Jewish World Review March 10, 2004 / 17 Adar, 5764

Tony Blankley

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Consumer Reports

Euro back-stabbers for Kerry | Last weekend, John Kerry, while meeting with a small group of Florida contributors, claimed that: "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 this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that." The candidate refused to identify the names of these leaders. I confess, I don't quite know what to make of this claim.

While it is certainly plausible that many foreigners don't like the president of the United States, my first question is whether Mr. Kerry is telling the truth. When, exactly, did he meet with these foreign leaders? Note that he doesn't merely say he talked with them (by telephone.) He claims he "met" them and "they looked at" him while they were saying these things.

Senator Kerry has been on public view almost every day since he started running for president last year (except for the period of his hospitalization, when he obviously could not have been traveling around the world). I don't recall seeing him in Europe, the Middle East or on other foreign travel during that period. (His campaign office wouldn't respond to my inquiry for a record of his foreign travel in the last year.) Nor do I recall seeing or reading about foreign heads of state meeting with Sen. Kerry when they visited Washington during the last many months.

In the absence of any public evidence that he has met with several foreign leaders recently, the burden of proof should be on Sen. Kerry to prove that he didn't just make up this little story that he told a small group of Florida contributors — with one telltale reporter present. George W. Bush was pressured to provide his dental records to prove he had attended the Alabama National Guard in 1973. (He provided them, and he did attend.) It only seems fair to pressure Sen. Kerry to provide his passport or other documents for 2003 to prove he really met with these "foreign leaders" either here or abroad.

But beyond whether or not John Kerry lied about this convenient little anecdote, the fact that he thought it was a useful story to publicly recount certainly tells us something about how he views America and the world.

The American public rarely has put a particularly high value on the opinion of foreign leaders. Mostly, we ignore them or assume they are up to little or no good. During a war, we may admire an allied leader such as Winston Churchill (or Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt during the Cold War). But Americans traditionally feel self-sufficient — even insular.

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It is true that certain Americans — typically living (or wishing they did) north of the Potomac River and within 50 miles of the Atlantic Ocean — feel inferior to Europeans regarding high culture and fine dining. But even those Europhiles didn't look to France, Italy or Germany for guidance on how to run a democracy. I am assuming that Mr. Kerry was referring to more or less democratic leaders. Surely he is not referring to former Haitian leader Aristide, various Middle East potentates or African dictators. As the leaders of Italy, Spain, Britain, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria have been strong allies of George Bush, one has to assume that he (Mr. Kerry) is referring to France's Chirac, Germany's Schroeder, Russia's Putin, Belgium's whoever, etc. Mr. Putin is far too smart to bad mouth the president. So Sen. Kerry must be referring to Chirac, Schroeder or some of their lesser Euro-running dog lackeys.

But Senator Kerry obviously believes the times are changing. He believes that there may be millions of Americans who will be impressed by the fact that hand kissing, back-stabbing, atheistic, sophisticated Euro-leaders prefer John Kerry to George Bush.

Whether or not he actually met with any of these leaders, I would suspect that he is right that they would much prefer to do business with a notional President Kerry. Doubtlessly, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev enjoyed dealing with President Carter more than with President Reagan.

Weak American presidents who feel the need to apologize for America protecting its interests in the world are invariably favored by both our enemies and our competitive friends. The French couldn't stand our last cowboy president, Ronald Reagan.

I am sure that M. Chirac will be glad to continue to kiss Mr. Kerry's hand — as long as Mr. Kerry will kiss a lower, dorsal part of M. Chirac's anatomy. But I rather doubt John Kerry will get elected president by American voters while in that posture.

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Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

02/25/04: What makes John Kerry tick?
02/18/04: Kerry's pre-emptive war policy
02/11/04: George W. Bush — grand strategist?
02/04/04: Elections in the age of terror
01/28/04: There's a war on?
01/21/04: It's good that we live in ignorance of the future
01/14/04: The strange case of immigration politics
01/07/04: Funding for American presidential elections is beginning to go global
12/31/03: Make us laugh
12/24/03: War prophesies
12/17/03: Analyze this!
12/10/03: Until peace is ready to be negotiated
12/03/03: AFL-CIO meets Monty Python
11/26/03: Republicans need to learn from the Romans
11/19/03: All of a sudden we have a responsible media?
11/12/03: To arms
11/05/03: Mayor Mike's appetite for self-destructive accusations
10/29/03: A bloody march to peace
10/22/03: Calls for a general 's head because his comments may have ruffled the feathers of our esteemed enemies!?
10/08/03: The leakers' agony
10/01/03: Managing a scandal
09/24/03: Will we have to balance our strong ethical and religious revulsion of cloning against the danger of being surpassed by a gene-manipulated super-race?
09/17/03: The skinny on the First Ladies
09/10/03: More than cynicism will be needed to defeat prez
09/03/03: Dead Man Politickin'
08/27/03: Patience is not America's long suit
08/13/03: George Will's trifecta of punitive aspirations
07/30/03: A question for the candidates: Whose side are you on?
07/23/03: When GOPers attack their leader
07/17/03: Spanish fest mirrors U.S. elections
07/09/03: On the horns of a dilemma
06/25/03: The continuing deaths of American and British soldiers in Iraq should not be rhetorically minimized -- but sanctified
06/18/03: No reason to feel defensive about criticism of the war on terrorism
06/11/03: The Clintons — self-proclaimed geniuses — have no defense against the charge of cunning mendacity
06/04/03: George 'Machiavelli' Bush? Nah
05/28/03: When 'progressives' become reactionaries
05/21/03: Yes, this conservative is defending the NYTimes
05/14/03: Playing the politics of deflation
05/07/03: Only the stupid could think it'll be the economy: Comparing the Bushes 04/30/03: How to squelch increasing Iraqi distrust of America
04/25/03: Winning the war, losing the peace
04/16/03: Our own domestic Senate Republican Guard better be prepared for a grinding
04/03/03: At this human moment we need to act like humans, not just calculating analysts
04/02/03: If we could only draft Jennings' eyebrow to the cause, we wouldn't need the 4th Armored Division?
03/26/03: This war is showing the world who we really are
03/19/03: Time for America to laugh at itself
03/13/03: They're coming out of the woodwork: Russert, Buchanan and Moran
03/05/03: Franc-tireur
02/26/03: World history is shifting under our feet --- even our most experienced statesmen are, effectively, inexperienced
02/19/03: The shame! We've mischaracterized the French 02/12/03: Schroeder and Chirac will be disproportionately undercutting their interests
02/05/03: We need to rise above our temporary anger and seek to preserve our bonds with our European cousins
01/29/03: Who is President Bush's stupidest opponent: Saddam Hussein or Tom Daschle?
01/22/03: We call them our European cousins --- but I demand a DNA test
01/16/03: Dems bare partisan teeth
01/02/03: Before the cheering must come the struggle
12/27/02: Long ago and far away
12/18/02: Be glad that Gore's gone?
12/11/02: What fun! A titanic, once-in-a-century partisan battle royal is in the offing
12/04/02: Kerry atwitter
11/27/02: The unThankful list
11/20/02: First the scare, then the yawn
11/13/02: It's going to be a long two years for Lefty Pelosi and the Frisco Dems
11/06/02: Technology: A pollster's worst enemy --- thank goodness!
10/31/02: Watch this election's Wheel of Fate
10/23/02: The Ari and Colin Show: Politics has never been, well, more vaudeville-like
10/09/02: Bush beats drums of realism
10/02/02: Needed: A political chromatograph to detect any true statements in the public domain
09/25/02: Buchanan's new mag
09/18/02: There are many forms of peace
09/11/02: The imperial period of our history starts
09/04/02: Memo to Powell: In periods of upheaval, the refusal to act gives aid to those bent on destruction
08/30/02: Logging old growth is a sham issue

© 2002, Creators Syndicate