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Saturday, December 15, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 4:25 PM | permalink
Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite public intellectuals. He has been the preeminent voice defending the war in Iraq. He is also very good on illegal immigration and pointing out the liberal bias in education. Really, you won't find a better reasoned defender of foreign policy conservatives. He posts occasionally over at the Corner. Here's his take on Huckabee's Foreign Affairs essay:

I don't know much about Mike Huckabee, but found his aw-shucks Foreign Affairs essay strange to say the least (e.g., cf. "The Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality has been counterproductive at home and abroad." )

But what he offers inter alia is the rehashed plan of invading the nuclear, nominal ally Pakistan ("I prefer to cut to the chase by going after al Qaeda's safe havens in Pakistan." ) while reaching out to Iran, the de facto non-nuclear enemy, by offering normal diplomatic relations—of course, only after strengthening sanctions and declaring the Revolutionary Guards terrorists. He laments losing the good will once shown by Iran in its 2001 shared goal of defeating the Taliban-almost like lamenting the needless estrangement of the Soviet Union in 1946 after we once had been so close in working to defeat Hitler.

Nowhere is there any suggestion that a new President Huckabee might find the world not all that bad—at least without the Taliban and Saddam, and with consensual governments in their places, without a WMD program in Libya (and according to our brilliant intelligence agencies, one in Iran or North Korea either), with staunch US allies like Sarkozy in France and Merkel in Germany.

Don't know what to make of the Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox evocations and the general prose style of the piece (e.g., "We played Brer Fox to his Brer Rabbit. We threw him into the perfect briar patch")—other than these references and other similar metaphors and similes sound like some beltway policy wonk in DC playing at Will Rogers, or throwing in here and there perceived Arkansas-isms as proof of down-home authenticity.

I think that VDH gets at some of the flaws of the Huckabee foreign policy philosophy. Mostly Huckabee's statements show a lack of depth and understanding. There is very little recognition of what truly drives foreign powers and how we should interact with them. Indeed, Huckabee seems to be at public opinion's mercy. When public opinion drives one's policies, one must talk out of both sides of one's mouth. Huckabee has done just that. He is sometimes the hawk, sometimes the dove with very little intellectual coherence to help see a pattern as to why. This kind of confusion leads to inconsistent positions: overly hawkish towards Pakistan, overly dovish towards Iran, etc. Also, as VDH discussed, Huckabee's analogies seem rather inept. While some use analogies to simplify the complexities of an argument, Huckabee uses analogies to mask the argument, hoping the audience will be asuaged by the utter cute-ness of the comparisons he makes.

Timotheus: Rather than post separately on this subject, I wanted to invite readers to peruse excerpts from Romney's Foreign Affairs essay. Romney's managerial experience exudes competence in all aspects of our foreign policy. Looking at that side by side with Huckabee's should be a real eye opener. Besides, do you really want a guy who has a soft spot for ciminals in charge of protecting America from terrorists? I don't think so.

And this from the AP: "'I can't believe he'd say that. I'm afraid he's running from the wrong party,'" Romney said to a gathering of about 100 supporters in a restaurant here. "'I had to look again — did this come from Barack Obama or from Hillary Clinton? Did it come from John Edwards? No, it was Governor Huckabee.'"

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It seems like most conservative pundits are coming out against Huck but it's not hurting him in the polls. Until the MSM starts condeming Huck,that's not going to change. There's been a conspiracy of silence in the MSM for at least 2 months in taking a serious look at the things Huck did as governor and his positions as a candidate. The whole media focus has been on the polls. The Demoines Register and Boston Globe's endorsing McCain is an effort to boost him in NH and knock Mitt off there. There's no other reason for two liberal rags to endorse a cheerleader for a war they hate.

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