Howard Dean's foreign policy

Posted: Dec 16, 2003 12:00 AM

Can somebody please tell me what the big deal was about Howard Dean's "major foreign policy address" in Los Angeles on Monday? In his speech he offered nothing new -- except to announce that Saddam's capture was no big deal.

The New York Times approvingly calls Dean's foreign policy "nuanced" -- liberal speak for erudite. I call it shallow and misguided. You can review Dean's speech to the Council on Foreign Relations on June 25 and see that Monday's speech was just a rehash. The only things that have changed are that it's a half a year later and Dean and the media have apparently decided it's time that Dean -- the antiwar, anti-Bush phenom -- acquire some foreign policy credentials as the Democrats' last best hope to unseat the evil George Dubya.

Before addressing foreign policy issues, Dean made the obligatory appeal to class warfare, saying "a domestic policy centered on increasing the wealth of the wealthiest Americans, and ceding power to favored corporate campaign contributors, is a recipe for economic disaster."

While liberal elites are fond of boasting that their center of power is in the blue states, where people are educated and enlightened, they have never reconciled that claim with their endless appeal to morons who will swallow the lie that Republican domestic policy is aimed at making the rich richer.

Shifting to foreign policy, Dean said, "the capture of Saddam has not made America safer." Perhaps so, perhaps not, but I think it's reasonable to conclude that Saddam's capture will be demoralizing to his terrorist followers and supporters who happen to be waging war against American soldiers. Come on, Howard, can't you express a little jubilation about that?

But at least Dean is consistent. The New Republic reported that "when the statue of Saddam Hussein came crumbling down in Baghdad's Firdos Square, Howard Dean blithely remarked that he 'suppose(d) that's a good thing.' It wasn't exactly his finest hour." No, it wasn't. Nor was his earlier reaction to the deaths of Saddam's brutal sons Uday and Qusay, when he said, "The ends do not justify the means."

Why do you suppose the Democrats' leading candidate just can't seem to show enthusiasm about America's military triumphs? Why is his knee-jerk reaction so consistently negative? Maybe we should think of it as "nuanced."

Dean said that he would "strengthen our military and intelligence capabilities so we are best prepared to defend America and our interests." I found that interesting, in light of his previous statements that although he would not reduce military spending, he would "redirect" a chunk of it toward the development of renewable energy technology. (Perhaps the New York Times can help Mr. Dean "nuance" his way out of that discrepancy.)

But the thrust of Dean's speech was directed at calling Bush a liar -- in so many words -- and calling for multilateralism as a panacea for all our foreign policy problems.

As for Bush being a liar, Dean said he would restore "the credibility that comes from telling the truth," and "honor and integrity by insisting that intelligence be evaluated to shape policy, instead of making it a policy to distort intelligence." These lies about the "lies" is getting old -- and I doubt it's playing well, except among the fire-breathing Bush-haters.

As for multilateralism, Dean said, "the administration launched the war in the wrong way, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help and at unbelievable cost. ... An administration prepared to work with others in true partnership might have been able, if it found no alternative to Saddam's ouster, to then rebuild Iraq with far less cost and risk."

"Multilateralism" is the Democrats' substitute for a real foreign policy, their favorite excuse to avoid taking action, and their favorite tool to taint Republican foreign policy successes. If only we'd had the cooperation of more nations, everything would have been miraculously better.

Sorry, Mr. Dean, but the voting public -- except, perhaps, for heavy pockets in the intelligence-saturated blue states -- isn't going to accept the mindless notion that foreign policy successes become failures because we didn't have every nation on board, or because certain European leftist nations balked at the proper course of action.

While some in the media treated Dean's speech as newsworthy, it was just more of the same. The truth is that neither Dean nor any of the other Democratic presidential hopefuls have anything to sell the American people in their foreign policy inventory -- so they're fabricating phantom goods. I'm betting they won't sell any better.