President Bush's inane likening of international diplomacy with appeasing Hitler drew excoriation from all quarters today. If you're looking for the sort of reaction that reminds one of being hit upside the head with a ball peen hammer, you can't do better than Senator Joe Biden's "This is bullshit." For a bit more nuance, however, look to Matt Yglesias:
Meanwhile, Bush continues to fundamentally misunderstand the purpose and nature of diplomacy. The idea of talks isn't that you marshal convincing arguments and beat your enemies back with force of words. The idea is that it's sometimes possible to achieve a reconciliation of partially divergent interests.
Interestingly enough, if we take Senator McCain at his word as to how he would bridge the sectarian divide that threatens to lead to a total unraveling in Iraq, it's clear that McCain offers little more than words - and not even forceful or convincing ones. Flashback to May of 2006:
In a small, mirror-paneled room guarded by a Secret Service agent and packed with some of the city's wealthiest and most influential political donors, Mr. McCain got right to the point.
"One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit,'" said Mr. McCain, according to Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, an invitee, and two other guests.
One thing's for sure: McCain's brand of "Kindergarten Cop" diplomacy is just the sort of thing that could have one yearning nostalgically for Bush's "Cowboy" diplomacy.