Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Pass the Puke Bag Please
From the Bush/Rove site: On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that John Kerry is kicking off his 11-day national security tour by attacking the President for emphasizing democracy as a central goal in U.S. foreign policy.
Please go read the entire WP article, it is actually quite good. Kerry sets out a realistic view of the world and shoots straight. He also takes Bush to task for the disconnect of articulating democracy as a central goal and his support of dictators. Instead Kerry says he will make the security of America, his number one priority. If he has to deal with unsavory characters in the short-term to guarantee security, he will not blink. Essentially, Kerry is dismissing both the neo-conservative and neo-liberal schools of foreign policy in one swoop! Instead he is arguing for a pragmatist worldview based on American security. He is calling a spade a spade. Go ahead, let Bush have his fantasy world with hypocritical soaring rhetoric about democracy while he continues to support brutal dictators in third world countries. He probably isn't capable of handling the truth and he is too close to the nuke button for us to safely test this theory.
It is all part of the same problem," Kerry said. "It is the distinction between what is cosmetic and what is real. In the 20 years that I have been here, I have learned to distinguish between the two. This stuff going on is mostly rhetoric."
Emphasizing his interest in setting realistic goals, he added: "Beware of the presidential candidate who just sort of says with a big paintbrush we're going to make everything all right overnight."
I also thought Kerry's statement about how to prioritize "establishing democracy around the globe" was right on.
"I don't see that as the first thing that is going to happen in our priority of making America safer. It is a long-term goal. It is a goal that I will keep on the table. But it is not the first thing that has to happen."
It took America hundreds of years to build the institutions to support our own democracy, and you have to be an idiot to think you can establish a democracy in a country with no standing civic institutions or ethnic identity. Iraq isn't Germany (with a history of democracy) or Japan (with strong ethnic identity ties), but even in those countries we are still garrisoning our troops 45 years later.
Dictators Bush supports (at least if oil concessions are given):
President Pervez Musharraf – Pakistan
Crown Prince Abdullah - Saudi Arabia
President Islam Karimov – Uzbekistan
Saparmurat Niyazov – Turkmenistan
So put Bush’s two-face rhetoric aside, what is the difference? First, Kerry was very clear that he would never offer support to a dictator for oil (like Bush with the Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan).
"We cannot be hamstrung on Saudi oil," he said. "I don't believe we have a free voice in the Middle East as long as we are dependent on the oil card. That is exactly what gets played. I think there has been this sweetheart arrangement that has deprived us of that ability."
Second, Kerry will not jeopardize America’s security on foolish misadventures like Bush’s single vision on Iraq.
He said he would aim to set clear priorities after deciding what is most important and achievable in dealing with other countries. He also said he would balance those goals so no single objective overwhelmed the administration or left other concerns festering. He accused the Bush administration of having an "Iraq-centric preoccupation" that has left little opportunity to deal with other pressing problems.
Third, notice how the reporter mentioned Kerry knowledge and competence on foreign policy. Do I really need to draw a contrast? Well of course, look at Bush's confused mind in a recent speech to the Air Force Academy in a post by fellow Chicagoland blogger(s) WhoPundit.
Kerry, who has devoted much of his two-decade Senate career to foreign policy issues, was comfortable and confident in answering questions that hopscotched across the globe and various trouble spots. He provided detailed, sometimes complex answers that occasionally drew on his experiences in meeting leaders in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.