When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

28 December 2007

Possessed of a tragic sense...

...“Would you pledge to the American people that Iran would not build a nuclear bomb on your watch?” Russert asked the assembled Democratic contenders. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards played the old survival game of running out the clock, and then came Biden. “We talk about this in isolation,” Biden said. “The fact of the matter is the Iranians may get 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium. But the Pakistanis have hundreds, thousands of kilograms of highly enriched uranium.” Given that Pakistan already has missiles with nuclear warheads, capable of reaching India and Israel, Biden argued, it would be a “bad bargain” if an attack on Iran caused the government of Pakistan to fall. “What is the greatest threat to the United States of America: 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium in Tehran or an out-of-control Pakistan?” he asked. “It’s not close.”

Biden is not immune to the charms of his own intelligence, but in these bewildering days following the murder of Benazir Bhutto it is hard not to recall his moment of clarity and his grasp of historical complexity—the recognition that political decision-making is not a matter of raising three fingers and making a scout’s pledge. Whatever his weaknesses as a candidate, he seems, after thirty-five years in the Senate, possessed of a tragic sense. In this, he presents a helpful contrast to, say, Mike Huckabee who, in his various blithe displays of global ignorance during the campaign, has served to make the man he hopes to succeed seem the incarnation of Talleyrand.

States of Emergency: Bhutto and the Candidates (David Remnick, "Talk of the Town," The New Yorker, 7 January 2008)

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