Thursday, October 14, 2004

Wrong Man, Wrong Job, Wrong World

Wrong Man, Wrong Job, Wrong World

After further study, I have concluded that the John Kerry that was revealed in the Matt Bai New York Times Magazine article that I posted on yesterday reveals a truly frightening philosophy from the candidate that we had come to believe we understood. He actually lives in a fantasy world in which we are not at war, in which the primary job of a president of the United States is to act as a diplomat, where the best way to respond to terrorist attacks is to hunt down and prosecute the perpetrators, after they act. His law enforcement model for dealing with the Jihadi threat relies heavily upon drug war tactics, making visas difficult to obtain, and cracking down on money laundering. And, most troubling of all, he seems far too willing to aver that the American people are just too stupid to understand the complexities of it all.

In Matt Bai's formulation of Kerry World:
Kerry's view, that the 21st century will be defined by the organized world's struggle against agents of chaos and lawlessness, might be the beginning of a compelling vision. The idea that America and its allies, sharing resources and using the latest technologies, could track the movements of terrorists, seize their bank accounts and carry out targeted military strikes to eliminate them, seems more optimistic and more practical than the notion that the conventional armies of the United States will inevitably have to punish or even invade every Islamic country that might abet radicalism.
There it is. Kerry sees a world that "seems more optimistic and more practical" than the idea that we face an enemy that is determined to destroy us. "Agents of chaos and lawlessness" are a much easier foe to defeat than murderous killers bent on the destruction of the Western World. He believes that his vision is superior, given his experience: three months in a combat zone, two years as a prosecutor, twenty years in a debating society, than the understanding of those who have devoted their lives to the serious study of our enemy. What do Samuel Huntington, Fouad Ajami, and Bernard Lewis know about fundamentalist Islam anyway? It is Kerry's arrogance that is truly frightening. We can now recast this election contest as one between a humble man drawn into the war by events, against a know-it-all who marries rich women and will never stand in line among his inferiors - us.

He knows the world so much better than anyone else. He is unconcerned about caving in to North Korea, which he dismisses with the formulation, again in Bai's words:
Whereas Bush has branded North Korea ''evil'' and refuses to negotiate head on with its authoritarian regime, Kerry would open bilateral talks over its burgeoning nuclear program.
As long as Kerry and his true believers agree that Bush is a moron this makes perfect sense, yet South Korea, Russia and China see Kerry's plan as pure folly, so they must all be morons as well. Kerry knows, you see, because his father was a diplomat. He might as well say that his plan is superior because he stayed in a Marriott last night, except mere motels are beneath his station.
If forced democracy is ultimately Bush's panacea for the ills that haunt the world, as Kerry suggests it is, then Kerry's is diplomacy. Kerry mentions the importance of cooperating with the world community so often that some of his strongest supporters wish he would ease up a bit. (''When people hear multilateral, they think multi-mush,'' Biden despaired.) But multilateralism is not an abstraction to Kerry, whose father served as a career diplomat during the years after World War II. The only time I saw Kerry truly animated during two hours of conversation was when he talked about the ability of a president to build relationships with other leaders.

''We need to engage more directly and more respectfully with Islam, with the state of Islam, with religious leaders, mullahs, imams, clerics, in a way that proves this is not a clash with the British and the Americans and the old forces they remember from the colonial days,'' Kerry told me during a rare break from campaigning, in Seattle at the end of August. ''And that's all about your diplomacy.''

When I suggested that effecting such changes could take many years, Kerry shook his head vehemently and waved me off.
Note his use of the term "forced democracy." It runs throughout the piece. It is perhaps the most arrogant sign, and the most ominous. Not only are the American people a bunch of idiots (after all, we elected Bush, didn't we?) but so are the people of the Middle East, and elsewhere. Where did Kerry get the idea that the people of Iraq, and Afghanistan need to be forced into democracy. The Afghans just, each of them, risked their very lives in order to vote, yet the arrogance of Kerry is such that the evidence must be ignored so that his worldview will prevail. To his mind, and that of many other leftists, peoples of the third world are semihumans to whom the blessings of liberty are not yet attractive, and thus they require autocracies in order to have fully functioning states, in order to achieve "stability."

We have now come full circle, as what was left is now right. It is the Left that supports the idea of dictatorships in the name of stability, and the Right that pursues Wilsonian ideals of universal freedom and democracy. In Kerry's flawed view:
Kerry, too, envisions a freer and more democratic Middle East. But he flatly rejects the premise of viral democracy, particularly when the virus is introduced at gunpoint. ''In this administration, the approach is that democracy is the automatic, easily embraced alternative to every ill in the region,'' he told me. Kerry disagreed. ''You can't impose it on people,'' he said. ''You have to bring them to it. You have to invite them to it. You have to nurture the process.''
This flies in the face of history, where freedom is always wrested from tyranny at the point of a gun, not "nurtured," but seized. We seek not to force anyone to democracy, but we are willing to help to arm and train each nation's freedom fighters. Kerry has complained that we allowed the Afghans to fight their own action against the Taliban - that it should have been an all-American show in Tora Bora. Only a fool could thus disown what was the finest hour in the history of Special Forces, where 1200 Americans empowered the Northern Alliance to throw off the chains of the Taliban, and Kerry is a special kind of fool. He sees all conflict as a replay of Vietnam, and thus sees nothing but his own memories, and even these are imperfect.
Those who know Kerry say this belief is in part a reaction to his own experience in Vietnam, where one understanding of the domino theory (''if Vietnam goes communist, all of Asia will fall'') led to the death of 58,000 Americans, and another (''the South Vietnamese crave democracy'') ran up against the realities of life in a poor, long-war-ravaged country. The people of Vietnam, Kerry found, were susceptible neither to the dogma of communism nor the persuasiveness of American ''liberation.'' As the young Kerry said during his 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: ''We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy. They only wanted to work in rice paddies without helicopters strafing them and bombs with napalm burning their villages and tearing their country apart. They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace.''
I hope that we never find out exactly how a Kerry presidency plays out, but just the possibility of his election is chilling. And he calls Bush a cowboy?