Kiker: Jaw! Jaw!

By Charles Kiker

Talk, talk, talk! President Obama said that for Syria to use chemical weapons against the insurgents it would be a line in the sand, and if they crossed that line there would be military consequences. The Syrians crossed that line. The president got congressional approval to bomb Syria. But he didn’t. He talked instead. He talked to Vladimir Putin. And Putin talked to the President Assad. No military action was taken against Syria.

More recently the President has sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Geneva to talk with the Iranians about their nuclear program. More talk! Jaw, jaw!

And just last week, at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, the President actually shook hands with Raul Castro, the dictator of Cuba. Now he didn’t have any opportunity to talk with him, but did he have to shake hands with him. He could have at least turned his back and thereby issued a diplomatic snub.

Not surprisingly, President Obama has taken a lot of flak. Since he said there would be military consequences for chemical attacks in Syria, he should have bombed Syria. There should be no lessening of sanctions while talks are underway regarding Iran’s nuclear program. And Senator McCain has been among the loudest critics of the handshake with Raul Castro. Senator McCain apparently has forgotten that he shook hands with Libyan dictator Qadafi, who ordered the bombing of Pan Am 103. And he has apparently forgotten that Republican President Nixon shook hands with Chairman Mao.

Some congressional enemies of the President prefer bombing Iran with nuclear weapons over high level negotiations.

That notable peacenik, Winston Churchill, reportedly said, at a closed White House luncheon in the summer of 1954, “Jaw, jaw is better than wawuh, wawuh.” (There is no unanimity concerning the exact words of Churchill. Another version is “It is better to go jaw-to-jaw than to go to war.”) This was at the height of Cold War tensions, when Republican Dwight Eisenhower was president. And Dwight Eisenhower, just a year before, had succeeded in ending armed hostilities in Korea through negotiations.

And talk sometimes gets results. The Syrians are keeping their agreement to destroy their chemical weapons. Iran has agreed to verifiable inspections regarding its nuclear program. And might it not be better to lessen tensions with Cuba than to exacerbate them through a diplomatic snub.

I agree with Winston. “Jaw, jaw is better than wawuh, wawuh.” It’s much more in keeping with the announcement of the angels: “Peace on earth, good will to all.”