06/05/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why Junior and McClone Won't Talk to Enemies

That Junior and McClone equate communication with 'appeasement' is odd, given that so many prominent Republicans were all for appeasing Hitler in the late 1930s -- praising him for his anti-communism and joining Nazi sympathizer groups like America First and the German-American Bund. Could personal, psychological motives be at work here?

After all, refusing to communicate simply hobbles your foreign policy. Every experienced diplomat knows that. We never stopped talking to the Soviet Union during the Cold War -- if we hadn't, probably none of us would be alive to have this discussion.

And in fact, 'not talking' to terrorists, 'bad guys', 'Axis of Evil' nations or whatever, really only means not publicly talking. Secret contacts are always being maintained, because they have to be. And sooner or later these private connections almost always lead eventually to public ones.

There's certainly no one around today any more evil than people we've been happy to talk to in the past. After all, Rummy and Daddy Bush were buddy-buddy with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s--even gave him arms to fight Iran. We even talked to Osama bin Laden, and built him a training camp to fight the Russians. We've talked to, trained, and given military support to, military dictators all over Latin America to finance their death squads and torturers. We've never been at all squeamish about our friends, why be squeamish about enemies? Especially considering the fact that today's enemy so often becomes tomorrow's friend, and vice versa.

In part, all this 'won't-even-speak-to-'em' verbiage is for voters of the yahoo persuasion, who will support any macho dummy who 'talks tough.' It's also a way to emphasize how evil some nation is, so if we want to bomb them later on we won't feel bad about all the civilians we slaughter.

Still, this doesn't seem to entirely explain why wannabe world leaders would assume such a silly posture. Which is why we might suspect that more personal motives must be at work.

For Junior, it's obviously face-saving. He's like the kid who's been deserted by his classmates and left alone in the playground, who shouts after them, "I'm not talking to you!" Because, let's face it, Junior is an international joke, and no one pays any attention to what he wants anyway. Turkey ignores him, Pakistan ignores him, Egypt ignores him, Saudi Arabia ignores him, and Israel can even make him hastily retract what he says. So his claim of refusing to talk to somebody gives him the feeling that he still matters, that he can have an impact.

For McClone, while the position is identical as always, the motive may be a little different. McClone not only has an anger management problem, he has a short-term memory problem, and he keeps contradicting himself--denying he said what he said, and then, when confronted with the fact, denying that he denied it. He can't remember the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, or that he was 'honored' to have the endorsement of prominent wacko John Hagee, or that our Founding Fathers were mostly Deists, not Christians, or that his campaign staff are all lobbyists. It's probably wiser for McClone not to talk to anyone about anything.