Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 11, 2007
POLITICS: Huck Amok

A blistering editorial from National Review:

On Iran, Huckabee is at his most troubling. He accuses the administration of "proceeding down only one track with Iran: armed confrontation." This is false, and the kind of rhetoric you'd expect from DailyKos bloggers, not a Republican presidential candidate. Huckabee thinks it has been a lack of diplomatic engagement that has soured our relations with Iran: "We haven't had diplomatic relations with Iran in almost 30 years, my whole adult life and a lot of good it's done. Putting this in human terms, all of us know that when we stop talking to a parent or a sibling or a friend, it's impossible to accomplish anything, impossible to resolve differences and move the relationship forward. The same is true for countries."

This is the kernel of Huckabee's foreign policy. He wants to anthropomorphize international relations and bring a Christian commitment to the Golden Rule to our affairs with other nations. As he told the Des Moines Register the other day, "You treat others the way you'd like to be treated. That's to me the fundamental issue that has to be re-established in our dealings with other countries."

This is deeply naive. Countries aren't people, and the world is more dangerous than a Sunday church social. Threats, deception, and - as a last resort - violence must play a role in international relations. Differences cannot always be worked out through sweet persuasion. A U.S. president who doesn't realize this will repeat the experience of President Jimmy Carter at his most ineffectual.

Read the whole thing, and this as well by Clarice Feldman, and this by Ace. I'm warming to Huckabee's electability; he's a likeable guy and a great speaker. One could make the case that his ardently pro-life convictions matter, in the grand scheme of things, more than his un-conservative approach to economic issues and the size of government. But any president's Job #1 is being the Commander-in-Chief and "decider" in foreign affairs. And the more I see of Huckabee's views on foreign policy, the more he looks like a guy who has no business doing the most important part of the job.

You can read reams and reams of discussion by people who like Huckabee without ever once running across foreign or national security policy (this is true to a lesser extent of Romney; both of them seem to have teleported here from the 2000 or 1996 primaries). And I wonder: is that large a segment of the primary electorate just disinterested in the fact that there's a war on? If so, that certainly is bad news for Rudy, who more than anyone is the candidate whose appeal is to 'Jack Bauer' voters who want the guy who will most relentlessly and remorselessly take on the bad guys. Rudy's whole appeal and whole career both before and after September 11 has been based on being the guy who takes it to the bad guys of every variety - from the Mafia to Marc Rich, from Al Qaeda to Arafat, from insider traders to squeegee men. If we are re-entering a period of national hibernation - and real good news from Iraq coupled with phony good news from Iran, Palestine and North Korea suggests we are - Rudy will not go anywhere (nor will McCain, the other candidate who relies heavily on his credibility on national security).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:01 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

If he doesn't think we've had diplomatic engagement with Iran for 30 years he's just too ignorant to be anywhere near any national office. If he wants to normalize relations between the U.S. and Iran, that's a different story and not at all what he said, either.

We can't unilaterally normalize relations anyway. Really, this is just too stupid to belabor. Huckabee needs to STFD and STFU when it comes to Iran.

Posted by: spongeworthy at December 11, 2007 10:02 AM

Huck Finn's foreign policy sounds a lot like that other southern fella, Jimmy Carter. Like Huck, Carter probably also thought that if you simply engage in a friendly dialog with Hitler and Stalin (as Carter did with Kim in North Korea), well, wunnerful things happen.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at December 11, 2007 12:18 PM

Careful Crank -- you're man Rudy and Hucklberry have an alliance to derail the deep-pocketed Mormon from Massachusetts. They always go out of their way to praise each other, and so far the plan is working brilliantly. I imagine when its all over, regardless of the result, Rudy will take Huck and maybe his other new buddy Pat Robertson out for dinner in Little Italy. Should be a swell time.

Posted by: Patrick at December 11, 2007 12:43 PM

...the world is more dangerous than a Sunday church social

Can we ask the NRO for a Metaphor Alert, following the church shotings in CO?

Posted by: Tom Maguire at December 11, 2007 5:17 PM

As socially conservative as I am, I don't look to the government to provide me with moral guidance or authority. I want government to protect me from physical and economic harm. Huckabee's foreign and domestic agendas, as articulated, would protect me from neither, and likely make me more susceptible to both.

Posted by: Joel at December 11, 2007 7:24 PM

Huckabee? Really? Welcome to the 13th Century

Homosexuality:

"I believe to try to legitimize that which is inherently illegitimate would be a disgraceful act of government. I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk."

Marriage:

"A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."

I can't come up with a category:

"It doesn't embarrass me one bit to let you know that I believe Adam and Eve were real people."

Posted by: Magrooder at December 11, 2007 9:46 PM

While it's true that presidents can learn foreign policy on the job, I at least require a candidate to give me some indication that he has a backbone somewhere. Huckabee hasn't done that yet.

Posted by: MVH at December 12, 2007 9:02 AM

As Obama and Edwards have functioned to make Hilalry look at least tolerable by comparison, Huckabee has almost managed to make Giuliani look like an actual conservative. Almost.

Posted by: paul zummo at December 12, 2007 9:06 AM
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