Sunday, September 12, 2004

Kerry's War on Terror 

I can agree that Kerry has not been effective at honing his message on how to deal with Islamic extremism in the Middle East and around the world. That's why I think it's good that he is articulating some more coherent, broad principles that he would adhere to in approaching the issue.
What I intend to do is to put in play the economic power, the values and principles, the public diplomacy, so we're isolating the radical Islamic extremists and not having the radical extremists isolate the United States. It means bringing religious leaders together, including moderate mullahs, clerics, imams—pulling the world together in a dialogue about who these extremists really are and how they are hijacking the legitimacy of Islam itself. That takes leadership, and that leadership has not been put on the table.

You have almost 60% of the populations of Egypt and Saudi Arabia under 30, and 50% under 18. We have to engage in a way that offers them some alternative to the radical madrasahs that are educating them to hate and to go out and strap explosives around themselves.

They [the Bush Administration] haven't even engaged in a legitimate effort to try to really transform the ability of Israel to find a legitimate entity to negotiate with. The only thing they do is rattle the saber.


The fact is that these guys talk tough, but they haven't done what is necessary to make America as safe as it can be. There have been more terrorist incidents around the world in the last months than any time in recent history. Whole parts of Iraq are under the control of terrorists, and they never were. Afghanistan is exporting drugs like opium like never before, and whole parts of the country are under the control of the Taliban and terrorists again.
I'll leave for another day the problem with his comments on Afghan drug production (the real reason they are producing opium at all is not Bush, but America's ridiculous and counterproductive "War on Drugs" that creates a massive artificial profit inflation for such crops, making it a viable cash crop in a destitute country) and stick with his basic arguments about the WoT.

The crux of this deals with the distinction between hard power and soft power. Just as important as understanding that distinction is recognizing that there must be an appropriate balance between the two. Kerry is advocating more soft power, and Bush has completely abandoned it. I think that distinction is clear.


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