So some apologies are OK after all.
Ryan says this as if Obama has, on some occasion, apologized for standing up for American values. In fact, the statements that conservatives characterize as apologies consist of Obama acknowledging, although never actually apologizing for, instances when America fell short of its values. Bizarrely, Ryan goes on to talk as if America's shady relationship with Mubarak and its dearth of security in Libya are apt examples of apologizing for American values. It actually sounds as though Ryan thinks we owe the Egyptian people an apology, which is interesting. In terms of criticizing apologies, the answer makes no sense at all.
On Iran, it sure seems like Team Obama and Team Romney assert the same position: We want to resolve this peacefully; we can more credibly do that than the other guys; but we're also prepared to strike militarily because Iran getting nukes is unacceptable--it won't happen on our watch. And, by the way, we're totally cool with Israel, which is totally on the same page as us.
They're attacking one another on the issue anyway.
Here's how Ryan does it:
When this administration says that all options are on the table, they send out senior administration officials that send all these mixed signals. And so, in order to solve this peacefully--which is everybody's goal--you have to have the ayatollahs change their minds. Look at where they are. They're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. It's because this administration has no credibility on this issue. It's because this administration watered down sanctions, delayed sanctions, tried to stop us for putting the tough sanctions in place.
An intelligent discussion of Iran and nuclear weapons would acknowledge that the actions of the ayatollahs are not in fact entirely or even predominantly governed by presidential signalling--that lots of factors beyond our control, like the strategic value of having nukes, how impervious their program is to air strikes, actual damage done by sanctions, and their retaliatory ability, among many other substantive factors, shape the speed with which they seek a nuclear weapon.
They say the military option's on the table, but it's not being viewed as credible. And the key is to do this peacefully, is to make sure that we have credibility. Under a Romney administration, we will have credibility on this issue.
Why would Romney be more credible? That's the core of his argument on Iran, but it's backed up by nothing. All the underlying real world factors would be the same. The ayatollahs aren't uninformed enough to view Obama as a Kenyan anticolonial appeaser like some Dinesh D'Souza sycophant.
Biden pressed on this point:
BIDEN: It's incredible. Look, imagine had we let the Republican Congress work out the sanctions. You think there's any possibility the entire world would have joined us, Russia and China, all of our allies? These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions, period. Period. When Governor Romney's asked about it, he said, "We gotta keep these sanctions." When he said, "Well, you're talking about doing more," what are you--you're going to go to war? Is that what you want to do?
RYAN: We want to prevent war.
BIDEN: And the interesting thing is, how are they going to prevent war? How are they going to prevent war if they say there's nothing more that we--that they say we should do than what we've already done.... So all this bluster I keep hearing, all this loose talk, what are they talking about? Are you talking about, to be more credible--what more can the president do, stand before the United Nations, tell the whole world, directly communicate to the ayatollah, we will not let them acquire a nuclear weapon, period, unless he's talking about going to war.
How did Ryan respond to the assertion that Team Romney is all bluster, that they don't actually advocate anything more than Obama has done, and that they'd be more credible to the ayatollahs if elected?
RYAN: Let's look at this from the view of the ayatollahs. What do they see? They see this administration trying to water down sanctions in Congress for over two years. They're moving faster toward a nuclear weapon. They're spinning the centrifuges faster. They see us saying when we come into the administration, when they're sworn in, we need more space with our ally, Israel. They see President Obama in New York City the same day Bibi Netanyahu is and he, instead of meeting with him, goes on a--on a daily talk show. They see, when we say that these options are on the table, the secretary of Defense walked them back.
It's important to understand how absurd this is. For better or worse, Obama cooperated with Israel on Stuxnet, an act of cyberwarfare that destroyed actual Iranian centrifuges; kept supporting Israel as it assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists; removed MEK, an anti-regime group in Iran, from its list of official terrorists; and worked to get international cooperation for sanctions now causing street protests in Iran. Whatever you think of those steps, it's idiotic to suggest, when the ayatollahs were witness to it all, that they assessed Obama's seriousness based on the fact that he appeared on The View. It's foreign-policy analysis worthy of Sean Hannity.