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Jewish World Review April 22, 2004 / 1 Iyar, 5764

James Lileks

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Shall we grovel? Kerry Plan to Restore America's Place in the World


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | At least now we know where John Kerry is meeting these unnamed foreign luminaries: "I mean, you can go to New York City and you can be in a restaurant and you can meet a foreign leader," he said on "Meet the Press."


Happens to us all, you know; one moment you're at Denny's garnishing your hamburger, and the next you have the Guatemalan undersecretary for bauxite slapping you on the back and expressing a fervent desire for your victory. You nod, you smile, you play along. And he goes on and on about Kyoto until you note that while you're all for fighting global warming, your meal is growing cold. If you don't mind? Gracias.


In the same interview, Kerry repeated his constant campaign theme: his intention to drop to one knee, Jolson-style, in the United Nations General Assembly and beg for forgiveness. "Within weeks of being inaugurated, I will return to the U.N. and I will literally, formally rejoin the community of nations and turn over a proud new chapter in America's relationship with the world."


It plays to the base. The left is terribly worried about what the popular kids are saying about them in the United Nations. "We've alienated the world! For heaven's sake, we've alienated China! Oh, and Free Tibet!" The right couldn't care less, but what can you expect out of a party that would rather get married to Great Britain than have an affair with France? The undecided middle — defined at this point as "people who aren't paying attention" — is waiting to learn why we'd be safer trusting an organization whose response to Rwanda was to send not armies, but condolences. And even that took years.


One suspects that the number of undecided Americans may be fewer this week than the last — at least if they heard about the U.N. reaction to Israel's ballistic dismissal of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, Hamas' leader-of-the-week. What a loathsome man he was. A architect of death and terror. Religious bigot, child-killer, slaughterer of fellow Arabs. Israel finally takes him out. The United Nations springs into action — to consider a resolution to condemn the attack.


It was "extra-judicial," you see. Contrary to "international law." In the mind of a Eurocrat, whose paycheck demands belief in these ephemeral concepts, these are grave charges. To your average American, however, the strike on Rantisi was like a strike on Osama bin Laden. Anyone whose main objection to the death of a terrorist is its "extra-judicial" nature has odd priorities, particularly in wartime.


It's as if U.N. groupies think we should prop up "international law" so it'll be our shield when the tides turn against the West. As if a triumphant Hamas would petition The Hague for the right to exterminate the Jews before the final pogrom began.

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A reminder of what Rantisi was saying before he took the express elevator below: "We say to the Muslim people of Iraq, we are with you in your struggle against the American terror and destruction, we are with you in your war in defense of Islam. We say to the fighter and commander Moqtada al-Sadr: Hamas stands by your side and blesses your jihad and wishes you with the help of G-d, that you will win and be victorious."


Somewhere in that nuanced, reasoned assessment, you get the idea that he thinks they're at war with us.


John Kerry said he supported the strike on Rantisi. Good for him.


But he seems to think that the era of American strength will begin with an apology. He seems to think that the key to the Arab heart is spending more money on sub-Saharan AIDS programs. He seems to think that we can be both strong and loved. Imagine the look on President Kerry's face when he realizes that every pledge of goodwill and money evaporated in an afternoon because he blocked a U.N. condemnation of an Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities. But — but — I thought we were friends again!


Nations have no friends. Nations have interests.


That has to be true; a Frenchman said it.


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

Up

04/08/04: Sept. 11 Might Have Been Different If ...
04/02/04: Slinging slime or citing facts?
03/26/04: One War, One Enemy
03/22/04: Bloodied Spain Rejoins Old Europe
03/12/04: Why All Those Foreign Leaders Want Kerry to Whup Bush
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