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Friday, July 23, 2004

Posted by Jake
The New Republic Online: Engagement Announcement

Hence, Kerry says he 'would support talking with all elements of the government,' or, as his principal foreign policy adviser Rand Beers has elaborated, the United States must engage Iran's 'hard-line element'--this, while the candidate tells The Washington Post he will downplay democracy promotion in the region. In fact, as part of this normalization process, Kerry has recommended hammering out a deal with Teheran a la the Clinton administration's doomed bargain with North Korea, whereby the United States would aid the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for safeguards that would presumably keep the program peaceful. To sweeten the deal, he has offered to throw in members of the People's Mujahedeen, the Iranian opposition group being held under lock and key by U.S. forces in Iraq.


Anyone who thought that Kerry was pro-democracy has got another thing coming. When are these yo-yos going to finally realize that the "A friendly dictator is better than an unfriendly democracy" logic is a Faustian bargain. Plenty of democracies don't like us much, but they aren't funding and training suicide bombers either. The longer we assist or appease dictatorships in the Middle East (read Saudi Arabia or what some would like to do with North Korea, Syria and Iran) and elsewhere, the worse terrorism is going to become.

Sadly, the Bush administration seems to be of two minds on the subject as well: "Deputy National Security Adviser Robert Blackwill refuses to surrender hopes for a nuclear deal, as does Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who lauds Iran as a "democracy." To be sure, the president vows Washington will side with Iran's pro-democracy movement and that the "development of a nuclear weapon in Iran is intolerable." But long gone from the administration's rhetoric is any talk of regime change.

Given the choice I would take the Bush administration's policy. At least there is some recognition that these are not good people. But we still need to come through with our promise to fund Iranian opposition leaders and state a policy of regime change in Iran.

Brian -  Jake, you bring up a very good point, and I think it's the biggest threat to both candidates.  I was explaining this country's "One China" policy to a friend just the other day, and it strikes me that the way these candidates treat Iran and North Korea are even more ridiculous than that one.  And it will cost both of them votes.

There was a recent Op/Ed in the USA Today (hat tip: my dad - the only person I know who finds anything of substance in that "newspaper") by Michelle Malkin that applies nicely. In it, she describes herself as a member of a new constituency: security moms. "I want a president who is of one mind, not two, about what must be done to protect our freedom and our borders. I don't care about the hair on his head or the wrinkles in his forehead. I am not awed by his ability to ride a snowboard or fly a plane. Nor does it matter much to me whether his wife speaks four languages or bakes good cookies.What I want is a commander in chief who will stop pandering to political correctness and People magazine editors, and start pandering to me."

She criticizes Kerry for being too touchy-feely, and Bush for being too soft on domestic security. And turning to those who wish to harm American citizens, she concludes: "As they plot our death and destruction, these enemies will not be won over by either hair-sprayed liberalism or bleeding-heart conservatism. And neither will we."

Worth reading.



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