An interview with Joe Biden from 2004. Not bad.
B: Yeah, let me make this final point. The irony of the neoconservatives’ exercise of power is, I genuinely believe, unrelated to terror, they weakened us. The very thing they anticipated has had the opposite result. They anticipated the leveraging of power would chasten North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc. That’s why they’re clinging so desperately to the argument of relating to Libya. I spent 2 hours with Qaddafi — at their request, by the way, the president’s and the White House’s request. The guy doesn’t have a democratic bone in his body.
M: When was this?
B: Two weeks ago? I addressed the Libyan Parliament on condition that they in fact broadcast everything I said uninterrupted and unedited — and they did, nationwide. Now, here’s the point I want to make. The irony of all ironies is — and I’ll ask this as a general rhetorical question — do you think anybody — Let’s just take Iran. The rationale of Wolfowitz and company was — there is a more than a nascent, there is a genuine desire for democratization in Iran. There has been genuine proof and efforts of movement toward that. Whether it is Khatami, who okay, who pushed as far as he could but would push much further if he could. There was this momentum building and a critical mass being generated in Iraq [he means Iran] that, given sustenance and help, would eventually overtake the clerics.
Wolfowitz’s argument — I don’t know this for a fact, but the neocon argument was — the demonstration of power on their border, as awesome as it is, would chasten the clerics in a way that they would do one of two things: They would make a deal with and enhance the democratization taking place, or the democratizers would be more bold and move the clerics out of the way. I’m oversimplifying a bit, just a tad.
What has happened? Once the clerics realized that the hands of this administration are now tied in terms of our own public and the stretched-thin capacity of the United States military — 375,000 people engaged abroad — what did they do? Something they would have never done before that power was exercised. They wiped out, in the clear view of day, with all the world to see, the democratic instincts, the democratic institutions, and the democratic, how could I say it, the emerging democratic consensus. Unabashedly, they just said, Boom, 198 of you can’t run, you’re out of the parliament. It’s like King George II going out, King George II dissolving the parliament. Now think about that. I mean, literally, nobody’s focused on that.