Democrats & Liberals Archives

The "Global Test"

Presidential Debate No. 1, September 30, 2004
The “Global Test”
How It Effects Presidential Decision Making

During the initial presidential debate on September 30, 2004 Senator John F. Kerry made use of the terminology “passes the global test” when discussing the use of “preemptive war”. That has caused quite a ballyhoo, with much of what is now implied clearly ‘off-point’ to what Senator Kerry in fact stated.

Thus, before we go on, following is an excerpt of the actual verbiage:

What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war? KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.

No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, 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.

Here we have our own secretary of state who has had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the United Nations.

I mean, we can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell them about the missiles in Cuba, he said, "Here, let me show you the photos." And DeGaulle waved them off and said, "No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."

How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way? So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world. And Iran and Iraq are now more dangerous -- Iran and North Korea are now more dangerous.

Now, whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don't know yet. But I'll tell you this: As president, I'll never take my eye off that ball. I've been fighting for proliferation the entire time -- anti-proliferation the entire time I've been in the Congress. And we've watched this president actually turn away from some of the treaties that were on the table.

You don't help yourself with other nations when you turn away from the global warming treaty, for instance, or when you refuse to deal at length with the United Nations.

You have to earn that respect. And I think we have a lot of earning back to do.
Of course the key phrase being "But if and when you do it, Jim, 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".

This is what Senator Kerry was challenging President Bush on. Senator Kerry is not in any manner diluting the power to wage preemptive war, nor to make preemptive strikes to head off tangible threats. The key difference though is clear when taken into account that this president and his administration pushed this nation and proffered a position that it would only actually USE FORCE as a last result. After receiving authorization to use such LAST RESULT FORCE, this president and his administration rushed to war.

The evidence is overwhelmingly clear that in fact this entire administration manufactured false intelligence data in the run-up and drum-up to a manufactured war. A war in which AUTHORIZATION was GRANTED ... ONLY TO DISARM Saddam Hussein. There was NO AUTHORIZATION granted to wage an international war of "liberty" throughout the middle-east. Therefore on BOTH ISSUES there are ample grounds and evidence for full impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (and in fact, their entire administration).

But the "Global Test" issue does not mean Senator Kerry would be bound by the whims and caprices of other nations. But it DOES mean that Senator Kerry would act in a manner when engaging in either war or other hostilities, that is more or less above reproach. Something this president and his administration apparently have no clue as to its meaning. THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE. THE PEOPLE AND OUR CONGRESS MUST BE TOLD THE TRUTH BEFORE COMMITTING OUR RESOURCES, BOTH PERSONNEL AND FINANCIAL TO WAR.

Look at it like this. Had George W. Bush and his administration WAITED for the United Nations to complete its inspections:

1) American military and intelligence resources would have continued to be fully engaged in hunting down, engaging, and defeating Al Qaeda and related terrorist forces... instead of allowing them to reconstitute, re-network, and fight another day... instead of allowing them to infect every village, town, city, and nation they pass through;

2) America would have retained the wealth of good will which emanated from the September 11, 2001 attacks;

3) America would have retained active involvement in the "global war on terrorism" from the majority of international powers, instead of becoming the pariah as we now see worldwide.

4) Iraq never would have become ANOTHER 'focal point' for Islamic fundamentalist extremism. Going into Iraq is EXACTLY WHAT OSAMA BIN LADEN and his like needed. Take the pressure off, while giving them and their movement further justification and wider appeal to gather new recruits.

Thus, instead of curtailing global terrorism, the Iraq War has in fact exacerbated the entire problem. BAD STRATEGY. STUPID, SHORT-SIGHTED STRATEGY. BAD FOR AMERICA. BAD FOR THE MIDDLE-EAST. BAD FOR THE WORLD.

Had George W. Bush followed in his father's footsteps and PASSED the "Global Test", the Iraq War would have been sidelined and the REAL, LEGITIMATE war on terrorism would be well on its way to successful conclusion. Instead, failing to understand that the "Global Test" applies BOTH HERE AT HOME IN AMERICA and ABROAD, our nation is in a 'WORLD OF HURT'. And NO, the world is NOT SAFER due to diverting our sight and resources away from the real threat, that being Al Qaeda and related movements, groups, and individuals.


Posted by Bruce R. Senator at October 5, 2004 3:28 PM