"Would you invite Osama bin Laden to the White House or to Brussels and hold talks with him and let him dictate what he wants?" Vladimir Putin asked his critics in the Western press this week.
The answer is yes, they would. We know that Western liberals are willing to negotiate with terrorists because they already have. Bill Clinton, for example, invited a terrorist to the White House who had conspired in the deaths of Americans, even letting him sleep and sate himself at taxpayer expense as an honored guest for weeks at a time. His name was Yasser Arafat, the Kato Kaelin of the Clinton years, bunking so frequently at the White House the press described him as a "constant guest." One of Arafat's terrorists, marveling at his White House residency, was able to brag to the press, "Arafat was a guest at the White House more often than Netanyahu was."
While Rudy Giuliani was throwing Arafat out of musical concerts -- Arafat once got bounced from a Beethoven concert in New York City for which Giuliani received a State Department scolding -- Clinton was inviting him to them. Madeleine Albright's State Department regarded Arafat not as a terrorist but as a moral "revolutionary," the George Washington of the West Bank.
Albright is harrumphing over Dick Cheney's warning that a Kerry victory will return America to pre-9/11 terrorist-coddling -- "I have heard a lot of outrageous statements at various times in various presidential elections, but I think this kind of scare tactic by the vice president of the United States is irresponsible," she said -- but her State Department gives credence to his prediction. The official policy of the State Department under Albright was to treat certain approved terrorists like Arafat as statesmen. Should Kerry win and staff up with Albright and company, America will resume geopolitics as a game that aims at ties, not wins. The mindless egalitarianism seen in the Democrats' domestic policy surfaces in their foreign policy, where the goal is not to strengthen America but to reduce America to the level of other world powers lest it become too "dominant." Who has been complaining in recent days about America as the "lone" superpower? Madeleine Albright. Who called Ronald Reagan's "we win, they lose" policy toward Soviet Communism imperialistic? John Kerry.
Kerry wouldn't negotiate with terrorists, says Albright. Really? Why then did he meet with the Viet Cong terrorists in Paris? Why was his first senatorial field trip a visit to Managua to vouch for the peaceful intentions of Daniel Ortega, a Sandinista terrorist? Redefining terrorists as statesmen is a Democratic habit that won't die. Their longstanding policy of détente toward America's enemies is a policy of defeat. You can see this feeble-mindedness in Kerry's campaign slogan, "Respected in the world," as if the goal of American foreign policy is to win the affection of America's enemies. "Liked by the World," is what the Kerry slogan means, and the price of that policy is exactly what Cheney predicts: an America that fecklessly fights the war on terrorism, preferring a hollow popularity abroad to real peace at home.
When Cheney says that a Kerry victory means "we'll fall back into the pre-9/11 mind-set, if you will, that in fact these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts and that we are not really at war," he is also on solid ground. The Democrats spent much of the summer demanding that the Bush administration recognize the Miranda rights of terrorists and extend habeas corpus to Al Qaeda. Remember Howard Dean saying that bin Laden was innocent until proven guilty? "I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found," he said. Democrats, from Patty Murray to Jim McDermott to Michael Moore, have been doing pro bono work for bin Laden, heralding his solicitude for the impoverished Arab masses, "building schools, building roads," and arguing that Bush validated the cause of bin Laden's hatred for America by invading Iraq.
Americans can even find proof for Cheney's comments in John Kerry's convention speech when he said, in a very revealing lawyerly formulation of passivity, "Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response." In other words, he will wait for other attacks, not preempt them. What Kerry dismissively calls a doctrine of "preemption" ordinary Americans call self-defense, the preemption of an attack before its completion.
If Kerry wins, Arafat's old room at the White House may house new terrorists turned statesmen. From the Wye Accords to the Al Qaeda Accords is perhaps a stretch of the imagination, but not much of one.
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