20 February 2015

Quotes for the day -- a leader who understands the world

"But this is going to be a generational challenge in the Muslim world and the Middle East that not only the United States but everybody's going to have to deal with. And we're going to have to have some humility in recognizing that we don't have the option of simply invading every country where disorder breaks out. And that to some degree, the people of these countries are going to have to, you know, find their own way. And we can help them but we can't do it for them.

"But I am a firm believer that particularly in this modern internet age, the capacity of the old-style authoritarian government to sustain itself and to thrive just is going to continue to weaken. It's going to continue to crumble that model. My argument to any partner that we have is that you are better off if you've got a strong civil society and you've got democratic legitimacy and you are respectful of human rights. That's how you're going to attract businesses, that's how you're going to have a strong workforce, that's how ultimately you've got a more durable not just economy but also political system.

"And, I think, the goal of any good foreign policy is having a vision and aspirations and ideals, but also recognizing the world as it is, where it is, and figuring out how do you tack to the point where things are better than they were before. That doesn't mean perfect. It just means it's better. The trajectory of this planet overall is one toward less violence, more tolerance, less strife, less poverty. I've said this before and I think some folks in Washington were like, 'Oh, he's ignoring the chaos of all the terrible stuff that's happening.' Of course, I'm not ignoring it. I'm dealing with it every day.

"People are right to be suspicious of Iran. Iran has sponsored state terrorism. It has consistently, at the highest levels, made deplorable anti-Israeli statements. It is repressive to its own people, and there is clear and unavoidable evidence that in the past they have tried to develop a weapons program and have tried to hide it from view.  So that's a given. And it's understandable why people are concerned, both here and around the world.  But what I've also said is that the deal that we've struck, this interim deal brought about by the tough sanctions regime that we put together, offers us our best opportunity to solve the problem of a nuclear Iran without resorting to military force. Iran is negotiating seriously for the first time, and they have made, so far, real concessions in the negotiations. We have been able to freeze the program for the first time and, in fact, roll back some elements of its program, like its stockpiles of ultra highly enriched uranium. And so, for us to give an additional two to three months to exhaust all possibilities of a diplomatic resolution when nobody denies — including our intelligence agencies, and Mossad and others — nobody denies that Iran right now really is abiding by the terms of our agreement, so we're not losing ground. They're not surreptitiously developing a weapon while we talk. For us to give two, three months to figure that out makes sense."

President Obama (partly found via Horizons)

5 Comments:

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Statesmanship is considered a weakness among the chest-pounding war mongers.

Listen, people like Giuliani and Graham are only too happy and too eager to send your children to fight their manly wars. And if anyone disagrees, that's proof that they don't love America.

20 February, 2015 05:50  
Blogger Ahab said...

"And we're going to have to have some humility in recognizing that we don't have the option of simply invading every country where disorder breaks out."

Very true. The mistakes of the Bush administration must not be repeated. Nuanced, sophisticated solutions to global extremism are required.

"My argument to any partner that we have is that you are better off if you've got a strong civil society and you've got democratic legitimacy and you are respectful of human rights."

The U.S. itself needs to do serious soul-searching and work in these areas, especially human rights. (The torture report? Guantamano? Hello?) Otherwise, the hypocrisy will be too glaring. If our current administration wants to undermine extremism, it must deny it fertile ground at home first.

20 February, 2015 08:50  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Shaw & Ahab: Perhaps the most frightening thing of all about the prospect of a Republican President is what it would mean for Middle East policy. Bush II was bad enough, but the next President will face a situation there far more complex and combustible than he did, and a Republican President in 2017 would be answerable to a base far crazier than he was. Thanks goodness that, for now, we've got a nuanced thinker like Obama running things.

20 February, 2015 18:09  
Blogger Holte Ender said...

Nice to see you're still out there telling it. All the best.

24 February, 2015 07:48  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Holte: Thanks!

27 February, 2015 02:40  

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