I like Charles Krauthammer, I really do. He’s got convictions, he’s got positions, and he never allows political correctness to blur his vision of world’s problems. He’s very smart, too, so much so that sometimes it even hurts the person Krauthammer is trying to help.
Take a look, for instance, at his December 15 Washington Post column “In Baker’s Blunder, a Chance for Bush.” Read the very first sentence:
“As a result of the Iraq Study Group, President Bush has been given one last chance to alter course on Iraq.”
No. President Bush has been forced “to alter course on Iraq” because the American public – through the vehicle of Congressional elections – expressed disapproval of Bush’s conduct of the Iraq war. It was a net loss of the Senate six seats and about thirty of them in the House that persuaded the president to abandon his course of “staying the course.” Paraphrasing Tip O’Neil: all foreign policy is domestic.
I happen to share Krauthammer’s disdain for the Iraq Study Group, although for a different reason. I consider the creation of this ad hoc extra constitutional body as a sad example of government-sponsored outsourcing of responsibility.
The major problem Krauthammer seems to have with the ISG is their recommendation to start a political dialog with Syria and Iran, something Krauthammer criticized well in advance of the Baker-Hamilton’s report. Krauthammer believes that the price Syria and Iran would have us to pay for their “cooperation” on Iraq would be unacceptably high. How would Krauthammer know that if no negotiations, even preliminary, have taken place?
In the corporate world, you approach your negotiation partner and ask for a price quote. If it’s too high, you walk away. You can always come back next day, next month or even next year.
The problem is that the price will be much higher then.