Senator Doofus [LINK]
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) strongly criticized the Bush Administration's foreign policy, saying it made America into an "international pariah":
Kerry was asked about whether the U.S. government had failed to adequately engage Iran's government before the election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005.
Kerry said the Bush administration has failed in addressing a number of foreign policy issues.
"When we walk away from global warming, Kyoto, when we are irresponsibly slow in moving toward AIDS in Africa, when we don't advance and live up to our own rhetoric and standards, we set a terrible message of duplicity and hypocrisy," Kerry said.
"So we have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East -- in the world, really. I've never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today."
Kerry said the government needs to use diplomacy to improve national security.
"We need to do a better job of protecting our interests, because after all, that's what diplomacy is about," he said. "But you have to do it in a context of the reality, not your lens but the reality of those other cultures and histories."
Kerry criticized what he called the "unfortunate habit" of Americans to see the world "exclusively through an American lens."
There are a few problems here. As a matter of honor it has long been considered poor form to offer such criticisms from foreign soil. While this may seem like irrational symbolism, violating this guideline can cause real problems. To illustrate, note that Kerry made these remarks while sharing a podium with Mohammad Khatami, former president of Iran, a state that has become a genuine "international pariah" for its sponsorship of Islamic terrorism and development of nuclear weapons in the face of United Nations opposition. For the most recent presidential challenger to utter these words, and for him to be photographed signing an autograph for Mr. Khatami, is nothing short of a propaganda windfall for Iran. And for Senator Kerry, apparently oblivious of this fact and unable to even tell a joke without infuriating millions of Americans, to lecture us on the fine diplomatic arts, seems especially rich.
Kerry could actually learn a thing or two from Khatami about not bad-mouthing your nation when traveling overseas. When speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government six months prior, for example, Khatami justified Iran's use of capital punishment for homosexuals. (Not a big applause line in Cambridge, word has it.)
Since Kerry isn't running for office any more and doesn't have to say such provocative things to motivate his Democratic base, another point is confounding: the notion that America's level of support for the Kyoto Protocols or treating AIDS in Africa affects Middle East attitudes in any measurable way. No, they don't care about these things at all, and to assume otherwise represents an "unfortunate habit" of some Americans to view the world "exclusively through an American lens."
And as has already been pointed out, Kerry is not even accurate in his criticisms: Kyoto was dead long before Bush was elected (Kerry himself voted to kill it), and Bush more than tripled African aid from Clinton Administration levels.