Although he makes regular rude noises about President Bush's Iraq policy, Senator Kerry has tucked his technical position as close to the president's as he can without actually endorsing it in every detail. Sen. Kerry has chosen one specific battleground with the president on Iraq: Bush's failure to get our historic allies in Europe on board for the Iraq War and its aftermath, thus resulting in our isolation.
Senator Kerry assures the voters that as president, he with his friends in Europe and his smarter, more nuanced diplomacy can correct that Bush failure. He has gone so far as to argue that Europe's problem is more or less personal to George W. Bush, and thus could not be fixed by him. It may take a new president to fix the problem, Sen. Kerry asserts.
While President Bush's pre-war diplomacy was hardly a graceful affair, it is Senator Kerry who is being simplistic, almost childlike, in his description of the current diplomatic environment. Mr. Kerry is only playing into the public's (and the popular media's) belief that personalities and "chemistry" between world leaders determines the success of diplomatic engagements. Thus many people were surprised when Tony Blair supported President Bush on Iraq after he had been such good friends with Bill Clinton.
But, of course, Blair supported both Bush and Clinton out of calculations of British national interest -- not for good fellowship's sake. As Lord Palmerston explained the classic British foreign policy maxim: Britain has no permanent friends, only permanent interests. And so it has been for all nations and alliances. Since WWII, British foreign policy has been premised on being Europe's best friend to America, and America's best friend to Europe -- thus maximizing her influence in both quarters.
So the more interesting question is why the French, German and other continental leaders opposed America on Iraq. And, as so often has been the case, the beginning of wisdom is to read the thoughts of Dr. Henry Kissinger. Last week he published an article in the Washington Post titled "A Global Order in Flux." While the names Bush and Kerry do not appear in the article, it stands as a powerful rebuttal to Sen. Kerry's claim that President Bush made a hash of things that a President Kerry could fix.
Dr. Kissinger argues that: (1) the global scene is more fluid than it has been for centuries, (2) the center of gravity of world affairs is moving to the Pacific, (3) the major actors are defining new roles for themselves, and (4) the transformation is about basic concepts rather than tactical issues.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.