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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Monday, October 18, 2004


From CBS News.Com
March 02, 2004

Kerry's World: Father Knows Best

By the time John Kerry's father, Richard, published his only book, The Star-Spangled Mirror, in 1990, he should have been a mellow man. Nearly 30 years had passed since his retirement from the Foreign Service, where he'd filled mid-level posts in Washington, Berlin, and Oslo. His central issue, the cold war, had followed him into retirement with the crumbling of the Berlin Wall and rise of glasnost in Russia. When the 75-year-old Kerry wasn't working on his book, he could be found building model ships and sailing off Cape Cod. If he had any reasons for professional bitterness, they should have long since faded.

None of these facts, however, becalmed him. His book has a young man's brash, polemical tone. The Star-Spangled Mirror is a critique of moralism in America's foreign policy -- and, more than that, it is a critique of America's national character.

"Americans," he writes, "are inclined to see the world and foreign affairs in black and white." They celebrate their own form of government and denigrate all others, making them guilty of what he calls "ethnocentric accommodation -- everyone ought to be like us." As a result, America has committed the "fatal error" of "propagating democracy" and fallen prey to "the siren's song of promoting human rights," falsely assuming that our values and institutions are a good fit in the Third World. And, just as Americans exaggerate their own goodness, they exaggerate their enemies' badness. The Soviet Union wasn't nearly as imperialistic as American politicians warned, Kerry argues. "Seeing the Soviet Union as the aggressor in every instance, and the U.S. as only reacting defensively, relieves an American observer from the need to see any parallel between our use of military power in distant parts of the world, and the Soviet use of military power outside the Soviet Union," he writes. He further claims that "Third world Marxist movements were autonomous national movements" -- outside Moscow's orbit. The book culminates in a plea for a hardheaded, realist foreign policy that removes any pretense of U.S. moral superiority.

Despite its blunt arguments, The Star-Spangled Mirror received little attention. Foreign Affairs greeted it with a 90-word summation in its review section. But the work of Richard Kerry, who passed away in 2000, will soon experience posthumous reconsideration. It won't be because of the renewed relevance of his arguments (although his book does read like a contemporary brief against neoconservatism). It will be because his son is a leading candidate to run U.S. foreign policy.

According to the conventional telling of John Kerry's biography, largely told by Kerry himself, his foreign policy views were forged in the Mekong Delta. During his disillusioning four-month combat stint on a Navy Swift Boat, the limits of U.S. power were revealed to him. As Newsweek argued in a cover story last month, "Kerry's policy views, as well as his politics, were profoundly shaped by the war." But, for all the neatness this narrative provides, it overlooks an entire chapter in Kerry's intellectual history: his childhood. In fact, Kerry's foreign policy worldview, characterized by a steadfast belief in international institutions and a suspicion of U.S. hard power, had fallen into place long before he ever enlisted. As Kerry's biographer, the historian Douglas Brinkley, told me, "So much of his foreign policy worldview comes straight from Richard Kerry."

Richard Kerry's father, a Czech Jew, fled Europe. The son, by contrast, embraced it. As a law student at Harvard in the late '30s, he read continental philosophers like Kierkegaard and histories about Bismarck and Metternich; he traveled to France, where he took sculpture classes and met his wife. Hoping to parlay his love of Europe into a career, he chose international law as his law school specialty. After World War II, which he spent in the Army Air Corps testing new airplanes at high altitudes, he moved his family to Washington to take a spot in the Department of the Navy's Office of General Counsel, hoping that his proximity to the State Department might help him land a job there.

Two years into his Washington stint, Kerry's relocation paid off. The State Department's Bureau of United Nations Affairs hired him to help work through the thicket created by America's adherence to a new set of postwar international agreements. According to Brinkley, the cosmopolitan Kerry was a true believer in the United Nations and the postwar promise of global government.

But, as much as he believed in the United Nations, it was not his prime passion. A devoted Europeanist, Kerry was more preoccupied with the devastation of Europe and the monumental task of reconstructing it -- a romantic project that enticed a generation of young diplomats, including George Kennan and George Ball. The appeal of the task wasn't just the economic and physical rebuilding of the continent. Kerry and others like him viewed themselves as building a new political order for the continent, a new method for arranging international affairs that would consign war to the dustbin of history. In the early '50s, Kerry became an enthusiast for NATO and the nascent efforts at creating a unified Europe.

In 1954, Kerry received an assignment that put him at ground zero of the cold war. He moved to Berlin to advise former Harvard President James B. Conant, whom Dwight D. Eisenhower had charged with overseeing the rehabilitation of West Germany. Once again, Kerry's job consigned him primarily to lawyerly work. His chief task was to devise answers to the questions created by Berlin's confused status. Martha Mautner, a political officer who served with Kerry in Germany, told me, "There were so many questions about the status of Berlin that the lawyers had to handle. There were Four Powers [the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union] running the city. What was its relationship to the Federal Republic?" But Kerry's interests extended far beyond these matters. During his tenure in Europe, he attended conferences in Paris, London, and The Hague, where he discussed with other mid-level diplomats the future of the transatlantic alliance and the possibilities of a new continental order. According to Brinkley, through these conferences, Kerry established relationships with a group of like-minded government officials, including the famed French planning commissioner (and intellectual architect of the European Union) Jean Monnet.

These conferences reinforced Kerry's belief that the preservation of the Atlantic alliance and the creation of a new Europe should be the overriding priorities of U.S. foreign policy. But the reality of U.S. policy was far different. For most of the Eisenhower administration, America's prime objective was containing communism. And, unlike the administration he served, Kerry believed that cooperation and diplomacy, rather than militarism, should resolve these tensions. In The Star-Spangled Mirror, he condemns the United States for "lecturing" European allies about the horrors of communism and accuses it of "bad manners" and "spoiled behavior." He writes, "At times we expected the allies unquestioningly to follow our leads; sometimes we failed to consult them in advance before reversing policies; at other times we ignored their requests."

Even at the time, Kerry wasn't quiet about his disagreement with the hard-line anti-communists. Although he had initially viewed Secretary of State John Foster Dulles as a kindred spirit and cultivated a relationship with him, Kerry felt uncomfortable with his rhetoric about "godless communism." (In his book, Kerry spends several pages arguing against Dulles's "intensely moralistic outlook.") According to Brinkley, Kerry bluntly told Dulles the shortcomings of his increasingly hawkish approach, undermining their relationship in the process. This was typical behavior for Kerry, who had a growing reputation for outspokenness. John Kerry's friend and former aide Jonathan Winer says, "[Richard Kerry] was a dissident in a time of conformity."

For all his impolitic instincts, Kerry's undeniable competence kept propelling his career forward. Following his posting in Berlin, he served as top aide to Georgia Democrat Walter George, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And, in 1958, he took what would be his highest posting in the Foreign Service, as Oslo's chief political officer, where he played a vital role in opening Norway to American spies and weapons. But his competence could get him only so far -- which is to say, it couldn't overcome his maverick reputation and win him a coveted ambassadorship. By the Kennedy administration, Brinkley says, Kerry sensed he had hit a ceiling in the Foreign Service. Kerry told his family, "They seem not to listen to what I have to say, so I'm going to quit." Brinkley adds, "He saw his role as becoming a protester, criticizing the government from the outside in lectures and his book."

Richard Kerry, whose own father committed suicide, was not a very effusive parent. When his twelve-year-old son John lay quarantined with scarlet fever at his Swiss boarding school, Richard Kerry didn't make the trip from Berlin to visit him. But there was at least one subject that fostered easy conversation between the two: foreign policy. "It allowed them to break through an emotional wall," says Brinkley. "They talked about foreign policy the way most fathers and sons talk about football." Well into his Senate career, John Kerry would phone his father to ask his opinion about international issues ranging from arms control to Central America. Watching the conversations, Winer says, "I saw two people talking about policy very seriously with unexpressed affection."

From the start, Richard Kerry turned his oldest son into his foreign policy protégé. As Newsweek's Evan Thomas has written, "The Kerry dinner table was a nightly foreign-policy seminar. While other boys were eating TV dinners in front of the tube, [John] Kerry was discussing George Kennan's doctrine of containment." His father introduced the adolescent boy to such luminaries as Monnet and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. Later, when he was at Yale, John Kerry traded letters with Clementine Churchill, Winston's wife.

As early as prep school, John Kerry showed signs that he shared his father's suspicions about America's cold war foreign policy. In a debate at St. Paul's in the late '50s, he argued that the United States should establish relations with Red China. During his junior year at Yale, he won a speech prize for an oration warning, "It is the specter of Western Imperialism that causes more fear among Africans and Asians than communism, and thus it is self-defeating." And, when he was tapped to deliver a graduation speech in 1966, he used the occasion to condemn U.S. involvement in Vietnam, intoning, "What was an excess of isolationism has become an excess of interventionism."

If Richard and John Kerry were not in perfect political sync, it was because the father, in an inversion of the usual dynamic, was more radical than the son. John Kerry, for instance, had grown enthusiastic about John F. Kennedy and his robust, anti-communist foreign policy. Indeed, it was his fervor for Kennedy's "bear any burden" call to service that largely inspired Kerry to join the Navy. Richard Kerry, by contrast, was more skeptical about New Frontier idealism. In a 1996 interview with The Boston Globe, he groused, "[John's] attitude was gung ho: had to show the flag. He was quite immature in that direction." When John Kerry came back from Vietnam, his father pushed him to be more outspoken in his opposition to the war. "When Kerry refused to speak out against the government [while in uniform], suddenly his father felt like he was being a wimp," says Brinkley. "[So he] encouraged his son to take off the uniform and to become a critic."

John Kerry, of course, did exactly this, first in Vietnam Veterans Against the War and eventually in the U.S. Senate. From the moment he arrived in Washington, Kerry promised that "issues of war and peace" would remain his passion. And, from the start, this meant that he would criticize Ronald Reagan's war against communism, especially when it was fought through proxies in the jungles of Central America. In 1985, he traveled to Nicaragua to meet with the Sandanista government, telling The Washington Post, "I see an enormous haughtiness in the United States trying to tell [the Sandinistas] what to do." Soon after his return, he pressured Congress into investigating the administration's illegal funding of the Contra rebels, opening a trail that culminated in the exposure of the arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. And, a few years later, in the late '80s, he repeated this success, launching an investigation that revealed that another of the administration's favorite anti-communists, the Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, had been deeply enmeshed in drug-trafficking. Kerry was also skeptical enough of U.S. power that he voted against authorizing a popular intervention -- the Gulf war -- and opposed a 1995 resolution that would have allowed the arming of Bosnians.

There are differences, to be sure, between Richard and John Kerry. Over the course of his political career, John Kerry has occasionally endorsed the use of force, as in the cases of Panama and Kosovo, and he has always found a rhetorical place for morality in his foreign policy pronouncements. But, more often than not, even as John Kerry stumps for president, the similarities shine through. Last month, for example, Kerry charged that the administration's "high-handed treatment of our European allies, on everything from Iraq to the Kyoto climate-change treaty, has strained relations nearly to the breaking point." It should be no surprise to hear John Kerry worry about European allies and to strike such liberal internationalist notes. These ideas aren't just deeply felt; they're in his blood.

Police Union Denounces Kerry

A tip of the ol' cap to Charles at LGF

Largest Police Union Denounces Kerry

Police Call on Kerry to Stop Misrepresenting Their Support.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ — Today Chuck Canterbury, the President of the nation’s largest police labor organization, called on John Kerry to stop making misleading statements regarding his support from the law enforcement community. Both on the campaign trail and in Wednesday night’s debate in Tempe, AZ, Senator Kerry has alluded that he has the support of the majority of these brave men and women.

“As the elected leader of the largest organization representing America’s Federal, State and local law enforcement officers, I believe it’s important to point out yet again that we do not support his candidacy for President,” Canterbury said. “And to be perfectly frank, the groups which do support him actually share the same membership rolls and, taken together, probably comprise less than one-quarter of our nation’s police officers.”

Canterbury further noted that unlike the organizations which Senator Kerry touts, F.O.P. members as a whole decided that the Fraternal Order of Police would endorse the reelection of President George W. Bush. They based their decision, he said, on the record of the Bush Administration in supporting America’s first responders-including helping to secure passage earlier this year of H.R. 218, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, the organization’s top legislative priority. Bush also successfully fought to greatly enhance the benefits for the families of officers killed in the line of duty.

“While Kerry was flying around the country campaigning and leaving the actual work of the nation to his colleagues in the Senate, the President was out there working on our behalf,” Canterbury said. “Senators Kerry and Edwards have missed so many crucial votes this Congress that I was beginning to believe there were only 98 members of the U.S. Senate.”

Canterbury also said it was the height of irony that Kerry would use his position on the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban as a reflection of his support from police.

“First, if a police officer is killed by an AK-47, Kerry would oppose the death penalty for the killer,” Canterbury said. “In addition, where was he when this issue was being discussed in the 108th Congress? Where was he when we were working to pass H.R. 218? When it came time to help push for final passage of legislation important to law enforcement, Senator Kerry was regrettably A.W.O.L.”

“Given the facts, I would greatly appreciate it if Senator Kerry would refrain from making similar whimsical assertions regarding his support from the law enforcement community,” Canterbury said. “The real majority of my fellow officers are standing behind President Bush, because he has been there for us.”

The Fraternal Order of Police is the nation’s largest law enforcement labor organization, with more than 318,000 members.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

High Stakes

Campaign 2004: High Stakes
Quite simply, Kerry must be stopped; and Bush must win
By Paul Johnson, Noted Historian

The great issue in the 2004 election—it seems to me as an Englishman—is, How seriously does the United States take its role as a world leader, and how far will it make sacrifices, and risk unpopularity, to discharge this duty with success and honor? In short, this is an election of the greatest significance, for Americans and all the rest of us. It will redefine what kind of a country the United States is, and how far the rest of the world can rely upon her to preserve the general safety and protect our civilization.

When George W. Bush was first elected, he stirred none of these feelings, at home or abroad. He seems to have sought the presidency more for dynastic than for any other reasons. September 11 changed all that dramatically. It gave his presidency a purpose and a theme, and imposed on him a mission. Now, we can all criticize the way he has pursued that mission. He has certainly made mistakes in detail, notably in underestimating the problems that have inevitably followed the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and overestimating the ability of U.S. forces to tackle them. On the other hand, he has been absolutely right in estimating the seriousness of the threat international terrorism poses to the entire world and on the need for the United States to meet this threat with all the means at its disposal and for as long as may be necessary. Equally, he has placed these considerations right at the center of his policies and continued to do so with total consistency, adamantine determination, and remarkable courage, despite sneers and jeers, ridicule and venomous opposition, and much unpopularity.

There is something grimly admirable about his stoicism in the face of reverses, which reminds me of other moments in history: the dark winter Washington faced in 1777-78, a time to “try men’s souls,” as Thomas Paine put it, and the long succession of military failures Lincoln had to bear and explain before he found a commander who could take the cause to victory. There is nothing glamorous about the Bush presidency and nothing exhilarating. It is all hard pounding, as Wellington said of Waterloo, adding: “Let us see who can pound the hardest.” Mastering terrorism fired by a religious fanaticism straight from the Dark Ages requires hard pounding of the dullest, most repetitious kind, in which spectacular victories are not to be looked for, and all we can expect are “blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” However, something persuades me that Bush— with his grimness and doggedness, his lack of sparkle but his enviable concentration on the central issue—is the president America needs at this difficult time.

He has, it seems to me, the moral right to ask American voters to give him the mandate to finish the job he has started.

This impression is abundantly confirmed, indeed made overwhelming, when we look at the alternative. Senator Kerry has not made much of an impression in Europe, or indeed, I gather, in America. Many on the Continent support him, because they hate Bush, not because of any positive qualities Kerry possesses. Indeed we know of none, and there are six good reasons that he should be mistrusted. First, and perhaps most important, he seems to have no strong convictions about what he would do if given office and power. The content and emphasis of his campaign on terrorism, Iraq, and related issues have varied from week to week. But they seem always to be determined by what his advisers, analyzing the polls and other evidence, recommend, rather than by his own judgment and convictions. In other words, he is saying, in effect: “I do not know what to do but I will do what you, the voters, want.” This may be an acceptable strategy, on some issues and at certain times. It is one way you can interpret democracy.

But in a time of crisis, and on an issue involving the security of the world, what is needed is leadership. Kerry is abdicating that duty and proposing, instead, that the voters should lead and he will follow. Second, Kerry’s personal character has, so far, appeared in a bad light. He has always presented himself, for the purpose of Massachusetts vote-getting, as a Boston Catholic of presumably Irish origins. This side of Kerry is fundamentally dishonest. He does not follow Catholic teachings, certainly in his views on such issues as abortion—especially when he feels additional votes are to be won by rejecting Catholic doctrine. This is bad enough. But since the campaign began it has emerged that Kerry’s origins are not in the Boston-Irish community but in Germanic Judaism. Kerry knew this all along, and deliberately concealed it for political purposes. If a man will mislead about such matters, he will mislead about anything.

There is, thirdly, Kerry’s long record of contradictions and uncertainties as a senator and his apparent inability to pursue a consistent policy on major issues.

Fourth is his posturing over his military record, highlighted by his embarrassing pseudo-military salute when accepting the nomination. Fifth is his disturbing lifestyle, combining liberal—even radical—politics with being the husband, in succession, of two heiresses, one worth $300 million and the other $1 billion. The Kerrys have five palatial homes and a personal jet, wealth buttressed by the usual team of lawyers and financial advisers to provide the best methods of tax-avoidance. Sixth and last is the Kerry team: who seem to combine considerable skills in electioneering with a variety of opinions on all key issues. Indeed, it is when one looks at Kerry’s closest associates that one’s doubts about his suitability become certainties. Kerry may dislike his running-mate, and those feelings may be reciprocated—but that does not mean a great deal. More important is that the man Kerry would have as his vice president is an ambulancechasing lawyer of precisely the kind the American system has spawned in recent decades, to its great loss and peril, and that is already establishing a foothold in Britain and other European countries. This aggressive legalism—what in England we call “vexatious litigation”— is surely a characteristic America does not want at the top of its constitutional system.

Of Kerry’s backers, maybe the most prominent is George Soros, a man who made his billions through the kind of unscrupulous manipulations that (in Marxist folklore) characterize “finance capitalism.” This is the man who did everything in his power to wreck the currency of Britain, America’s principal ally, during the EU exchange-rate crisis—not out of conviction but simply to make vast sums of money. He has also used his immense resources to interfere in the domestic affairs of half a dozen other countries, some of them small enough for serious meddling to be hard to resist. One has to ask: Why is a man like Soros so eager to see Kerry in the White House? The question is especially pertinent since he is not alone among the superrich wishing to see Bush beaten. There are several other huge fortunes backing Kerry.

Among the wide spectrum of prominent Bush-haters there is the normal clutter of Hollywood performers and showbiz self-advertisers. That is to be expected. More noticeable, this time, are the large numbers of novelists, playwrights, and moviemakers who have lined up to discharge venomous salvos at the incumbent.

I don’t recall any occasion, certainly not since the age of FDR, when so much partisan election material has been produced by intellectuals of the Left, not only in the United States but in Europe, especially in Britain, France, and Germany. These intellectuals—many of them with long and lugubrious records of supporting lost left-wing causes, from the Soviet empire to Castro’s aggressive adventures in Africa, and who have in their time backed Mengistu in Ethiopia, Qaddafi in Libya, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua—seem to have a personal hatred of Bush that defies rational analysis.

Behind this front line of articulate Bushicides (one left-wing columnist in Britain actually offered a large sum of money to anyone who would assassinate the president) there is the usual cast of Continental suspects, led by Chirac in France and the superbureaucrats of Brussels. As one who regularly reads Le Monde, I find it hard to convey the intensity of the desire of official France to replace Bush with Kerry. Anti- Americanism has seldom been stronger in Continental Europe, and Bush seems to personify in his simple, uncomplicated self all the things these people most hate about America—precisely because he is so American. Anti-Americanism, like anti-Semitism, is not, of course, a rational reflex. It is, rather, a mental disease, and the Continentals are currently suffering from a virulent spasm of the infection, as always happens when America exerts strong and unbending leadership.

Behind this second line of adversaries there is a far more sinister third. All the elements of anarchy and unrest in the Middle East and Muslim Asia and Africa are clamoring and praying for a Kerry victory. The mullahs and the imams, the gunmen and their arms suppliers and paymasters, all those who stand to profit—politically, financially, and emotionally—from the total breakdown of order, the eclipse of democracy, and the defeat of the rule of law, want to see Bush replaced. His defeat on November 2 will be greeted, in Arab capitals, by shouts of triumph from fundamentalist mobs of exactly the kind that greeted the news that the Twin Towers had collapsed and their occupants been exterminated.

I cannot recall any election when the enemies of America all over the world have been so unanimous in hoping for the victory of one candidate. That is the overwhelming reason that John Kerry must be defeated, heavily and comprehensively.


From WorldNet Daily

The Missouri-based Islamic America Relief Agency, raided this week by federal, state and local law enforcement, is being tied to terror groups internationally, including Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

Thirteen police agencies, including Columbia, Mo., police, the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, joined in the raid.

Full article here.

Kerry's Permission Slip

GLOBAL PERMISSION SLIP -click to enlarge-