It’s safe to say that Sen. John Kerry will never find a clear and coherent voice on the Iraq war. After an obviously lackluster and forgettable performance in Thursday’s pivotal debate, Kerry is still futilely meandering his way through a confused and hopelessly nuanced foreign policy “maze.” In the debate, Mr. Kerry was finally given an opportunity to stake a definitive position on perhaps the most important issue of our day, the war in Iraq. Yet, to quote a variation on Kerry’s favorite phrase from the debate, he “missed the ball” again. Candidate Kerry can’t make up his mind about Iraq. Was it a mistake or not? He still doesn’t know. And so the ill-fated Democratic campaign rolls on with its presidential candidate desperately searching for his political identity.
The best alternative Kerry could muster in response to the Bush Doctrine – a strategy that will define America’s war on terrorism for generations to come – was the ever-so revolutionary suggestion to build “stronger alliances” and also something about “holding more summits.” What a devastating rebuttal. Of course, I am being facetious, but if Kerry has any chance in November he will have to do much better than these petty and absurdly nuanced criticisms of Bush’s foreign policy. The seasoned senator may have surpassed the President on such superficial factors as style and technique, but to also reference Mr. Kerry’s new favorite president, Ronald Reagan, “speech delivery counts for little on the world stage, unless you have the vision to see beyond the front row of seats.” Is there any doubt after Thursday’s exchange that Kerry’s foreign policy is figuratively stuck in the first row, while President Bush’s vision for the world soars into history?
Sen. Kerry’s plan to build stronger alliances has not resonated with the American people and no amount of political sophistry will change this reality. Kerry has not demonstrated the qualities of a constructive and politically astute statesman, thus shattering his ambiguous claim to craft a more “sensitive foreign policy.” By now, we are all well aware of Kerry’s curious approach to developing such a sensitive strategy, for it apparently entails referring to the vast, U.S.-led coalition in Iraq as “some trumped up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted.” This coming from the man who now derides President Bush’s prosecution of the war on terrorism as arrogant and reckless. Some diplomat; this is how he treats the myriad countries who are enduring a steep price in money and blood to secure a free Iraq?
It gets worse. Just last week, Kerry and his political hack, Joe Lockhart, smeared the brave Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi as a “puppet” leader. The comment not only reveals Kerry’s dysfunctional perspective of diplomacy, but it also undermines our mission in Iraq. How will the Iraqi people, who are daily targets of terror, respond to the Kerry campaign’s outburst? Probably in shock and disbelief, realizing the next American president may view their courageous leader as illegitimate. Great move, Mr. Kerry – castigating Prime Minister Allawi will do wonders for our reconstruction efforts in the fragile Iraqi nation. Can this man really be taken at his word to lead a supposedly smarter, sensitive and more effective war on terror? It will be difficult, for a President Kerry – I know it’s a scary thought – has already dug himself a diplomatic hole and will surely have to repair his tarnished relationship with our critical Iraqi ally. One can hardly imagine Kerry showing such contempt and cavalier disregard for the French or the Germans. He considers these relics of old Europe as the paradigm of virtue.
Above all, Kerry’s “plan” for Iraq is a political dud, because the American people still believe the war was just and necessary. They understand that no amount of military micro-management or additional alliances can prevent Islamic terrorists from hijacking the Iraqi peace process. They understand that only resolve and determination can win the day in Iraq. It’s October and John Kerry has yet to comprehend this. My guess is he never will.
-The writer, a sophomore majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.