Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Uniter not a Divider

Silflay Hraka has some interesting commentary on John Kerry and foreign policy. His line of thought goes like this: Bush has had a presidency characterized by disunity. The last Democrat, Clinton, did not. In terms of foreign policy and prosecuting terrorists, Kerry's party affiliation and newcomer status to the presidency will give him options that Bush doesn't have. No doors are yet closed to Kerry. So because Kerry hasn't burned any bridges yet, he may be (for instance) able to rally international support in a way that Bush never will be because Bush is an American cowboy president and a unilateralist.

Now Mr. Hraka is a Democrat. I am on the other side of the political divide. His bit about Clinton being a uniter is of course completely wrong. Bush's "uniter not divider" quote was directed at Clinton! Clinton never won a majority. He owes both his terms in part to Perot. His presidency is perhaps the most scandal ridden of the twentieth century. It was also characterized by bitter partisan division since 1994. The only reason Mr. Hraka could possibly think Clinton is a uniter is because all his friends are also Democrats.

But that's beside the point. We are in a war and I have had similar thoughts. The right may not like having a democrat in office, but I believe will be reluctant to act in a way that severely undermines his authority and may get soldiers killed by encouraging the enemy. The right recognizes that this is war. The left has no qualms about doing either of those to Bush and doesn't give a damn if this is a war. The left questions authority where the right respects authority. Likewise who's sons and daughters are serving in the military these days?

Here's an example: Remember when Clinton bombed Iraq on the day of his impeachment vote? Congress pulled together and postponed it in order to provide a united front. The news story of Clinton basically bombing someone for political reasons was quietly dropped. Even the right conceded that Hussein wasn't complying with UN resolutions and had to be dealt with although the timing was awfully questionable. Plus the news media voting for Clinton didn't hurt. Can you imagine that happening with Bush bombing someone?

Right so I concede Kerry may be able to pull together better support at home and its unlikely he will be able to take back Congress so his stupid domestic policies won't pass. But how will he use this support in the foreign policy arena? The democratic party platform makes reference to using special forces against terrorists, stronger security at home, and lots of talking to people like France. Nowhere is there reference to really taking the fight to the enemy and pulling on serious pressure. Oh discrete strikes, yeah that's there. Clinton did that too remember. It didn't work. It made them mad and gave them time to plan, bad combination. There's also reference to getting other countries involved. Sound like Clinton's failed law enforcement policies again? It should since the same guy wrote them, probably Sandy Berger.

What Bush realizes is that we need to take the fight to the enemy. This includes states that sponsor terrorism like Syria and Iran. Why are states so important? Because the switch to Arab terrorism directly coincides with the Arab nations' inability to defeat Israel militarily. They support terrorists as surrogate armies against Israel. The other reason is that terrorists won't attack us here when they can more easily attack us over there. All they want to do is kill Americans and there are Americans in their streets. Of course the people in their home towns are soldiers and marines and shoot back. But for some reason the same folks that become suicide bombers aren't bright enough to figure that out.

Will Kerry keep the pressure on? I sincerely doubt he has the stones for it. His voting record says no. His policies say "lets talk." That's a no as well, incidentally. Here's a tip about fighting. There are two reasons to talk to your enemy. One is if you think you can come to a peaceful settlement so nobody has to get hurt. Your enemy becomes your friend. Not gonna happen. The other is to buy time to recover from the other guy kicking the crap outta you. Yup that's the one. Except we're hurting him a lot more than he's hurting us so letting him up for a chat would be a mistake. It squanders the advantage we have already built up. Similarly calling in our friends and allies is not a reason to let up as both can be done at the same time.

So yeah I'm probably voting for Bush, but I'm not especially happy about it either.

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