2:30 PM, Aug 7, 2015 • By BENJAMIN PARKER
President Obama defended the Iran deal at American University in Washington this week, inviting comparisons to President Kennedy’s address there in 1963. While some consider the allusion a masterstroke of political theater, the JFK comparison might not suit the president as well as he thinks.
Kennedy spoke at American to defend the Partial Test-Ban Treaty he had been forging with the Soviet Union. Just eight months after he had stared down the Soviets during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy was negotiating from a position of strength.
Obama, conversely, negotiated from a position of American weakness. During his presidency, North Korea has completed several nuclear tests, China has bullied its neighbors throughout the South Pacific and committed a cyber Pearl Harbor on us, a hard-fought American victory in Iraq has been thrown away, any hope of victory in Afghanistan has been shattered by American retreat, and Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of its own people (even brazenly crossing Obama’s unenforced “red line”).
Usually those who seek to negotiate after a string of defeats wish to agree on terms of surrender. The same pattern applied here.
Obama claims that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will bring Iran, a pariah state, back into the international community. Based on his invocation of Kennedy, one might expect the Partial Test-Ban Treaty did the same for the Soviet Union.
It did not. After the 1963 treaty, the Soviet Union continued to be a global menace.
In 1965, the Soviets and the East Germans turned what had been a wire fence into the imposing, concrete Berlin Wall. Between 1963 and 1969, 56 people would be killed at the Berlin Wall. A further 46 would lose their loves before the Wall fell in 1989.
Between 1965 and 1982, the 14 pro-Western heads of state or prime ministers were assassinated by the Soviet Union.
In the lead-up to the 1967 Six Day War, Russia was the major arms supplier of Egypt and Syria even as they openly boasted about their genocidal intentions toward Israel. The USSR also provided military advisors to Egypt before, during, and after the war.
In 1968, when Communist Czechoslovakia showed signs of liberalization, the Soviet Union led four Warsaw-Pact armies to crush the so-called Prague Spring. Under the Brezhnev Doctrine, the Soviets claimed plenary authority to intervene in the internal affairs of any country within their sphere of influence. Such unbridled aggression not typically ascribed to respected members of the “international community.”
Treaties with aggressive, untrustworthy nations have never maintained peace. The comparison to the Munich agreement has been made already, and Obama has been wise to avoid the comparison. His embrace of the Cold War comparison reveals either an ignorance or an indifference to history.
7:17 AM, Dec 18, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In John Kerry's statement on President Obama's Cuba policy changes, the secretary of state doesn't simply suggest the policies in place for five and a half decades are outdated. He seems to be suggesting they were a failure from the start. And in doing so, he apparently misstates his own age at the time President Kennedy made one of the most well known presidential addresses in our nation's history, and certainly the most notable regarding Cuba.
Dec 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 13 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
"If today’s extremist rhetoric sounds familiar, that’s because it is eerily, poignantly similar to the vitriol aimed squarely at John F. Kennedy during his presidency. And just like today, Texans were leading what some of them saw as a moral crusade. To find the very roots of the paranoid right of 2013, just go back to downtown Dallas in 1963, back to the months before the Kennedy assassination. It was where and when a deeply angry . . .” (Bill Minutaglio, Washington Post, November 21).
Why prudent politicians embrace the JFK legacy.Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By FRED BARNES
The legacy of President John F. Kennedy is a wondrous thing. Any president compared with Kennedy comes up short, even if his actual accomplishments were greater than JFK’s. Presidents in the modern era can never measure up to JFK in the public’s mind, period. Today, 50 years after JFK’s death, it’s still unwise to tangle with the Kennedy clan. The Kennedys usually win. Kennedy’s legacy also means that referring to him as anything but a liberal is sure to provoke an argument.
Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Washington Post, like many publications, has been observing the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination in considerable detail. No, make that lurid detail. No day has gone by in recent weeks without extended lists, recycled photographs, old reminiscences, new theories, and the sort of relentless politico-journalistic navel-gazing that has turned the reading public, in the Internet age, against the mainstream media.
Philip Terzian remembers November 1963Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
Everyone of a certain age, it is said, remembers the moment when they heard that John F. Kennedy had been shot. Yet even though I was 13 years old at the time, and recall quite a lot from 1963, I do not remember this, though for a technical reason.
2:00 PM, Nov 18, 2013 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
This isn’t going to be a good week for me. Friday will mark the 50th anniversary of the death in Dallas of President John F. Kennedy, and between now and then I expect a complete media blitz—make that a blitzkrieg—of stories, films, docudramas, book reviews, and counterfactual explorations about the event and, by extension, about all that the nation lost with the death of the brilliant but ill-fated president. Dallas policemen, such media duffers as Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer, Lee Harvey Oswald’s dentist, Jack Ruby’s rabbi, everyone still alive who has any memory of or connection with the assassination will be called upon to cough up his driblet of information.
Where was John F. Kennedy on the ideological spectrum?Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By RONALD RADOSH
Reading this provocative and compelling analysis of John F. Kennedy’s political vision, I could not help but think of the reaction Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. had when his colleague John P. Diggins told him he was writing a book favorable to Ronald Reagan’s presidency. “Please,” Schlesinger said, “don’t make him look too good.” If Schlesinger were still alive and able to read Stoll’s new account, he would undoubtedly turn purple. One thing is certain: Ira Stoll’s Kennedy is not the same as Arthur Schlesinger’s.
Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
John Forbes Kerry is one of those upper-middle-class East Coast types of estimable lineage and impeccable credentials (St. Paul’s, Yale, U.S. Navy) whose tribal habits were the subject of the late sociologist E. Digby Baltzell (The Protestant -Establishment, Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, etc.). Baltzell popularized the term WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)—-although Kerry is Roman Catholic, not Protestant—and explored the historic WASP ascendancy in American business, education, cultural institutions, and government.
10:16 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy is nearly upon us, so one would expect America's public intellectuals to be gearing up to present a series of sober and illuminating reflections about the tragedy's cultural and political legacy.
Of course, that's not going to happen. Any misty-eyed resonance that can be wrung out of JFK's death is already being exploited by our elite media gatekeepers to advance a political agenda.
As my good friend Dante often said…9:00 AM, Sep 10, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Speaking in support of military action against Syria, Alexander Bolton of The Hill reports, Senator Harry Reid brought up the example of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust:
8:10 AM, Dec 20, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It has become increasingly clear that the Obama-era Democrats view every major societal event as a new invitation to spend money, centralize power, or both. The horrendous shootings in Connecticut have the Democrats lobbying not only for new legislation, but new federal legislation — and hence more federal power — rather than entrusting the passage of any such legislation to the states. Meanwhile, the damage from Hurricane Sandy has the Democrats looking to do the only thing that they might enjoy even more than enacting cumbersome legislation — spending borrowed money.<
Sally Bedell Smith and the many forms of monarchy. Oct 8, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 04 • By NOEMIE EMERY
Sally Bedell Smith has a thing for kings. Or, not kings quite so much as powerful people who form courts around themselves as a function of power or wealth.
1:23 PM, Jan 27, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
During last night’s debate, Mitt Romney responded to Newt Gingrich’s proposal that America establish a lunar colony by the end of the decade by saying that if someone presented him with that proposal, “I’d say, ‘You’re fired.’” While one might think Romney justified in firing someone who pitched Gingrich’s specific proposal, Romney gave the distinct impression that he also might have fired John F. Kennedy back in 1962.