- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 3, 2004

President Bush yesterday labeled his Democratic opponent’s call to seek permission from foreign governments before protecting America the “Kerry Doctrine,” juxtaposing the maxim with his own “Bush Doctrine,” which calls for unilateral pre-emption when the United States is threatened.

Pounding Sen. John Kerry’s assertion in their first debate that the president first must pass a “global test” before striking an enemy, Mr. Bush said he will never cede control of America’s security to foreign nations.

“When he laid out the Kerry Doctrine, he said that America has to pass a ‘global test’ before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. Think about this: Senator Kerry’s approach to foreign policy would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions,” Mr. Bush said in a speech in Columbus, Ohio, that came with one month left in the presidential campaign.

“I have a different view. When our country is in danger, the president’s job is not to take an international poll. The president’s job is to defend America. I’ll continue to work every daywith our friends and allies for the sake of freedom and peace. But our national security decisions will be made in the Oval Office, not in foreign capitals,” he said, later repeating the line in Mansfield and the Akron suburb of Cuyahoga Falls during a bus tour of Ohio.

The Kerry camp fired back almost immediately, calling a new Bush-Cheney ad focusing on the Kerry Doctrine “completely false.”

“President Bush knows good and well that John Kerry said when it comes to America’s national security, he’ll never give a veto to any other country,” said Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton. “John Kerry will take any action necessary to protect the United States from immediate danger.”

During Thursday’s debate in Miami, Mr. Kerry actually took both stances.

“No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it … you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you’re doing what you’re doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.

He cited as an example President John F. Kennedy’s decision to consult with French President Charles de Gaulle over the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, and compared Mr. de Gaulle’s favorable response with the skepticism Mr. Bush faces abroad over the Iraq war.

The Bush campaign seized on the statement, which they say plainly illustrates their opponent’s proclivity to straddle tough issues.

“The American people know good and well that John Kerry said Thursday night that he would seek a ‘global test’ before protecting America,” said Bush campaign spokesman Nicolle Devenish. “It calls for a world test. If they’re walking away from it a day later, it’s incumbent on them to explain the Kerry Doctrine.”

Bush senior adviser Karl Rove said Mr. Kerry’s policy is based on “some elusive, difficult-to-pin-down, impossible-for-him-to-name foreign power that has to approve of us before we either have a genuine coalition or whether we are justified in protecting America.”

On Friday, Mr. Bush gave an example of who Mr. Kerry thinks must approve of a U.S. pre-emptive strike: “I will never submit America’s national security to an international test. The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France.”

The Bush campaign yesterday released a new ad — titled “Global Test” — that will air in battleground states in the coming days. In it, an ad voiceover says: “So we must seek permission from foreign governments before protecting America. A global test? So America will be forced to wait while threats gather?”

The ad concludes: “President Bush believes decisions about protecting America should be made in the Oval Office, not foreign capitals.”

The Kerry campaign responded quickly, putting up a new ad in which an announcer says of Mr. Bush’s debate performance: “He lost. He’s desperate. … George Bush lost the debate. Now he’s lying about it.”

Kerry foreign-policy adviser Richard Holbrooke yesterday was incensed at the use of the word “doctrine” and defended Mr. Kerry’s comment at the debate, saying that “what Bush is trying to do is start the debate again because he lost it.”

“The president and his advisers are once again misrepresenting what Mr. Kerry said. It’s not a doctrine. It’s a statement of long-standing United States policy” that asserts the right to launch a pre-emptive strike, but recognizes the need to back up such a move by facts and present those facts to allies.

“Don’t call it a doctrine,” Mr. Holbrooke said. “That would suggest John Kerry enunciated something new, and he didn’t.”

Kerry spokesman Phil Singer said Mr. Bush is simply trying to change the topic away from the increasing violence in Iraq.

“It is astounding that he is making things up when he should be detailing a plan to stabilize the situation in Iraq,” he said.

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