Monday, November 5, 2007

Is it really "either - or"?

As David Corn writes in MotherJones, Joe Biden may have given the best comment in the October 30 presidential candidates' debate. Here's an excerpt:
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Biden, would you pledge to the American people that Iran would not build a nuclear bomb on your watch?

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards each wiggled his or her way out of the question, essentially pledging to do what they could to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Then Russert turned to Biden, and Biden threw the question back in Russert's face.

SEN. BIDEN: I would pledge to keep us safe. If you told me, Tim -- and this is not -- this is complicated stuff. We talk about this in isolation. The fact of the matter is the Iranians may get 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium; the Pakistanis have hundreds, thousands of kilograms of highly enriched uranium.
If by attacking Iran to stop them from getting 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, the government in Pakistan falls, who has missiles already deployed, with nuclear weapons on them ... then that's a bad bargain. ...
What is the greatest threat to the United States of America: 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium in Tehran or an out of control Pakistan? It's not close.
Biden was taking the mature approach to foreign policy, daring to challenge the false dichotomy: let Iran go nuclear or start a war.
Now, one could certainly challenge the idea of whether Iran will ever develop a nuclear weapon. Likewise, one could challenge the arrogance which assumes the nuclear USA has the right to decide who else joins the club.

But I do applaud Biden's refusal to comply with Russert's simplistic question; and I do applaud his attack on the absurd idea that foreign policy is ever as simple as Bush's binary: "Submit to the will of a foreign power or be bombed." Is either one a viable option to an elected leader of a sovereign nation?

Once again, Bush cannot see his policy as the catalyst that turns animosity to bellicosity.

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