The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier |Thursday, August 2, 2012

On arming the rebels in Syria:

[I agree that] the quicker this [revolution] is over the better because the longer it goes on the more the extremists can get a handle on the rebels. But that argues for more intervention on our part, not less. If you want to go quicker, you make sure that the rebels get weapons, equal, at least, in power to what the regime has. The rebels have managed to capture one tank. It isn’t exactly an equilibrium…

On the argument that we don’t know the composition of the rebel force and therefore should not arm them:

That is right, but we don’t have a choice [of] outcome. The revolution will happen with us or without us. The revolution is underway for a year-and-a-half, largely without us. If we had a choice  — do you want a [Syrian] revolution or not? — that would be a different issue. [But] we are in the middle of it. We’re at the endgame of it. If the rebels are contesting Aleppo, which is a signal of how weak the regime is — if it’s approaching the end game — we better get involved and sort out the opposition, so we don’t end up with a worst-case scenario. That is an argument for more intervention.

In the end, Syria will remain a client state. Today it’s [a] client of Iran. If the rebels win, it will be and should be a client of Turkey. It has the most interest in it and has given the most support to rebels in refuge, organization, and weaponry. That to us is the preferable outcome… But we have to be there in Turkey helping or everybody is going to ignore us afterward.

On President Obama’s claim that his plan for the economy is the plan that worked for President Clinton:

Here is a guy [who] has been in office for a full term. The plan, as I remember it, the Obama plan, was cap-and-trade, trillion-dollar stimulus, and Obamacare. That was the plan. Regulation of Wall Street. Hyper -regulation of energy. That’s the plan. No Keystone [pipeline]. That’s his plan.

And obviously it’s been a catastrophe. That’s why he won’t talk about it. So now he pretends his plan was something he was not even involved in, [something] that happened in the ’90s, which was an extremely unusual era in our history. It wasn’t only an explosion of the economy [because] of the tech boom. It was also the decade of the peace dividend. Between 1991, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, and 2001, the beginning of the War on Terror, we had 10 years of unprecedented peace and prosperity as a result of an accident of history which allowed a huge reduction in spending on defense and spending in either debt reduction or social programs. That explains [the boom]. The idea that it was spurred by a four percent difference in the rate of income tax on two percent of the population is risible. It’s a joke.

He is running on this. This is his platform?…

If the idea is to pay down debt, this tax increase is a joke. It’s $80 billion at most, at most, out of a $1.3 trillion deficit.

So it means that instead of $1.300 trillion added on every year, we’re simply going to add on $1.220 trillion. The idea that it reduces our debt is preposterous. It’s five cents on the dollar…. The real way to reduce debt is entitlement reform, which Obama won’t go near. In fact, he opposes it and demagogues anything Republicans will say on that. And tax reform — he talks about always in the future but never speaks about it in the present.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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