Foreign policy is about national survival. That's why we need a president who has really thought about rising Islamist nations with nukes. All the more reason to appreciate the calm and mature thinking of Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. They are adults.
That's why I feel so bothered by Governor Mike Huckabee's slick spin about terrorists and Iran. Huckabee's Foreign Policy article makes a totally imaginary distinction between the two: With regard to Iran, we just haven't been nice enough to them for the last thirty years. With regard to terrorists, we should "eliminate them." The only trouble with that is, Tehran is the very home base of Islamist terrorism. Huckabee has just cooked up a mishmash between dovish and hawkish positions. Like the holiday turkey-duck-chicken combination, this one smells like a Hawkodove, but it sure ain't gonna fly.
What's worse is hearing Huckabee's rage when he talks about these things.
'We haven't had diplomatic relationships with Iran in almost thirty years, most of my entire adult life. And a lot of good it's done.'
His voice becomes ragged with anger, as if he's been personally dissed along with the mullahs. But as President Bush pointed out, the mullahs can pick up the phone any time they like. They can even call collect. We'll pay for the call. Condi Rice suggested that Huckabee should "look at the facts." Frank Gaffney just called it "cockamamie."
"This (Iran) is a country run by megalomaniacs bent on an apocalyptic outcome, who believe that bringing about a world without America is their god-given obligation. And you know, just talking with them, you know, "can't we all get along," Rodney King style, is not a prescription for a serious foreign policy, I'm afraid."
Jimmy Carter tried (desperately) to talk to the mullahs for ten months while our diplomats were held hostage in 1979. That's why Carter lost the 1980 election to Reagan. Ronald Reagan himself had his Iran-Contra fiasco when he was trying to talk with the mullahs. (Remember the famous chocolate cake?) Other presidents have been eager to find common ground. The idea that we haven't tried to communicate with Tehran is beyond absurd. It is ignorant.
For three decades now, Khomeinist mass rallies have echoed with the chant "Death to America! Death to Israel!" They are still chanting it today. It's the equivalent of the "Heil Hitler!" chants at the Nuremberg rallies.
Which makes me wonder where Huckabee's anger is coming from when he talks about Iran. Just listen to him say it.
Either Huckabee's rage about our Iran policy is real, or it's faked. If it's real, he is so badly wrong that he's just disqualified himself. If his anger is faked, then Mr. Huckabee can't be trusted to talk sense to us about the biggest threats in the world today.
It's just not good enough. Arkansas governors can do fine without a deep understanding of foreign policy. Presidents can't.