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Jewish World Review March 12, 2004 / 19 Adar, 5764

James Lileks

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Why All Those Foreign Leaders Want Kerry to Whup Bush


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | What the Democrats need is a home-grown Tony Blair.


Britain's prime minister could announce his support for state-funded late-term abortions for the offspring of married gay orangutans, and he would still get votes from the right side of the spectrum.


He's a wartime leader. He grasps the nature of the enemy. He knows what's at stake, and can describe the moral duty of the West in electrifying rhetoric. He understands what Sept. 11 meant, even though he lives an ocean away. He is not a man who values cooperation more than victory. And he wouldn't stand a chance in the modern Democratic Party.


Is Blair one of the foreign leaders who supposedly told John Kerry of his hopes for a Bush defeat? "I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy they look at you and say, `You've got to win, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that," Kerry said in Florida.


The Kerry camp has no record of its candidate meeting with Blair or other foreign leaders, for that matter. Maybe he's referring to a seance. Maybe Neville Chamberlain is pulling for him from beyond the grave. Maybe Jean-Bertrand Aristide phoned from the plane.


In any case, it's a telling remark. Sen. Kerry might be surprised to discover that foreign opinion doesn't concern your average NASCAR dad, who would prefer America to be strong and disliked than weak and beloved.


In another sense, Kerry's assertion reminds his base that America "squandered" the world's good will -- you know, that boundless French pro-Yank sentiment we've basked in for years.


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As the strongest nation in the world, we are apparently required to do what the weakest ones want, lest we waste their most precious commodity: sympathy. It's a common theme for those who value process over results and admire impotent international institutions whose primary output is thick, creamy paper stamped with interesting signatures and lovely official seals.


These people would rather the United Nations spend five years "engaging" Iran on its nuclear weapons program, even if the end result is a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv. Better that than a unilateral pre-emptive strike, which would destabilize the international order that let Iran build a bomb in the first place. Better the process fail than the process be ignored.


On another level, though, Kerry's remark sounds pathetically naive. Why does he think the Unnamed Foreign Leaders like him best -- because they have America's best interests at heart? They want to mire the United States in the tarpit of the United Nations again, and Kerry looks like the man to wade right in.


Europe can't fight its way out of a paper bag, because it spends half its money propping up its paper bag industry, and the other half on bureaucracies regulating the strength and thickness of paper bags. Europe can only be the equal of American power with the willing cooperation of a president who stays up late at night wondering whether chain-smoking leftists in cafes on another continent might greet his next state visit with giant mocking puppets.


Perhaps Kerry was referring to his North Korean endorsement. State radio from Pyongyang has been singing his praises lately.


Of course, it doesn't mean that a vote for Kerry is a vote for Dear Leader. But North Korea would obviously prefer Kerry, or any softie multilateralist in the Jimmy Carter mode. "Here's some food for your army. Now please behave or next year we might consider bilateral negotiations to impose U.N. inspection on whether the food is going to your army." Dear Leader would tremble. From laughter.


Why would all these world leaders love a Kerry presidency? Because John Kerry is a man of nuance, you see.


The New York Times, explaining Kerry's innumerable flip-flops, says this: "Some aides and close associates say Mr. Kerry's fluidity is the mark of an intellectual who grasps the subtleties of issues, inhabits their nuances and revels in the deliberative process."


When 220 stories of skyscraper tumble into a mass grave, that's what you want in a leader. A nuanced response. Better yet: an inhabited one.


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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.

Up

03/08/04: Introducing the Kerry Doctrine
02/27/04: Introducing the AWOLs: Angry White Outraged Libs
02/20/04: Sifting the headlines of election year 1992
02/18/04: Guess Which Candidate Our Enemies Want to Lose in 2004?
01/29/04: Every Laptop a Truth Squad
01/27/04: When the battle over artistic freedom goes over the edge
12/31/03: For the Left and Right, Some New Year's Resolutions
12/22/03: Dean's black helicopters
12/15/03: Dems Are Mainstreaming the Extreme
12/08/03: Does Dean Really Want to Be President? One Wonders, When He Opens His Mouth
11/24/03: The real story: Most Brits see U.S. as force for good
11/19/03: The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties
11/11/03: Can a fellow win with the Confederate Metrosexual vote?
10/22/03: Let's make Greenpeace pay
09/29/03: Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth
09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks