Charles Krauthammer

There is more. Colombani grieves that the Bush administration has taken an ``ax'' to the two great pillars of Western success post-World War II: containment and free trade.

Colombani decries the fact that containment has given way to pre-emptive war. But containment was designed for the Soviet Union, which died 10 years before Bush even took office. Only a fool would advocate containment against the new threat that has arisen in its place: terrorists and terrorist states acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

When dealing with undeterrables (like al Qaeda) or undetectables (like an Iraq or an Iran passing WMDs to terrorists) there is no such thing as containment. There is no deterrence, no address for the retaliation. There are two options -- do nothing and wait for the next attack, or get them before they acquire the capacity to get you. That is called pre-emption.

Warming to the ``ax'' theme, Colombani then decries the Bush administration's ``return of protectionism.'' This (plus pre-emption), ``is why John Kerry is, a priori, perceived with so much sympathy'' in Europe.

Good grief. Only an ignoramus oblivious to what is happening in American politics could prefer Kerry over Bush on grounds of free trade. Has no one told Colombani that the Democrats have made protectionism -- attacking everything from NAFTA to the WTO -- a theme of this campaign, radically reversing the Clinton policies of the 1990s?

It is not John Kerry's fault that he is endorsed by a Frenchman. (Or by Kim Jong Il of North Korea, whose media have been running some of Kerry's speeches verbatim!) But Kerry has made the major -- indeed, only discernible -- theme of his foreign policy ``rejoining the community of nations'' and being liked abroad once again.

Which is why he does not just court foreign support, he boasts about it. ``I've met foreign leaders, who can't go out and say this publicly,'' he told a Hollywood, Fla., fund-raiser, ``but boy they look at you and say, `You gotta win this one, you gotta beat this guy.'''

For the world. For France.


Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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