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Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 1999 /18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

Don Feder

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Clinton could rehabilitate Lindbergh -- BILL CLINTON THREATENS to give isolationism a good name.

The Senate's rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was "neo-isolationism," the president fumed. Its reluctance to take up his nomination of former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun to be ambassador to New Zealand is yet another symptom of the "new isolationism."

Like his definition of "sex," the president's description of "isolationism" is unique.

The test ban treaty was unverifiable. The parade of "neo-isolationists" opposing this flawed accord included six former defense secretaries (Democrats and Republicans) and two ex-CIA directors, both Clinton appointees.

By cuddling with Nigeria's nightmare dictator, Moseley-Braun has displayed the appalling bad judgment that should disqualify her from serving as Cook County registrar of deeds, let alone holding a diplomatic posting.

Because his foreign policy can't be defended on its merits, Clinton has created a straw man. No one is arguing that America should ignore the rest of the world. At issue is the nature of our involvement.

Will it be based on America's national interests or vague altruistic impulses? Will it make defending our people its first priority, or put our faith in institutions that have failed us time and again?

Will it support friends and keep a wary eye on enemies, or will it fail to even distinguish between those who share our values and potential foes?

Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations last Thursday, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger offered a foreign-policy vision built on cliches and buttressed by wishful thinking. The "new isolationists" are in to "hunkering down" instead of "leading the world," Berger explained, and would "build a fortified fence around America."

This head-in-the-sand crowd want to spend billions more on defense, but "hardly a penny for prevention," Berger disclosed. Moreover, they have caused a revival of "Russophobia" and are trying to make China "the new enemy No. 1."

Berger is right on one point: Those he indicts as isolationists do want to increase military spending, unlike the Clintonite globalists, who believe peacekeeping forces are all the defense we need. Why build a missile shield when we can hold Kosovo?

Since the Gulf War, our carrier battle groups have gone from 15 to 11, Air Force wings from 22 to 13. Guess you have to be a neo-isolationist to worry about the unilateral disarmament of America.

By "prevention," Berger means increasing our support for international chat rooms controlled by nations that loathe us. Thus, those who question the claim that we owe billions to the United Nations are guilty of retreating to fortress America and raising the drawbridges, in Berger's estimation.

Far from being "the new enemy No. 1," for Beijing's White House eunichs, the People's Republic is our strategic partner. China's contribution to that partnership consists of stealing our nuclear secrets, selling missiles to Pakistan and threatening war over Taiwan.

That Berger can accuse Republicans of spreading "Russophobia" when this administration has done everything possible to alienate Moscow staggers the imagination. It wasn't isolationists who put NATO on the Ukraine's doorstep.

It wasn't neo-isolationists who ordered the 78-day air war on Yugoslavia.

By conferring de facto statehood on Kosovo's Albanians, Team Clinton has spurred Moslem separatism throughout the region.

Thanks to our Balkans intervention, Moscow is back in Chechnya. After Chechen holy warriors (encouraged by the KLA's success) invaded the Russian republic of Dagestan, and over 300 Russians died in terrorist bombings in Moscow and elsewhere, Russia returned to Chechnya with a force of 90,000.

When Russia last fought there (1994 to 1996), 80,000 died. This time, 170,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Ingushetia. Last week, Russian rockets hit the Chechen capital of Grozny, killing 118 people. Berger and company sure know how to stabilize a region.

What this administration calls international leadership has made the world a more dangerous place and America less secure than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Somewhere out there, the spirit of Col. Charles Lindbergh must be smiling. If Clinton persists in labeling his foreign-policy critics "isolationists," he may yet succeed in rehabilitating the Lone Eagle.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder can be reached by clicking here.

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©1999, Creators Syndicate