From our partners at The Agonist
I’m indebted to Conor Friedersdorf for pointing me to the transcript of last night’s debate as he takes Paul Ryan to task for what he describes as “simplistic talking points that fall apart under the most cursory scrutiny”.
Obama cooperated with Israel on Stuxnet, an act of cyber-warfare that destroyed actual Iranian centrifuges; kept supporting Israel as it assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists; removed MEK, an anti-regime group in Iran, from its list of official terrorists; and worked to get international cooperation for sanctions now causing street protests in Iran. Whatever you think of those steps, it’s idiotic to suggest, when the ayatollahs were witness to it all, that they assessed Obama’s seriousness based on the fact that he appeared on The View. It’s foreign policy analysis worthy of Sean Hannity.
“The ayatollah sees his economy being crippled. The ayatollah sees that there are 50 percent fewer exports of oil,” Biden retorted. “He sees the currency going into the tank. He sees the economy going into free-fall. And he sees the world for the first time totally united in opposition to him getting a nuclear weapon.” And Romney-Ryan insist that Obama’s appearance on The View helped undermine all that.
A bit later, Ryan said, “When — when we see the kind of equivocation that took place because this administration wanted a precondition policy, so when the Green Revolution started up, they were silent for nine days.” And he says it without ever seeming to realize that America loudly endorsing the Green Revolution would have undermined it in Iran. He doesn’t even acknowledge and attempt to refute the relevant argument, because he’s operating on a simplistic level.
A politician who has proved his bona fides on national security could perhaps get away with this. But Ryan has never given any indication that he knows any better. For all we know, he believes his own bullshit.
Read the whole thing. Conor and I largely agree on the problemmatic parts of Obama’s foreign policy even though he’s a libertarian and I’m a socialist. We agree on this much too - Conor writes of Ryan that: “His delivery is much smoother than Sarah Palin managed four years back. But he doesn’t know any more than she did. … He just isn’t a credible steward of U.S. foreign policy.”