Democrats Embrace Foreign Policy Failures

I’ll admit that I couldn’t stomach actually watching Jimmy Carter speak to the Convention. Reading his words in text later was bad enough. I see that Democrats have rediscovered foreign policy—it is unfortunate that they have learned so many of the wrong lessons.

The most sickening thing from Carter is found in this passage:

We understood the positive link between the defense of our own freedom and the promotion of human rights. Recent policies have cost our nation its reputation as the world's most admired champion of freedom and justice. What a difference these few months of extremism have made!

The United States has alienated its allies, dismayed its friends, and inadvertently gratified its enemies by proclaiming a confused and disturbing strategy of "preemptive" war. With our allies disunited, the world resenting us, and the Middle East ablaze, we need John Kerry to restore life to the global war against terrorism.

In the meantime, the Middle East peace process has come to a screeching halt for the first time since Israel became a nation. All former presidents, Democratic and Republican, have attempted to secure a comprehensive peace for Israel with hope and justice for the Palestinians. The achievements of Camp David a quarter century ago and the more recent progress made by President Bill Clinton are now in peril.

Instead, violence has gripped the Holy Land, with the region increasingly swept by anti-American passions. Elsewhere, North Korea's nuclear menace -- a threat far more real and immediate than any posed by Saddam Hussein -- has been allowed to advance unheeded, with potentially ominous consequences for peace and stability in Northeast Asia. These are some of the prices of our government's radical departure from the basic American principles and values espoused by John Kerry!

For the moment I'll skip over the fact that as recently as the primaries, Kerry wasn't entirely sure that he would need to be a 'war president' when asked about the war on terrorism. But there is something truly galling about Jimmy Carter lecturing America on foreign policy.

Carter wants to talk about the Middle East ablaze? So often we hear liberals complaining about the Iranian revolution as being a response to U.S. meddling, but they never name Carter's government when they talk about propping up the Shah. Carter's response to the Iran hostage crisis was the beginning of the region's favorite image of the U.S. as having technological might, but being unwilling to actually fight after Vietnam. And Carter dares to talk about Middle East peace when he has repeatedly embraced Arafat's even while Arafat was in the midst of terrorism against Israel? The so-called recent progress of Clinton at Camp David was put in to peril not by Bush, but by Arafat even before Bush came to power when Arafat decided to encourage a renewed intifada rather than continue negotiations.

It is the repeated Democratic refusal to acknowledge that responsibility often lies with parties other than the U.S. which makes it so difficult for them to take action.

But the truly shocking line is about North Korea's nuclear menace. When Carter swooped onto the scene in 1994, North Korea did not have nuclear weapons. In his apparent belief that papering over problems is the same as bringing a solution, Carter negotiated the 1994 Agreed Framework in which North Korea agreed to cease all nuclear weapons research, follow through with their pledge for a 'nuclear-free penninsula', and shut down their plutonium-producing reactor in exchange for massive subsidies. For all his talk of 'human-rights' Carter negotiated an agreement for the U.S. to prop up one of the most repressive and torture-embracing regimes in the world in exchange for their promise not to build nuclear weapons. And in exchange for supporting them we gave them enough time to build the nuclear weapons which they did not have at the time of the agreement.

Perhaps the agreement looks worse in retrospect than it did at the time. But that is no excuse to use a diplomatic disaster largely of your own making as an example of Bush mishandling North Korea. Bush wouldn't be facing a nuclear North Korea if Carter's Agreed Framework had been more than a paper ruse for the North Koreans to buy time. Bush wouldn't be facing a nuclear Korea if Clinton had ignored Carter and taken action then. Or if we could not have stopped Korea from gaining nuclear weapons without a war that we weren't willing to engage in, we could have at the very least avoided spending our money propping up the deeply sadistic North Korean regime. How dare Carter talk about policy failures based on a lack of attention to human rights when he was directly involved in a huge diplomatic disaster which traded support for one of the most depraved countries in the world for practically nothing?

This is not a Democratic Party that has learned from its diplomacy mistakes. It still embraces Carter and acts as if his diplomatic disasters were triumphs. They don't have foreign policy, they engage in foreign fantasy.

Posted by Sebastian Holsclaw at July 27, 2004 2:09 AM