Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some Quick Notes on the Economy/Foreign Policy Debate

Well it was supposed a Foreign Policy/National Security debate but the financial ‘Bail-Out’ intruded and muddled everything up.

My candidate, Senator McCain, didn’t do all that well, but the other guy, Senator Obama, was atrocious. I was uncomfortable with my guy’s performance, yet I am sure that Obama’s supporters were cringing at theirs.

Remember, McCain didn’t want to be there; he was the reluctant debater who’d rather have been back in the Senate fixing the Bail-Out terms. It was Obama’s challenge: Obama insisted the debate go on. Obama was the one huddled up in a golf resort in Florida cramming for this debate. He was the one hanging out with speaking coaches and trial lawyers, finessing his ripostes, coming up with new material, and wasting three whole days of potential campaigning while prepping.

But whereas McCain was expected to stick to what he knew, Obama showed that he really hasn’t had any growth over the last few months. Obama didn’t come up with anything new; Obama was no better at his debating style. Actually, I’d say this was Obama’s worst debate performance.

So after hyping-up this event, Obama simply came off as clouded and befuddled. He didn’t have a single well-constructed verbal paragraph. He was all over the place, and he couldn’t even deliver the one-thing he had built his whole myth upon: his early judgment on the war in Iraq. In fact, Obama kept trying to ‘move-on’ and away from the topic of Iraq to talk-up Afghanistan, while McCain was the one who repeatedly, and without prompting, brought up Iraq and the victorious troop surge over there again and again.

What’s worse for Obama is that the debate was so mind-numbingly boring. McCain, being old, can get away with being boring, while Obama’s candidacy is predicated on glitz and spectacle. How many young viewers walked away feeling, “Oh, I should have done something else on a Friday night”? And how many of those are going to tell their friends that they must—really must—watch the next debate?

This was it, this was the debate! The next two debates will be watched by the die-hards of either camp, but not by those who are moderately amused by the election spectacle—they being the majority of the electorate.

They already knew that McCain was a snoozer, but the Obamists had been telling them, “Oh my God! You’ve got to see Obama in action!” Well, Obama without a teleprompter isn’t that compelling of a show; Obama unplugged—when he ain’t lip-syncing his lines, that is—simply falls flat.

What little takeaway there was from the debate were all McCain’s points. Every single point made by Obama had already been made by himself, and by his auxiliaries in the media, ad nauseum: “Bush, Bush, Bush, We Hate Bush!” McCain was the one who needed access to viewers, and he used that channel to tell them that “Obama just doesn’t get it” and that “Obama is naïve, and it’s not a benign naiveté, like that of a simpleton, but it’s the naiveté of a dangerous leftist ideologue.”

Too much has happened over the last week, and news consumers will need a little while to digest it: Pelosi and Reid and Barney Frank crowding the Democratic limelight for Obama, McCain siding with congressional Republican insurgents against Bush, and a boring debate that told us nothing.

However, some viewers will wise-up to the development that Iraq, once the main foreign policy issue leading up to the election, was conspicuously relegated to the past. Debating Iraq was debating ancient history; “We didn’t need to be there in the first place” versus “But we were, and now we’ve won.”

Mind you, the average American voter still doesn’t know that Iraq has been won, because pro-Obama newsrooms have been covering for their candidate (…just as they did in the post-debate commentary by declaring it a “tie”—a tie, my behind!) and misreporting the Iraq story.

Remember a time when Obama’s sole qualification against Hillary was supposed to be his ‘judgment’ on Iraq?

Remember a time when McCain’s major qualification against his Republican contenders was that he held firm on Iraq?

The media doesn’t want to talk about Iraq because Iraq has been transformed into a McCain strongpoint that highlights Obama’s misjudgment.

Quick note on Syria: There was a car-bomb, apparently targeting Shias, in Damascus today. Some of you may be wondering whether this is the beginning of what I’ve been warning about for the last year and a half: the jihad moving away from Iraq to Syria. I simply don’t know. All I can foretell at this point is that regular Sunni Syrians are probably happy about the bombing, and feel unthreatened by it. They are not the targets, the Shias and the Alawites are. This is potentially a winning long-term strategy for the jihadists in Syria.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obama punches like a girl.

Wait I have to correct my sexist comment since if Sarah Palin punches anybody I would imagine that she would leave a major dent.

Correction: Obama punches like a sissy-boy.

Will gays take offence at this depiction? Barney Frank is preparing an angry press conference this very moment to denounce me for distracting him!

8:26 AM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous retired bureau chief said...

The pro-Obama journalists and reporters have gone shameless. This is no longer a profession. It is cheerleading. They had their headlines ready even before the debate started.

They are not even trying to hide it. In my day we took sides but went to lengths to be subtle about it. But that was before news turned into entertainment.

What I don't understand is why would they put their jobs at risk? Only 10 or 15 of them will be hired to work in an Obama White House and the rest will get laid off as the media downsizes and relies on bloggers and 'citizen journalists' who will do the work for free.

70 to 80 % of the pro-Obama journalists and reporters will be out of a job this time next year. I guarantee it. You will find them working as waiters or receptionists. Temp agencies will be full of ex-international bureau chiefs. Management will single out the pro-Obama ones as the least objective and least professional weak links in the organization and they will be the first to go. Just do the math.

After the Obama hype will come Obama disappointment. Who do you think will be scapegoated?

This profession used to attract smart people in the past. Now only the BSers stayed on while the good ones left. The BSers hire mediocre reporters so that 1) they don't outshine them and 2) they can easily lay them off for being idiots.

9:38 AM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Americans disagree:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080927/ap_on_el_pr/presidential_debate_polls_2;_ylt=Aj2DyoR5GBgA1zRiL279tO1h24cA

http://www.gallup.com/poll/110737/Gallup-Daily-Obama-Holds-5Point-Lead.aspx

And i would personally disagree with your claim a few days ago that the jihadists had "lost all their redoubts" in Diyala, where "the battle had already played out"; that the Mosul offensive back in May would smash the last insurgent remnants (with the jihadists fleeing to an exploding Lebanon, yeah), and many other gems you´ve been posting here. Remember, there is no accountability - usually, nobody shows up here to say that you´re wrong, just as happens with the journalists you hate.

But I suppose that after all you were one of the guys who screamed for the war and said that everything would go OK and that Americans would actually save Iraqi lives if they invaded. So even now that insurgents have been weakened you manage to get most of everything wrong.

Now that´s "potentially a winning long-term strategy for the jihadists in Syria". So if this is the beginning a new "conflict" and a few more car bombs go off killing a few dozen people, that will vindicate your claim (although the jihadists will never win). But if, as is most likely, nothing happens, you will not be discredited. We have heard time and again that the world was falling upon our heads.


Remember: al-Qaeda would eventually win a 5-o-10 year long struggle with their sunni counterparts in the Islamic Army and similar groups, and a virulent anti-shia insurgency will explode in the next few years in Saudi Arabia - with the glorious, battle-testes Iraqi Army arriving to save the day.

I must admit that you write wonderfully (I´m spaniard) and you know a lot of insider details. But this blog is so biased that it offers no meaningful lead about what to do next. It´s entertaining and a joy to read for pro-war guys, though.

12:49 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi seneor espaniard:- can you kindly tell us why you are right then about mosul and diyala? huh? do you have inside info as to the comings and goings of al-qaeda?

the problem with your argument is that nibras has a nearly perfect record in predicting events. please tell exactly why and with what you are disputing nibras's info. links please.

but before you make a fool out of yourself i suggest you read his work carefully.

2:10 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous crude analysis said...

Nibras,

While I should first admit that I was engaged in quite the debate drinking game party, I disagree with some important points you have made here.

As a whole, I don't think that either did all that well. Of course it's all subjective, but Obama wasn't "atrocious," nor did I cringe during his performance. The only thing that really made me cringe was all of McCain's weird little tics and gestures. Ignoring substance, what about his lack of eye contact? And his classic awkward smirks and frantic blinks? John McCain scares me. But anyway.... Neither one made a big mistake and it'll be a debate that will largely be forgotten. Next Thursday's debate is the one most people are looking forward to and the one that most people will actually be watching with care. Not only will it show if Palin is qualified to be Vice President, but it will also give an indication of McCain's judgment. If Palin flops and Biden does well, will you be able to admit this next Friday morning?

I would caution you on declaring that "Iraq has been won." You can argue that the U.S. is "winning" in Iraq, that the tide has been turning over the past year, but it's quite the stretch to say that "Iraq has been won." When did you first declare that Iraq has been won? Have you been saying for the past 5 years that the war in Iraq is winning, etc.? I haven't been following your blog long enough to know for sure. When "Iraq has been won," I would argue that first, all U.S. troops should be gone. Iraq should at least be able to stand up on its own feet. But more importantly, the goal of restoring Iraq as a secure, sovereign, and unified nation has to be met. The war in Iraq may be "winning," but it hasn't been won. It's a dangerous thing to say and it's even more dangerous for this to be accepted as conventional wisdom.

Personally, I thought this was a strong line from the debate, but you would probably disagree:

"John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003. And at the time, when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong."

It isn't anything new, but it was finally said by Obama and it was refreshing to hear. In the discourse about Iraq right now in the U.S., Obama hasn't been able to escape the rhetoric on the surge. He's been running away from talking about Iraq because of the pro-surge vs. anti-surge debate, rather than engaging in it. This may be the only way that most Americans can fully understand the conflict in Iraq, but it's simplistic and I'm not sure why Obama hasn't been able to crack out of it.

There's much more to say about the debate in general, and about your post in particular, but that's enough for now.

Regards,
Crude Analysis

2:45 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous crude analysis said...

I almost didn't comment about this post so everyone doesn't think I only write about and defend Obama, but I felt strongly enough about it to do so.

Regards,
Crude Analysis aka "Obama troll"

2:48 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous red-ted said...

To the Spaniard:

"Kazimi, whose Talisman Gate blog is widely read by Iraq experts and commentators in the United States..." The Washington Post, July 19, 2007"

I think many of Nibras's media targets read this blog and if he ever makes a mistake then they will pop the champagne bottles and turn him into pinata. But they haven't done so yet. So go figure.

PS: Americans don't like to hear Europeans tell us how to think or live our lives. A European telling an American to vote for Obama will result in a vote for McCain. No hard feelings, but we just think that you guys are phoney wusses.

To crud analysis:

Kiddo: you are not in any position to caution Nibras on anything. Wrack up a track record of your own that we can judge you by before you ask us to take you seriously. Pass on the same advice to your idol, Mr. Barack 'Community Organizer' Obama.

By the way, Obama totally BOMBED yesterday. Maybe you were too drunk to notice.

3:32 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous crude analysis said...

Fire-crotch Ted,

I would caution you not to confuse my inexperience for a lack of judgment and a lack of common sense analysis of the facts. Read my words; not my track record. Read them again and tell me why I'm wrong. Don't write me off as wrong because you don't know me or because I don't have a long "track record."

Here it is again to make it easier for you:

[I would caution you on declaring that "Iraq has been won." You can argue that the U.S. is "winning" in Iraq, that the tide has been turning over the past year, but it's quite the stretch to say that "Iraq has been won." When did you first declare that Iraq has been won? Have you been saying for the past 5 years that the war in Iraq is winning, etc.? I haven't been following your blog long enough to know for sure. When "Iraq has been won," I would argue that first, all U.S. troops should be gone. Iraq should at least be able to stand up on its own feet. But more importantly, the goal of restoring Iraq as a secure, sovereign, and unified nation has to be met. The war in Iraq may be "winning," but it hasn't been won. It's a dangerous thing to say and it's even more dangerous for this to be accepted as conventional wisdom.]

Regards,
Crude Analysis

4:08 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Blogger Crescendo said...

I'll have to respectfully disagree... I thought McCain did fairly well, once he got into the foreign policy, and Obama was pretty bad. His stuttering and interrupting, and I thought McCain looked relaxed, while during part of the debate Obama was visibly seething.

Obama's big disadvantage was that he was boring. No major gaffes other than the bracelet one, but that was the only thing of Obama's that anybody laughed at, and it wasn't with him, that's for sure!

McCain was more direct and had several quotable zingers. I nearly keeled over laughing when he quipped: "I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't know the difference between a tactic and a strategy."

McCain showed the audience a level of detail of knowledge that Obama could not match. Littoral combat ships, glasnost, perestroika, Yushchenko? I mean the depth was there.

And people talk about McCain not looking at Obama, but Obama was almost too familiar, did it annoy anyone else when he kept calling him John?

6:36 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with crescendo. Obama wasn't respectful of McCain. He even got him name wrong twice! "Tom, errr, John..."

At the beginning of the debate, Jim Lerher told Obama twice to speak to McCain but Obama wouldn't. That shows fear. When Lehrer asked McCain to do the same, McCain just brushed him off. That's confidence, and it had the effect of throwing Obama off balance. McCain got inside Obama's head and f*cked with him. McCain fights like a guerrilla commando. Imagine what Ahmedinejad was thinking watching these two men: "Oh shit, I hope I won't have to deal with McCain on my ass...I have a nuclear bomb to build...Please Allah, give us Obama and I may even take him up on his offer of tea at the White House."

8:50 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous yasmeen in cali said...

Everyone knows you are not supposed to wear Obama after Labour Day.

The Obama fad is over. Look at the TV ratings for the debates. They are 16% less than the Bush-Kerry debates. The country has outgrown Obama. God bless our short attention spans.

9:28 PM, September 27, 2008

 
Anonymous malcolm said...

Let's just call it as it is: The media is giving Obama a free pass because he is black.
By supporting Obama, you are proving that you are not a racist. But why do you need to prove anything?
This is an affirmative-action election. The candidate with less qualification gets the college seat, the government contract, and the management job just because he or she is black. While it made sense 20 years ago, why do we still have affirmative action? Why are we allowing affirmative-action to give us the least qualified candidate? Hillary got screwed because of affirmative-action. Any one denying that is living in la-la land, not the US of A.

8:02 AM, September 28, 2008

 
Anonymous crude analysis said...

anonymous,

anonymous: [[At the beginning of the debate, Jim Lerher told Obama twice to speak to McCain but Obama wouldn't. That shows fear. When Lehrer asked McCain to do the same, McCain just brushed him off. That's confidence, and it had the effect of throwing Obama off balance. McCain got inside Obama's head and f*cked with him. McCain fights like a guerrilla commando.]]

WHAT ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT? Obama wouldn't look at McCain out of fear, yet McCain wouldn't look at Obama to "brush him off"??? That's just ridiculous. How can you even claim to know this? McCain is already an awkward guy and this likely contributes to his lack of looking at Obama. And McCain NEVER looked at Obama. Apparently Obama didn't look at McCain when told to in the case you mentioned, but I saw Obama looking at McCain quite a bit. I'll take you at your word that Obama didn't look at him, but this is also likely questionable. McCain does like to brush off the opponent for the purposes of diminishing their importance and for the purposes of demonizing them. So perhaps you were almost onto something. But I don't see this as a sign of strength, I see it as a sign of weakness. He has to get into that mode to push the other guy below him.

Obama isn't afraid of McCain and he isn't afraid to look at him. At times, it may be a little startling to look at McCain's pockmarked, twitching, blinking, smirking face... but Obama isn't afraid. What's to be afraid of?

anonymous: [[Ahmedinejad was thinking watching these two men: "Oh shit, I hope I won't have to deal with McCain on my ass...I have a nuclear bomb to build...Please Allah, give us Obama and I may even take him up on his offer of tea at the White House."]]

While Ahmadinejad might be intrigued by an Obama presidency and might think he can play games with his naive little Muslim brother, he'll be disappointed to find out that U.S. policy won't change ALL that much with an Obama administration. Ahmadinejad may even benefit from the belligerence of a McCain administration.

Everyone likes to exaggerate what Obama has said and what he would do with Ahmadinejad, but Ahmadinejad will never be invited for tea at the White House. People also like to confuse pre-conditions with preparations, for the purposes of ridiculing Obama's stance. Obama would never talk to the Iranians without preparations. As far as pre-conditions..... Generally, conditions are what you negotiate about.

"Ok Ahmadinejad. You halt your uranium enrichment activities and we'll be willing to talk."

WTF?!? That's EXACTLY what we have to talk about!! That's the strongest card the Iranians have in the nuclear negotiations. Why would they give it up before negotiating?!?

Yeah,
Crude Analysis

11:39 AM, September 28, 2008

 
Blogger Sam G. Stolzoff said...

Anybody who has ever been to Iraq knows that Nibras writes the truth that he knows. Of course, there are some other truths, but I have found that they complement what Nibras writes, and they do not contradict.

Pay attention to what the U.S. and the Iraqi governments do with their efforts to engage Iraqi tribes. See what tribes the Iraqi government ignores, and you will be looking at the tribes that are most vulnerable to recruitment by Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The Iraqi government is selling us victory in Iraq so that we'll withdraw, but this is premature and foolish. From a regional/strategiec/realpolitik perspective, withdrawal leaves a power vacuum that the Iraqi government can't fill at this time. Iran can fill that power vacuum though, and if you think that we have seen sectarian violence so far, I suggest that what is coming in the event of an early American withdrawal will cast a long bloody shadow over preceding incidents. Sunnis know this, and that is why they have come forward to work with the Americans.

My only criticism of Nibras' work is that he promotes that we have won. We have not won this war yet - it's just a lull in the violence.

Let's not let hubris blind us again. Let's not be fooled by our pride into thinking that this victory means peace in Iraq. It doesn't.

Very respectfully,

Sam Stolzoff
www.theiraqiarabtribalsystem.blogspot.com

3:12 PM, September 28, 2008

 
Blogger bg said...

++

MNF

FJI

==

6:58 PM, September 29, 2008

 
Blogger elf2006real said...

Sam Stolzoff,

I'll settle for victory. I think long term the best we can strive for is something like the Philipines - shaky and corrupt civilian government, strong respected military.

4:27 PM, October 05, 2008

 
Blogger Sam G. Stolzoff said...

Elf,

You might be right, but it never hurts to aim a little higher.

V/R,
sam

5:26 PM, October 05, 2008

 
Anonymous Oakley Frogskin said...

The a pair of Cheap Oakley Sunglasses stores include intended these individuals with useful technology in addition to technologies to guard the eyes balls throughout the ultraviolet rays throughout the sun. Oakley Frogskins aren't just for vogue and work seeing that guard ones eyes. Oakley Frogskin projectiles are gentle and ought to be searching following with great care while kjfhg9l using greatest. getting in this factor, the artisan Oakley Oakley Radar are greatest concerning total safety and preference. Most Oakley Oakley Radar Sunglasses are appropriate each intended for males in addition to women.

5:18 AM, July 25, 2011

 
Blogger MulberryNews said...

Oakley Sunglasses Cheap feature associates designed bghviyr just like teardrops. These kinds Half X Oakley of associates are usually a bit convex, as opposed to simply smooth. this sort of Oakley Sunglasses Discount associates are usually supposed to offer enough defense to your eye-sight and also fantastic eye-sight Sale Oakley Sunglasses defense. The particular associates regarding this sort of Oakley Jawbone are typically gray along with mirrored. The particular earpieces inside substance casings Oakley Stpl Jawbone are usually produced to fit perfectly guiding your hearing. Half X have got lengthy recently been popular together with each and every affiliate marketer employees Oakley Sunglasses Outlet and also law enforcement officials.

12:22 AM, July 30, 2011

 

Post a Comment

<< Home