August 4, 2004 [LINK]

Kagan critiques "Kerry Doctrine"

I hope Daniel Drezner read Robert Kagan's sharp critique of "The Kerry Doctrine" in the Washington Post's "Outlook" section on Sunday. Kagan ridicules Kerry's pious pledge to

bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: The United States of America never goes to war because we want to; we only go to war because we have to. That is the standard of our nation.

In fact, as Kagan points out:

The United States has sent forces into combat dozens of times over the past century and a half, and only twice, in World War II and in Afghanistan, has it arguably done so because it "had to."

The point is that Kerry panders to the illusion of innocence that underlies the persistent isolationist tendency in American politics, which is a dangerous impediment to effective diplomacy. What does Kerry himself really believe? Does he even know?

Investigative blogger Michelle Malkin reports that Grover Norquist has been defending a Saudi financial supporter who has proclaimed sympathy with the cause of the terrorists. Norquist is a heavyweight tax-cutting advocate who has made a number of enemies in Washington, but is close to President Bush's adviser Karl Rove. Just what Bush needs: links to the enemy. I had hoped that Bush might shake up the White House staff after the setbacks of recent months, possibly even putting former staffer Karen Hughes back in a prominent spot and demoting Karl Rove. His father tried a similar fourth-quarter staff shakeup in mid-1992, but it was all for nought. Perhaps that's why Bush Junior prefers to Stay The Course.

In any case, Kerry got little if any benefit from the Democratic Convention in Boston, and his wife is once again in hot water for a caustic retort to hecklers at a campaign rally. This may be the first election in which the choice for First Lady ended up being the decisive factor.

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.