With a mixture of embarrassment and satisfaction, I admit I have not watched or listened to the Romney-Obama or Ryan-Biden matches. Maybe it's my duty as a citizen, but what am I a citizen of? A post-American America, a corporate-political class oligarchy, a Marxist egg busy hatching. The truth is, getting close enough to the election farce to perceive it directly makes me so ill I want to take to my bed.
But I have exposed my tender soul to written accounts of what passes for debate in this year of grace (or disgrace) 2012. Most recently, this opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
But while I would cross the street to avoid Joe Biden, I think he made more sense in a few things he was quoted on than the Journal's neocon writer would acknowledge.
To hear Mr. Biden tell it, the Obama Administration now has a new red line on Iran. The mullahs can enrich as much uranium as they wish as long as they "don't have something to put it in." This isn't the red line Israel's Bibi Netanyahu had in mind during his recent speech before the United Nations. Nor are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others looking for proof of an Iranian ICBM before they decide to go nuclear themselves. Iran becomes a regional nuclear power when it demonstrates its ability to get the bomb at almost a moment's notice, which is when it has developed enough fuel for it.No, I don't want the mad mullahs able to fling nukes around like Zeus tossing lightning bolts. If it were not for Papa Doc Obama's feckless leading by appeasement, we probably could threaten Iran with utter and total devastation should it loose a single atom bomb anywhere, especially on the Little Satan in its backyard.
The mullahs can bang on about Imam no. 12 and having it away with 72 virgins or goats, according to taste, but they are human and I suspect they really aren't that eager to be vaporized. More importantly, if we announced a credible policy of massive persuasion on the model of our calling cards on Japan in 1945, the Iranian population might well decide to pull down the temple on their demented leaders' heads.
The Veep made a spirited case as well for doing nothing in Syria—no "no fly" zones, direct arms supplies to the rebels, or any U.S. political lead in an intervention. "If, in fact, it blows up and the wrong people gain control, it's going to have impact on the entire region, causing potentially regional wars," he said of Syria. News stories suggest this is happening already without any U.S. involvement, as the Syrian war pulls in Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey.I agree. No "no fly" zones, no direct arms supplies to the rebels, &c. Let Syria be Syria, which is to say, let its factions blow each other to hell. Not our problem. We still have the dregs of a Cold War mentality: we think any rotten dictatorship anywhere (like any Commie regime back in the day) is a clear and present danger.
Mr. Biden appeared to preview another Obama policy shift on Afghanistan. With a 2014 deadline to transition the security lead to the Kabul government, the discussion will shift to how large the American military footprint will be afterward—with up to 30,000 U.S. troops left behind to ensure the Taliban don't overrun Kabul again.Why do we need a footprint in Afghanistan? We've lost the war, we're playing tennis with the Taliban anyway. What if 30,000 troops can't stop the Taliban overrunning Kabul again? Will we replay the boots-on-the-ground movie?
But Mr. Biden said something different: "We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process we're going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion." He added that Afghan forces are ready to defend the country themselves and lead the fight in the difficult east, another piece of intelligence that's news to us.
Of course the Afghan forces aren't ready to defend their country (if you can call it that) and "lead the fight in the difficult east." They probably never will be ready. It's hard to think of a better rationale for making our own presence absent in Afghanistan.