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lord rev dyjuan d barnes YAHWEH

israel the way it is now is a bunch of shape shifting fuck heads and they are the starters of most of all this mess. they are the same nazis that killed their own people and the rothchilds and others must be stopped. their last name is bauer and the germans and the jews are one and the same people the people of iran and others want all those fake people out of their land now

Eric Chen

Professor Epstein,

It's calculated outrage on the Democrats part that President Bush's comments have been portrayed as a statement directed to the presidential election. Bush's was a basic statement of a basic principle directed to an ally for whom that particular principle of American global leadership is critically important and a cornerstone of our relationship.

Moreover, it's a non-partisan principle that President Bush inherited; eg, President Clinton, 1998: "The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort."

It's unbecoming for the Democrats to belittle the President while he does no more than his job reinforcing a long-standing international alliance in a critical, dangerous region. Assuming the next president will be a Democrat, the Democrats are only making his (or her) job harder. Unfortunately, the Democrats' manufactured outrage reflects their extreme parochial focus on winning the local election, no matter the future cost to the next president.

As a statement of principle, what Bush said is fair and does not contradict your definition of 'appeasement'. As well, it's not a rigid position. While terrorists fall in their own category, radically postured governments can opt to de-radicalize and move toward rational negotiation. In actual performance, the record of the Bush administration since 9/11 has been a mix of military-led primacy (I hesitate to call unilateralism) in some areas with measured multilateralism and diplomacy in other areas. Diplomacy is one thing, though; hard concessions are another. The question that neither the Bush administration nor any of the presidential candidates has answered satisfactorily is how much America will concede in real terms to "terrorists and radicals" over whom there is little effective enforcement authority, who consistently fail to honor agreements - indeed, may be structurally unable to honor agreements - and concede little in return.

My favorite example is north Korea, only because I served in Korea in 1998 when the "Sunshine Policy" gave us all - including American soldiers - great hope, only to disappoint when north Korea stayed in character and exploited concessions from the West (South). Second, in light of what President Bush was expressing to the Israeli Knesset (rather than the American electorate), when I served there, my Korean colleagues in uniform expressed to me that their greatest fear in the ROK/US-UN alliance is that, if the Korean War goes 'hot' again, the US will opt to appease nK rather than honor our blood commitment to the ROK's defense. Again, what President Bush said to the Israelis is a basic principle necessary in effective international relations, not a reflection of "Bush's stupidity".

Diplomacy is a tool, not a metaphysical state. Diplomacy and concessions should be deliberate and conducted only in expectation of real and enforceable strategic gain. For example, our diplomacy with Mao and Red China fell into context not only of the Vietnam War but the prospect of cleaving the deteriorating Sino-Soviet relationship and creating concrete mutually interested ties via the collapsed Chinese economy. In Israel/Palestine, we've viewed Fatah as a diplomatic prospect, but what can be gained from offering concessions to Hamas? Similarly, President Clinton in 1998, when he made regime change the official position of US policy for Iraq, realized that diplomacy had reached a dead-end with Saddam Hussein.

Today, I'm willing to support a "Sunshine Policy" towards Iran because so many of our (global competitive) interests coincide with Iran, and while it is radical in posture and terrorist-funding, it is also a state with whom we share long-term economic and regional interests as beginning grounds for negotiation.

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