The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the administration’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan:

He [Obama] has to sell it, and I think the delay has made his task a lot harder. The delay has put our allies in some doubt.

That’s not just the NATO allies, Canadians and others who are talking about withdrawing in a couple of years. It is the Afghans who have chosen our side and have to wonder — in the end, will the United States withdraw and leave them hanging?

And the other uncertainty is about Obama’s commitment himself. The issue is: If he takes this long, and if he gives all these excuses — which you talked about just a moment ago, about how we may not have a partner in Afghanistan, we may not have a partner in Pakistan — you’re expressing doubts about our allies in the region, and you’re implying that somehow this is a kind of social work, that the reason that we’re at war is to bolster these allies.

It’s protection of the American homeland. It’s what Petraeus had talked about — keeping out al-Qaeda and preventing the regrouping of al-Qaeda and their allies. It’s our war, and it’s in the name of our security.

If the president expresses all of this uncertainty and takes this long in agonizing, you got to wonder, is his heart in it? He has to make a speech after his decision to demonstrate that he really is committed to success in this, because all of this delay and these excuses about Afghan/Pakistani partners gives the impression of an administration that will be looking for an excuse of a certain point of withdrawing or pulling back.

On the Dodd plan for financial regulation:

The bill is only a show horse, meant for a political protection for Senator Dodd.

But look, the bill in and of itself is terrible. An axiom of politics is that members of Congress want to control stuff and liberal members of Congress want to control everything. That’s why they don’t like the Fed. It’s independent.

Now, you can’t take it over, but you can, as the Dodd bill attempts to do, you cut it down, you restrict it, you make it small. You weaken it, and … you remove the [Fed’s] regulation of financial institutions.

Presumably this will prevent another meltdown. The problem is this — the British have today the exact system that Dodd wants, a separation of the Bank of England and the regulators of the financial institutions. [Yet] the meltdown in Britain was much worse than in the United States.

And one of the reasons is because if you disperse power, you disperse information. The head of that regulatory agency doesn’t have the information that the Bank of England has, and as a result they had a much worse result.

The economists in Britain are [therefore] advocating undoing the separation of the Bank of England and the bureaucracy as a way to save the British economy in the future — exactly the reverse of what Dodd wants to do.

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

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