The president and many of his advisors have forgotten that genuine global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries. Leading the world's most advanced democracies isn't a matter of mushy multilateralism; it amplifies America's voice and extends its reach. Working through global institutions doesn't tie our hands; it invests our aims in greater legitimacy, brings us vital support, and dampens the resentment that greater power inevitably inspires.pp. 36-37. He has the background in foreign relations to accomplish this strengthening of our global ties. He was a "foreign service brat," and spent much time overseas where he was exposed to "a lot of other cultures, languages, political traditions and histories." His father, a foreign service officer, served in Berlin, Norway, and the NATO War College. He also served briefly as a member of the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As a freshman Senator, John Kerry passed up Appropriations, to the consternation of his staff, in order to get on Foreign Relations. He has served on that Committee for nearly twenty years.
In a world growing more interdependent every day, unilateralism is a formula for crippling isolation and shrinking influence. As much as some in the White House may desire it, America can't opt out of a networked world or simply log in and out of it when the situation suits us. Those who seek to lead have a duty to offer not only a clear vision of how we can make America safer but also how we can make America itself more trusted and respected in the world.
This doesn't mean he's soft on our European allies, however;
The Bush administration is by no means the only culprit in the breakdown in U.S.-UN relations over Iraq. France, Germany and Russia never supported or offered a feasible policy to verify that UN resolutions on Iraq were actually being carried out. And it's clear that France is flirting with a revival of Charles de Gaulle's fantasy of making Europe an independent counterweight to U.S. power, led, of course, from Paris. As far as Germany is concerned, the neopacifism that underlay its objections to military action against Saddam threatens to make NATO toothless and irrelevant as an instrument for the collective security of the Atlantic Alliance., p. 50.So far, I like the cut of this man's jib. Then, he begins to talk about Israel;
Israel is our ally, for it is not just the only real democracy in the Middle East but a bulwark of U.S. security in a region rife with threats. Its future can be best assured over the long term only if a real and lasting peace can be brought to its entire neighborhood.p. 52. This raises a caution flag for me. He goes on to support a Palestinian state, but is adamant about ending "state-sponsored support of terrorism against Israel." The terrorism inflicted by the Israeli army is not mentioned. And how shall we bring about this "real and lasting peace"? How will we bring Iran into line, let alone Syria and Saudi Arabia? By following the example of Bush and Sharon; the use of military might? I'll not say more right now, and will acknowledge that this is an area in which I am not well informed. Sitting on the bookshelf next to me is a copy of journalist Richard Ben Cramer's book, How Israel Lost; The Four Questions. Maybe after I've gotten around to reading that, I can respond more informatively on why Kerry's comments on this issue make me uncomfortable. Who knows; maybe by then I'll agree with the Senator.
To be continued...