon.   Are they lying in campaigns?  I don’t know — they may mean it at the time.   But minds change as new information and conditions arise.

  • McQNothing based in reality, but instead dismissive rhetorical hand-waves designed to please the base.

    It speaks volumes about TAO’s base that they fell for his con job, and continue to do so.

    … [F]inally there was a tremendous baying of dogs and a shrill crowing from the black cockerel, and out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gambolling round him.

    He carried a whip in his trotter.

    There was a deadly silence. Amazed, terrified, huddling together, the animals watched the long line of pigs march slowly round the yard. It was as though the world had turned upside-down. Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything-in spite of their terror of the dogs, and of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened-they might have uttered some word of protest. But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of-

    “Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!”

    George Orwell
    Animal Farm

    O’ course, just because Sec. Gates says that we might have to build more of those expensive interceptors that will NEVER be able to shoot down a missile doesn’t mean we’ll actually do it.  After all, the budget is waaaayyyy out of balance; the money to fund universal health care has to come from SOMEWHERE.

  • “open hearts, open minds, fair-minded words.”

    This is roughly the first half of Theodore Roosevelt’s … “Speak softly and carry a big stick

    Obama would be wise to note the second half.

  • I have a hypothesis about why politics in Washington is so transparently stupid. They’re all really space aliens, participating in an extended comedy sketch. It’s a very popular continuing series on lots of planets, so the show just keeps getting renewed.

    And part of the joke is that we natives take the comedy sketch so seriously.

    • Who was that suggested that Obama is really Sascha Baron Cohen and that we are all dupes in a coming episode of Da Ali G Show?

  • I wonder what the ACLU would do say about this invention from the Muslim world

    German media outlets reported last week that a Saudi inventor’s application to patent a “killer chip,” as the Swiss tabloids put it, had been denied.
    The basic model would consist of a tiny GPS transceiver placed in a capsule and inserted under a person’s skin, so that authorities could track him easily. Model B would have an extra function — a dose of cyanide to remotely kill the wearer without muss or fuss if authorities deemed he’d become a public threat.