WASHINGTON -- The centerpiece of John Kerry's foreign policy is to rebuild our alliances so the world will come to our help, especially in Iraq. He repeats this endlessly because it is the only foreign policy idea he has to offer. The problem for Kerry is that he cannot explain just how he proposes to do this.
The mere appearance of a Europhilic fresh face is unlikely to so thrill the allies that French troops will start marching down the streets of Baghdad. Therefore, you can believe that Kerry is just being cynical in pledging to bring in the allies, knowing that he has no way of doing it. Or you can believe, as I do, that he means it.
He really does want to end America's isolation. And he has an idea how to do it. For understandable reasons, however, he will not explain how on the eve of an election.
Think about it: What do the Europeans and the Arab states endlessly rail about in the Middle East? What (outside Iraq) is the area of most friction with U.S. policy? What single issue most isolates America from the overwhelming majority of countries at the United Nations?
The answer is obvious: Israel.
In what currency, therefore, would we pay the rest of the world in exchange for their support in places like Iraq? The answer is obvious: giving in to them on Israel.
No Democrat will say that openly. But anyone familiar with the code words of Middle East diplomacy can read between the lines. Read what former Clinton national security adviser Sandy Berger said in ``Foreign Policy for a Democratic President,'' a manifesto written while he was a senior foreign policy adviser to Kerry.
``As part of a new bargain with our allies, the United States must re-engage in ... ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ... As we re-engage in the peace process and rebuild frayed ties with our allies, what should a Democratic president ask of our allies in return? First and foremost, we should ask for a real commitment of troops and money to Afghanistan and Iraq.''
So in a ``new bargain with our allies'' America ``re-engages'' in the ``peace process'' in return for troops and money in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Do not be fooled by the euphemism ``peace process.'' We know what ``peace process" meant during the eight years Berger served in the Clinton White House -- a White House to which Yasser Arafat was invited more often than any leader on the planet. It meant believing Arafat's deceptions about peace while letting him get away with the most virulent incitement to and unrelenting support of terrorism. It meant constant pressure on Israel to make one territorial concession after another -- in return for nothing. Worse than nothing: Arafat ultimately launched a vicious terror war that killed a thousand Israeli innocents.
``Re-engage in the peace process'' is precisely what the Europeans, the Russians and the United Nations have been pressuring the United States to do for years. Do you believe any of them have Israel's safety at heart? They would sell out Israel in an instant, and they are pressuring America to do precisely that.
Why are they so upset with Bush's Israeli policy? After all, isn't Bush the first president ever to commit the United States to an independent Palestinian state? Bush's sin is that he also insists the Palestinians genuinely accept Israel and replace the corrupt, dictatorial terrorist leadership of Yasser Arafat.
To re-engage in a ``peace process'' while the violence continues and while Arafat is in charge is to undo the Bush Middle East policy. That policy -- isolating Arafat, supporting Israel's right to defend itself both by attacking the terror infrastructure and by building a defensive fence -- has succeeded in defeating the intifada and producing an astonishing 84 percent reduction in innocent Israeli casualties.
John Kerry says he wants to ``rejoin the community of nations.'' There is no issue on which the United States more fails the global test of international consensus than Israel. Last July, the General Assembly declared Israel's defensive fence illegal by a vote of 150-6. In defending Israel, America stood almost alone.
You want to appease the ``international community''? Sacrifice Israel. Gradually, of course, and always under the guise of ``peace." Apply relentless pressure on Israel to make concessions to a Palestinian leadership that has proved (at Camp David 2000) it will never make peace.
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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