Obama then and now

As one listens to Barack Obama attempt to explain himself on foreign policy, one begins to wonder whether the man is not something of an overaged collegiate slinger. At NRO’s Corner Andrew McCarthy looks at Obama then and now on Iran. Here is Obama last week:

Iran, Cuba, Venezuela—these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us. And yet we were willing to talk to the Soviet Union at the time when they were saying we’re going to wipe you off the planet.

Here is Obama in a 2004 Chicago Tribune article by Obama biographer David Mendel that was originally noted by blogger Lance Adams:

“In light of the fact that we’re now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in,” he said.

“On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. . . . And I hope it doesn’t get to that point. But realistically, as I watch how this thing has evolved, I’d be surprised if Iran blinked at this point.” . . .

Obama said that violent Islamic extremists are a vastly different brand of foe than was the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and they must be treated differently.

“With the Soviet Union, you did get the sense that they were operating on a model that we could comprehend in terms of, they don’t want to be blown up, we don’t want to be blown up, so you do game theory and calculate ways to contain,” Obama said. “I think there are certain elements within the Islamic world right now that don’t make those same calculations. . . .”

James Taranto reported the contrast between Obama then and now in yesterday’s Best of the Web.

UPDATE: Ed Lasky has more here.

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