Thursday, October 14, 2004

With eye-crossingly close presidential polls, it’s time to imagine what it would be like to live through the Kerry years. Mr. Kerry — unchanged, he says, by the attacks of September 11 — promises to take us “to the place we were, where terrorists are… a nuisance.” Flying blind on September 10. No messy wars on the horizon. No civilizational death struggles in sight. All we have to fear is the occasional attack on the skyscraper, the disco, the embassy, the barracks, the school, the resort, the bus. Twenty-five Chechens have crossed the Arizona border? What a nuisance. Happy days are here again.

What would they bring? Mr. Kerry has planned his first swoony days in office, a post-election honeymoon, but with the United Nations, not the U.S. Congress. In those first weeks, Mr. Kerry would go to the United Nations and “to our traditional allies to affirm that the United States has rejoined the community of nations.”

Why wait? Inaugurations are probably overrated. Indeed, the sooner a President Kerry returns from his Mea Culpa Tour, the sooner a President Kerry starts the Iraqi Peace Talks with all factions, including, as France has so tactfully suggested, “a certain number of groups or people who now have chosen the path of resistance by arms.” Sounds like Baathist remnants and al Qaeda affiliates to me. I wonder if the French definition of “arms” includes hacksaws? Oh well. I can see the peace conference now, and the White House photo-op to follow: John Kerry, Jacques Chiraq, maybe Moqtada al-Sadr. Which must be what Mr. Kerry means by “global test.”

But first, that quick lap around the Oil for Food wing of the U.N. Security Council. For what else is Mr. Kerry’s “community of nations” but those biggest wheels on the take from Saddam Hussein — France, Germany, Russia, China? (Yes, the same nations that obstructed prewar U.S. efforts at the Security Council.) Meanwhile, the 30 nations of Mr. Bush’s coalition just might be “no-go” zones for a President Kerry after all the garbage Candidate Kerry has heaped on their contributions to the war on terror. “Immoral” is what Poland’s President Aleksander Kwasniewski calls his Kerry treatment. Italy, a nation that has bled for Iraq, is smarting anew over an old Kerry slap broadcast on Italian television this week. “The Iraqi army,” Mr. Kerry said before the war, “is in such bad shape, even the Italian army could kick their butts.”

So much for politesse, or lack thereof — something to expect in a Kerry administration. Remember Debate Two? Mr. Kerry was unguardedly true to his sun-kingly self when justifying a tax hike for Americans, including small-business owners, who earn $200,000 or more. “Looking around here, at this group here,” he said, “I suspect there are only three people here who are going to be affected” by his tax increase: himself, the president and ABC’s Charles Gibson. In other words, Mr. Kerry scanned that room full of American citizens and decided no one looked his equal. Le top bracket, c’est moi. Yuck.

Was he right? Not about voters’ incomes, but, really, about anything? Was Mr. Kerry right to champion the cause of North Vietnam’s brutal communist dictators? (They think so: The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City depicts Mr. Kerry as a hero of its victory against the United States.) Was he right to boost the Soviet-supported Sandinista regime in Nicaragua? To knock the liberation of Marxist Grenada as a “bully’s show of force”? To embrace the nuclear-freeze movement during the height of the Cold War? To vote against the first Gulf War? If Americans elect Mr. Kerry president, they will answer yes, validating a long career of uninterupted, unshakeable leftism that has opposed, time and again, the expansion of freedom and democracy.

If Mr. Kerry had his way, Saddam would still be in power, and in Kuwait. If Mr. Kerry had his way, Ronald Reagan’s military expansion, which bloodlessly defeated the Soviet Union, would never have occurred. Indeed, Mr. Kerry called the Strategic Defense Initiative, the visionary straw that broke the USSR’s back, a “cancer on our nation’s defense.” If, in a time of war, we elect a man whose idea of protecting American lives is holding summits, canceling such vital weapons programs as “bunker-buster” nukes, and allowing such enemies as Iran to keep their nuclear power plants in exchange for promises, we would not only be repudiating the security-boosting moral interventionism of Mr. Bush. We would also be rejecting the doctrine of peace through strength that Ronald Reagan applied with triumphant result against communism’s evil empire.

Of course, Mr. Kerry called the Reagan years a “moral darkness.” Was he right? I would hope the answer breaks the tie.

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