I know it’s wrong to overgeneralize, but I think I’ve noticed something odd.
The same people who say that we should “talk with” nations and organizations that are absolutely committed to destroying us and our allies are, often, the same ones who will not talk to those with whom they have less fundamental disagreements.
You want examples? No problem. Find how many commenters who say that we should be talking with Hamas and Iran who also support Democrats blowing off briefings with the US commanders in Iraq and refusing to debate each other on Fox News.
I guess I’m not properly “nuanced” enough to understand the principles and distinctions and theories underlying these seemingly contradictory positions, so I’ll simply spell out how I think things ought to be:
We should only enter into talks and negotiations when it is clear that there is something we can gain. When there is some common ground, some mutually beneficial goal to be reached, when there is a distinct possibility that we will gain some benefit.
In the case of Hamas, there really isn’t much to discuss. They have laid out their goals and aspirations, and they are utterly unacceptable to us. Further, they have made repeated statements that these are non-negotiable and absolute: Israel MUST be destroyed, and MUST be replaced with a Palestinian, Islamist state. In the achievement of that goal, no tactics are to be eschewed, no sacrifices are too great, no action beyond the pale, no quarter to be given. There simply is no room for compromise or middle ground available there. So there is no real point to be made in holding discussions.
In the case of Iran, their position is roughly similar. They want to dominate their neighboring states (Iraq, through the use of proxy “insurgents;” other Gulf states, through threats of force). They wish to possess nuclear weapons. And they wish for all other powers in the area (in particular the United States) to get the hell out of the area so they can be the big dog.
On the matter of debates on Fox News, the boycotting (much like the destruction of Don Imus) hurts the Democrats in the long run. Like it or not, Fox News is THE big player in cable news channels. (And before Lee sprains himself rushing to make the comparison to ABC, NBC, and CBS, I said CABLE NEWS CHANNELS; Fox’s competition isn’t those three, but the three blind mice of CNN, CNN Headline News, and MSNBC. Try to keep honest for once, will ya, Lee?) Airing and moderating the debates will help Fox, a little (it’s cheap programming), but it’ll benefit the candidates far, far more as they gain access to Fox’s audience. The only benefit to the candidates is in appealing to the Nutroots faction — one that has a stunningly consistent record for failing to get candidates elected.
And on the briefings from General Petraeus, the commander of Allied forces in Iraq (as unanimously confirmed by the Senate just a few months ago), it’s nothing short of craven cowardice. Senators who hear the General speak will have to either accept or reject his report. If he speaks favorably about matters in Iraq, then they are on the horns of a dilemma: do they attack the man they so thoroughly endorsed just in January, or do they accept his words as accurate — no matter how they conflict with their own recent statements?
The only logical explanation, as many have noted, is that the Democratic leadership has made a conscious decision to distance themselves as much as they can from the war entirely. Never mind their civil and Constitutional duties to the contrary.
Winston Churchill, that walking Bartlett’s, gave me my title here: “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war..” But that great man never thought that talking was always a viable alternative to fighting (see Neville Chamberlain), and never turned away a chance to be heard by those who he wished to persuade.
But then, I’ve never heard that the leadership of the Democratic party was tremendously afflicted with common sense.