September 23, 2004


Worldviews That Are Worlds Apart (Jim Hoagland, September 23, 2004, Washington Post)

John Kerry would change the situation. George W. Bush would change the world.

The electoral choice in 2004 is a stark and consequential one. These two candidates are night and day -- more precisely, they are emotion vs. reason, instinct vs. intellect. [...]

The incumbent president is the radical in this unorthodox election year. In his view, a new threat to U.S. security, in a new geographic region and from a new kind of enemy, demands a paradigm shift in international behavior that can be unilaterally enforced by U.S. power if necessary.

Bush believes that America's friends and foes abroad can -- and must -- be made to change their ways to make the world safer for democracies and particularly for the United States. Only by making the regimes of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia and Libya understand that their very survival is at stake can effective cooperation be gained in the war on al Qaeda and other parts of the loosely connected and fanatical Islamist network.

The challenger is for once the pragmatist and traditionalist on foreign policy. Kerry first would change the U.S. approach to the world, then persuade and gently pressure allies and adversaries to return to established patterns of cooperation or coerced behavior.

Restoring NATO's Cold War cohesion is a primary goal for Kerry but a secondary tactical issue for Bush in grappling with turmoil in the Middle East, where European interests and reflexes often run counter to those of the United States. Israel is important to Kerry as a diplomatic and political partner; to Bush as a strategic ally in waging a long, necessary war.

Americans have an enduring and amply justified distrust of intellectuals and little truck with reason. Who else but an intellectual could think that there was ever such a thing as NATO cohesion?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 23, 2004 5:51 PM

All of that's true, but I find one thing puzzling. Where is any evidence at all that John Kerry is the intelligent candidate, let alone an intellectual?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 23, 2004 8:40 PM

Won't you please come
To Chicago
For the help you can bring --

We can change...
The World!
We can change...
The World!
It's started!
(Don't you believe in Freedom)
It's started!

Posted by: Ken at September 24, 2004 12:19 PM