If I hadn't observed Sen. Kerry's incoherent ramblings during the 2004 presidential campaign, I would have been shocked by his indecipherable utterances on "Fox News Sunday" regarding President Bush's foreign policy. Almost every statement was at war with the facts or with other statements he made elsewhere and in this same interview.
On North Korea, Kerry said, "One of the reasons that North Korea can misbehave the way it is today is because the United States has lost its leverage, lost its credibility and doesn't have the capacity to be able to bring countries together in the way that it used to. This administration is allowing North Korea to get away with what its doing."
Notice Kerry didn't make the argument that we haven't brought enough force into Iraq and so we lack the credibility to inspire fear in and thereby deter the North Korean regime. No, the context makes clear that Kerry is talking about our failure to approach our diplomacy multilaterally: We don't "have the capacity to be able to bring countries together."
So one would assume that when Chris Wallace asked Kerry what he would do differently, he would respond that we need to work more closely with other nations. Wrong. Kerry said, "I would engage in bilateral, face-to-face negotiations with North Korea, make it absolutely clear that we are not intending to invade and have a regime change, and work on the entire set of issues that are outstanding since the armistice with regard to the north."
Kerry was saying -- if anyone could follow him without falling asleep -- that because of our alleged "go-it-alone" policy on Iraq we have lost our credibility to employ a go-it-alone policy with North Korea. When Wallace asked him to explain the obvious inconsistency, Kerry didn't even bother to clarify. In fact, a little later in the interview he went back to the same point, saying, "[Bush] has made every mistake possible so he has isolated our troops, isolated America." Yet, Kerry would have us isolate ourselves with respect to North Korea.
Kerry lambasted Bush for his six-party approach, saying he was only engaging in this multilateralism as cover -- as an excuse not to continue with Clinton's agreed framework and go-it-alone approach. But why would Bush need an excuse not to continue with a failed policy?
All of Kerry's hollow criticism is rendered even more absurd when you understand that Bush did employ a multilateral approach to Iraq -- painstakingly working with and through the United Nations and building a coalition as large as reasonable nations would cooperate to make it -- until the U.N. and France, Germany and Russia wrongfully refused to cooperate. Ultimately, he decided he shouldn't undermine our national interests for the sake of appeasing Old Europe. So he attacked with a multilateral, but not a unanimous coalition. Bush has adopted a similar multilateral approach to North Korea and Iran, believing our leverage against those regimes increases with the cooperation of other nations.
Another nonsensical Kerry utterance was that "while we knew [North Korea] was probably cheating [under the agreed framework], we were on a road where we had them in the non-proliferation treaty." In other words, though North Korea was cheating on one agreement with us, it was good that it had agreed to another -- as if it would inexplicably be more honorable on non-proliferation, which it manifestly wasn't.
Perhaps more maddening than the foregoing was Kerry's attempted explanation for why he is now saying his vote for the Iraq War resolution was one of his biggest mistakes in public service. "There's nothing -- nothing -- in my life in public service I regret more, nothing even close."
When Wallace confronted him with his August 2004 statement reaffirming the correctness of his decision to vote for the resolution, Kerry said he had not been aware then "of the degree to which [the Bush administration] misled us, the degree to which they have abused the authority that they were given."
I hate to rain on Kerry's parade of lies, but in July 2004 -- which happens to have been a month before August 2004 -- at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry said, "As president, I will restore trust and credibility to the White House. I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war."
Does Kerry think we don't have recording equipment -- or even the ability to remember what he says from one point in an interview to another? I'll bet the Swift Boat Veterans are quaking in their boots with Kerry's threat to bring to bear all his rhetorical fire power against them should he run for president in 2008.