- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 30, 2004

George W. Bush’s hometown weekly, the Lone Star Iconoclast, has endorsed John Kerry for president. This peep of editorial sound and fury prompted numerous yeeha-folksy features from the campaign trail — “They Don’t Call It the `Iconoclast’ for Nothin,’ ” the New York Times wrote — but it signifies not much.

Or does it? The Iconoclast is not the first newspaper to tout Mr. Kerry. According to the Jerusalem Post, an August 4 editorial in the Syria Times exhorted Arab-Americans not to make the same mistake they made in 2000 by throwing their support in 2004 to Mr. Bush. This time around, declared the state-run organ of Bashar Assad’s Baathist dictatorship, a vote for Mr. Kerry would be “a wise one.” And from the nuke-mad mullahocracy in terror-central Iran comes the Good Hezbollah seal of approval: “Kerry,” the Tehran Times declared this summer, “is exactly what the US needs right now.”

This is not to say that an endorsement from the Tehran Times is exactly what Mr. Kerry needs right now. Nor do I mean to imply that the Lone Star Iconoclast is anything but, well, iconoclastic. At the same time, it’s a mistake to ignore what can only be described as a surge for Mr. Kerry in axis-of-evil and just-plain-evil nations. Indeed, one of the weirder outposts of Kerry support is in North Korea. There, Radio Pyongyang, the radio network of the Stalinist state, was actually broadcasting Mr. Kerry’s campaign speeches earlier this year, and reporting them, as the Financial Times put it, in “glowing” terms. As for Mr. Bush, Pyongyang’s “diplomatic spokesman” recently called the president “an idiot, an ignorant [sic], a tyrant, and a mankiller” — and, on top of everything else, a “bad guy.” As Kenneth Quinones, a former U.S. diplomat who recently visited Pyongyang, told the New York Times, “The North Koreans made it very clear, politely, that they want Mr. Kerry to win.” Politely?

Mr. Kerry’s supporters ignore the implications — that America’s enemies would unanimously vote their candidate into the Oval Office over Mr. Bush. Indeed, they suppress the implications. The New York Times recently and hotly editorialized that “it is absolutely not all right” to take that logical next step and “suggest that Mr. Kerry is the favored candidate of the terrorists.” In some basic way, though, foreign policy comes down to a tally of friends and enemies. Very simply put, Mr. Kerry doesn’t care enough about our friends — stalwarts such as Britain and Australia and Italy and Poland and South Korea and free Iraq — and he is uncomfortably well-liked by our enemies. Even ones who nurture and abet the jihadist networks that want us dead.

Why? Maybe because he’s the kind of man who would refer to granddaddy-terror-kingpin Yasir Arafat, as he did in a 1997 book, as a “statesman.” Or defend Moqtada al-Sadr as a “legitimate voice in Iraq,” as he did in April after coalition forces shut down the terror leader’s newspaper when it urged violence against U.S. troops. (“Well, let me … change that term legitimate,” he quickly amended himself during an interview with National Public Radio. The newspaper “belongs to a voice.”) Or call for a “more sensitive” war on terror, as he did this summer. Or promise a “grand bargain” with Iran, as he did last month, offering to allow the rogue-state to retain its nuclear power plants in exchange for its promise not to make WMD. Or plan to exit Iraq — a “distraction” from the war on Islamist terror, he absurdly insists — ASAP.

The Kerry doctrine would begin not with a bang, but with an apology. “In the first hundred days in office,” Mr. Kerry vowed last winter, “I will go to the United Nations — I will go in the first weeks — and I will travel to our traditional allies” (guess who) in order “to affirm that the United States has rejoined the community of nations.” Such a mea culpish jaunt, more appropriate for a Libya, or a Cuba someday, might not make the flag wave, but it’s sure to make jihadis smile.

Former New York Mayor Ed Koch explained it this way: “Just as I and millions of Americans believe Kerry and Bush differ in their approaches to international terrorism,” he wrote this week, “you can be certain that bin Laden, al-Zarqawi and other Islamic terrorists recognize these differences. Surely they know which presidential candidate would be more likely to wage war against them and the countries that harbor them, with or without Untied Nations support, and pursue them until they are defeated.” Mr. Koch, a liberal Democrat, is voting for Mr. Bush.

As will anyone else serious about victory.

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