Having a romantic view of life and of history is fine for a dreamer, butÂ inexcusably dangerous for a nation. ThroughÂ out this election cycle there has been a comparisonÂ between JohnÂ Fitzgerald Kennedy and the Barack Hussein Obama, both men being firsts and both who engendered a “Camelot view” of the Presidency,
One of the first things that gets you in trouble with a romantic view of history, intentionally or unintentionally , is that if you get it wrong, you may well repeat the mistake.Â Let’s compare the two men before they ran for the job of leader of the free world.
Reader’s Digest (Sept. 2008) had interviews with both Obama and McCain. They introduce Obama with a comparison to John F. Kennedy.
“Obama was never a governor, nor an executive. He did not serve in the armed forces or the House of Representatives. He worked in the private sector only briefly as a lawyer and was never a judge or a prosecutor. He wrote one highly acclaimed memoir, Dreams from My Father, and a bestseller, The Audacity of Hope, which is essentially a campaign book. He served for three years as a community organizer in Chicago, taught law school, served eight years in the Illinois state legislature, and ran for the Senate in 2004, winning against a fringe candidate from out of state.That experience pales in comparison with John Kennedy’s life before the presidency. JFK had written two books, as well, but was also a decorated naval officer in World War II, had served three terms in the House, and was in his second Senate term when he earned the 1960 nomination. “
But that said, he does share points worth exploring
Let’s remember back to the elections of 1960 when Nixon and Kennedy were discussing meeting with foreign leaders with no preconditions. During the debates, Kennedy first addressed the subject of a possible summit with the Soviet Union in the second Kennedy-Nixon debate. Unlike Obama, Kennedy expressly rejected a summit without preconditions. Yet, once he wasÂ in office, Kennedy took another path. He wrote a letter that was secretly delivered to Khrushchev in March 1961, Kennedy expressed his willingness to meet Khrushchev “before too long” for an informal exchange of views. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco, Kennedy sensed that discussions without an agenda or prior agreement might be disadvantageous to the United States. He let the matter drop, but Khrushchev accepted the invitation on May 4. The meeting was to occur in Vienna late that spring.
Now remember, in Portland on May 18, Barack Obama is telling people that this meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna led to America’s triumph over the Soviet Union in the Cold War (Audio of Portland Speech). I am sorry but if that is Barack Obama’s understanding of history, he needs to get out of the race. Obama, no one cares about “your vision” for the world-especially the world! In addition to poor judgment, Obama has demonstrated that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Why?
Again, you must objectively study history and learn it’sÂ lessons or you are bound to repeat your mistakes. “By all accounts, including Kennedy’s own, the meetings were a disaster. Khrushchev berated, belittled, and bullied Kennedy on subjects ranging from Communist ideology to the balance of power between the Soviet and Western blocs, to Laos, to “wars of national liberation,” to nuclear testing. He threw down the gauntlet on Berlin in particular, all but threatening war. ”
“I never met a man like this,” Kennedy subsequently commented to Time’s Hugh Sidey. “[I] talked about how a nuclear exchange would kill 70 million people in ten minutes, and he just looked at me as if to say ‘So what?’” In The Fifty-Year Wound, Cold War historian Derek Leebaert drily observes of Khrushchev in Vienna, “Having worked for Stalin had its uses.”
Kennedy sought a brief final session with Khrushchev to clear the air regarding Berlin. In that final meeting at the Soviet embassy, however, Khrushchev bluntly told Kennedy, “It is up to the U.S. to decide whether there will be war or peace.” Kennedy responded, “Then, Mr. Chairman, there will be war. It will be a cold winter.” On this unhappy note the two leaders’ only face-to-face meeting came to an end.
Immediately following the final session on June 4 Kennedy sat for a previously scheduled interview with New York Times columnist James Reston at the American embassy. Kennedy was reeling from his meetings with Khrushchev, famously describing the meetings as the “roughest thing in my life.” Reston reported that Kennedy said just enough for Reston to conclude that Khrushchev “had studied the events of the Bay of Pigs” and that he had “decided that he was dealing with an inexperienced young leader who could be intimidated and blackmailed.” Kennedy said to Reston that Khrushchev had “just beat [the] hell out of me” and that he had presented Kennedy with a terrible problem: “If he thinks I’m inexperienced and have no guts, until we remove those ideas we won’t get anywhere with him. So we have to act.”Â (link) That is how we ended up in Viet Nam-Kennedy had something to prove at the expense of 50,000 of our troops lives…Camelot….
Lets not forget though, how the US was berated after that by the Soviet Union and how JFK’s inexperience almost got us into nuclear war:
Khrushchev to John F. Kennedy
Dear Mr. President,
…. Imagine, Mr. President, what if we were to present to you such an ultimatum as you have presented to us by your actions. How would you react to it? I think you would be outraged at such a move on our part. And this we would understand.
Having presented these conditions to us, Mr. President, you have thrown down the gauntlet. Who asked you to do this? By what right have you done this? Our ties with the Republic of Cuba, as well as our relations with other nations, regardless of their political system, concern only the two countries between which these relations exist. And, if it were a matter of quarantine as mentioned in your letter, then, as is customary in international practice, it can be established only by states agreeing between themselves, and not by some third party. Quarantines exist, for example, on agricultural goods and products. However, in this case we are not talking about quarantines, but rather about much more serious matters, and you yourself understand this.
Mr. John F. Kennedy President of the United States of America
You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather issuing an ultimatum, and you are threatening that if we do not obey your orders, you will then use force. Think about what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What does it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean for us to conduct our relations with other countries not by reason, but by yielding to tyranny. You are not appealing to reason; you want to intimidate us.
No, Mr. President, I cannot agree to this, and I think that deep inside, you will admit that I am right. I am convinced that if you were in my place you would do the same.
…. This Organization [of American States] has no authority or grounds whatsoever to pass resolutions like those of which you speak in your letter. Therefore, we do not accept these resolutions. International law exists, generally accepted standards of conduct exist. We firmly adhere to the principles of international law and strictly observe the standards regulating navigation on the open sea, in international waters. We observe these standards and enjoy the rights recognized by all nations.
You want to force us to renounce the rights enjoyed by every sovereign state; you are attempting to legislate questions of international law; you are violating the generally accepted standards of this law. All this is due not only to hatred for the Cuban people and their government, but also for reasons having to do with the election campaign in the USA. What morals, what laws can justify such an approach by the American government to international affairs? Such morals and laws are not to be found, because the actions of the USA in relation to Cuba are outright piracy. This, if you will, is the madness of a degenerating imperialism. Unfortunately, people of all nations, and not least the American people themselves, could suffer heavily from madness such as this, since with the appearance of modern types of weapons, the USA has completely lost its former inaccessibility.
Therefore, Mr. President, if you weigh the present situation with a cool head without giving way to passion, you will understand that the Soviet Union cannot afford not to decline the despotic demands of the USA. When you lay conditions such as these before us, try to put yourself in our situation and consider how the USA would react to such conditions. I have no doubt that if anyone attempted to dictate similar conditions to you — the USA, you would reject such an attempt. And we likewise say — no.
The Soviet government considers the violation of the freedom of navigation in international waters and air space to constitute an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war. Therefore, the Soviet government cannot instruct captains of Soviet ships bound for Cuba to observe orders of American naval forces blockading this island. Our instructions to Soviet sailors are to observe strictly the generally accepted standards of navigation in international waters and not retreat one step from them. And, if the American side violates these rights, it must be aware of the responsibility it will bear for this act. To be sure, we will not remain mere observers of pirate actions by American ships in the open sea. We will then be forced on our part to take those measures we deem necessary and sufficient to defend our rights. To this end we have all that is necessary.
Respectfully, /s/ N. Khrushchev
Moscow 24 October 1962Â Â (link)
What isÂ naive Obamaâ€™s next stated strategy? Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. Why?Â Â Because Iraq makes him personally look bad if we win. And where is the ten billion dollars a month savings he talks about (from Iraq) going to go? Not back in the coffers. He is going to take the troops from Iraq and place them in Afghanistan and perhaps nuclear Pakistan.Â That is not savings, that is troop realignment by a naive inexperienced junior senator.
This isnâ€™t a romance novel we are reading, or a world we wish would be that starts out with Once upon a time… this is reality. This is not time for on the job training, or a romantic worldview. We are in currently inÂ two wars; with Russia and a nuclear Iran on the rise.Â America is not in the position to trust itâ€™s fate and future to some romanticizedÂ notion thatÂ the naive junior Senator Barack Obama is up to the jobÂ .
This post was written by John on October 22, 2008