Iran Quote of the Day

Tim Swanson, May 20, 2008

Who said the following:

Here’s the truth: the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, and Iran doesn’t have a single one. But when the world was on the brink of nuclear holocaust, Kennedy talked to Khrushchev and he got those missiles out of Cuba. Why shouldn’t we have the same courage and the confidence to talk to our enemies? That’s what strong countries do, that’s what strong presidents do, that’s what I’ll do when I’m president of the United States of America.

If you guessed Ron Paul you would be wrong.

The correct answer is Obama. Despite the fact that strict non-interventionists like Paul have stated similar statements over the past several months (decades even), it is not until the “credible” frontrunner says it that it becomes a widely-cited talking point.

A quick Google search finds that Paul stated something very similar more than 6 years ago:

Even at the height of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union had missiles pointed at us from 90 miles away in Cuba, we solved the dispute through dialogue and diplomacy. Why is it, in this post Cold War era, that the United States seems to turn first to the military to solve its foreign policy problems? Is diplomacy dead?

In fact, Ron Paul has said similar statements many times. Back on November 11, 2007 Paul was interviewed on Face the Nation and he said:

I fear our policy towards Iran is a threat. [...] We [should] have a more sensible policy, we talk to them and trade with them. We remove the sanctions. I mean, the Soviets had 40,000 of them. I was called up for military duty in 1962 during the Cuban crisis. The height of the Cold War and we won the Cold War, we didn’t have to go a nuclear war. We won that by being strong by talking to the Soviets, we talked to Khrushchev. We have a lot more than Iran, Iran has none.

In March of 2006, Neil Cavuto interviewed Paul about this issue asking: Would our national security be threatened if Iran had the bomb?

Paul replied: “Could it be any worse than 30,000 nuclear missiles faced us down in the Cold War against the Soviets. Did we feel like we had to have regime change in the Cold War? Did we use containment and we can’t contain Iran?”

In the September 2007 debate hosted by Fox, moderator Brit Hume asked the candidates about a hypothetical situation involving an uncooperative, nuclear capable Iran.

Paul replied: “Thinking back to the 1960s when I was in the Air Force for 5 years and there was a Cold War going on and the Soviet’s 40,000 and we stood them down and we didn’t have to have a confrontation. We should back off. We should be talking to Iran right now. We shouldn’t be looking for the opportunity to attack them.”

In a post-debate interview with Bill O’Reilly regarding Iran, Ron Paul literally says many of the same things, including “How come we got through the Cold War when the Soviets had 40,000 of them?”

In November 2007 in an interview with CNN he is asked about a hypothetical situation in which Iran has nuclear weapons.

Paul replied: “I prefer them not to. I think if we have different foreign policy they wouldn’t have an incentive. But if they did, I wouldn’t do much about it — I wouldn’t bomb them. They are third rate nation. They are incapable of attacking their neighbors.”

These quotes are from just a cursory perusal of the large archive that can be found on YouTube (ron paul + iran).

I am not suggesting that Obama’s speech writer plagiarized but given that Paul has said the same thing for years one has to wonder if by sheer accident they caught a glimpse of the Paulian talking point and thought it made a lot of sense.

It sure is the sincerest form of flattery.

38 Responses to “Iran Quote of the Day”

  1. The “silent treatment” policy usually is reserved for countries that are not a threat at all. It’s a way of saying “You are pygmies, you are not in our league, we can swat you like a fly. You, sit at the same table as us? Never!”

    Thus, they spoke to Khrushchev because they could not claim that his country was not a threat and not in their league…

    So which is it? Is Iran such a threat as they say, meaning that they should talk to Iran? Or is Iran no threat at all and thus we should not worry about it?

  2. This is a wonderfully perceptive and well-researched bit of political insight.

    And it also shows why, despite the fact that Obama has sullied himself a bit in kowtowing to the Israel-first crowd, there is still significant reason for antiwar voters to prefer him to the other two “major candidates”. One can’t imagine Hillary making (or borrowing from Ron Paul) this argument in favor of talking to Iran. She never deviates from the robotically predictable, AIPAC-approved line on Iran.

    Maybe it’s only because Obama’s newer to the game, but so far at last, the Israel lobby has not succeeded in extinguishing all vestiges of his humanity, the way they pretty much have succeeded with Hillary.

  3. Obama was going nowhere until he started using a modified Ron Paul approach to foreign policy. I believe it will get him to the white House.

  4. The difference is that everyone knows Ron Paul means what he says. The wars would end. The troops would indeed come home. The empire would be dismantled. He’d roll up the tent on our surveillance state. We might even stave off economic calamity.

    Obama? Does anyone really believe that he’d immediately do any of these things? Would he establish diplomatic relations and end trade sanctions with Iran? Cuba? North Korea?

    There’s little war profiteering to be had in a country that minds its own business. Boeing and Halliburton might have to make things people actually want. Horrors!

    And Israel would have to deal with its neighbors in a mutually beneficial way. Heaven forbid that we see a legitimate truce in the region.

  5. I know, I know. But at this point, I’d be pathetically grateful if we could only go back to the pre-Dubya, bad-but-less-destructive degree of liberventionism and pandering to the Israel lobby.

    When it comes to pro-Israel militarism, Bush and McCain (and Hillary) make Obama look like sweet reason in the flesh.

  6. What a terible shame the American people didn’t support Ron Paul.

  7. The reason the American people didn’t support Ron Paul was because he didn’t fit their idea of what a president should “look” and “speak” like.

    The man is himself. He always has been. It’s the country’s loss that the people are so smitten by macho, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue to pick the ideal person for president.

    This is not “The Bachelor” TV show, this is the future of our country. We need to stop looking at the wrong characteristics in those running for office.

  8. Truths from paulite above.

  9. He may have talked to the Soviets but it was from a position of strength Kennedy instituted a full scale naval blockade of the entire island of Cuba, had plans drawn up to bomb the silos if necessary, and placed all US military forces on their highest state of alert.

    Kennedy was a democrat but he was not a chump, a wimp, and a panzy like Mr. Obama. Mr. Obama does not have the same kind of guts and grit that Kennedy did. Sadly, niether do most of today’s democrats.

  10. So, you’re a panzy, a wimp and a chump if you don’t sing, “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran ” like your infantile, ignorant, jingo-istic Israel-First, America-last candidate..McCain; the candidate of the “defense” industry and the war profiteers ( like the vicious mercenaries at Blackwater ) and the scripturally ignorant, presumptuous Armageddonite evangelicals??
    McCain is so bad he makes the case for Obama. Elitist? He was the guy who went to Mich. and told the unemployed that their jobs aren’t coming back, but hey he’s got a plan to slightly subsidize their incomes at their new jobs at Walmart..
    But Mossad Tim doesn’t really care about America. He’s true love is Israel, instigating for the destruction of it’s enemies, ignoring it’s crimes-starting with it’s founding..Such love for a country created through relatively recent immigration, terrorism, massacres, targeted assassinations and, of course, ethnic cleansing to a greater degree than any other country in modern history..

  11. Cuba was a strategic threat to the US. Iran is a make-believe threat to Israel and a non-threat to the US.

    The analogy ends there.

    The only wimp I see is Tim R. who wants others to fight the battles he is too cowardly to fight for himself and his homeland.

  12. Right on Corkey. It reminds me of young children who just cry and won’t talk or apologise for something they’ve done. It is stronger and more courageous to take responsibility and talk to someone with who you have differences than to just say “no comment, you’re terrorists”. Now THAT is whimpy.

  13. John Adams, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt (he was not stricken with polio until age 30, after World War I) Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, are the names of just a few people that never served in the military. Not to mention Michael Moore, Barbara Streisand, and other leading left wing big mouths. Other’s such as Ron Paul and Jimmy Carter served but never saw actual combat. I am sick and tired of these stupid remarks that anyone who dares to have an opinion on national security policy but never saw actual military combat is a coward and somehow unqualified to even have an opinion on the subject. Funny thing, our Constitution does not have any requirment to serve in the military before running for Congress; yet Congress has the power to declare war. There is similarly no requirement that the President have had military service and yet the Constitution declares the President to be the Commander In Chief of all US military forces.

  14. Key word is “was”. Cuba is no longer a threat to anyone. The USA should end its foolish embargo.

  15. We talked to Begin, Sharon, Ben Gurion, Shamir and Sadat. They were all terrorists. How about Kadafy, Mao and the North Vietnamese, they all ran terror operations and we talked to them. The Mossad, and Shin Bet are worldwide terror rings. That doesn’t stop us from giving Israel 5 billion every year, no matter what. I say talk to Hamas and Hizballah, even a majority of Israelis think they should be included in peace negotiations.

  16. And this tirade is in response to which post? Methinks, Tim, something’s gnawing at your conscience, other than the dead million Iraqis we killed from 1991 on.

  17. Tom. R is such a “panzy”, he hasn’t even done a bit of spying for Israel, though he earned himself a martyr’s crown by getting Palestinian kids to throw stuff at him.

    In the Dual-Loyalists Brigade, there are many non-com roles.

  18. Once again shallow people choose style over substance.

  19. Serving in the military is not a test of manhood or patriotism.

    However, promoting warfare to cause others (especially young people) to fight for another country at the expense of our country (the United States) is the absolute measure of a “pussy”.

    So go fix yourself a saucer of milk and make sure to shake the litter off your feet when you go to the bathroom. Meow, meow, meow.

  20. Tim R.,

    You are so funny. Ever thought of doing a stand-up routine? You have plenty of material. Just work on the live deliver.

  21. The spotlighted article today by Barbara Slavin on “Hyping the Threat From Iran” has attracted an unusual number of the Israeli Megaphone propagandists to the comments section. They’re ridiculing Slavin and trotting out the usual BS about Iran.

    These pro-Israel hasbara bints are a busy lot lately, do they fear that public opinion is turning against the “sh*tty little country” and its endless wars?

    That picture of Pelosi pledging her allegiance to her true country could not be more stomach turning. I have her office on speed dial and will make sure and call them today to tell them Pelosi should stay in Israel. She is not welcome back to the country she (and almost all other politicians) betray daily. But as Speaker of the House she should be up for charges of treason. Maybe punishing her will send a message to “our” representatives that we want the U.S. put first and Israel last.

  22. Oh please may Ron Paul be advising Barack Obama, if only indirectly.

  23. I spoke with Steny Hoyer’s (D-Israel) office yesterday. He’s purportedly “our” House Majority “Leader” — what a joke.

    Hoyer leads congressional delegations to Israel, that’s about the extent of his job. The best part is that his office keeps secret which congressional representatives go on these tours of their Home Land. Why are these fealty trips to Israel on the part of “our” congressional reps kept secret? I guess “fealty” really is the operative word.

    Anyway, not only did Hoyer’s office refuse to repudiate Dumbo Bush’s saber-rattling against Iran, the 12-year-old who answered the phone endorsed it! He also didn’t think that there was anything wrong with this new announcement that the Feds are going to collect the DNA of newborns.

    4th Amendment and Habeas Corpus gone in one fell swoop, because, I don’t know about you, but I consider my DNA part of my “person” and my body.

    The Democrats are as bad or worse than the GOP because they play-act that they care about the Bill of Rights, when all they care about is the money that lines their pockets from this endless War on Islam and its pro-Israel fan club like Haim Saban and Harvey Weinstein.

  24. Tim R. writes: “He may have talked to the Soviets but it was from a position of strength”.

    Oh. I see. We can’t talk to Iran because they’re so big and strong. The Soviet Union was a mere superpower, with a gigantic conventional military and nuclear arsenal, a population of over 200 million, a land mass that dwarfs even our own, and a harem of enslaved satellite nations threatening Europe. Iran is SO much more powerful than that!

    We have to wait until we can achieve a “position of strength” relative to Iran before any negotiations can take place. Please ask Israel to tell us when that is.

  25. These blog postings are becoming boring. Tell us something we DON’T know.

  26. To David Banks, et al:

    Again with the “dual loyalty” I put Israel first stuff? Can someone please explain that to me because I don’t get it. Just because I support Israel’s right to exist and to defend herself, and I happen to be Jewish, that means there is an automatic presumption that I don’t put America first? And I am guilty until proved innocent? That doesn’t make sense to me. For instance,I very much admire Great Britain and the British people and if I could not live in the United States that would be my first choice country to move to. Does that mean I am secretly loyal to Her Majesty and put America second? I love France too and can’t get enough of the culture, the wine, the food, the art, etc. Does that mean I might secretly be loyal to France? I mean this line of reasoning is absurd. Enough already!

  27. Gee, Tim, we don’t know what we were thinking! I mean, questioning your loyalty is like doubting the tooth fairy or something!

  28. No, no, no, Tim. There is no automatic presumption at all. You’ve given way more than a mere circumstantial case.

    BTW Your chickenhawk analysis is dead wrong. But you already know that.

  29. There’s a huge difference,… Paul means it.

    Obama says what he has to say to get elected. He says he’s against the war, but his voting record says different.

  30. Is this year going real sloooow or is it me?

  31. Cue Eugene Costa here.

  32. [...] informed Americans hold stupid, State-loving journalists like yourself in such low esteem, here is yet another example for you: Who said the following: Here’s the truth: the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, [...]

  33. Two million, if one includes both the war and the sanctions.

  34. Don’t forget the Khmer Rouge.

  35. The only reason “why” the US negotiated with the USSR “was” because at one time they had about 20,000 nuclear warheads. Even 1,000 gets you a slot at the negotiations table. The US can’t attack anyone capable of vaporizing the planet 5 or 6 times in a row. The USSR was not filled with fanatics.

    The Cuban Missile Crisis was resolved when the the US removed its own IRBMs from Turkey which were based next to the USSR.

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