Friday, July 30, 2004

Why Tony might be wrong

Note: Okay, this will be my last post about politics for the week. Promise.

My brother, who has been lovingly described as libertarian skin-head, recently posted about the reasons he might vote for Kerry. And if you knew his political stances, you can see this is a mighty big thing to even contemplate.

Well, I picked up a copy of The Atlantic Monthly (to read an article on David Allen that has taken almost two years to get into print) and found this article about John Kerry and his foreign policy team. I was shocked.

First caveat, while the article seems relatively balanced, the author is a strong Democrat. (See post about annoying blogs earlier today.)

Anyway, according to what I read, and you should read, is that (a) Kerry has assembled a pretty good team of international experts who (b) do believe in a strong international presence and (c) are not afraid of using force. The team would seem to (d) understand changing the leader(ship) of a country does not mean everything is hunky-dory, nor do they believe the dogma that (e) getting rid of Saddam means the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will get better. Kerry's advisors (f)
focus less exclusively than Bush's on rogue nation-states. They focus more on the host of diffuse dangers that have arisen in the wake of globalization: destabilization, arms smuggling, terrorism.

Good heavens! I cannot believe I like what I read. I still plan on writing in "None of the Above" for my choice as President, but I do feel a little better about the chances for Kerry's foreign policy.


ABCD II said...

Yesterday, or the day before, I was sitting in a hotel bar in Cozumel and above the bar is a TV tuned to CNN. The sound isn't on and there's no closed captioning, so while I can see it, I have no idea what is being said. Anyway, John Kerry comes on in a commercial to, presumably, tell me why I should vote for him. While I cannot hear him, a couple times text appears on the screen next to him. It's was my assumption (and probably a safe one) that these short blurbs are the jist of whatever he's saying. So what were the salient points he made, you ask. Here they are, in order as I saw them (no guarantee this is verbatim):

-Rebuild our Alliances

-Strengthen our Homeland Security

Did you get that? The very first point that he wants to make to me is that he will "rebuild our alliances."

Playing nice with the French so they stop being mad at us is so far down on my list of priorities, I'd roll my eyes if I weren't afriad they'd go too far back and my optic nerve would break.

THREE THOUSAND AMERICANS. DEAD. And he's worried about the rift in our relations with foreign leaders who are openly anti-American.

I don't know how anyone takes the man seriously.

Jeffrey Davidson said...

First, just because the first point mentioned in the speech (if that is what it was, and not just the first point you noticed on the topic or the first point summarized by the network), does not mean that it is the first priority. Can you tell me if Kerry's first priority is rebuilding alliances?

Second, in a world of terrorism, arms smuggling, and globalization, strong alliances in all parts of the world are key to our security.

Third, extrapolating that rebuilding alliances means doing what the French want is inane, disingenuous, and a red herring. While we are a world power with the greatest economic and military power, the truth is that our 'enemies' are no longer other world powers. Rather, in a world filled with terrorism we need diverse friends and allies and information sources to meet the goals of protecting our citizens and way of life.

So, instead of jumping to conclusions, why don't you read the article I linked to and then discuss whether the strategy presented makes sense. It would certainly be more useful than quoting a summary of a speech that summarizes a policy; none of which you knew the details about.

Paul Davidson said...

Sounds like much wasteful chatter. The final election calculus is: Bush = Kerry

If the big difference is the possibility that the French like us more, I just don't care.
Lastly, it always brings a smile to my face when a liberal calls another liberal "relatively balanced".

ABCD II said...

I'm responding on my own blog. My comment was getting ridiculously long. The post should be up soon.

Jeffrey Davidson said...

As I read your statements in comments here and on your own site, you seem to make the implication that "strong alliances" means "capitulation."

I don't buy it. It is a valid conversation to ask, "To what extent do we need and desire allies before embarking on this course?" But it is wrong to say (a) our allies require us surrender to their terms before action or (b) we will yield our decisions to our allies.

ABCD II said...

Not quite. I am implying that when Kerry, or others on the left, say "strong alliances," that the net result of what they are proposing amounts to capitulation.

Why is it "wrong to say (a) our allies require us surrender to their terms before action or (b) we will yield our decisions to our allies?" It is largely what I'm saying. Why is your conversation valid and not mine? I reject your rejection.

Jeffrey Davidson said...

I disagree that we will capitulate. I understand you think the Kerry will, but I would like to see some evidence. As near as I can tell, he plans a course remarkedly like our current president, with some sprinkling of Clinton-esque policy; neither of which was marked by capitulation. Is there anywhere that Kerry has defined this to support your argument?

And by that I mean more evidence than you claiming "'strong alliances' amounts to capitulation." I look forward to your sources.

ABCD II said...

In an (admittedly short) attempt to find an explanation of what Kerry himself means by "strong alliances" or "rebuilding alliances" I have come up with nothing. If you come across an elaboration by Kerry, by all means, let me know.

But that's not really the point. It is obvious that this issue is just a "slap at the Bush administration" for "not building more international support for the Iraq war." More simply, it's called rhetoric. Like Bush(41)'s "thousand points of light." It's meant to say something without really saying anything.

My sources? I am making a case for an assertion using (what I perceive to be) a rational thought process based on things we've already covered. Your request for "evidence" smacks of a highly disenguous attempt to discredit my point because it is not a 'fact'.

ABCD II said...

There's a point I forgot to make. I am not saying Kerry will reverse course in the WoT. But there are future decisions he would probably have to make that could, in my opinion, amount to capitulating.

For example, Bill Clinton did relatively little in 8 years despite the fact that we were already under attack.

Jeffrey Davidson said...

1. Sure, much of what they both say is rhetoric, but I still thank we should have worked to build stronger alliances prior to the war, rather than coming back now requesting them. (No links, you've seen the press on this point too.)

It's not that we would have had an easier time with insurgencies in the post-war Iraq. Rather, we would not be bearing such an overwhelming percentage of the burden in resources of dollars and personnel.

The War on Terror is real and needs to be fought. And if we do not have a strong enough argument for allies in a very real war, we need a stronger argument. We may have to act prior to developing that argument, but it does not negate the idea that we need a stronger argument for our actions.

2. And I'm not trying to discredit your statement "after the fact" by claiming it not to be fact, I am asking you to credit it with enough support that I believe the truth in your statement.

A big part of my problem is that accussing Kerry of willingness to capitulate sounds like rhetoric from the right. And it's damn hard for me to credit rhetoric from either side without more than a soundbite.

3. As for being "already under attack", the press seemed to hound Bush this Spring for not acting until after 9/11, unlike Clinton's team during the Y2k celebration. And some of this was rhetoric, but it's pretty clear that Bush did not have a plan half as strong as his predecessor until after the horrendous attack. But neither this point nor yours means that Kerry will capitulate; so you'll have to restate your point because I surely missed it.