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It is difficult to find the right adjectives to fairly describe the pattern we see in 20+ years of Kerry foreign policy. Perhaps it was said best at the Republican Convention in New York by Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller:
"For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure." (49)
Hopefully from what I have written you can see that this is not an exaggeration. In fact, Kerry has consistently found himself on the same side as America's enemies. He has supported the Anti-American positions of Ho Chi Minh, Communist China, the Soviet Union, Castro, Ortega, Kim Jong Ill, Saddam Hussein, Aristide and Arafat. I don't question Kerry's patriotism or his intentions, but we do need to question the judgment of a politician who seems to always end up arguing on the side of dictators, thugs, and failed ideologies.
Most disturbing is Kerry's position on Communism. Communism is the greatest evil that man has ever known. It is responsible for more than 100 millions deaths (more than all the wars in history combined), millions and millions of refugees and the subjugation and slavery of over 2 billion people since WWII (70). Communist regimes always follow a similar pattern. A Communist regime has never been elected, so first Communists must orchestrate a revolution, often with the support of funding from preexisting Communist regime. Next, Communists dissolve private property, nationalize media and begin a brutal purge of political prisoners and the upper classes. To conduct it's class warfare and maintain control of the revolting people, the state will militarize, establish a large secret police presence, and create horrific labor/reeducation camps. The economy collapses, failed farm policies result in starvation, refugees flee, and the government begins to export Communist revolution abroad. How far the government is willing to push the Communist philosophy will directly equate with the severity of these events and the suffering of their people. This exact pattern has come to pass in the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, North Korea, Angola, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Cuba. A few countries on this list have not experienced the true hell of Communism because the governments either didn't last long enough to take full root, or total Communist policies were not pursued in earnest. (67)
Kerry failed to stand against Communism and was ignorant of it's true nature. As history has proven time and time again, one cannot appease or negotiate with Communists or dictators, yet that is precisely the stance Kerry has taken throughout his career. His reliance on the United Nations is also misguided. In 1970 he told a Harvard newspaper:
Im an internationalist, Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. Id like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations. Kerry said he wanted to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care. (50)
I realize that it is somewhat disingenuous to hold these statements from 30 years ago against him, especially when he has recently said he would act unilaterally, if necessary, to defend America. But his recent statements sound quite different from his opposition to the first gulf war when 34 countries and numerous UN resolutions authorized the removal of Saddam Hussein from Kuwait and Kerry still didn't vote to authorize the use of American troops. In other words, his campaign rhetoric does not match his record. Besides, more recently, in a 1994 televised interview Kerry said:
In 1994, discussing the possibility of U.S. troops being killed in Bosnia, he [Kerry] said, "If you mean dying in the course of the United Nations effort, yes, it is worth that. If you mean dying American troops unilaterally going in with some false presumption that we can affect the outcome, the answer is unequivocally no." (52)
Despite this, the UN did not pass any resolutions supporting the NATO involvement (Russia threatened a Veto), but Kerry still supported the US effort. How strange then to use the lack of support in the United Nations as an argument against the current action in Iraq.
Even more disturbing, during his aforementioned verbal jousting with Secretary of State Jim Baker before the first gulf war, Kerry argued for putting US troops under UN command:
KERRY: It's one thing to be in the Persian Gulf on a
ship that is somewhat removed from the first line and another to be up there in the desert bearing
that heat and the immediate risk, and I would like to know what we can expect with respect to allies
on the ground and whether or not you think it might be helpful because of the long-term staying
power issue and patience issue to perhaps look to see the ground effort or the overall effort put
under the umbrella of the United Nations directly.
BAKER: I don't think that at this juncture it would be a good idea to put the overall effort under a UN command. We have been successful in -- it's not just, again, the United States being successful, but the world community has responded in a very positive way to this crisis. Twenty-six countries have sent military assets of one form or another. (59)
Like Communism, his knee jerk propensity to support the UN shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the institution. The UN can be useful in some ways, humanitarian work, peacekeeping, and the occasional diplomatic breakthrough. But, the UN is also used by tyrants and dictators to perpetuate their regimes and to keep the United States and other freedom loving countries of the word from action. Israelis know this better than anyone. The UN gives legitimacy to these regimes in the eyes of their people and helps spread paralyzing propaganda to countries with free presses. The United States has spread freedom to more people and more countries than any other nation in the history of the world. Japan, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea, France (twice), and, most recently, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq have all been either liberated or occupied by US forces. During the recent US military reorganizations, South Korean and German officials came to the United States to lobby against the removal of US troops. When has this happened in the history of the world? In Eastern Europe, citizens feared the Red Army of the Soviet Union and cheered when Soviet troops finally withdrew (Russia is currently occupying Georgia against the wishes of its president). All over the world, many countries not only welcome, but often proactively seek to draw American troops to their countries. For example, in the past week US defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Romania:
a sign of Romania's eagerness for Americans to use the facility, officials renamed one street on the
base "George Washington Boulevard," honoring the first U.S. president. If yes, the
move would signal closer U.S. ties with its NATO ally and funnel millions of dollars into the
Romanian economy. "I hope so, but it's not in our hands," Pascu [Romanian
Defense Minister] said. (51)
The United States has defeated Communism, Nazism, and Fascism and in all three instances freed vast swathes of the world from horrifying regimes. US troops have rebuilt and made prosperous multitudes of countries throughout the world. US troops do not have imperialistic aims and do not plunder or demand tribute as other armies have done throughout history. They are certainly are not in Iraq for oil, as Kerry and his campaign suggest. Historically, America has offered hope and freedom to the oppressed and stuck fear into the heart of tyrants. The United States of America has been the only steady force for good in this world. Kerry doesn't seem to see it this way. He seems to think our actions in South East Asia, Central America and Iraq were 'ill-advised'.
It almost seems as if he is suspicious of US power. He thinks bunker busting nuclear weapons (which he would cancel) and a missile defense system create more dangers then protections. Bunker busting nukes might provide the only viable option to eliminate new hardened underground facilities that countries such as Iran and North Korea are using to construct weapons of mass destruction. Possession of these weapons will increase our negotiating power with these rouge regimes and most likely actually decrease the chance of war. Japan, Australia and European countries have all signed on to be placed under the protection of the US 'missile defense shield'. Remember when the Soviet Union didn't believe Ronald Reagan's offer that we would share our missile defense technology?
Kerry is in favor of a banning weapons from space. This would be like Franklin Roosevelt agreeing to ban tanks. The United States may agree not pursue these weapons, but other nations surely will. Would you feel safe if China or Russia had the ability to destroy all US satellites and thus a clear military advantage over the United States? It is foolish to even consider embarking on this course.
In Senator Kerry's eyes, a strong United States is an arrogant, foolhardy United States. He seems to believe we just can't be trusted with these new dangerous weapons or provocative new defenses. In reality, the exact opposite is true. We are the the country that should be trusted with these weapons. In a dangerous world, strength brings peace.
"To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."
George Washington, First Annual Message, January 8, 1790
"History teaches that wars begin when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."
If Kerry had a little more pride in the United States and a better understanding of the history of this country, then maybe he would realize that the best hope for peace in the modern world is a strong, heavily armed United States military. Perhaps this is why liberals are so defensive about being labeled 'unpatriotic'. It is wrong to call them unpatriotic because they are not, but there is this sense that they don't really understand what the United States represents, or what makes this country great [strong property rights]. To side with dictators and Communists, defer to the UN, and fight any attempt to use the US military to liberate oppressed populations, especially when it is vital to our national security, defies any explanation. This is not the message any future commander in chief should send to our citizens, our allies, and our men and women in uniform.
Some might argue that some of Kerry's decisions over the past 20 years are not as cut and dry as I've made them out to be; and I'll accept that. I recognize that Violetta Chamorro, Samoza, General Thieu, Boniface Alexandre, Allawi, Lao King, Lon Nol, and, Fulgencio Batista were all leaders with flaws. Sometimes atrocities were committed by our allies and America has had to make tough choices. But it is unequivocally true that all of these leaders and governments were better then the alternatives. Better for our National Security and better for the populations of those countries. This isn't just me postulating, we have witnessed the gruesome and horrific results when we have followed John Kerry's misguided policies. Contrary to popular opinion, 'right wing' dictators that respect private property are always more benevolent then Communist regimes. (67)
Kerry's arguments were not all flawed. For example, many Vietnamese mistakenly viewed the war as a struggle for Vietnamese independence from colonialism - a point Kerry often argued and policy makers should have considered. President Johnson and his defense secretary Robert McNamera blatantly lied to the American people about Vietnam and terribly mismanaged the war. President Nixon, hamstrung by campaign promises and changing public opinion, offered no real solutions either. Criticism of either Administration was certainly more than justified.
The Somoza regime of Nicaragua was a corrupt dictatorial oligarchy, which did not have the support of the people. The Reagan administration's failure to pressure for reform could have been blamed for setting the stage for the Marxist takeover. However, I was unable to find any statements from Kerry attacking the Reagan administration for this.
I'd also like to make clear that I am not stating or suggesting that Kerry was personally responsible for our withdrawal in Vietnam, or our troubles in these other global hotspots. Actually, he often played only minor roles. Senator Fullbright would probably have drudged up some other schlub to testify before the Senate and the Liberals in Congress would still have had their flirtations with Ortega. But the point in all of this analysis is to extrapolate Kerry's positions from the past in order to make predictions on how he would serve as President. As President, Kerry will play a large roll in charting the course of history for the most powerful nation on earth. Should we elevate a man to the Presidency who was not only on the wrong side of all these issues, but, even now, with the facts in his hands, still believes he was right?
If all this is so, and if John Kerry was so wrong on every single major national security decision in the past 20 years, we need to then ask, why is the election so close? Why don't the voters, who profess foreign policy and national security as top issues, see his record? Why doesn't Bush win in a landslide? There are a few answers.
First, the media is loathe to portray his record as it is. National Newspapers, besides the Wall Street Journal, historically back the Democratic candidate. In some surveys upwards of 80% of national reporters identify themselves as liberals. You may be surprised or shocked, even if you are a regular digester of news, that you have not heard many of the things you have read in this piece (I assure you I have fact checked each bit of info thoroughly and even altered some of the language upon reader feedback). The blame lies with the media.
Second, President Bush and his campaign have not aggressively questioned Kerry's past record. Bush's lackluster performance in the debates blew most of his formerly substantial lead.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Kerry has deliberately hidden his record by basing his campaign around his Vietnam service. The 527 'Swift Boast Veterans for Truth' may have hurt Kerry politically, but have also kept the focus of the campaign on Kerry's military service in Vietnam.
Fourthly, Kerry has played politics with almost every issue and has assumed his newest positions will negate his past actions. In the Senate, the Democratic Primaries, and the general campaign, Kerry has switched, nuanced, and argued, almost every side of every foreign policy issue in such a convoluted way that it is difficult to nail down exactly where he stands or stood. At different times he has argued both sides of the First Gulf War, the current Iraq war, the Israeli-Palestinian fence, Cuba, preemptive action, timetables for withdrawing troops in Iraq, UN mandates, and the list goes on and on.
Fifthly, helped by the press, Kerry has aggressively attacked the President's foreign policy in an attempt to put the focus on the record of the incumbent. Among other things, Kerry has condemned President Bush for:
for not supplying the troops in Iraq (although Kerry voted against the 87 billion to do so), for nixing the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden in Torah Bora (although the Commander in Chief of US Central Command who was running the operation, General Tommy Franks, said in an October 19th Op/Ed in the New York Times that "the senator's understanding of events doesn't square with reality.(54)), for not being aggressive enough on Venezuelan 'President' Hugo Chavez (although Chavez has accused the United States of attempting to orchestrate a coup in his country and Kerry has opposed US support for anti-Communist rebels in the past), for not building strong alliances (although he has condemned the war he'll ask our allies to fight and disparaged the 30 countries that make up the coalition in Iraq and our Iraqi allies), for disregarding international treaties (although he has said he too wouldn't sign either the Kyoto or ICC treaty in their present form), for high gas prices (although he then condemned Bush for making 'secret election year deals with the Saudis to lower oil prices'), all aspects of the President's North Korea policy (although his solution is to return to the policy that let the North Koreans acquire nuclear weapons), and all of this excludes the many multi-pronged criticisms thrown at the President regarding Iraq.
Sixthly, members of the Democratic party are holding their tongues and not speaking their minds. True, many of the more Liberal Democrats advocated the same policies as Kerry, but some of the more moderate members of the Democratic party are not too thrilled with Kerry's selection. Senator Zell Miller (D-Ga), New York Mayor Ed Koch (D), Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-La.), Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.), Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), Saint Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (D), a few scattered state representatives, a smattering of other small town Democratic mayors, and a sprinkle of small historically democratic newspapers have all broken ranks to endorse President Bush, or have publicly declined to endorse Senator Kerry. Even so, the lack of initiative and leadership among prominent Democrats is troubling. The choices have never been starker for the country, yet some Democrats are surely choosing their party over their conscience.
Seventhly, and lastly, some people do see the past record. In polls, Bush scores highest on National Security issues and on who would best handle Iraq. The Conservative stances Kerry is attempting to adopt on National Security and other issues is a testament to the leadership of President Bush and other Conservatives in changing public opinion, not being changed by it. Note that before the Republican Convention, Iraq, terrorism, and national security ranked behind jobs and the economy in voter priority. After the Republican Convention these issues surged to the forefront of voter concern. This is leadership. Even if Bush looses, he will have succeeded in shifting public opinion to the point where Kerry will be hard-pressed to repeat his past mistakes. With 12 days before the election, Bush maintains a slight but steady lead in the polls.
In final conclusion, I do think this may be one of the most important election of our lifetime. Tyrants, terrorists, fence sitters, and our allies all hold their breath expectantly, each praying for different results. President Bush has a solid record of defending American Security and spreading freedom around the globe. From what I have written, hopefully you can see that John Kerry's past record consists of nothing but a jumbled mess of pessimism, defeatism, appeasement, confusion, and politicking. Perhaps you disagree with President Bush on certain economic, domestic, or social issues. I also disagree very strongly with the President on many issues. However, I recognize that foreign policy is the most important issue in this election. Our country is at a crossroads, we can either go forward, or turn back. John Kerry does not understand the insidious nature of Communism, the corruptibility of the United Nations, or the exceptionalism of the United States. And he has shown he does not understand terrorism either. Let's move forward. As Ronald Reagan said, "Because that's what America does".
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