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The linked article is a balanced article on Kerry's beliefs regarding foreign policy, and his record. I recommend a look -- it's fairly short. For those of us who believe the Bush doctrine has failed, it's informative to get to know the alternative.

From the Washington Post:
In Senate debates and media interviews over the years, John F. Kerry has repeatedly returned to three axioms on the use of military force: Win as much allied support as possible before going to war, listen to advice from the professionals, and, most significant, heed the many lessons of the Vietnam War.

NATO and the United Nations appear to be touchstones for the Democratic nominee, not just the troublesome hurdles that they appear to be to President Bush. In speeches over the years, Kerry repeatedly has denounced unilateral action.


A more recent theme for the senator from Massachusetts has been the importance of listening carefully to military advice. It is a subject he touched on in the past but seems to have emphasized more in the current campaign as he discusses the stormy relationship the Bush administration has had with the Army, particularly with Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, who was that service's chief of staff until last year.


But the most significant factor in shaping Kerry's views on the use of force appears to be Vietnam -- and not just the lesson that the conflict was a mistake. Indeed, some of his conclusions about the war are surprising, such as his praise a decade ago for President Richard M. Nixon's 1972 "Christmas bombing," the most intense aerial campaign of the war.

Kerry's reading of that war's lessons also leads, unexpectedly, to a similarity with Bush: an inclination to persist once he has chosen a course of action. His bottom line on Vietnam is that the nation must stick to commitments once troops have been sent in. The lesson from that war, he told author Gil Dorland, is that "I won't put American soldiers in harm's way unless the United States is prepared to win."

Comments (Page 1)
on Oct 20, 2004
BS. Really? Don't forget that in 1997, a year before Clinton started the "Iraq Liberation Act". Kerry has called for possible uilateral military action against Saddam. He has openly said that in Congress as well as in interview.

Give me a reason why Iraq is more dangerous in 1997 than in 2001. The inspectors were not kicked out in 1997 and 9/11 has not occured
on Oct 20, 2004
Nice counter article, Chemical.
on Oct 20, 2004
Well, thank you. But more importantly, what I said is really true. I was not twisting facts or taking words out of context. When Kerry endorsed Clinton for uilateral act on 1996 as well as in 1998. He was among the minority. So, he wasn't just going along with someone. Kerry was leading the "uilateral" theory in those years. The only difference I see, is that Clinton is of his party so it is ok for Clinton to break away from UN and NATO in 1996 and 1998, but not ok for Bush in 2001/2.
on Oct 20, 2004
Thank you for your comments, Chemicalkinetics,

You may not have read the article closely enough: "Win as much allied support as possible before going to war".

"There's no question he's wandered around" on issues such as the use of force, but so have most senators, said a Republican colleague and friend who supports Bush but also admires Kerry. "I don't think he would hesitate to use force if U.S. interests were threatened," he added.

"He doesn't shy away from defending America's interests . . . but he believes it is important to get international support," said Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.
on Oct 20, 2004
The problem is that Kerry has never specifed what is "as much as possible". That is a typical poltical non-statment. That is the same type of statement as "Everyone should earn as much as possible", "Kids should learn math as much as possible" and "We should be tolerate to gay people as much as possible". Why are you asking me to read a "non-statement"? In 1992, the first Gulf War, a war in which he now supports. He voted against it back then. How come? He kept talking about building a grand coalition, like Kennedy and Reagan. In what war, Kennedy and Reagan was in with massive ally force? Technically, Kennedy was pretty much alone in the Cuban crisis, or am I wrong? So to be technical, the grand coalition Kerry mentioned makes no sense to me. Of course Kerry can wonder around some issue, that is part of being a senator. I understand that, and I don't doubt Kerry will use force when USA get attacked. I am saying that it is ridiculous for him to criticize Bush on something which Kerry has strongly supported. It is like watching the Russians complainning USA being too communist. Look, Kerry can complain, but the article you reference certainly does not reflect Kerry's action, and certainly I have no reason to believe he can do a better job than Bush because I don't even know what he will do. Would he really build a grand coalition as he said now, or would he gone more uilateral than Bush as he suggested in 1997. The point is how come Kerry support a uilateral action in 1997 and 1998, but not in 2001. Is Iraq that much more dangerous in 1997/8? I would argue Iraq is more dangerous in 2001, but that is another topic. He accused Bush didn't bring in enough allies in this war. At least Bush went to UN twice, what did Clinton do in 1997/8 that Kerry decided uilateral is ok. Did Clinton went to UN three times? Is that it? The answer is NO
on Oct 20, 2004
Last time I checked Germany is helping us in Afghanistan and they are seriously considering sending personnel to Iraq, so who is left that we can get to help that will?

- Grim X
on Oct 20, 2004
I rather have the Polish troop than the German. In fact, having Russian army might be better. You know if Russian get attacked, they may seriously kick some terriosts ass.
on Oct 20, 2004
Thanks for the comments, GX and CK,

Well, Kerry's argument is that if Bush had been less abrasive with his "you're either with us or against us" approach, it would have been easier to attract allies. So the fact that we're having trouble getting allies is due to that approach. I realize that's a disputed dispute assertion.

As I understand it, the Polish troops are signalling that they want out. Also, the German offer of possible assitance was premised on the US changing its approach, and was widely interpreted as indication that Germany would be more comfortable working with a President Kerry.

As I've indicated in other threads, I'm not arguing that foreign leader endorsements are important. After all, Putin has endorsed Bush, and apparently so has the Prime Minister of Japan.
on Oct 20, 2004
Putin endorsement is really indirect. Why do I think that? Well, half of the news said he endorsed Bush, the other half of the news said Putin didn't endorse either one. So Putin gave a weak endorsement. By the way, blogic, I disagree with you on that "you are with us or against us" statement. If you look at what Kerry said in 1997/8, his words are more uilateral than Bush now. So the question is: which is the real Kerry?

Yes, the Polish army wants out. That is why I said I rather Polish stays than the German joins. Foerign leader endorsement means only one thing: what is their best interest. As simple as that, that is the same logic as if USA ever support a government, you bet it is not an anti-USA government. German will be more comfortable with Kerry because they believe... well, I won't go into that... Japan like Bush more simply because they think Bush can handle North Korea better. Japan's greatest foreign policy concern is N. Korea.
on Oct 20, 2004
"which is the real Kerry?"

Well, the original article is perfectly open that Kerry, like most senators, has views that have evolved over time. Of course, the same is true of Bush. In 2000, he favored a "humble" foreign policy built on stronger international alliances.
on Oct 20, 2004
Yeah, I can understand how Bush changed his policy because in his mind the world has transformed into a more dangerous place after 9/11. National security suddenly surpass everythinh else. Because of that, foerign policy negotiations will be placed after national security. It is like the priorty changed if someone realized he has lung diesase. He may quits smoking.

What I don't understanding is what make Kerry thinks the 1997/8 Iraq is more dangerous than the after sept11 2002 Iraq? That just doesn't make any sense to me. In 2001, Iraq has no inspectors inside for years, where in 1997 there was inspectors on ground. You also think after Sep11 when Saddam openly praised the terrriosts, he seems more dangerous not less. Even if he didn't support bin Laden, you did think he may one day support another group. Afterall, Saddam is the only foreign leader openly praise the 9/11 action -- at least Saddam openly said 9/11 is a good thing. So what make Kerry thinks the 2001 Iraq requires grand coalition but it is ok to attack Iraq alone in 1997/8. From the UN standpoint, Iraq also broke more resolutions by the time in 2001 than in 1997 (of course).
on Oct 20, 2004
Many would say that 9/11 changed everything, and international alliances are far more important than they used to be. The War on Terrorism is more important than Saddam Hussein, and to have any hope of winning the WoT we will need a grand coalition. Unfortunately, Bush's approach to Iraq has made building the necessary coalition more difficult. I understand that you would probably assert that Iraq is part of the WoT, but obviously reasonable people can disagree on that.
on Oct 20, 2004
Ok, how is Kerry going to build the grand coalition. I am not getting that? The French and the new Spanish governments have already said they won't send any troops in Iraq, no matter who wins the election, and I don't blame them. Countires do what is best fit for their interests. If the French think the going into Iraq is bad for their interest, then it is bad no matter who win the US election. Kerry has insulted all the current coalition members by calling the the British Tony Blair in a coalition of bribed. He has sent his sister, Diana Kerry, to campaign against John Howard (Aus). They actually had a campaign center in Australia.,5744,10797507%5E2703,00.html

Kerry has called Allwai (Iraqi PM) a liar -- later he repharsed his words. You would think the Iraqi Councul is the last group of people we can afford to offend. If there is one country we need in stabilizing Iraq, it will be Iraq, and Kerry has managed to offend their PM, by calling him a liar. In Bush's worse days, he has yet to campaign against the French and German in their elections and call them liars. Here is my comment to you: you always talked about what Kerry's has said, which is very important, may I add. However, you never look at the actions taken by Kerry. For example, if you look at his 1997/8 stands, it is vastly different than the 2001. Now, he says he will build a coalition like Reagan and Kennedy. First, I am unsure what military coalitions Reagan and Kennedy has built. Reagan if anything offended the European with his strong stand against the USSR. Reagan was often refering having a cowboy attitude in those days and Kennedy was alone in the Cuban crisis. Did you recall any European countries sending troops to help Kennedy? What coalition is Kerry refering to? Or is he simply putting two popular president's names out there. To be correct, he should say Truman's coaltion (the whole NATO idea), but I guess Truman is not popular enough for him. Second, what reason he has for me to think he can build a larger coalition when he is pissing off the current one.
How do you justify Kerry building a larger coalition when he insulted the one we have at this moment. I am so sure that Tony Blair, John Howard (relected now), Allawi and others really like Kerry, ya know. Calling them names and campaign against them. In fact, if you think closely, Kerry campaigned against John Howard who is supporting US. Kerry was campaigning for the labor party, which actually would withdraw the Australian army from Iraqi. So Kerry is actually campaigning for what? He was campaigning to decrease the coalition force in Iraq. This really piss me off.

So here it is, Kerry has not proven to me that he can get the French and German on board, but he has proven to me that he can dissolve the coalition we have at this moment.
on Oct 20, 2004
As I indicated, I think Germany has already signalled they'd be more willing to work with a President Kerry. Regarding potential allies, various members of the Bush administration have made many pointed comments about "Old Europe," so I hardly think Bush is in a strong position there. Not that I think it should matter in the election, but it's no secret that Bush is not a popular leader in most of the world. I think it's very likely that more world leaders would prefer to work with Kerry than with Bush.

Of course, I have no way to prove that, and you have no way to prove that the reverse is true. I suggest that we agree to disagree.
on Oct 20, 2004
Don't forget that in 1997, a year before Clinton started the "Iraq Liberation Act". Kerry has called for possible uilateral military action against Saddam.

Ok, how is Kerry going to build the grand coalition. I am not getting that?

I think that these both are valid points that we on the left can't/won't answer.
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