Constant Kerry

“Why are we adopting such an arrogant, obnoxious tone?” Senator John Kerry complaining about President Bush’s foreign policy? No, Kerry complaining about a reference in Bill Clinton’s second inaugural address to the United States as “the indispensable nation,” as reported in this Washington Post piece about Kerry’s foreign policy. Post reporter Glenn Kessler states the matter as euphemistically as possible in the article’s title “Engagement Is a Constant in Kerry’s Foreign Policy.” But when that engagement is with “the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the communists in Vietnam and the mullahs who run Iran,” it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the underlying constant is something else — agnosticism or worse about the merits of our way of life and the value of freedom. What Clinton meant in the rhetoric that so offended Kerry was, I imagine, that the United States is indispensable to the cause of freedom in the world. But if one does not value freedom, then it becomes arrogant and obnoxious to suggest that we are indispensable, just as it becomes sensible to engage the Sandinistas, the Vietnamese government, and Iranian mullahs. Engage, by the way, means nothing more than accommodate. There is no evidence that Kerry ever advocated the admittedly futile act of attempting to influence the way these governments treat their people — that would have been arrogant.
By the way, C-SPAN is now showing Kerry’s 1971 Senate testimony before the fawning William Fulbright and as much of his committee as could stomach Kid Kerry. At the very outset of his testimony, Kerry displayed what would become his two “constants”: anti-Americanism and contempt for freedom. His first shot is at the “war crimes” committed “daily” by American troops. His second shot is to ridicule the notion that anything of value is at stake in Vietnam, Kerry explaining that it matters not to the peasants of the South whether or not they live under the control of Communists.

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