Friday, January 15, 2016

Can the GOP View of Barack Obama Ever Be Non-Hysterical?

Er, maybe not.

One thing is for sure: Non-hysterical is Barack Obama's default demeanor.

Watching the GOP debate the "issues" is not good for your health. At least it's not good for the country's health. I try to visualize the blood-pressure spikes that must -- among the Republican faithful, at least -- accompany the rhetoric that was tossed around during the Fox Business New debate Thursday night. More on that later.

Tuesday, Iranians seized two small U.S. Navy gunboats that indeed did drift into Iranian waters. Conceivably, that's what our Coast Guard would do in a similar situation. Iran does, however, have a reputation for over-reaction when its borders are violated.

What happened in this case? The soldiers were released in a few hours. Why the boats drifted into Iranian territory was examined, diplomats exchanged views, and a no-harm-no-foul judgment was made. The U.S. sailors were released after a dinner and an overnight. End of incident.

How could this happen? Slate's Fred Kaplan offers a view:
The tempest in a teapot over Iran’s seizure of two American patrol boats on Tuesday, followed by their uneventful release on Wednesday, offers well-timed vindication of President Obama’s broad views on foreign policy and a harsh slap to the views of every Republican vying to replace him.
In the first 12 hours after the incident, none of the GOP candidates said anything like, “I think we should defer comment until all the facts are in,” a statement they could have made with commandingly furrowed brows. Instead, their motto seemed to be, “Shoot (or at least foment a crisis) first—ask questions later.” Or maybe don’t ask questions at all. Congressional Republicans vowed to bring up resolutions, the very next day, to impose new sanctions on Iran and to delay the release of frozen assets.
Meanwhile, well before Obama entered the House chamber at 9 p.m. to deliver his final ceremonial address to Congress, Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken by phone five times with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. It had been established that the two American boats had crossed into Iranian waters, very close to Farsi Island, a military site. The sailors were being fed and supplied with blankets. The violation was seen as an accident, and arrangements were in place for the release of the sailors and the boats at sunrise—which took place without a hitch.
If anything, the speedy, peaceful resolution of this incident could be seen as proof that Obama’s nuclear deal, which all the Republican candidates abhor, holds some collateral benefit in addition to its inherent merits—that the diplomacy it unleashed, after 36 years of official silence (Kerry and Zarif had been scheduled to talk on the phone Tuesday afternoon anyway), was what made the rapid settlement possible.
Got that, GOPers? Your hysteria aside, the gunboat incident proved to be another triumph of Obama diplomacy.

Admittedly, this is one opinion. Google "obama iran" to find a list of hysterical opinion pieces about Iran's complete humiliation of Barack Obama and America. But, to be sure, this reaction is in line with the hysteria that has infected the GOP presidential nominating process.

For shits and giggles, let's find an example of how, say, Marco Rubio, would conduct international affairs under his presidency:

Alrighty then. Marco Rubio would fill Guantanamo Bay's prisons with ISIS fighters, and he would "find out everything they know," which I assume means he intends to torture the shit out of them.

This, to raucous cheers of the crowd. Heaven help us.

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