Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Obama, A Waffler Par Excellence

Barack Obama's propensity for flip-flopping has reared its ugly head once again.

In a recent speech in Pendleton Oregon, Barack Obama stated the following:
"Iran, Cuba, Venezuela—these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we're going to wipe you off the planet."
But in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in September 2004, Obama opined that the Iran was a greater threat than Russia.

Obama told the Tribune that the US one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.

"Violent Islamic extremists are a vastly different brand of foe than was the Soviet Union during the Cold War," he asserted, "and they must be treated differently."

“With the Soviet Union, you did get the sense that they were operating on a model that we could comprehend in terms of, they don’t want to be blown up, we don’t want to be blown up, so you do game theory and calculate ways to contain,” he said. “I think there are certain elements within the Islamic world right now that don’t make those same calculations...."

The following is an excerpt from the Chicago Tribune interview.
September 25, 2004

U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama suggested Friday that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs.

Obama, a Democratic state senator from the Hyde Park neighborhood, made the remarks during a meeting Friday with the Tribune editorial board....

...Obama said the United States must first address Iran’s attempt to gain nuclear capabilities by going before the United Nations Security Council and lobbying the international community to apply more pressure on Iran to cease nuclear activities. That pressure should come in the form of economic sanctions, he said.

But if those measures fall short, the United States should not rule out military strikes to destroy nuclear production sites in Iran, Obama said.

“The big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures, including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point are we going to, if any, are we going to take military action?” Obama asked.

Given the continuing war in Iraq, the United States is not in a position to invade Iran, but missile strikes might be a viable option, he said. Obama conceded that such strikes might further strain relations between the U.S. and the Arab world.

“In light of the fact that we’re now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in,” he said.

“On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. … And I hope it doesn’t get to that point. But realistically, as I watch how this thing has evolved, I’d be surprised if Iran blinked at this point.”...

...Obama said that violent Islamic extremists are a vastly different brand of foe than was the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and they must be treated differently.

“With the Soviet Union, you did get the sense that they were operating on a model that we could comprehend in terms of, they don’t want to be blown up, we don’t want to be blown up, so you do game theory and calculate ways to contain,” Obama said. “I think there are certain elements within the Islamic world right now that don’t make those same calculations...."
Incidentally, on July of 2004 - while discussing the war in Iraq with the ChicagoTribune - Obama stated:

"There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.”

Of course, that statement clearly condradicts his recent statements on Iraq. But what's even more interesting than the actual flip-flop itself is how he inserted those last three words - "at-this-stage" - allowing himself some wiggling room to shift his position on Iraq if need be - proving once again that when it comes to waffling, no one does it better than Obama!

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