Friday, May 28, 2004

Kerry the Democratic imperialist

Kerry delivered a foreign policy speech, outlining the same Democratic imperialist ideas we knew from Clinton, only more directly:

Mr. Kerry said that in leading the United States into war without the widespread backing of other nations, the Bush administration violated Theodore Roosevelt's advice to leaders that they "walk softly and carry a big stick."

I told Kerry doesn't know history, here is proof. He should have seen that quote in its historical context: in the wake of the Spanish-American war started by his murdered predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt presided over the slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of Filippinos in the crushing of their rebellion, and of Central Americans in numerous countries, with the recently established Marines. Not exactly the positive role model in the current situation in Iraq.

"They looked to force before exhausting diplomacy," he said. "They bullied when they should have persuaded."

There was nothing to persuase about. Kerry doesn't say what the USA should do if it fails to persuase others. He neatly leaves out the possibility that it could be the USA that needs to be persuased to abadon a policy.

In short, he said, "they have undermined the legacy of generations of American leadership. And that is what we must restore."

"There is still a powerful yearning around the world for an America that listens and leads again," he said. "An America that is respected, and not just feared."

No Mr. Kerry, there may be a powerful yearning for a cooperative and progressive America (I for one yearn for it), but not for one that leads again. We had enough of empires, thankyouverymuch.

Mr. Kerry said that "the day is late and the situation in Iraq is grim," because Mr. Bush has insisted his policy is to "stay the course."

That would be a powerful indictment had Kerry advanced anything on Iraq Bush didn't at some time.

He said he would institute a new national security policy that would be governed by four principles.

He said the United States has to launch new alliances with other nations, modernize and strengthen the military, end the country's dependence on Mideast oil within 10 years, and make better use of intelligence information and diplomatic and economic power to advance American ideas and values.

New alliances? I wonder, why does he not propose to reinvigorate old ones?

Modernize and strenghten the military? Isn't that the PNAC program? Methinks revising priorities, training methods, and stopping outsourcing would be important, not pouring more money into questionable to outright evil programs.

End the dependence on Middle East oil? Why not oil in general? Has no adviser told him that the Middle East already holds 60% of remaining oil reserves, and non-Middle-East countries are depleting their reserves much faster - which means, if he just abadons purchasing in the Middle East, soon the USA would be scrambling to maintain supplies even if it buys all oil on sale outside the region?

Using diplomatic and economic power? This is code words for more of the blackmailing politics more or less preferred abroad by all US admins since Roosevelt. The advancement of 'American ideas and values' (I'm assuming he means freedom, democracy and free-market capitalism; not police brutality, death penalty, reckless consumtion by the suburban middle class, creationism and such - all of these are American ideas/values and also all of these are not just American ideas/values) is by living them and speaking out for them, not by pressurizing for their adoption with missionary zeal - that will backfire. (But if an US admin would follow my advice, I personally would hope they fail to convince the rest of the World about their version of free-market capitalism. But that's me.)

"America must always be the world's paramount military power,"

Here is Kerry the imperialist, black on white. Someone should tell him that all empires collapse, sooner or later.

"As commander-in-chief, I will bring the full force of our nation's power to bear on finding and crushing your networks," he said, addressing the terrorists who may plan to destroy American targets. "We will use every available resource to destroy you."

Yawn. It dawned even on Rumsfeld that if your operations create more terrorists than they kill, you fail. And Kerry's every available resource pretty much promises more of it. Someone should tell him that to dismantle a major terrorist organisation one needs to stop the flood of recruits, which means addressing the ailings the terrorists use as excuse for their acts (and as recruiting tool).


I stand by my prediction. Unless in the following months he fires a few advisers and does a radical redirection of his policies, President Kerry will continue the failure in Iraq, and, in the eyes of many voters with short memory, he will 'own' the failure even (or especially?) if he pulls out a few years from now, and the Republican (Far-)Right will return with a landslide.


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