Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Does Joe Know?

Joe Biden

"And here's the point I want to make. Mark my words. Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don't remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he's gonna have to make some really tough - I don't know what the decision's gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it's gonna happen. I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate. And he's gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you, not financially to help him, we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right. Because all these decisions, all these decisions, once they're made if they work, then they weren't viewed as a crisis. If they don't work, it's viewed as you didn't make the right decision, a little bit like how we hesitated so long dealing with Bosnia and dealing with Kosovo, and consequently 200,000 people lost their lives that maybe didn't have to lose lives. It's how we made a mistake in Iraq. We made a mistake in Somalia. So there's gonna be some tough decisions. They may emanate from the Middle East. They may emanate from the sub-continent. They may emanate from Russia's newly-emboldened position because they're floating in a sea of oil."

After again touting Cantwell's judgment, Biden told the crowd to "gird your loins."

"Only thing I'm asking you is, you know, gird your loins. We're gonna win with your help, God willing, we're gonna win, but this is not gonna be an easy ride. This president, the next president, is gonna be left with the most significant task. It's like cleaning the Aegean stables, man. This is more than just, this is more than - think about it, literally, think about it - this is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets, this is a systemic problem we have with this economy."

So, just what did he mean? Obama dismissed this as a rhetorical flourish.
Joe sometimes engages in rhetorical flourishes, but i think his core point was that the next administration is going to be tested, regardless of who it is," he said at the Richmond, Va., event.

I don't think so. Here's what I think Biden was talking about.

First, Biden's strength is international relations. That's why he is on the ticket. Obama said that he will have Biden at his shoulder when he is making hard choices. Obama has other foreign policy advisers, too. Some of them are fairly sharp.

I'm guessing that they had a security briefing and the advisers told Obama that world leaders think that he is a Carter-style dove. They expect something to happen, maybe several somethings. Possibly Russia is going to annex someone. Or an Arab country is planning a strike against Israel. Or both. Maybe some other things, too. Biden talked about four or five scenarios. Maybe they are expecting a cascade.

But that's not all of it. Obama must have told his advisers how he plans to react to these events. It isn't going to be good.

That's what Biden is really warning us of. Something will happen and Obama's response is going to seem really, really bad.

There are two possibilities here. One is that Obama actually is a Carter dove and hopes to solve the world's problems through intensive diplomacy. The other possibility is that Obama is secretly a hawk.

Biden's references to Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia almost sound like Obama is planning on invading someone. Maybe he's going to get us into a quagmire (not counting the troop escalation in Afghanistan).

Either way, Biden is warning us that Obama's foreign policy is going to look terrible for at least a couple of years but, if we preserver then everything will turn out alright. This sounds surprisingly like Bush's Iraq policy for the last four years.

I don't like the sound of this either way. Diplomacy only works if each side has something that the other wants. If you take the threat of war off of the table then we might not have enough to bargain with. Somolia and Iraq proved how difficult it is to build a nation out of warring factions. The country is not ready for a new Iraq.

It would be nice to know exactly what Biden was referring to. Obama seems to be worried about this since he pulled Joe from the campaign trail yesterday.

McCain is already exploiting Biden's slip. With Wall Street calming down some, this could tip the election.

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