T Nation

Bush and Kerry's foreign policy summed up

The U.S. Election and the International System
September 14, 2004
By George Friedman

For better or worse, the United States is now the center of gravity of the international system. It is the most powerful country politically, economically and militarily. Therefore, any change in political leadership can have a profound effect on every country in the world. This is a fact that is both universally resented and the fundamental reality in the world today.

Foreign countries are not simply watching the U.S. presidential campaigns passively. Some are trying to influence the elections. All are trying to figure out who is going to win and place bets accordingly. The ideal position for any country would be to do something that is decisive in winning the election for one candidate or another, incurring a debt that can be called in at a later day. The worst thing another country can do is openly intervene on behalf of the loser. Between now and election day, countries are maneuvering continually to gain some sort of advantage. Indeed, the basic characteristic of the international system for the next 50 days will be tacking with the polls.

One of the things to understand about this process is that other countries really don’t understand the United States – and in many cases, they make very little effort to do so. It is a mantra around the world that Americans are ignorant of and indifferent to the rest of the world. There is certainly a great deal of truth in that. However, it is not nearly as true as saying that most foreigners haven’t the slightest idea what the United States is about or how it works. Given the enormous power of the United States and the fact that it is, after all, a country of more than a quarter-billion people, this lack of understanding is quite remarkable. Equally remarkable is the fact that foreigners seem convinced that they do understand the United States. Any French intellectual or Chinese businessman will be happy to lecture you on the nature of the United States – usually in ways that can only be described as bizarre.

The international system is therefore caught at present in a fundamental contradiction. The system is trying to take its bearings from an election in a country that few foreign governments really understand. That, in turn, leads to some fairly strange and sometimes almost inexplicable policy shifts. For example, the Sino-Taiwanese relationship that has lurched along over the past weeks, or Russian behavior, or Iranian statements – none of these can be fully understood without factoring in the election and those countries’ perceptions of it.

U.S. foreign policy under George W. Bush has been defined by the Sept. 11 attacks and the ensuing war. Everything else - from military basing in Germany to trade relations with Australia – has pivoted around the war. In general, this has made most - but not all – countries unhappy with the United States. Bush’s view of the world has created a universal contingency: American cooperation on non-war-related issues has been made dependent on foreign cooperation with the United States in the war.

Obviously, this has made foreign countries quite unhappy. U.S. demands concerning the war are unremitting and substantial. Many countries don’t want to involve themselves with the war. Prior to Sept. 11, the trade agreements, political accommodations and other ordinary traffic of the international system came at a much lower price than they do now. Foreign countries are understandably nostalgic for days when the hierarchy of U.S. foreign policy interests was different – and not nearly as steep. In addition, allies that were vital to the United States during the Cold War, like France or Germany, have lost their pre- eminent position. Had they fully cooperated with the United States over Iraq, they would have still lost their position: U.S. relations with Pakistan or Egypt tower in importance - in Washington’s eyes – over relations with France or Germany.

Whenever a fundamental shift takes place in the international system, nostalgia becomes a dominant theme. Throughout the world there is a longing for a restoration of the old regime – in this case, the 1990s, the time after the Soviet Union collapsed but before Sept. 11. There is a sense in many capitals that this happy time was lost not because of Sept. 11, but because the Bush administration both overreacted and reacted inappropriately to the attacks. According to this point of view, Sept. 11 was a tragedy of substantial proportions, but it did not justify or require a complete reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. The Bush administration’s response was seen as simply disproportionate. In some cases this is simply a self-serving view, an expression of resentment at the price the United States is now imposing for cooperation. In other cases, it is a genuinely held belief. It is, in either event, a widely held but not universal point of view.

One could conclude from this that foreign leaders generally hope that John Kerry defeats Bush. It is a more complicated matter than that. It is fair to say that most foreign leaders do not personally like Bush. At the same time, it has been three years since Sept. 11, and the irresistible pressure the United States has placed on many foreign governments has already caused them to reshape their policies toward the United States and the war. So, for example, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan or Vladimir Putin of Russia may well personally dislike Bush and his entire foreign policy team. However, they have already placed heavy bets on Bush’s foreign policy and incurred the domestic political costs of doing so. If Bush were to lose and Kerry were to shift U.S. policy dramatically, these leaders would have to scramble, and some of them might fall.

Whatever their personal view of Bush, many of these leaders are past the point of no return. They have already been forced to make policy shifts that have imposed substantial domestic political costs. If there were a major reversal in U.S. policy, they would not only have had to pay the political price, but they would now be completely out of sync with U.S. policy and have to shift once again. For many, that maneuver is not an option. We therefore have the following paradox: On the whole, Bush is neither admired nor respected, for good reason or bad; but at this point, these foreign leaders cannot afford to see another major reversal in U.S. foreign policy. At the same time, their innermost sentiment is that they would love to see Bush fall. This is making it very difficult for them to read the election because they simply don’t understand the issues dividing Americans.

Kerry’s core position has been that the United States has fought the war in Iraq and elsewhere without proper coordination with allies. Many countries would agree that there wasn’t proper coordination, but only in the sense that their arms are still in agony from being twisted. The problem that Kerry describes – that the U.S. is fighting unilaterally – doesn’t gibe even slightly with their experience, because dozens of governments have been persuaded or bludgeoned into collaboration, even at the risk of estranging some leaders from their constituencies. It seems to many countries that Kerry is looking at the estrangement of the United States from France and Germany as emblematic for what has happened around the world. The Italians and Pakistanis wonder what in the world Kerry is talking about.

Kerry is talking to an American audience. What he is saying is this: The alliance system that won the Cold War has been abandoned by Bush in fighting this war. It is essential to retain that alliance in this war. Now, since Britain is working with the United States, as are the majority of other European states, it is clear that he is speaking of the French and Germans, the two major allies from the Cold War that are missing. Kerry is certainly held in higher regard around the world than Bush, but he is confusing other countries by what he is saying. Other countries do not see unilateralism – they would be delighted if the United States went ahead and did what it wanted without involving them. What they are seeing is intense and effective pressure on key countries for multilateral action. The last thing they see is unilateralism.

All of this goes back to basic foreign misunderstanding of American politics. Though both Bush and Kerry agree on the principle that the United States should never fight without allies – that is a non-issue – they disagree on two points. First, Bush argues that the alliance system that won the Cold War is irrelevant today; what Germany thinks on a subject doesn’t matter nearly as much now as what Pakistan thinks. Kerry argues that the European relationships that won the Cold War should remain the foundations of foreign policy today. Bush’s view of alliances is that they are temporary instruments designed to achieve particular ends; Kerry’s view is that they ought to be permanent institutions for managing the international system.

The second issue goes to the heart of what an alliance is. Bush’s view is that every alliance must be evaluated in terms of its utility for the United States and that the United States must pursue its foreign interests, even if an existing alliance resists it. Kerry appears to be arguing that since alliances should be seen as permanent institutional frameworks, accepting limitations on American freedom of action is a small price to pay for retaining critical international institutions. Bush, for example, looks at NATO in terms of its utility in this war and will not be limited by its lack of consensus. Kerry looks at NATO as a permanent and necessary institution that must survive this particular war, even if it means accommodating discordant views.

This is a very old debate in the United States. The simplistic internationalist-isolationist dichotomy has not been at all useful in understanding the American debate. The real debate has always been between two schools of internationalism. One school looks at international institutions and alliances in terms of their immediate utility to the United States, a means toward an end. The other looks at these same institutions as ends in themselves – enhancing U.S. national security by their very existence. Thus, one school looks at the United Nations as a hindrance to the pursuit of national interest. The other looks at the United Nations as being at the heart of the national interest.

This is a subtle issue that is publicly manifested in this debate. One side says that the United States should never be limited in its pursuit of its national interest by institutions or allies. The other says that the preservation of these institutions and allies, however flawed they might be, must be the primary goal of U.S. foreign policy. Bush represents the former view; Kerry represents the latter view.

One of the things hurting Kerry is that his view has, in general, been a minority view in the United States. Americans had no broad objection to NATO, the International Monetary Fund or the United Nations as an instrument of foreign policy, but they have never bought into them as the end of foreign policy. The latter view has very much been the elite view of foreign policy - the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council, etc. It has never been the consensus view in the United States. The issue was submerged during the Cold War, when both sides were satisfied by the same institutions. It was not an issue during the 1990s, when there was freedom to maneuver, but it has become the fundamental dividing line now.

Most foreign leaders do not understand this quintessentially American debate. They look at U.S. behavior in naturally parochial views – what is in it for them. In general, they view U.S. behavior since Sept. 11 as unfortunate, but most are far past the point of no return. They are not so much betting on Bush in this election as having already bet so heavily on Bush that they have no alternative any longer. Most are engaged in ingratiating themselves with Bush. Most seem to think that Bush will win the election. They do not seem to understand why. They are not happy with the likely outcome, yet prefer it to the alternative.

Bush is ahead, and we continue to expect him to win. Among other reasons, no Democrat from outside the South has won the presidency since Kennedy. This is not an accident. The view that Kerry has expressed is a quintessentially northeastern, Atlantic perspective. It is not received sympathetically in the rest of the country. Foreign embassies are in Washington, D.C., and New York – which are not really representative of the United States. The sensibility that foreigners pick up in these cities hardly represents the basic views.

Therefore, we expect to see intense yet clumsy maneuvering in the next few weeks. Few foreign leaders have a real sense of American political culture, just as few Americans have a real sense of French or Saudi political culture. The debate in the United States is far from frivolous or unsophisticated. It has been going on for a long time. In the end, we find it doubtful that the view of a Boston liberal will win the day. It seldom has in the past, and it will be hard to make the case today. But on that debate turns, if not the fate, then certainly the interests, of many nations.


Very insightful article! Thanks for the post.

Excellent piece.

This article, which I posted on another thread earlier, raises an interesting connundrum for Kerry, given the above article:


No French or German turn on Iraq
By Jo Johnson in Paris, Betrand Benoit in Berlin and James Harding in Washington
Published: September 26 2004 21:13 | Last updated: September 26 2004 21:13

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq.

“I cannot imagine that there will be any change in our decision not to send troops, whoever becomes president,” Gert Weisskirchen, member of parliament and foreign policy expert for Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, said in an interview.

“That said, Mr Kerry seems genuinely committed to multilateralism and as president he would find it easier than Mr Bush to secure the German government’s backing in other matters.”

Even though Nato last week overcame members’ long-running reservations about a training mission to Iraq and agreed to set up an academy there for 300 soldiers, neither Paris nor Berlin will participate.

Michel Barnier, the French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, had no plans to send troops “either now or later”.

That view reflects the concerns of many EU and Nato officials, who say the dangers in Iraq and the difficulty of extricating troops already there could make European governments reluctant to send personnel, regardless of the outcome of the US election.

A French government official said: "People don’t expect that much would change under a Kerry administration, even if things can only get better. We do not anticipate a sudden honeymoon in the event Kerry replaces Bush.

“A lot depends on who is in power in both Washington and Baghdad. If there’s change in both countries then it’s possible we would re-examine our position, but I don’t expect a massive change either way.”

A German government spokesman declined to comment on the outcome of the US presidential election. But the feeling in Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der’s office is that, if anything, Berlin is growing less rather than more likely to change its mind as security conditions deteriorate in Iraq.

Mr Schr?der would also be unlikely to renege on his 2002 electoral commitment not to send troops as a new general election looms in 2006.

There is no sign that the German public, which loathes the US president, would accept risking German lives to salvage what is widely seen as Mr Bush’s botched war.

In fact, high-ranking German officials are privately concerned at the prospect of Mr Kerry becoming president, arguing it would not change US demands but make it more difficult to reject them.

Both France and Germany, however, have said they would contribute to the reduction of Iraq’s debt and participate in economic and environmental development programmes. Berlin already trains Iraqi security forces outside Iraq and France has said it would do so.

Mr Kerry is expected to make Mr Bush’s record of alienating foreign capitals and undermining US credibility in the world one of the chief arguments on Thursday night when he confronts the president in the first presidential debate.

The televised debate, which is expected to be watched by more than the 46.6m people who watched the debate in 2000, will focus on foreign policy and national security.

In a speech hammering Mr Bush for his decision to lead the US into Iraq, Mr Kerry said last week that in Afghanistan “I will lead our allies to share the burden.”

He continued: “the Bush administration would have you believe that when it comes to our allies, it won’t make a difference who is president. They say the Europeans won’t help us, no matter what. But I have news for President Bush: just because you can’t do something, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

The German government continues to oppose sending troops to Iraq under any circumstance.

Berlin was one of Europe’s most vocal opponents of the invasion of Iraq and, with sizeable forces in the Balkan and Afghanistan, it has also argued its troops are overstretched.

Although the government did not oppose Nato’s decision to start training inside Iraq, it still thinks the deployment is counter- productive.

“Nato personnel will become targets for attacks,” one official said on Sunday.

Thanks guys, I really thought this clarified Both Bush and Kerry on foriegn politics. Bush was a little easier to grasp before I read this but I really couldn’t get a handle on where kerry was coming from. Now I know, I still favor Bush. Basically I look at it like working out, is it beneficial to stay with one routine, one rep scheme, one set way of lifting weights for your entire lifting career? Or do you switch things up, throw your body a curveball here and there and foce it to adapt, change, and get stronger?

While there may be some slight soreness in the first few workouts, most of us know this is a good thing, we are challenging ourselves and making ourselves stronger.

Kerry would have us keep our international stance the same, our allies the same, everything the same. This is bad in and of itself, I’m not sure who said it but someone said, the only thing certain in life is Change.

At least bush is trying to gain allies who can actually have an impact on the war on terror. WTF can france or germany do with respects to negotiations, surveylance, espionage, etc… I think pakistan and egypt have much more credibility of helping us there.

Anyways, for RSU, Lumpy, Vroom, Elk and others who continually throw partisan crap out there, it would benefit the whole Politics forum if you could find articles that were objective and actually clarified an aspect of the political debate instead of throwing garbage at it to make it more confusing.

Vegita ~ Prince of all Sayajins

That’s a good piece. I think it also is a clear choice.

Without the spin which way is best. I vote for self rule personally. Others may have a different view.

Can someone make the case that we should support internationalism and submit to the will of the UN, even if it is against our national interests? I certainly could not.

It seems like when someone puts a nice non partisan peice out there not too many of you want to discuss it. Come on now, certainly this is more info on the candidates than either put forth in the debate, yet we are discussing who’s body language was better over thier stances on a certain issue.

Vegita ~ Prince of all Sayajins

Here are some thoughts on Kerry’s “global test” standard, from belmontclub.blogspot.com:

What level of certitude is required of a wartime commander has never been specified, yet it is apparently something everyone should know when they see it. At the very least Senator John Kerry thinks so. He describes a “Global Test” in his first televised debate with President Bush.

Kerry:  "No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded -- and nor would I -- the right to preempt in any way necessary, to protect the United States of America," the Democrat told moderator Jim Lehrer during the debate. "But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do it in a way that passes the, the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Kerry's comment drew immediate criticism from Bush: "I'm not exactly sure what you mean, 'passes the global test,' [that] you take preemptive action if you pass a global test," he said during the debate. "My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure."

The “Global Test” standard is likely to raise more questions than it answers because it is a threshold without a real specification, a probability without degree. It is analytically defective because the degree of risk one is willing to endure depends on the severity of the consequences. Most people would accept a one in six chance of losing $10 at a game of cards yet refuse the same odds at Russian roulette. The proof needed to pass a “Global Test” before preempting a suspected terrorist attack will depend on whether the threat is a gun or a suitcase nuclear bomb, and is therefore not global at all. Yet standards do have a value in this context, provided they are not the pseudo-absolute ones implied by a “Global Test”. It is the test of reasonable action in the face of the best available information, the standard on which Eisenhower decided to launch Overlord in the middle of an Atlantic storm or which impelled Spruance to proceed to Point Luck in defense of Midway in ignorance of the exact whereabouts of the Japanese Fleet. It is no guaranty against mistakes. But it is a guaranty against paralysis.

Here are some good foreign-policy questions, which we will probably never see answered:

Unasked Questions
By Pejman Yousefzadeh

At the next Presidential debate on October 8th, the format is modeled after a town hall meeting, and there is no restriction on the subjects that can be discussed. Given that the first debate concentrated on only a few foreign policy issues (the Iraq war and reconstruction, fighting al Qaeda, nuclear weapons in North Korea and a quick question about the state of democratization in Russia), it would be nice to see if other foreign policy topics get some attention in the second debate. Herewith are the questions I would like to see President Bush and Senator Kerry answer:

  • (For President Bush): In your 2002 State of the Union Address, you said that Iran was one of the countries that was part of an “axis of evil.” Given that there is a vibrant student/pro-democracy movement in Iran that is strongly pro-Western and views the United States favorably, why not use the moral authority of the United States more aggressively than your Administration has thus far to offer the Iranian pro-democracy movement material and rhetorical support to aid in political reform and regime change in Iran – just as Ronald Reagan did for the Solidarity Movement in Poland in the 1980s?

  • (For Senator Kerry): You have said that you are willing to offer the Iranians nuclear fuel if they forego the development of nuclear weapons. Given that the Islamic regime has rejected your offer, please state specifically how you plan to respond and what policy adjustments you plan. Additionally, would you be willing to have your Administration offer the Iranian pro-democracy movement support in order to engender significant political liberalization in Iran?

  • (For President Bush): A recent article in The New Republic argues that the State of Israel has essentially won the war on terrorism. Do you agree? What do you see as being the next steps in the Arab-Israeli peace process? And what, if anything, can the United States learn from Israel in its own War on Terror?

  • (For both candidates): Is Saudi Arabia a friend or foe of the United States? What evidence, if any, have you seen that the Saudis have cut down on the inflammatory and hateful things they teach their children in school about Americans, Israelis and non-Muslims in general? Should our policy regarding Saudi Arabia be adjusted independent of any energy concerns that we might have, and if so, how?

  • (For President Bush): In a second term, what will your Administration do to further and enhance the spread of free trade around the world? Please discuss specific treaties and executive agreements that your administration hopes to have enacted, and what you seek in terms of the specific content of those treaties and executive agreements.

  • (For Senator Kerry): Same question. Also, please address concerns that your party has veered towards protectionism. Is that true? If not, please give specific evidence and arguments to rebut those concerns.

  • (For President Bush): According to Professor John Mearsheimer, an international relations professor at the University of Chicago, those who view China as a strategic partner of the United States are making a mistake, as China is a competitor, and is the most credible country seeking to challenge America’s role as a global hegemon and hyperpower. Do you agree? If so, does that mean that there should be a fundamental shift in American policy towards China? If not, why do you believe that either (a) China does not want to challenge American hegemony, or (b) China may want to challenge American hegemony but cannot?

  • (For Senator Kerry): Richard Nixon’s opening to China in 1972 allowed the United States to form a strong alliance with a country that although communist, helped the U.S. balance against the power of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Is it time now for the United States to seek to amplify its relations with India in order to balance against the threat of a Chinese challenge to our hegemonic status?

  • (For both candidates): As a general question, what does America’s role as a hyperpower in a unipolar world mean for us in terms of security commitments, the ability to affect world events, and what American grand strategy should be in the twenty-first century? Also, how long do you expect this unipolar international system to last?

  • (For Senator Kerry): Is NATO still relevant now that the Cold War is long over? If so, how and why? If not, how do you plan to make it relevant, or is it best to junk NATO altogether?

  • (For both candidates): Excluding the term of the Bush Administration (so as to avoid as much as possible any partisan spin), what period in American history do you see as the high point of American diplomacy and why? On the flip side, what period represented the nadir of American diplomacy and foreign policy?

  • (For both candidates): What political theorist – alive or dead – would you like to have as one of your foreign policy/national security advisors, and why?

Just a few foreign policy questions on my mind. I’m sure that there are many others on the minds of millions of other Americans. Let’s hope that in the second Presidential debate, we are treated to a robust discussion on foreign policy and national security that goes beyond some of the limited (though certainly important) subject matter of the first debate.

What gives you the impression it is a non-partisan piece?

[quote]vroom wrote:
What gives you the impression it is a non-partisan piece?[/quote]

Exactly. Also, if you are going to post an article, then say where it comes from and post a link. If I were to post an article from “Mother Jones” then I think it would be fair to say that it came from Mother Jones. What is your source? Especially since you boast about how non-partisan it is, lets get a source.

I can’t think of a better way to invite a friendly discussion than to say “my articles are good, and your articles are crap”.

U of TN Constitutional law prof and blogger Glenn Reynolds posted this article on the collapse of John Kerry’s foreign policy plans over at his MSNBC weblog:


October 7, 2004 | 11:47 AM ET

Although everybody’s talking about weapons of mass destruction, the story that’s not being reported --you’d almost think the press “wants Kerry to win”-- is the complete collapse of John Kerry’s foreign policy case, and the reason for that collapse.

"The weapons of mass destruction case is a bit more, um, nuanced than a lot of the press treatment makes it sound, of course. No weapons have been found, but the Iraq Survey Group’s report makes clear that Saddam wanted to outwait sanctions and then start making the weapons again:

The ISG, who confirmed last autumn that they had found no WMD, last night presented detailed findings from interviews with Iraqi officials and documents laying out his plans to bribe foreign businessmen and politicians.

Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."

But hey, Kerry voted for the war, so his arguments on that topic boil down to either (1) Bush lied, and I’m gullible: or (2) Bush and I both got fooled, but I’ll do better next time. Neither is very compelling.

The real centerpiece of Kerry’s foreign policy stance, though, has been that he would be better than Bush at getting allies together, and at passing the “Global Test” before taking military action. And that case is in total collapse this week.

Forget missteps like his dissing of our allies in Iraq, Australia, and Poland – which drew a stinging response from the Polish President
(“It’s sad that a Senator with twenty years of experience does not appreciate Polish sacrifice.”) Now even Kerry is admitting that he’s not going to be able to deliver on his promises:

"Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry conceded yesterday that he probably will not be able to convince France and Germany to contribute troops to Iraq if he is elected president.

The Massachusetts senator has made broadening the coalition trying to stabilize Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign, but at a town hall meeting yesterday, he said he knows other countries won't trade their soldiers' lives for those of U.S. troops.

"Does that mean allies are going to trade their young for our young in body bags?  I know they are not.  I know that," he said."

Body bags. This sounds like the John Kerry of 1971. I can’t help but think that, for Kerry, every war is Vietnam. And if he’s President, I’m afraid that might turn out to be the case.

The “Global Test” bit looks kind of bad, in this light. But it looks even worse when you consider the other revelations of the Iraq Survey Group – namely, that most of the opposition to the war came from people who were being bribed by Saddam:

[Note: Same article linked above in first link]

"Saddam Hussein believed he could avoid the Iraq war with a bribery strategy targeting Jacques Chirac, the President of France, according to devastating documents released last night.

Memos from Iraqi intelligence officials, recovered by American and British inspectors, show the dictator was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war.
To keep America at bay, he focusing [sic] on Russia, France and China - three of the five UN Security Council m bers with the power to veto war.  Politicians, journalists and diplomats were all given lavish gifts and oil-for-food vouchers.

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the ISG that the "primary motive for French co-operation" was to secure lucrative oil deals when UN sanctions were lifted.  Total, the French oil giant, had been promised exploration rights.

Iraqi intelligence officials then "targeted a number of French individuals that Iraq thought had a close relationship to French President Chirac," it said, including two of his "counsellors" [sic] and spokesman for his re-election campaign."

It’s hard to pass the “Global Test” when the people grading it are being bribed to administer a failing grade. Perhaps Kerry should change his stance, and promise that a Kerry Administration would “outbid the bad guys.” That approach is more likely to succeed than the one he’s been touting, which even he has admitted is doomed.

Sigh, just because some gonad with some supposed qualifications blogged some crap doesn’t mean that’s the way we need to look at the subject.

I believe Kerry knows that Saddam had to be contained. He also feels that going to war with Saddam over WMD was a farce.

The fact that Saddam would have liked to be able to make WMD’s so that he could keep up with Iran doesn’t mean that he would be given the chance to.

The fact that Saddam had no WMD although he wanted them also shows that sanctions and controls were working.

Now, if the war had of been launched for the reasons that are now being touted, then nobody would be arguing about all this. However, the war wasn’t started to spread democracy to the region, it was started due to IMMINENT danger. Remember that word?

Wanting to make WMD’s but not being able to does not represent imminent danger from WMD’s.

If you are going to post partisan blogs from republicans at least post ones that have some amount of truth and logic to them.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Sigh, just because some gonad with some supposed qualifications blogged some crap doesn’t mean that’s the way we need to look at the subject. [/quote]

Look at it any way you like. Lumpy was complaining he wanted sourcing above, so he got some.

We’ve done this to death, but WMD was one plank of 4 major planks for going to war with Saddam Hussein. The fact that it was seized upon because no one really wanted to argue the other reasons – you know, [from memory] Middle East stability, humanitarian reasons, and violation of U.N. resolutions over 12 years, including frequent firing on U.S. and British planes enforcing the no-fly zone – doesn’t mean it was the only reason.

The fact that Saddam would have liked to be able to make WMD’s so that he could keep up with Iran doesn’t mean that he would be given the chance to.

The fact that Saddam had no WMD although he wanted them also shows that sanctions and controls were working.[/quote]

He had the resources and the people to start the programs almost immediately, according to the report. The sanctions regime was already crumbling, due to abuse of Oil-for-Food and bribes to France, Russia and China. We were basically engaged in unilateral sanctions, which never works. Saddam was prepped to begin his programs, and would have been flush with cash to attain them.

Of course, this is all 20/20 hindsight. As the report specifies, we, and the rest of the world, believed he had WMD because he wanted the world to believe he had WMD – even his own insiders thought he had WMD, which definitely explains, at least partially, our faulty intelligence.

Yeah. Do you remember that it was used in this context: Get rid of him BEFORE he becomes an imminent threat? If you don’t trust my recollection, you can look up the links to Bush’s speeches yourself.

Wanting to make WMD’s but not being able to does not represent imminent danger from WMD’s.

If you are going to post partisan blogs from republicans at least post ones that have some amount of truth and logic to them.[/quote]

He’s not a Republican, although he will likely vote for Bush – or, rather, against Kerry. If you look up Professor Reynolds’ writings, you will find he generally is libertarian on social issues such as gay marriage, but has become hawkish on foreign policy since 9/11. Kind of like a lot of other folks who will be pulling the lever for Bush.

Wouldn’t that be unconstitutional? Bah, who needs that old and worn rag to help steer a nation anymore. Certainly not republicans.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Get rid of him BEFORE he becomes an imminent threat?

Wouldn’t that be unconstitutional? Bah, who needs that old and worn rag to help steer a nation anymore. Certainly not republicans.[/quote]

No, why would it be? Please, tell me how it would unconstitutional – and keep in mind I’ve actually taken Con Law I and II, even if it was a few years ago… But, perhaps like your secret Canadian intelligence sources, there is some authoritative Canadian interpretation of the U.S. Constitution of which I am unaware.

BB, why then bother to go for preapproval to start a war when public emotions were at their height?

I wasn’t aware that the President could invade any nation for any reason when the US was not actually threatened without such approval.

I’ve been educated.

Actually, the President as commander in chief can send troops wherever he wants – it’s an interesting, and unresolved legal question precisely where the commander in chief power ends and Congress’ war power begins.

Of course, in this case, Congress authorized President Bush to go in – and, despite Kerry’s attempts at spinning it, you’ll notice that no one is challenging that authority in any forum.