John Kerry: A Despot?s Best Friend

Joel Mowbray

3/11/2004 12:00:00 AM - Joel Mowbray

Turn on the Korea Central News Agency in recent days, and you?d be likely to hear John Kerry?s foreign policy speeches receiving lavish praise normally reserved for the man who runs the broadcaster?and pretty much everything else in North Korea: Kim Jong-Il. 

  Kim Jong-Il hates George W. Bush?his mouthpiece called a senior Bush appointee who is particularly tough on Pyongyang?s dictator ?human scum? last year?and luckily for him, Bush?s Democratic opponent wants the same thing Kim does: one-on-one talks, which would help cement the perception North Korea wants to project of equal adversaries squaring off.  So the ?Dear Leader? supporting Kerry should come as little surprise.

  Kerry didn?t ask for the endorsement, so to attack him with it is a cheap shot.  The problem, though, is that the man who wants to be the next president would do exactly what Kim and other thugs and tyrants would want.

  The Massachusetts liberal has criticized the Bush administration approach, saying that, if elected, he would approach North Korea with a ?sincere attitude.?  But what, pray tell, is a ?sincere attitude? toward a tyrant responsible for the deaths of two million innocent people in the past decade alone?  For most people, greeting the ?Dear Leader? with a ?sincere attitude? would be some combination of mutilation and strangulation.

  But not for Kerry.

  Ted Kennedy?s prot? has slammed Bush?s ?arrogant? foreign policy and vowed to repair relations with, among other dictatorships, Syria, Iran, and North Korea.  To the virtuous and high-minded foreign policy elites, there is no greater goal than ?talking.?

  Kerry supports ?talking,? but more important, he doesn?t support action?at least not when it favors freedom.  In the most recent tales of two tyrants, Kerry has sided with despotism over democracy each time.

  Though he, at times, supported the war to remove Saddam Hussein, the final verdict?based on the cumulative weight of statements on each side of the issue?seems to be that Kerry would have left in place Saddam?s reign of terror.  Pleading an ignorance that 99 other Senators do not, Kerry claims that he had no idea he was voting to authorize war in Iraq last fall.  After Saddam was ousted and the Democrat had the chance to support democracy and rebuilding efforts in the war-ravaged nation, Kerry voted against Bush?s $87 billion request for aid.

  While Kerry opposed funding for Iraq?s burgeoning democracy, he promised recently that if he had been president, he would have risked American lives to prop up a tyrant.  As Haiti was starting to pull itself out of the chaos created by now-ousted despot Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Kerry last week told the New York Times that he have sent troops to protect Aristide from the rebels.  ?I would have been prepared to send troops immediately, period,? Kerry stated unequivocally.

  The presumptive Democratic nominee conceded that Aristide was ?no picnic,? but said Bush was ?shortsighted? for not stopping the rebels? march.  The evidence shows, however, that Kerry was ?shortsighted? for thinking that Haiti?s former oppressor was merely ?no picnic? and worthy of protection provided by American men and women.

  After being reinstated in 1994 with the political muscle of 20,000 Marines (sent by President Clinton) behind him, Aristide turned from democrat to despot.  To short-circuit the Haitian constitution?s one-term limit, Aristide had a puppet, Rene Preval, keep the seat warm for him from 1995 to 2000.  In lieu of legislative elections in 1999, Preval dissolved the legislature.  With corruption rampant, most Haitians boycotted the sham 2000 presidential elections, and Aristide was ?elected? with less than ten percent of the population actually going to the polls.

  Things in Haiti only got worse from there, with murderous thugs roaming the streets, eliminating Aristide?s political enemies.  ?No picnic,? indeed.

  None of this is to say that Kerry ?likes? despicable despots.  It could just be he has goofy elitist notions about evil.  The New York Post reports that in his 1997 book, Kerry wrote that terrorists could be ?encouraged? to become good guys ?by Yasser Arafat?s transformation from outlaw to statesman.?

  It seems that Kerry the candidate has shifted on Arafat, but why?  Arafat hasn?t changed. 

  Then again, given the Democrat?s pledge to make friends with tyrants the world over, neither has Kerry.