Way Back When

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"Way Back When"

I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be voting for Joe Biden for President, but I think Transplanted Texan at MYDD will be and his post yesterday drew my attention to this fairly prescient Joe Biden speech from September 10, 2001 on foreign policy in which it was clear that the combination of hubris and fanaticism that have made the Bush administration so dangerous on so many fronts was already evident in some ways.

Also interesting here is the context. Basically, Biden was laying the groundwork for an upcoming series of congressional hearings that were aimed at debunking the administration’s case for a national missile defense system. The basic argument Democrats were making was that rogue state ballistic missiles were a very hypothetical threat and a missile defense system was a very expensive hypothetical defense against it. The top priority, in Democrats’ view, was to maintain good relations with Russia and China to maximize diplomatic leverage against North Korea (and to a lesser extent, the less acute problems of Iran and Iraq) and to focus on counterterrorism threats.

Condi Rice, meanwhile, was set to give a speech on 9/11 that was all about the need to meet the threats of “tomorrow” and accusing her blinkered, terrorism-and-nonproliferation-centric adversaries of living in the past. Naturally, Rice wasn’t planning on mentioning terrorism at all and when subsequent events revealed the wrongheadedness of the basic worldview, instead of revising the worldview they responded to the terrorist attacks in crazy ways (invading Iraq, e.g.) that met their preconceptions about what was important rather than with policies that addressed the issue at hand in effective ways.

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