Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Change In Tone

So, what's Vice President Joe Biden been up to? It's not like the voluble Biden to be on the sidelines, quietly biding his time. Unlike his predecessor Dick Cheney, the new Veep likes the limelight, likes to talk in front of crowds, likes to be where the action is. Well, that's where he was this weekend, this time at a security conference in Munich, Germany, and what he had to say at that conference made a whole lot of people breathe just a little easier.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Saturday that the United States will pursue a missile defense plan that has angered the Kremlin, but he also left open the possibility of compromise on the issue and struck a more conciliatory tone than the Bush administration on relations with Russia.

β€œIt is time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia,” Mr. Biden said in a speech at a security conference here attended by global leaders and diplomats. ...

Some Western diplomats had expected Mr. Biden to announce a strategic review of the planned missile defense system as a way to defuse tensions between Washington and Moscow. Although Mr. Biden did not go that far, he did leave room in both the speech β€” and an interview afterward β€” for unspecified changes in the plan put forward by the Bush administration.
[Emphasis added]

In his speech he also reiterated President Obama's campaign promise that this administration would talk to Iran, but he also made it clear that the US will continue to take a hard line stance on the issue of Iran's development of nuclear weapons.

All in all, it was the right kind of signal to send. The past administration wasn't one for consulting with anyone, allies or enemies. It simply made a decision and then put the plan into play, the rest of the world be damned. Real diplomacy was eschewed as a form of weakness, and the PNAC boys weren't having any of that, by golly. The new administration has made it clear, and it comes across plainly in Vice President Biden's speech, that those days are over. The US will consult with its allies and will talk with those with whom we have a disagreement.

Although I am opposed to the foolish missile defense system as nothing more than a bit of wienie wagging and a boon to the military-industrial complex, I do understand the elaborate dance going on with Russia and with Iran. Both countries are testing President Obama, and now is not the time for the new president to look like a cautious wimp. For that reason, the deliberate ambiguities in Vice President Biden's speech are certainly understandable.

It was also nice to have the Vice President out in plain view for all the world to see and hear. That's quite a difference in itself, but then it's hard to imagine Joe Biden being happy locked up in a bunker at an undisclosed location, or holding secret meetings with oil executives. He likes to talk too much.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It IS dick waving.

Terry C, Glad Bush Is Gone

9:09 AM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

The problem, iirc, isnt that Iran wants a bomb.

It really wants to build power plants (almost as bad, but not as portable).

1:49 PM  

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