March 21, 2004

Kerry Watch

"Can it really be said that we are building a new world order when it is almost exclusively the United States who will be fighting in the desert, not alone but almost, displaying pride and impatience and implementing what essentially amounts to a pax Americana?" he asked. "Is that a new world order?" [emphasis added]

John Kerry, January 11th 1991, speaking just five days before the beginning of Desert Storm hostilities.

Of course, we weren't fighting almost "alone." Some 34 nations had joined the war effort by then.

The non-U.S. component of coalition forces put in 160,000 men, roughly 25% of the total.

Hardly de minimis stuff, huh?

And the arrogant American hegemon had even managed to secure Syrian, Egyptian and, er, French support to boot!

More swashbuckling Bush unilateralism, only this time it was Bush pere!

A couple more gems from the WaPo's Kerry story:

"In 1995, Kerry was one of 29 senators who voted against lifting an arms embargo on Bosnia. He argued the congressional action was unacceptably unilateral and had not been coordinated with European allies."

Again, we would be wielding a too "arrogant club" pace Kerry.

Remember, this is post--Srebrenica massacre, where some 8,000 human beings were slaughtered.

No matter. Vote to keep the Bosniaks virtually defenseless because of the arms embargo that the bipartisan Dole-Lieberman bill sought to lift.

Recall that U.S. policy had been hugely limp-wristed through the '90s before Richard Holbrooke's involvement at Dayton.

Warren Christopher had tried to persuade the Europeans to pursue the "lift and strike" option (lift the arms embargo and use NATO to attack Bosnian Serb gunners terrorizing "safe" areas like Sarajevo) in a trip to European capitals in 1993.

But Paris and London (because of a good dollop of residual world-war era Serbophilia) and Germany (looking to flex their new post-unification muscle by supporting the Croats) weren't interested in empowering Muslim Europeans who were being slaughtered in appalling number.

Christopher returned home empty-handed saying an "exchange" of views had occurred.

One had, as people quipped in Washington. He went to Europe with an American view and came back with an European one.

And, given how short attention spans were in the Clinton Administration, the policy goal of lifting the arms embargo was, just like that, ingloriously dropped.

Kerry, doutbless, would have been proud of this lack of arrogance and display of American humilty.

You know, I also believe American power must be pursued with greater humility on the world stage. Given our hyperpuissance status--communicating our message in non-arrogant manner will become increasingly critical.

But not at the expense of sacrificing the efficacy and purposefulness of our foreign policy. Which is what I'm worried a Kerry Presidency (even with Richard Holbrooke at Foggy Bottom--unless he gets to run the NSC too!) might well result in.

Another worrying example of Kerry's "humility" from the WaPo piece.

Here's Kerry on NoKo:

"He declared that North Korea "took some remarkable steps, heretofore unimaginable steps" under a 1994 agreement with Clinton, and that the United States should not be "sending them a message that may, in fact, make it months later and far more difficult before we can do so." [emphasis added]

"Unimaginable steps"? Way to signal to Pyongyang that they've conceded too much already (of course, Kim Jong was merrily violating the Clinton "agreement" all along--when not, that is, dishing up "unimaginable" concessions).

Oh, and might one file this one under the 'he doth protest too much' category?

"Kerry added that he is incensed at a Bush campaign ad saying he seeks U.N. approval to defend the United States. "Never. Never have. Never ever, ever in my life in the United States Senate have I ever ceded our authority to the U.N. or have I recommended it," he said. "Never. Not once in one vote; not in one speech. Never. That is a lie."

Nothing like faux haute-Brahmin indignation to greet you on a Sunday morning, huh?

Posted by Gregory at March 21, 2004 10:58 AM
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