Williams Confronts Kristol: ‘You Just Want War, War, War’ (Video, Transcript)

Juan Williams had a rather angry response on yesterday’s Fox News Sunday to Bill Kristol’s suggestion that U.S. weakness on Iran is behind the current mess in the Middle East. Think Progress has the transcript:

Well, it just seems to me that you want…you just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East, where I think there’s a real interesting dynamic at play. I think it’s psychological on the part of Israel and many of its supporters, and I’ll throw you in here. Somehow you see Israel as weak, and you see Ehud Olmert as weak . . . . And the defense minister as weak. Everybody is weak in the aftermath of Sharon, and so everybody has to prove what a man they are in the Middle East, including — you’re saying, why doesn’t the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been, we don’t talk to anybody. We don’t talk to Hamas. We don’t talk to Hezbollah. We’re not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?

Here’s the video:

VIDEO Williams Confronts Kristol: 'You Just Want War, War, War'

Of course, it’s not clear that negotiating with the terrorists gives us anything other than more terrorism, either. I’m more inclined to Williams’ position than Kristol’s on this one, though. Surely, backing Israel’s play in a wider Middle East war would not serve American interests.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Whatever else might be said, James, Krystol does at least have history on his side. Wherever there is but a flare up in the Middle East it is usually because we have not responded in forceful tones and actions to the kind of violence that is invariably attached to fundamentalist Muslims, and their regimes.

    Carter and Iran, as one example.

  2. LJD says:

    Where did ‘talking’ get us with North Korea, or Saddam? Would talking help change Iran’s mind (or Hamas or Hezbollah) about the destruction of Israel? Should we be talking to Al Qadea? This ‘talking’ thing has merit where there is hope for peace. Unfortunately, when you have forces bent on our destruction, it just seems to be a fool’s errand, giving the enemy the time they need to coordinate their next attack.

    Surely, backing Israelâ??s play in a wider Middle East war would not serve American interests.

    Nothing about a wider ME war would ‘serve our interests’. So alternatives being…what? If Israel is attacked by Syria or Iran, we’re in. I
    don’t think either of the two would be able to restrain themselves from some sort of a first strike on our assets in Afghanistan or Iraq. Of course, it would be masked under the guise of ‘terror’ and probably very difficult to make a direct connection to either.

    This is a big freaking mess. I would love to see it play out with diplomacy, but decades of failure have gotten us where we are. Avoiding war solely for peace can only be a temporary measure, making the eventual clash that much more ugly.

  3. Somehow Juan always manages to make it our fault, in this case because we won’t talk to Iran, Hamas and Hizbollah. How about asking Juan where there actions have gotten them?

    I know you aren’t going to lose much sleep over this, but you’re losing me on this James.

  4. Anderson says:

    Is this the wimpy little Juan Williams from NPR? What got into him?

    His typical approach on NPR is “well, the President’s doing this, and here’s what the Republicans think,” and then I guess there’s not time to hear from any other political party that might hold a few seats in the Congress.

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    Wherever there is but a flare up in the Middle East it is usually because we have not responded in forceful tones and actions to the kind of violence that is invariably attached to fundamentalist Muslims, and their regimes.

    To be fair, though, there is ALSO usually a flare up in the Middle East because we DID respond in forceful tones and actions to the kind of violence that is invariably attached to fundamentalist Muslims, and thier regimes.

    See e.g. Clinton and Iraq, Bush in Afghanistan, and Bush in Iraq.

    The thing is, the crazy Fundamentalist Muslims we’re fighting WANT a war with the West. So they attack when we show weakness (“The U.S. is a paper tiger!”), and also attack when we’re forceful (“See? The U.S. is the Great Satan!”).

    Since the crazy Fundmaentalists are going to want war no matter what, U.S. foreign policy should be geared towards (a) deterring terrorist activities, (b) diminishing terrorist attack capabilities, and (c) preventing the recruitment of new terrorists.

    Sometimes, accomplishing goals a, b, and c will involve the use of force. Other times it does not. So to simply assume that the correct answer is ALWAYS force or ALWAYS not using force is overly simplistic at best, dangerously naive at worst.

  6. “Surely”?

    It must be nice to be so sure.

    I “surely” don’t see any way in which not backing Israel in this context would serve our interests.

  7. Stevely says:

    It’s always refreshing to get the Romper Room take on International Relations… thanks Juan!

  8. Herb says:

    I have watched Juan Williams many times on Fox and can say to everyone that Williams is but another Bush Hating, Sore Losing, and Hateful Democrat that does not have the ability or the smarts to “Get Over It”

    Juan Williams is a Dis-credit to Fox.

  9. Bithead says:

    To be fair, though, there is ALSO usually a flare up in the Middle East because we DID respond in forceful tones and actions to the kind of violence that is invariably attached to fundamentalist Muslims, and thier regimes.

    See e.g. Clinton and Iraq, Bush in Afghanistan, and Bush in Iraq.

    Certainly, that’s the excuse that they give. However a look at the depth of conflict that occurs after a major upsetting of their plans, gives us an indication as to what the reality is.

    Example; Moammar Khadafy. drop a bomb on a his tent, and he suddenly very quiet for quite awhile. And certainly more pliable the next, conflict times up. You may recall this last go round he actually gave up his weapons without a shot being fired.

    On the other hand, getting a bunch of nitwits together to make political discussion over it in that obscene group in Turtle Bay, Pretty much guarantees that you’re going to have Lockerbie happening, along with added threats and posturing.

    There’s a lesson there.

    The thing is, the crazy Fundamentalist Muslims we�re fighting WANT a war with the West. So they attack when we show weakness (�The U.S. is a paper tiger!�), and also attack when we�re forceful (�See? The U.S. is the Great Satan!�).

    Just so.
    So then, the deal becomes, that we should do the right thing and just set our minds to the fact that they’re gonna bitch about us either way.

    I have often said that the worst thing that one could do is to give a Liberal precisely what they’re demanding. What they’re demanding, if they actually get it, usually proves the most destructive to their own ends. As an extension to this, I submit that that is also true for radical Muslims.

    They want war? Fine. The best thing that we can possibly do the most destructive to their aims is give them precisely what they want. Only, we should have the courage to follow through with that war and finish the job we start. This is precisely why of objective is loud as I have to the calls for cutting and running.

    (As an aside, I also suggest that it’s not mere coincidence that both the liberals here in the U.S. and the Muslims over there in the middle east are arguing from the same side of the street these days. )