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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
If Homer didn't write about it, then it didn't happen"Crunchy noises in my head....cool."
Apparently Victor Davis Short Term Memory Loss Hanson slept through 1999 so he missed out on a lot of stuff:
The president establishes American foreign policy and is commander-in-chief. At least that’s what the Constitution states. Then Congress oversees the president’s policies by either granting or withholding money to carry them out — in addition to approving treaties and authorizing war.
Apparently, the founding fathers were worried about dozens of renegade congressional leaders and committees speaking on behalf of the United States and opportunistically freelancing with foreign leaders.
In our past, self-appointed moralists — from Charles Lindbergh and Joe Kennedy to Jimmy Carter and Jesse Jackson — have, from time to time, tried to engage in diplomacy directly contrary to the president’s.
But usually Americans agree to let one elected president and his secretary of state speak for the United States abroad. Then if they’re displeased with the results, they can show it at the ballot box every two years in national or midterm elections.
But recently hundreds in Congress have decided that they’re better suited to handle international affairs than the State Department.
What are we to make of a Congress that now wants to establish rather than just oversee U.S. foreign policy? Can it act as a foil to the president and so give our diplomats leverage abroad with wayward nations: "We suggest you do x, before our volatile Congress demands we do y?"
Maybe — but any good is vastly outweighed by the bad. Partisan politics often drive these anti-administration foreign policies, aimed at making the president look weak abroad and embarrassed at home.
House representatives too often preach their own district politics, less so the American people’s interest as a whole. What might ensure their reelection or win local campaign funds isn’t necessarily good for the United States and its allies.
And too often we see frustrated senators posture in debate during televised hearings, trying out for the role of chief executive or commander in chief. Most could never get elected president — many have tried — but they seem to enjoy the notion that their own under-appreciated brilliance and insight should supersede the collective efforts of the State Department.
So they travel abroad, pass resolutions and pontificate a lot, but rarely have to clean up the ensuing mess of their own freelancing of American foreign policy.
From Lindbergh to Joe Kennedy to Jimmy Carter to Jesse Jackson. Missing anyone? I'm glad you asked:
Then-GOP Presidential candidate Governor George W. Bush: According to the Houston Chronicle: “Bush, in Austin, criticized President Clinton’s administration for not doing enough to enunciate a goal for the Kosovo military action and indicated the bombing campaign might not be a tough enough response. ‘Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is,’ Bush said.” [Houston Chronicle, 4/9/99]One would think that Hillsdale College where Vic currently plies his trade would be embarrassed by this shambling sloppiness, but, hey, it's Hillsdale and their they overdrew their dignity account years ago.
Then-GOP Presidential candidate Lamar Alexander: “Once we've started bombing we should bomb aggressively and consistently and for a long time to try and bring Milosevic to the table. But the president needs to tell us the rest of the story. Which is that if we put peace-keeping American forces in Kosovo they are going to be there for a long time, maybe as long as they have been in Korea, 25 to 50 years; and if they are harmed as they were in Somalia, then we are going to put other forces in there to make sure that they are safe.” [Fox News, “Hannity & Colmes,” 3/26/99]
GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL): “Many may question the path that has taken us to this point. I have my own questions about the long term strategy of this campaign.” [Dallas Morning News, 3/25/99]
Then-House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-TX): “Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult speech for me to give, because I normally, and I still do, support our military and the fine work that they are doing. But I cannot support a failed foreign policy. … But before we get deeper embroiled into this Balkan quagmire, I think that an assessment has to be made of the Kosovo policy so far. President Clinton has never explained to the American people why he was involving the U.S. military in a civil war in a sovereign nation, other than to say it is for humanitarian reasons, a new military/foreign policy precedent. … Was it worth it to stay in Vietnam to save face? What good has been accomplished so far? Absolutely nothing.” [Congressional Record, “Removal of United States Armed Forces from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,” 4/28/99
Then-Senate Assistant Majority Leader Don Nickles (R-OK ) : “The Administration, and NATO as a whole, greatly miscalculated the response Slobodan Milosevic would have to a bombing campaign. As I predicted, the Administration has escalated what was guerilla warfare into a much more serious conflict. The bombings have unleashed an evil reign and resulted in a humanitarian disaster.” [Senator Don Nickles, Press Release, 4/21/99]
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK): “(P)resident [Clinton] has decimated our ability to defend ourselves.” [USA Today, 4/5/99]
Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH): “I don’t believe that a ground war in Kosovo using American troops is going to be very successful.” [NBC, “Meet the Press,” 4/18/99]
Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA): “This is the most inept foreign policy in the history of the United States.” [Washington Times, 4/29/99]
Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN): “This is President Clinton’s war, and when he falls flat on his face, that’s his problem.” [New York Times, 5/4/99]
More Hillsdale Fun Facts:
-The Hillsdale major with the greatest number of students is history.
-Hillsdale currently ranks in the third tier of the 2007 U.S. News & World Report listing of best American Liberal Arts colleges, but ranks first in the Princeton Review's The Best 361 Colleges 2007 listing of colleges where students are "most nostalgic for Ronald Reagan" (politically conservative) .
Notable alumni - Bob Clark, filmmaker (Porky's, A Christmas story), football scholarship
Erik Prince, founder and owner of the military support contractor Blackwater USA.