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Debate Fact Checking: Kissinger

Readers can easily peruse Memeorandum for a good sampling of blogger reactions. The short version: People who supported Obama going in thought he won while those who supported McCain going in thought he won. Not surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of prominent undecideds blogging.

I got 27 emails from Patrick Hynes, McCain’s blogger outreach guy, between 8:51 and 11:36 Eastern rounding up “Debate Facts” (which, oddly, were numbered 1-13 and 16) and various pro-McCain or anti-Obama statements from pundits. Presumably, those on Obama’s list got similarly inundated.

Nothing much jumped out at me last night during the debates as wildly unfair. The biggest factual contention last night was Obama’s assertion that Henry Kissinger supported him and disagreed with McCain on the issue of talks with Iran. Here’s the exchange from the transcript:

OBAMA: Senator McCain mentioned Henry Kissinger, who’s one of his advisers, who, along with five recent secretaries of state, just said that we should meet with Iran — guess what — without precondition. This is one of your own advisers.

Now, understand what this means “without preconditions.” It doesn’t mean that you invite them over for tea one day. What it means is that we don’t do what we’ve been doing, which is to say, “Until you agree to do exactly what we say, we won’t have direct contacts with you.” There’s a difference between preconditions and preparation. Of course we’ve got to do preparations, starting with low-level diplomatic talks, and it may not work, because Iran is a rogue regime.

[...]

MCCAIN: Look, Dr. Kissinger did not say that he would approve of face-to- face meetings between the president of the United States and the president — and Ahmadinejad. He did not say that.

OBAMA: Of course not.

MCCAIN: He said that there could be secretary-level and lower level meetings. I’ve always encouraged them. The Iranians have met with Ambassador Crocker in Baghdad.

What Senator Obama doesn’t seem to understand that if without precondition you sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a “stinking corpse,” and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize those comments. This is dangerous. It isn’t just naive; it’s dangerous. And so we just have a fundamental difference of opinion.

[...]

OBAMA: Look, I mean, Senator McCain keeps on using this example that suddenly the president would just meet with somebody without doing any preparation, without having low-level talks. Nobody’s been talking about that, and Senator McCain knows it. This is a mischaracterization of my position. When we talk about preconditions — and Henry Kissinger did say we should have contacts without preconditions — the idea is that we do not expect to solve every problem before we initiate talks.

[...]

MCCAIN: So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, “We’re going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth,” and we say, “No, you’re not”? Oh, please.

OBAMA: No, let me tell…

MCCAIN: By the way, my friend, Dr. Kissinger, who’s been my friend for 35 years, would be interested to hear this conversation and Senator Obama’s depiction of his — of his positions on the issue. I’ve known him for 35 years.

OBAMA: We will take a look.

Stephen Hayes got an on-the-record response from Kissinger:

Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.

So, Obama is a lying liarface, right? Well, no. He’s referring to widely reported comments Kissinger made at a forum on September 20th. Here’s what Kissinger actually said:

Well, I am in favor of negotiating with Iran. And one utility of negotiation is to put before Iran our vision of a Middle East, of a stable Middle East, and our notion on nuclear proliferation at a high enough level so that they have to study it. And, therefore, I actually have preferred doing it at the secretary of state level so that we — we know we’re dealing with authentic…

[...]

And I always believed that the best way to begin a negotiation is to tell the other side exactly what you have in mind and what you are — what the outcome is that you’re trying to achieve so that they have something that they can react to.

Now, the permanent members of the Security Council, plus Japan and Germany, have all said nuclear weapons in Iran are unacceptable. They’ve never explained what they mean by this. So if we go into a negotiation, we ought to have a clear understanding of what is it we’re trying to prevent. What is it going to do if we can’t achieve what we’re talking about?

But I do not believe that we can make conditions for the opening of negotiations. We ought, however, to be very clear about the content of negotiations and work it out with other countries and with our own government.

So, what’s the difference? Kissinger is talking about negotiations at the plenipotentiary level — Secretary of State and lower — not the presidential level. Presidents simply don’t show up for talks without preconditions with hostile heads of state.

What’s happened here is simple: Obama gave an off-the-cuff answer to a hypothetical question at a debate months ago. Rather than admitting that it was less than nuanced and that he’s clarified his position since then, he’s pretending that his initial description of his position — presidential level talks “without preconditions” — accurately reflects his current, more nuanced position.

In actuality, McCain and Obama have the exact same position on the issue and both agree with Kissinger. Yet they either don’t fully understand that fact or they’re pretending that minor differences in emphasis represent cosmic differences in worldviews.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. [...] understand that if without precondition you sit down across the table from someone who has called Israel a “stinking corpse,” and wants to destroy that country and wipe it off the map, you legitimize [...]

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  2. Bithead says:

    So, what’s the difference? Kissinger is talking about negotiations at the plenipotentiary level — Secretary of State and lower — not the presidential level. Presidents simply don’t show up for talks without preconditions with hostile heads of state.

    Quite.

    McCain won the first debate, not that it’s going to make much difference either way; first debates seldom do, on that level.

    Obama spent far too much time using the hackneyed crap like “worst since the great depression” and stuttering around as he always does without his teleprompter.

    Lerher suggesting that the economic situation bears on foreign policy strikes me as a rather convenient way to change the subject to something Obama can gain some points on in the early going… if a rather transparent way.

    One thing that may end up in the public eye for a while is the number of times Obama told everyone that McCain is correct, and that they agree on such and such. I doubt such things are going to make much difference among independents, and for Republicans it’ll end up being naught but a snicker point. But from the Democrat party base, I suspect Obama will be taking some heat.

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  3. Patrick T McGuire says:

    So, Obama is a lying liarface, right?

    Yes, although maybe not for the Kissinger remark. But there were other instances where Obama denied statements of the past or claimed he has “consistently said in the past” on issues where he has changed positions so many times no one is quite certain exactly what his position is anymore.

    Unless of course you are a master of nuanced speech, in which case Obama is a paragon of enlightenment.

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  4. brainy435 says:

    So Obama made a gaffe that exposed how unprepared he is to be president, but John McCain is wrong to point out that not only did he make that mistake, he’s refusing to admit he made a mistake and clarify his position? Isn’t that one of the democrats big criticisms of Bush?

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  5. Michael says:

    Lerher suggesting that the economic situation bears on foreign policy strikes me as a rather convenient way to change the subject to something Obama can gain some points on in the early going… if a rather transparent way.

    Yeah, I have no idea why Lerher decided to start talking about the economy. I guess he just wanted to throw the debate for Obama, and picked a random subject, that is completely disconnected from current events, that Obama is an expert on.

    I’m beginning to think you have a logic intolerance, Bithead.

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  6. Michael says:

    So Obama made a gaffe that exposed how unprepared he is to be president, but John McCain is wrong to point out that not only did he make that mistake, he’s refusing to admit he made a mistake and clarify his position?

    The problem is that McCain isn’t pointing that out, he’s attacking Obama like he believes that’s his actual position, which only gives Obama the opportunity to explain the nuances. This is an easy hit for McCain, but he’s bunting instead of swinging for the fence.

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  7. reliapundit says:

    hi jj – longtime…

    you CONCLUDED:

    “In actuality, McCain and Obama have the exact same position on the issue …”

    how can u be so sure!?!?!?!

    obama has never recanted or corrected or amplified his cnn-debate comments.

    like his surge-will-fail comments, obama tries to have his cake and it it too: instead of correcting HONESTLY he skims over his original CLEARLY STATED position — (“I AS POTUS WOULD MEET WITHOUT PRECONDITIONS…” and “THE SURGE WILL MAKE THINGS WORSE”) — and CHANGES his position.

    no intellectually honest person can reasonably argue what obama’s TRUE position is.

    the only reason he still enjoys so much support from the Democrat base is that they KNOW WHERE HE CAME FROM: the extreme left/ayers/wright/acorn/etc/et al…

    that’s why they don;t care if he flip-flops on guns, iraq withdrawal, campaign finance, abortion, etc.

    they FEEL that deep down he is still the fella who collaborated with ayers.

    THEY ARE CORRECT.

    and it is sad that – under the guise of centrism/moderation/reasonableness – you give him wiggle room.

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  8. SeeingIsBelieving says:

    Kissinger did say so:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4DwMGdWaDc

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  9. rodney dill says:

    Kissinger did say so:

    …and if you had been lucid when you posted you would’ve realized the transcript from the video, is already included and responded to in James original post. If you can’t read a post first you’re not going to have much credibility here.

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  10. Bithead says:

    I’m beginning to think you have a logic intolerance, Bithead.

    They went 40 minutes without once addressing foreign policy. Foreign policy is McCain’s strong suit. Gee, I can’t imagine why they’d let current events sway the topics off the advertised, huh?

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  11. anjin-san says:

    Does anyone know what preconditions there were for Nixon’s trip to China? Kissinger engaged in a lot of groundwork for the trip, but I do not recall China making any concessions before Nixon went.

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  12. Bithead says:

    So, you’ve been reading Musowitz, eh?
    Well, he’s wrong and so are you.

    Kissenger, in his book “Diplomacy”:

    ‘China was induced to rejoin the community of nations less by the prospect of dialogue with the United States than by fear of being attacked by its ostensible ally, the Soviet Union.’ Change came because the U.S. convinced Beijing it was in its interest to change. Then the president visited.”

    There was in fact 134 meetings of lower level types over an 18 month period which led up to the preliminary meeting in Warsaw… and seven more months of lower level negotiation again, before he went to Bejing.

    The only reason that any of that worked at all, was because the Sino-Soviet relationship was falling apart, which gave the US serious leverage, which was gradually applied over that period prior to the meeting. That allience also helped us to sterner negotiations with the Soviets, but that’s another matter.

    So, yes, there were quite a few preconditions set, Anjin. Muskowitz’ ummmm YOUR… faulty memory not withstanding.

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  13. Rick DeMent says:

    The whole thing revolved around the equivocations of the term preconditions. Bush had preconditions for talks with Iran, that they do A, B, and C,before talks would be initiated. Obama’s position is that he would not make talks contingent on any preconditions. Obama did make a gaff in the you tube debate by agreeing with the wording of the question and saying he would meet with the leaders on a summit level in the first year.

    McCain is seizing on that gaff to make Obama out to be rash, inexperienced whatever (as if no one could get just as pedantic about McCain’s many similar gaff’s). The thing is we are now clear on what Obama’s position is, that he would not have any preconditions to talks (the Kissinger position) and would engage in summit talks provided the necessary ground work was done (preparation).

    Now you can hold Obama to the precise wording of the gaff and claim that that is in fact his position and what he would do as president (which would be a mischaracterization given that he has clarified it). You can also criticize him for making the gaff in the first place.

    But at the end of the day it seems to me that McCain’s position that sitting down with these world leaders (or engaging in substantive talks at high levels) unless they have fulfilled some laundry list of demands is the wrong position. Period.

    Obama also mad the point, correctly, that Amadinajahd might not be the right person to even have summit talks with, and McCain should know that if he is the foreign policy genius he is being made out to believe.

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  14. anjin-san says:

    So, yes, there were quite a few preconditions set

    If you say so. I note that you did not actually cite a single one.

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  15. Bithead says:

    Mostly because it was from memory, since confirmed with a little Google work. You see, I was alive and aware, then.

    I note you didn’t bother looking into it at all before spouting, else you’d have found the resources as easily as I did. Afraid it might not fit your twisted worldview, possibly?

    Tell you what; We can start right with this blog, from last May:

    After that, there was no going back. So he doubled down. What started as a gaffe became policy. By now, it has become doctrine. Yet it remains today what it was on the day he blurted it out: an absurdity.

    Should the president ever meet with enemies? Sometimes, but only after minimal American objectives — i.e. preconditions — have been met. The Shanghai communique was largely written long before Richard Nixon ever touched down in China. Yet Obama thinks Nixon to China confirms the wisdom of his willingness to undertake a worldwide freshman-year tyrants tour.

    Game, set, match.

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  16. anjin-san says:

    Ummmm Bit, have you had your morning coffee yet? The word “precondition” does not appear in the passage you cite from Kissinger’s book. Basically, he is saying there were meetings, many meetings before Nixon went to China.

    There is a vague statement about the US convincing China it needed to change before Nixon went. Exactly what preconditions did they agree to? What concessions? Were political prisoners released? Which ones? Restrictions on human rights violations eased? Did they recognize Taiwan’s right to exist? Did Mao share he recipe for Peking Duck?

    You can as easily argue that China successfully played the American card against the Soviet Union without granting a single concession to the US.

    Your mastery of cut & paste is impressive, but you actually have to be able to produce a reasonable analysis of the material at hand.

    And citing Kissinger is an iffy proposition, at best. He is hardly an objective observer of events. Kissenger is driven by the desire to have his legacy shaped to his own liking. You just got a “D” on your poli-sci paper.

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  17. anjin-san says:

    Ahh, I see what you mean Bit. From Wikipedia’s article on the Shanghai Communiqué, it does appear that China gained at least some concession from Nixon prior to the meeting, with Nixon agreeing to cut back on US military presence on Taiwan. So there were indeed preconditions.

    Now I am not big on citing Wikipedia, but I have things to do today.

    Regarding the political status of Taiwan, in the communiqué the United States acknowledged the One-China policy (but did not endorse the PRC’s version of the policy) and agreed to cut back military installations on Taiwan.

    You see, I was alive and aware, then

    Yes, and apparently just as confused then as you are today…

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  18. anjin-san says:

    Game, set, match.

    Hey, you declared yourself winner. Thought that was McCain’s trick…

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  19. Bithead says:

    Ummmm Bit, have you had your morning coffee yet? The word “precondition” does not appear in the passage you cite from Kissinger’s book.

    Perhaps it would help, were you to actually read the book, as I have. But tell me, Mr. Logic; what on earth would all those meetings have accomplished, save for a set of preconditions? You will do anything you can to dance around the only possible conclusion, won’t you?

    Let’s get real, here, if you’re able.

    Nixon’s Meeting With Mao Zedong Was Preceded By Extensive Diplomatic Work. “On Monday, [Obama] said it was a show of confidence when American leaders meet with rivals; he insisted he was merely doing what Richard Nixon did by going to China. I recommend that he read Henry Kissinger’s book, ‘The White House Years.’ Mr. Obama would learn it took 134 private meetings between U.S. and Chinese diplomats before a breakthrough at a Jan. 20, 1970 meeting in Warsaw. It took 18 months of behind-the-scenes discussions before Mr. Kissinger secretly visited Beijing. And it took seven more months of hard work before Nixon went to China. The result was a new relationship, announced in a communique worked out over months of careful diplomacy.” (Karl Rove, Op-Ed, “Obama’s Troubling Instincts,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/22/08)

    -=-

    Nixon Did Not Go To China Until It Was Clear That The U.S. Had Created An Opportunity For A Successful Meeting. “The Chinese didn’t change because of a presidential visit. In another book, ‘Diplomacy,’ Mr. Kissinger writes that ‘China was induced to rejoin the community of nations less by the prospect of dialogue with the United States than by fear of being attacked by its ostensible ally, the Soviet Union.’ Change came because the U.S. convinced Beijing it was in its interest to change. Then the president visited.” (Karl Rove, Op-Ed, “Obama’s Troubling Instincts,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/22/08)

    -=-

    Nixon Waited Until The U.S. Had Leverage Before He Met With Mao Zedong. “Nixon also recognized the Sino-Soviet Communist alliance was cracking, and we could exploit it by being China’s great power counterweight to the Soviet Union. The threat of a loose Sino-American alliance gave us the leverage we needed to get the Soviets to the negotiating table on arms control. Nixon met with Mao Zedong only after he had the leverage needed to negotiate.” (K.T. McFarland, Op-Ed, “Obama Needs A Quick Refresher Course In Cold War History,” [New York] Daily News, 5/21/08)

    -=-
    Now, to top THAT off… He’s not even sure what he’s going to demand…

    Obama Seems Unsure Of What He Would Demand From Foreign Leaders Before He Met With Them. “Now, Obama says that preparations would, of course, be necessary, and his campaign talks about these nations’ leaders having to meet benchmarks before sitting down with him. He likely has a nuanced exegesis of the difference between preconditions and preparation and benchmarks, but the latter two sure seem like preconditions, and this sure seems like a case of being for preconditions before you were against them.” (David Reinhard, Op-Ed, “Nuance Or Confusion?” The Oregonian, 5/22/08)

    * Obama’s Advisers Have Misrepresented His Position. “Team Obama isn’t even clear what its own candidate favors. Obama adviser Susan Rice told CNN that Obama never said he’d meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of Israel-is-a-stinking-corpse-and-must-be-wiped-off-the-map fame. He only said he’d meet with the appropriate Iranian leaders. An odd response in and of itself, but no sooner had she spoken then around came the YouTube video of Obama telling reporters last fall that he would meet with … Ahmadinejad.” (David Reinhard, Op-Ed, “Nuance Or Confusion?” The Oregonian, 5/22/08)

    Oh… and let you try and invoke JFK as Obama has;

    “If Barack Obama Wants To Follow In Kennedy’s Footsteps, He Should Heed The Lesson That Kennedy Learned In His First Year In Office: Sometimes There Is Good Reason To Fear To Negotiate.” (Nathan Thrall and Jesse James Wilkins, Op-Ed, “Kennedy Talked, Khrushchev Triumphed,” The New York Times, 5/22/08)

    Kennedy’s Meeting With Khrushchev In 1961 Was “One Of The More Self-Destructive American Actions Of The Cold War.” “But Kennedy’s one presidential meeting with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, suggests that there are legitimate reasons to fear negotiating with one’s adversaries. Although Kennedy was keenly aware of some of the risks of such meetings — his Harvard thesis was titled ‘Appeasement at Munich’ — he embarked on a summit meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961, a move that would be recorded as one of the more self-destructive American actions of the cold war, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.” (Nathan Thrall and Jesse James Wilkins, Op-Ed, “Kennedy Talked, Khrushchev Triumphed,” The New York Times, 5/22/08)

    “Kennedy’s Weak Performance In Vienna Prompted The Soviet Decision To Put Missiles In Cuba.” “‘In trying to talk his way out of his position, Obama’s only made matters worse for himself. It began last week when he cited John F. Kennedy’s sit-down with Nikita Khrushchev as a precedent: ‘When Kennedy met with Khrushchev,’ he said, ‘we were on the brink of nuclear war.’ Uh, no, Senator, the brink of nuclear war came in the Cuban missile crisis more than a year later. In fact, Kennedy’s weak performance in Vienna prompted the Soviet decision to put missiles in Cuba, which brought us to the brink of nuclear war.” (David Reinhard, Op-Ed, “Nuance Or Confusion?” The Oregonian, 5/22/08)

    Hey, you declared yourself winner.

    No. The facts do that. I merely observe. Not that beating up on you is any great shakes.

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  20. Michael says:

    I can’t imagine why they’d let current events sway the topics off the advertised

    See, that’s the part that makes me question you sanity.

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  21. Bithead says:

    So the whole concept of sarcasm has passed you by?

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  22. anjin-san says:

    Bit I notice that after much sound and fury, signifying nothing, you have still not shown a precondition that Nixon obtained from China before the meeting.

    Clearly China obtained a concession from the US (US-Taiwan presence reductions) but I am not seeing what we got from them in return. Can you share one clear precondition Nixon extracted from China prior to his trip, pretty please?

    You can argue that Nixon gained geopolitical leverage vis-a-vie the Soviet Union, and that argument would have some legitimacy, but that is not the subject at hand now, is it?

    Now Bit, I am not saying you are a total doofus (oh hell, lets be honest, yes I am), but all you have done is imply that with all those meetings, there MUST have been preconditions. Yet you have not, even with extensive use of cutting edge cut and paste technology, cited a single one.

    My original question about preconditions was an honest one, not a snark. There may have been preconditions. I was in 7th grade when Nixon went to China, and though I was pretty interested in world affairs then, I simple do not know the answer. I was hoping for an informed response to my question from someone. I am still hoping…

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  23. anjin-san says:

    So the whole concept of sarcasm has passed you by?

    Bit you are not trying to be clever are you? That’s like going to a knife fight armed with a pair of horn-rimmed glasses…

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  24. Grewgills says:

    Bit,
    What were the specific preconditions for Nixon to speak to Mao? Is it your contention that the existence of prior lower level meetings were the precondition or that there were other preconditions that China met? If there were other preconditions, what were they?
    Recognizing that the Soviets were a threat to China and low level talks are all you have mentioned. We have already had lower level meetings with the Iranians and we would have more prior to the next president meeting with Iranian leaders. This has already been made clear. We and Iran both recognize the threat of Al Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups (in place of the Soviets). So it appears we have met similar preconditions for talks with Iran as Nixon had for talks with Mao. That is unless you have evidence of more actual preconditions for Nixon’s talks.

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  25. Bithead says:

    Bit I notice that after much sound and fury, signifying nothing, you have still not shown a precondition that Nixon obtained from China before the meeting.

    You will do ANYTHING to deny reality. You have yet to do any research on this, else you’d have found several references to them. Precondition for leftism, one supposes.

    Again I ask; what do you suppose they were doing all those prelim meetings for? Because the guys at State liked Chinese food?

    Well, OK, here’s a clue… The date is significant.

    Byu 1967, however, Nixon had found a way to overcome this while he began to shift the predonditions for better relations with China away from Chinese behavior in general, and toward the ending of the Vietnam war in particular. In March of 1976, he told ROmanian Communist Party SecrataryCeapescu that once the war was over, Washngton could establish ‘effective communications’ and ‘take steps to normal relations’with Bejing.

    I’d advise reading several pages beyond the quote, for a fuller picture.

    That is, if you ever want to admit to yourself how wrong you are on all this.

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  26. Bithead says:

    Is it your contention that the existence of prior lower level meetings were the precondition or that there were other preconditions that China met?

    Obviously, the latter. I’ve laid out one; there were several others, including Taiwan.

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  27. anjin-san says:

    Well you have successfully cited the use of the word “precondition”, now all you have to do is produce an actual precondition, not a vague fog of words.

    That is, if you ever want to admit to yourself how wrong you are on all this

    Exactly what am I wrong about? I have never claimed there were no preconditions, I have been very clear that I asked the question because I do not know the answer.

    Bit, really dude, end this. Just cite one clear precondition to Nixon’s meeting from a legitimate source (this excludes interested parties}. We know there were a lot of preliminary meetings. We know Chinese food was somehow involved. What we do not, at this point know, is a single precondition that Nixon obtained. You have proved Mao successfully obtained one form Nixon. So far it is Mao 1, Nixon 0. It this your argument??

    Now Bit, I know that you are thinking “Dammit, Clark Kent wore horn-rimmed glasses!” But then he could bend steel in his bare hands, and that is a game changer…

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  28. Bithead says:

    Bit you are not trying to be clever are you? That’s like going to a knife fight armed with a pair of horn-rimmed glasses…

    Some people require rather sterner weapons to take out. You are not among them.

    Exactly what am I wrong about?

    About everything past “Bithead”.

    Getting you to actually read cites that defeat your argument seems an impossibility.

    You’re no longer worth my time.

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  29. anjin-san says:

    Getting you to actually read cites that defeat your argument seems an impossibility.

    Bit, put down the crack pipe. I have not made an argument for you to defeat.

    I simply asked if anyone could cite what preconditions Nixon got before he went to China. Thus far, you have cited none, just said that they must be there somewhere.

    You should consider leaving the bubble universe you inhabit and joining the rest of us here on Earth…

    Some people require rather sterner weapons to take out. You are not among them.

    Thank you for proving my point about your clever deficit :)

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  30. anjin-san says:

    About everything past “Bithead”.

    Hmmm, a wee bit light on specifics you are. Perhaps you should become a Palin speechwriter.

    It’s cool dude. We understand that the self-destruction of the McCain/Palin ticket is taking its toll.

    Bogart always had Paris. You will always have Palin’s swimsuit video…

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  31. anjin-san says:

    You’re no longer worth my time.

    Really? Is “Greatest NASCAR Moments” on?

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  32. Michael says:

    Really? Is “Greatest NASCAR Moments” on?

    Ha! I love this analogy because you and Bithead are going around in circles in a race to get to someplace you’ve passed by dozens of times already, that’s just brilliant Anjin-san!

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  33. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Bit, Anjin is an idiot. He cannot argue facts so he tries to pick apart your statement, looking for anything to fault. Henry Kissenger came on television to say Obama misstated his position. Fact Check be damned. When the person you quoted says your are wrong, on people with the IQ of Anjin believe the party of the first part. Obama lied several times during the debate. He is a thug. Look what he tried to pull in Missouri.

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  34. anjin-san says:

    that’s just brilliant Anjin-san!

    I do what I can :)

    Give me a sanity check. Did he actually provide a citation of a precondition? All I saw was rings of smoke through the trees…

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  35. Bithead says:

    Bit, Anjin is an idiot.

    Point taken.

    When the person you quoted says your are wrong, on people with the IQ of Anjin believe the party of the first part.

    LOL….

    Henry Kissenger came on television to say Obama misstated his position.

    Yeah, funny how that stuff just slips his mind.

    Experiment:

    Hey, Anjin; The sky is blue.

    Give me a sanity check. Did he actually provide a citation of a precondition? All I saw was rings of smoke through the trees..

    No doubt. Which means, of course, you never actually read the link. Gee… big shock.

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  36. Beldar says:

    Dr. Joyner wrote:

    Rather than admitting that it was less than nuanced and that he’s clarified his position since then, he’s pretending that his initial description of his position -— presidential level talks “without preconditions” -— accurately reflects his current, more nuanced position.

    He hasn’t clarified his position since then. He’s changed it, and now he’s muddling the entire issue — by deliberately refusing to recognize the distinction between POTUS-level discussions and lower-level discussions — in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that his initial position was exactly what Biden and Clinton said it was, i.e., ridiculous and naive.

    This isn’t about becoming “more nuanced,” no more than a dog fouling a carpet is about “spreading air freshener.” This is about being dead wrong — dangerously naive on a critical point, with the same sort of naivety that brought the world the closest it’s ever been to nuclear annihilation (between the Vienna Summit and Cuban Missile Crisis) — and then lying to conceal that blunder and subsequent change in substantive position (if there has been a substantive change in position, which I don’t think is nearly so clear as you do).

    You’re been way, way too charitable to Sen. Obama on this.

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  37. Michael says:

    Give me a sanity check. Did he actually provide a citation of a precondition? All I saw was rings of smoke through the trees…

    Kind of. The problem is that the preconditions Kissinger got from China are nothing like the preconditions that people are insisting we get from Iran.

    My question to Bithead would be, if Iran agreed that change and closer relations to the US is in their interest, like Kissinger got from China, but still reserved the right to keep it’s nuclear program, and still refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist as an independent nation, would that be enough of a precondition?

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  38. anjin-san says:

    Henry Kissinger came on television to say Obama misstated his position.

    So what? Kissinger is a McCain shill.

    No doubt. Which means, of course, you never actually read the link.

    Actually, I did. I just did not feel it supported your position.

    Bit, I am not asking you to split the atom. Just name one precondition that Nixon got from China. Don’t dance, don’t shuck and jive. Here, I will show you how it is done. Here is one precondition China got from Nixon:

    1. The US agreed to reduce its military presence in Taiwan as a precondition.

    See, easy. Can you preform this simple task? Signs point to no.

    You’re no longer worth my time.

    Promises, promises.

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  39. rodney dill says:

    Good work Bithead, but you’re doing all the work in trying to push a rope. I’ll bet there is no easy public access to all the content of preliminary Nixon meeting, but the fact that they existed and were held were themselves a precondition to the meeting. Preconditions don’t necessarily imply concessions, a point that too many are grabbing onto. (though maybe concessions would be wanted in the Iran situation).

    Anjin is just here to spread FUDs and its not worth your efforts to respond to him. If I were in involved with the inner workings of the DNC I would assign 1 or 2 Anjin’s each to monitor several rightwing blogs and keep the discussions from being any meaningful dialog. Anjin has been here long enough that he is just doing this freelance. I gave up responding directly to Anjin a couple of years ago when LJD (not sure if he’s around here much anymore) found Anjin arguing in circles and just throwing out baseless attacks on Bush. It is entertaining to watch, but it serves no purpose to respond to him.

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  40. anjin-san says:

    I gave up responding directly to Anjin a couple of years ago

    A harsh punishment indeed :)

    Actually, I have come to the conclusion that Bit is correct, just not in the way he thinks he is.

    China obtained concrete concessions from Nixon in regard to Taiwan. In exchange, Mao made nebulous promises to be nicer in the future.

    China obtained an opening that has allowed them to move from being an agrarian nation that had trouble feeding itself, to where it is today, within shouting distance of being a superpower. (Just look at how much of our economy is in thier back pocket) Looks a bit like Kissenger and Nixon were out negotiated.

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  41. anjin-san says:

    I’ll bet there is no easy public access to all the content of preliminary Nixon meeting, but the fact that they existed and were held were themselves precondition to the meeting. Preconditions don’t necessarily imply concessions

    Sounds like Rodney just agreed with Obama’s position.

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  42. Bithead says:

    My question to Bithead would be, if Iran agreed that change and closer relations to the US is in their interest, like Kissinger got from China, but still reserved the right to keep it’s nuclear program, and still refused to recognize the right of Israel to exist as an independent nation, would that be enough of a precondition?

    Of course not. Is there a point, here?

    I’ll bet there is no easy public access to all the content of preliminary Nixon meeting, but the fact that they existed and were held were themselves a precondition to the meeting. Preconditions don’t necessarily imply concessions, a point that too many are grabbing onto. (though maybe concessions would be wanted in the Iran situation).

    Well, as I’ve suggested, and in my reading of the matter over the years, Nixon managed to push back China’s aggression against Taiwan another 20-25 years. Alas, we dropped the ball on that after Nixon got done. Clinton’s Wal-Mart diplomacy, for example.

    Anjin is just here to spread FUDs and its not worth your efforts to respond to him.

    So I determined, as you may have noticed. Still, this stuff has to bbe stood up against when it shows up. Example:

    China obtained concrete concessions from Nixon in regard to Taiwan.

    (Chuckle) Isn’t that the very nature of negotiation, that each side gets a little bit?

    Oh, and lest we forget, our own left, of which you are decidedly one, Anjin, was pushing for our withdrawal, there, and Nixon had political considerations at home on that point.

    If I were in involved with the inner workings of the DNC I would assign 1 or 2 Anjin’s each to monitor several rightwing blogs and keep the discussions from being any meaningful dialog.

    Well, sure. That’s been the point all along, of course. The creation of confusion is a great political tool, as I think it was Stalin used to say. (Or was it Nietzsche?)

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  43. anjin-san says:

    China obtained concrete concessions from Nixon in regard to Taiwan.

    (Chuckle) Isn’t that the very nature of negotiation, that each side gets a little bit?

    Yup. ‘Cept it looks like we gave concrete and got fog in return.

    China’s aggression against Taiwan

    A bit of a reach. China did not, and does not want a air/naval battle with the US that they will lose. Of course after 8 years of Bush, it is going to be increasingly difficult for us to maintain military superiority. Its difficult to support carrier battle groups, much less build new ones, when you are running out of money.

    Hint, China thinks long term…

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  44. Michael says:

    Of course not. Is there a point, here?

    Only that while you defend Nixon’s trip to China as having “preconditions”, you would attack Obama from meeting with Iran even if he obtained the exact same level of “preconditions”.

    So your argument isn’t about the conditions of Obama’s meeting, but rather specifically with the target of the meeting being Iran. You have a double standard, which I’m not saying is bad, just that everybody else needs to realize that while trying to make sense of what you are claiming.

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  45. anjin-san says:

    Only that while you defend Nixon’s trip to China as having “preconditions”, you would attack Obama from meeting with Iran even if he obtained the exact same level of “preconditions”.

    That’s the same take-away I am getting…

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  46. Michael says:

    That’s the same take-away I am getting…

    Again, though, it’s not a bad thing. Every country is different, our relationships with them are different, and our interests compared to theirs are different. Bithead is right to expect different conditions for a talk with Iran than he excepts for China.

    The problem was that he wasn’t making that clear, and you were arguing under the assumption that his use of the term “precondition” meant the same thing in both instances.

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  47. anjin-san says:

    One thing we will have to keep in mind with Iran is that obtaining preconditions or a pre-summit memorandum of understanding, or whatever one wishes to call it is that simply unilaterally dictating conditions to Iran and then expecting them to acquiesce is not dialog or diplomacy, it is simply being rock-headed.

    We have done enough of that under Bush.

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  48. Bithead says:

    Only that while you defend Nixon’s trip to China as having “preconditions”, you would attack Obama from meeting with Iran even if he obtained the exact same level of “preconditions”

    .

    So, Iran has stopped calling for the Destruction of Israel and I didn’t know? Possible, but rather unlikely.

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  49. anjin-san says:

    So, Iran has stopped calling for the Destruction of Israel and I didn’t know?

    Did Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad call for Israel to be ‘wiped off the face of the map? Here is Juan Cole’s take. His column is called “Informed Comment” so I doubt Chuckels reads it.

    As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for ‘this occupation regime over Jerusalem” to “vanish from the page of time.’ Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed. (Wampum has more; as does the American Street).

    If Ahmadinejad is a genocidal maniac who just wants to kill Jews, then why are there 20,000 Jews in Iran with a member of parliament in Tehran? Couldn’t he start at home if that was what he is really about?

    I was talking to two otherwise well-informed Israeli historians a couple of weeks ago, and they expressed the conviction that Ahmadinejad had threatened to nuke Israel. I was taken aback. First of all, Iran doesn’t have a nuke. Second, there is no proof that Iran even has a nuclear weapons program. Third, Ahmadinejad has denied wanting a bomb. Fourth, Ahmadinejad has never threatened any sort of direct Iranian military action against Israel. In other words, that is a pretty dramatic fear for educated persons to feel, on the basis of . . . nothing.

    I renew my call to readers to write protest letters to newspapers and other media every time they hear it alleged that Ahmadinejad (or “Iran”!) has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map.” There is no such idiom in Persian and it is not what he said, and the mistranslation gives entirely the wrong impression. Wars can start over bad translations.

    It was apparently some Western wire service that mistranslated the phrase as ‘wipe Israel off the map’, which sounds rather more violent than calling for regime change. Since then, Iranian media working in English have themselves depended on that translation. One of the tricks of Right-Zionist propagandists is to substitute these English texts for Ahmadinejad’s own Persian text. (Ethan Bronner at the New York Times tried to pull this, and more recently Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute.)

    But good scholarship requires that you go to the original Persian text in search of the meaning of a phrase. Bronner and Rubin are guilty disregarding philological scholarship in favor of mere propagandizing.

    http://www.juancole.com/2007/06/ahmadinejad-i-am-not-anti-semitic.html

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  50. anjin-san says:

    Now I regard Cole as a pretty serious guy. If there is someone of similar reputation (that means no Hitchings) with an opposing view, I would be interested to take a look…

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  51. Bithead says:

    10/27/05

    TEHRAN: Iran’s conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesdaythat Israel must be “wiped off the map” and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.

    Ahmadinejad was speaking to an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called “The World Without Zionism,” in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

    His tone was reminiscent of that of the early days of Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979. Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies since then, and anti-Israel slogans have been common at rallies.

    Senior officials had avoided provocative language over the past decade, butAhmadinejad appears to be taking a more confrontational tone than Iranian leaders have in recent years.

    Argue abot the translation if you will, but the intent seems fairly clear, particularly when he continues to make comments of the sort:

    2-11-06;WND

    Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today echoed his earlier threats to “wipe Israel off the map” by telling a mass demonstration in Tehran, commemorating the 27th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, that Palestinians and “other nations” will remove Israel from the region, adding a warning to the West that harsh measures against the nation’s nuclear program would result in Iran walking away from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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