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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

3/31/2004

Sullivan wobbles some more

The strongest argument for Kerry is that we have already gained as much as we can for the time being with hard power and war; he won't pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan; he won't be able to duck a serious response to another terror attack; but he might help ease some of the hatred of the United States that this president has - undeservedly, in my view, but still undeniably - ratcheted to unseen levels.
andrew sullivan
To be fair Andrew does point out that Kerry does not take the war against terrorism seriously enough; but I wonder if he's right about having reached the limits of hard power.

When Bush rattles his saber people listen up. They know he is prefectly willing to use the unstoppable military might of the United States to counter terrorism and to effect regime change in states which harbour terror. At the moment both Syria and Iran support and harbour terrorists. Left alone they are going to continue to do so as a matter of state policy. Which will make terrorism against America and the rest of the West a foregone conclusion. Not if but when. Were Kerry elected Assad and the assorted Ayatollahs will get a clear signal that the sword is back in the cupboard. Which will almost certainly mean they will continue to harbour terrorists.

Sullivan suggests that Kerry might help ease some of the hatred of the United States. I am not sure that this is a good thing at the moment. Hatred is a manifestation of fear and, for a few years, I think it is important for the United States to be feared. Ghadafi strongly suggests that fear is a powerful motivator.

Throughout the Islamic world the radicals are going to preach hatred of the United States and the West generally no matter who occupies the White House. The question is whether those radical sermons will translate to action.

Defeating Bush, a man who I have no time for except as a warrior President, would send exactly the wrong signal to the Islamic fundamentalists. It would suggest that with enough pressure America might go Spanish. Which would dramatically increase the attractiveness of attacking American targets.

From a Canadian perspective American Presidential elections are really only about the foreign affairs perspective of the candidates. And in this years election, the only foreign affairs question which matters is the ongoing, effective, conduct of the war on terror and the causes and cradles of terror. Much as I despise much of what Bush does domestically I cannot imagine that the world would be any safer if he was replaced in office.