Political Hay

Kerry Jumps Off the Deep End

It’s finally happened. Howard Dean has driven John Kerry insane.

By 12.8.03

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Well, it's finally happened. Howard Dean has driven John Kerry insane. After hearing all of Kerry's twisted explanations of his position on Iraq, you knew his head was eventually going to explode. It happened during his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on December 3, and boy, was it a mess.

Kerry started off his scathing attack on George W. Bush's foreign policy saying: "Abraham Lincoln saw and spoke of America as 'the last best hope of earth.' That vision did not encompass a reach for global empire." Say what? Is this presidential hopeful saying that the war against Saddam Hussein was an exercise in American empire building? Yes, he is. As he clarified later in his speech, in contrast to the Bush administration, he seeks an American global strategy "that is inclusive not exclusive, collective and not imperial."

Why he makes this characterization of a war he voted to authorize is not clear in his comments. But Senator Kerry makes it abundantly clear that, to him, an American foreign policy not held hostage by the United Nations is abhorrent.

Kerry claims to believe "that we had to hold Saddam Hussein accountable and that we needed to lead in that effort. But this administration did it in the worst possible way -- without the United Nations…." The Senator believes that since we did not persuade Saddam's largest arms merchants (and the holders of Iraq's most lucrative oil contracts) -- France and Russia -- to support Saddam's forced ouster from Iraq that our diplomacy failed. Indeed, he even accuses the Bush administration of "demeaning diplomacy" and says that the Bush administration "obsessed with its own hubris and swagger" really didn't support Secretary of State Powell's efforts to win U.N. approval. How does he come up with that? He knows that Secretary Powell wasn't speaking for the administration? He knows that the administration's months of negotiations to win the support of as many nations as possible was really a sham? These are rather extraordinary charges to make, especially without any evidence (or logic). This must be something that has rubbed off on him from his senior Massachusetts colleague.

Since the senior senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Kennedy, has accused the Bush administration of giving supportive governments unspecified "bribes," it is interesting that Kerry makes the opposite charge, saying that we did not provide "our allies the necessary incentives to join in." Again, Mr. Kerry is referring to France and Russia (and, perhaps, Germany). It is questionable, though, whether France and Russia were ever our "allies" and, certainly, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the French themselves have made it clear that they consider themselves the leader of a European (or at least Franco-German) counterbalance to American power. But for the sake of argument, what does Senator Kerry think we should have done to incentivise the French and the Russians? Pledged that we would force a new Iraqi government to pay Saddam's debts to French and Russian arms merchants? Pledged that we would force a new Iraqi government to keep in place Saddam-era contracts with French and Russian oil companies? Is this what Senator Kerry means when he says he would have a foreign policy that would advance our "values" and foster trust with the Islamic world?

By only getting the support of a few dozen nations and about half of the U.N. Security Council (some members such as Cameroon and Guinea, whose votes, absent a French or Russian veto, might have been pivotal, in Kerry's mind, in determining the "legitimacy" or "legality" of our actions, never came to a decision) the United States is now a rogue state. He says he would correct this by going to the U.N. personally to "affirm that the United States has rejoined the community of nations." The U.N., mind you, did not have to vote to condemn the American and coalition action (which would never have happened due to a sure U.S. and British veto) to, in Kerry's mind, qualify the U.S (and Britain, Australia, and Poland) as a rouge state. We qualify as such, in Kerry's mind, merely by not getting U.N. approval (due to a threatened French and Russian veto). So, in Kerry's world, the undisputed arbiters of right and wrong are the French and the Russians. Interesting.

If it weren't for an ill-timed temper tantrum by the Soviets and the fact that at the time the Republic of China (Taiwan), rather than Red China, held a permanent seat on the Security Council, Harry Truman would not have received U.N. authorization to defend South Korea during the Korean War. If Truman had failed to receive the U.N.'s blessing would our actions in Korea have been "illegal" -- the actions of a rogue state? Or are questions of legality and legitimacy determined by factors other than the United Nations?

Where, after all, does the United Nations get the authority to determine such things? All member nations have the same vote, regardless of size and regardless of whether they are democracies, dictatorships, or terrorist states. And though John Kerry says he doesn't believe that legitimacy is derived from military victory, how did the permanent members of the Security Council get their positions and their veto power? By being the victors of World War II. (Though, some might argue, they why is France among them?) And Red China has the seat once occupied by Taiwan because Mao's armies defeated those of Chiang Kai-shek. The United Nations is a convenient place to air grievances and to try to build multi-national support. But do its decisions carry any moral, let alone, legal weight? Hardly.

THE LEGITIMACY OF THE ACTION taken by the United States and the other coalition nations derived from Iraq's violation of the cease-fire terms of the first Gulf War, including its continued refusal to allow unhampered inspections of its weapons programs and its violations of the restrictions placed on its weapons programs (which, in turn, posed a threat to the security of other nations), Iraq's open, as well as clandestine, relationships with terrorist organizations, and mass graves filled with even more victims than we knew.

One Kerry accusation that even the mainstream media had to question was that by agreeing to hand authority over to a provisional Iraqi government prior to the ratification of a new Iraqi constitution, the Bush administration is getting ready to "cut and run" in Iraq. But Kerry then goes on to say that we should replace Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority right now with the United Nations -- which has already cut and run. Perhaps someone spiked Kerry's ketchup before he made this speech.

Not satisfied with that logical non sequitur, the Amazing Kerry says that the transformation of the Middle East that the Bush administration is pushing for must be "rooted in the aspirations of the people who live there, not in Republican political ideology." So democracy and freedom is "Republican political ideology"? Kerry goes on, saying: "How can this administration preach democracy in the Mideast and then condone, as it has in recent days, the denial of a free press in Iraq?" I guess what Kerry is referring to is the decision of the Iraqi Governing Council to suspend temporarily the broadcasts of Al-Arabia for inciting violence against the Iraqi government and coalition forces. No serious person can deny that the American led ouster of Saddam Hussein has resulted in a robust free press in Iraq.

But wait, there's more. He says that a continuation of Bush's foreign policy "could incite and invite a clash of civilizations." To undo the harm already done to our relations with the Islamic world, Kerry, in good liberal tradition, would convene a summit of world leaders that would include, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Pope and the Dalai Lama. The volcanic reaction of the Arab street predicted by liberals as a result of the invasion of Iraq, however, never materialized. Indeed, the protests in Cairo and Damascus couldn't hold a candle to those in San Francisco and London. And the only demonstrations in Tehran were against the ruling Ayatollahs. Perhaps the Pope and the Dalai Lama can help heal the rift between the Iranian people and their Islamic overlords. But I don't think a few coffee klatches with the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and some radical Islamic clerics is going to do much to bring better understanding between the West and the Islamic world. We would do better to nuke Al-Jazeera.

Senator Kerry and his handlers apparently believe the way to catch Howard Dean is to dump the image of experienced statesman that they had previously tried build, and instead try to come across more like Dennis Kucinich on PCP. If this tactic succeeds in bringing Kerry's campaign back to life, then the Democratic Party is in even worse shape than what Howard Dean's ascendancy would lead one to believe. This rancid and moronic diatribe is a stunning example of why John Kerry is not fit to be president.

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About the Author
Brandon Crocker is the chief financial officer of a commercial real estate development and management company in San Diego.