Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Kerry's Utopian Core Revealed

As my dad would invariably say, fifteen minutes after he had sent me to find the boxed half-inch wrench and ten minutes after he had lost his temper and decided to get it for himself, "If it had been a snake, it would've bit you."

I think that's the reaction of a lot of us after mulling over the latest revelation about John F-as-in-Flabbergastin' Kerry, courtesy of the New York Times Magazine and contributing writer Matt Bai in
Kerry's Undeclared War. (Registration and log-in required.) It would seem that Kerry's worldview hasn't changed much since he went to Vietnam for a short tour and came back leading the charge against American imperialism and war-mongering.

The mother-lode quotes include:

When I asked Kerry how Sept. 11 had changed him, either personally or politically, he seemed to freeze for a moment. ''It accelerated -- '' He paused. ''I mean, it didn't change me much at all. It just sort of accelerated, confirmed in me, the urgency of doing the things I thought we needed to be doing. ..."

''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."

Kerry also says he is uncomfortable with associated the word "war" with terrorism, an attitude apparently shared with Richard Holbrooke, who Bai identifies as "the Clinton-era diplomat who could well become Kerry's secretary of state."
"We're not in a war on terror, in the literal sense. The war on terror is like saying 'the war on poverty.' It's just a metaphor. What we're really talking about is winning the ideological struggle so that people stop turning themselves into suicide bombers."

Kerry tells Bai that as president one of his first acts would be to go before the United Nations and announce that a new doctrine, a doctrine of diplomacy and sensitivity, employing "an ambassador-president" shuttling between world capitals to woo and weave international sanctions against rogue nations like Iran and North Korea. Bai adds that "Kerry intends to use as leverage America's considerable capacity for economic aid."

Couple the NYT Magazine article with Kerry's debate outburst against the development of nuclear bunker-busting weapons, his almost slavish devotion to sanctions even in the face of clear evidence that sanctions against Saddam had crumbled (for a primer see
The U.N.'s Greatest Failure at NRO), and his refusal to reconsider the dissonance between his self-aggrandizement as Vietnam hero and his all-too-public and on-the-record actions as anti-Vietnam War protester, and suddenly the truth is inescapable:

John Kerry is a neo-isolationist Baby Boomer who recoils from those abstract ideas that inflamed so many passions over the years: freedom, opportunity, liberation. He yearns for a utopian society where security is assumed because everyone has agreed to disagree on troublesome issues like religion and ethics. Where people are free in the privacy of their own mansion or resort ranch to practice their beliefs but would never dream of subjecting anyone else to those beliefs without a multi-national summit. That's why he rejected Reagan's "city on a hill" vision and instead sided (snuggled) with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. That's why he saw no advantage to America in standing strong against the Soviet Union during the peak years of the Cold War. It's why he advocated the virtual elimination of our intelligence gathering capability after the first World Trade Center bombing, and also why he voted time and again against the very weapon systems we rely on today.

Kerry doesn't just have a September 10th worldview. His is a world that has never actually existed, and likely never will.

In the mind of Kerry, he IS being 100% consistent with his words and actions, given his state of mind and his philosophy, except when he has tried -- in reaching for the nation's highest office -- to obscure his vision to appear as a centrist. Every time he tries to pretend he's a hawk, he stumbles; it does not ring true because it is not in sync with the real John Kerry. Thus his alarm when Howard Dean began to outpoll him in the Democratic primaries. Kerry did not swing to the left only because that's where the votes were. It is also where his heart is.

Whether Kerry, in his "nuanced" brain, actually realizes this or not is irrelevant. The public is beginning to realize that Kerry is not just "Bush Lite" on foreign policy. He is an idealist who thinks he is a pragmatist, the most dangerous kind, I believe. His is a radical vision of shared sovereignty amid global alliances. It is a grand vision, a very diplomatic vision ... but most decidedly not an American vision.

It is the opposite of any "Pax Americana." It is more of a diplomatic "Pangaea" centered on the United Nations and various alliances like NATO and the European Union. It is isolationism only in a military and leadership sense. It would not isolate America from the responsibility of paying for these grand alliances, nor would Kerry's vision insulate young Americans from the "opportunity" of national service that might require deployment under a U.N. or NATO military banner.

Three weeks to go before Election Day and we see the snake that might've bit us, courtesy of the left-leaning NYT Magazine, whose editors probably believe they see into Kerry's vision and have no clue that the majority of Americans would reject it if they knew.

Oh, sure, most Americans have a healthy streak of isolationism in us already. We'd prefer to live our lives unruffled by Islamic radicals and maniacal mullahs who take cultural differences as personal insults against their god and their prophet. There are times, such as when I saw the video of the first round of beheadings, when I really thought we should nuke a few thousand militants and withdraw our troops and say "To hell with 'em all!" That lasted about an hour and a half. We should not condemn all Islamics because some follow a deranged theology. That isn't the civilized thing to do. (It isn't the Christian thing to do either, but that's another column.) Far better to punish those with terrorist histories, ties and intentions, and help establish the conditions for the rise of Middle East nations who prize freedom and opportunity. Only then will we find friends who will understand our motivations.

This is a more ambitious, perhaps even more radical, strategy than any envisioned by John Kerry who I fear mistakes its directness for simplicity and its forcefulness for brutality. We are trying to rebuild and put to rights a nation that Saddam never truly valued for anything other than the money, pleasure and power it could provide him. Yeah, we broke a few things on the way in, but unlike any other nation in history, the United States cleans up the mess before it leaves. (I guess we're kind of like the Cat in the Hat in that respect.)

John Kerry does not understand this kind of thinking. He is more comfortable in a lawyerly world of diplomats and subpoenas, of treaties and bail bonds for bad guys. Where even Osama bin Laden gets a Miranda warning and time off for good behavior. Where even sadistic Saddam might "not necessarily" have to leave office.

God help America if Kerry wins on November 2.


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