Cross-posted at Making a Ripple:
Senator John Kerry may not be running for President in 2008, but that has not stopped him from voicing his strident criticism of the current American foreign policy.
“When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don’t advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy,” Kerry said.
“So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East — in the world, really. I’ve never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today.”
Kerry said the government needs to use diplomacy to improve national security.
“We need to do a better job of protecting our interests, because after all, that’s what diplomacy is about,” he said. “But you have to do it in a context of the reality, not your lens but the reality of those other cultures and histories.”
Kerry criticized what he called the “unfortunate habit” of Americans to see the world “exclusively through an American lens.”
But Congressman Duncan Hunter, who is running for President for the Republican nomination wasn’t satisfied with what Kerry had to say. As reported:
“The Republican Congressman criticized Kerry for calling the United States a — quote — “international pariah.” He blamed Kerry for making anti-American remarks while addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, over the weekend.
Kerry said the Bush administration had isolated the United States by failing to cooperate with international efforts on global warming, AIDS, and other issues.
Speaking to workers at a military equipment manufacturer, Hunter said few of the of the world leaders in Kerry’s audience had helped the United States after Hurricane Katrina.”
It is ironic that Hunter cares to criticize Kerry who is working for peace, while speaking himself at a ‘military equipment manufacturer’.
Perhaps Congressman Hunter should be reminded of that Republican President Dwight David Eisenhower, who in his farewell address warned of the dangers of the militaryindustrial complex. Said Eisenhower:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
But was what Kerry said true? Isn’t that relevant to his criticism? Does the world see America as nearly an “international pariah” as Kerry inferred?
As reported earlier this week in the Washington Post, a BBC poll involving 26,000 people in 25 countries was not very supportive of the United States.
“Nearly three-quarters of those polled in 25 countries disapprove of U.S. policies toward Iraq, and more than two-thirds said the U.S. military presence in the Middle East does more harm than good. Nearly half of those polled in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and the Middle East said the United States is now playing a mainly negative role in the world.”
The article continues:
“It’s been a horrible slide,” said Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan, an international polling company that conducted the BBC survey with the Program on International Policy Attitudes, an affiliate of the University of Maryland. He said views of U.S. policy have steadily declined since the annual poll began two years ago.
In the 18 countries previously polled by the BBC, people who said the United States was having a generally positive influence in the world dropped to 29 percent, from 36 percent last year and 40 percent the year before.
“I thought it had bottomed out a year ago, but it’s gotten worse, and we really are at historic lows,” said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes. Kull attributed much of the problem to a growing perception of “hypocrisy” on the part of the United States in such areas as cooperation with the United Nations and other international bodies, especially involving the use of military force.
“The thing that comes up repeatedly is not just anger about Iraq,” Kull said, adding that the BBC poll is consistent with numerous other surveys around the world that have measured attitudes toward the United States. “The common theme is hypocrisy. The reaction tends to be: ‘You were a champion of a certain set of rules. Now you are breaking your own rules, so you are being hypocritical.’ ”
“The BBC survey found that a majority of those polled hold negative views on U.S. policies on a wide range of issues. Sixty-seven percent disapproved of U.S. handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Sixty-five percent disliked the U.S. stance on last summer’s military conflict between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon, 60 percent opposed U.S. policies on Iran’s nuclear program, 56 percent opposed Washington’s position on global climate change and 54 percent disapproved of U.S. policies toward North Korea.
“If this keeps up, it’s going to be very difficult for the United States to exercise its moral suasion in the world,” Miller said.
The survey of 26,381 people was conducted in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. The polling took place from November to January.”
Maybe not an “international pariah” but hardly the subject of much popularity. Once again Kerry is taking the heat for speaking the truth. Conservatives would rather live in their own fantasies. As recently reported, Vice-President Dick Cheney, during a CNN interview, had this to say about Iraq:
“Cheney defended the decision to invade Iraq nearly four years ago, and insisted that “there’s been a lot of success” since then. His comments came during a CNN interview, an exception to the vice president’s more common practice of talking to conservative media outlets.
“There’s problems, ongoing problems, but we have, in fact, accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime,” Cheney said, adding that “there is a new regime in place that’s been there for less than a year, far too soon for you guys to write them off.”
Cheney suggested that the administration’s critics were “dead wrong” about the war.
“For the first time, we’ve had elections, and majority rule will prevail there. But the notion that somehow the effort hasn’t been worth it, or that we shouldn’t go ahead and complete the task, is just dead wrong,” Cheney said.”
Lot of success? How about the “Situation in Iraq is dire” as Lt. General Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee?
But even worse, our Administration suggests that Congress may be treasonous when it criticizes the Iraq War.
As recently reported:
“WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday an effort in Congress to pass a resolution opposing President Bush’s troop buildup undercuts U.S. commanders in Iraq and “emboldens the enemy.”
And again, the White House responded to Senator Hillary Clinton’s criticism of the Iraq war as reported:
“The White House called Clinton’s comments a partisan attack that undermines U.S. soldiers.”
Undermines U.S. soldiers? Sounds close to another claim of treason.
Hiding behind this propaganda device of claiming lack of patriotism and hurting American soldiers is not a new concept but it is clearly not an American tradition.
One of the most despicable despots in history, Adolph Hitler also used these types of techniques to motivate his people. As Reichmarshall Hermann Goering of the Third Reich once said:
“It is always a simple matter to drag the people along” to do “the bidding of the leaders,” regardless of the form of government. “All you have to do,” he said, “is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.””
But not this time. And not in America. We know the difference between questioning our foreign policy and not supporting our troops! It is not supporting our troops to send them into combat without adequate body armor, without a plan, and on false pretenses with facts that have been ‘fixed’.
It is time for change in America! John Kerry was right in Davos. Hillary Clinton is right. James Webb is right. And those that use fear to suppress dissent, are not only despicable, they are unAmerican!