To paraphrase Henry Kissinger: Never back a rat in to a corner – he will come out fighting. Always leave your opponent an escape route – a means by which they can save face. President Obama recently used a phrase much as this when referring to Iran. He said something like, “We are trying to leave a door open to them.” This is just good sense.
The recent elections in Iran, and we use the term ‘election’ loosely in this case, served to provoke national demonstrations in Iran. Protesters claimed their votes were not counted or votes were fabricated for the current President Ohmydidhesayjihad. President Obama took a cautious approach – careful not to back the rat into a corner. GOP Senators McCain and Graham bellowed like stuck pigs without lipstick – “The President is being a wimp!” President Obama responded appropriately, noting that McCain and Graham are Senators and can say whatever they want – but that he, Obama, is the President of the United States and must choose his words more carefully. We finally have an example of an appropriate ‘Slam Dunk.’
So when do we close the door? When do we back a rat into a corner – with no option other than a fight? There are times when this reasoning applies. Hitler was charging around Europe, killing anyone who disagreed with him. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor with no provocation. Osama Bin Laden sent his monsters to America to knock down buildings and kill innocent civilians. All cases of closed door diplomacy. There are only two options given to the perpetrators – unconditional surrender or death. And this is how it should be.
Harry Truman ascended to the rank of President near the end of World War II. Germany and Japan were backed into a corner. Germany said: We will surrender with some conditions. Truman allowed the Russian Army the pleasure of responding to the German request – the Russians entered Berlin from the east and destroyed everything that looked like it might move. A few months later Japan said: We will surrender under certain conditions. Truman dropped a bomb on Hiroshima. The Japanese said: Here are our conditions for surrender. Truman dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The Japanese surrendered to American conditions.
Osama Bin Laden and his criminal enterprise attacked America on September 11, 2001. President George W. Bush shot off his mouth around the world, proclaiming such foolishness as: “You are either with us or you are against us!” and “Wanted, Dead or Alive.” Then Bush took his eye off the ball and chased Saddam Hussein to a hole in the ground. Osama Bin Laden remains free – with the condition that he keep his head in his hole. There should be no condition for Osama Bin Laden to remain free – back the rat into a corner and do not let him out. Kill him if need be.
Some politicos today criticize President Obama for seeking compromise. Whether in Iran or in the domestic policy of health care. President Obama merely understands when a rat should be cornered, with no escape, and when allowing some breathing room is better strategy.
We do not agree with all of the President’s compromises – but we are not the man with the stick, holding the rat at bay. We are mere spectators, like McCain and Graham. It is easy for the spectators to shout with clinched fists. It is easy for opposition Senators to foam at the mouth with vigorous rants – but ultimately, they do not have to face the rat.
We continue to be proud of our President.