“There are things to be done. Resist retreat as a matter of strategy and principle. And provide the means to continue our dominant role in the world by keeping our economic house in order.” Krauthammer
I’ve long acknowledged the powerful pull of tribalism. And time has only increased my nostalgia for those great flat plains. Still, you know, I would pause before voting for Bob Kerrey: that he couldn’t see the reflexive anti-Americanism in Obama (one I doubt he feels) is a problem. Of course, it is easy to understand Winger’s attraction and he was much younger; still watching her description of Polanski as victim made me wonder again at his judgment in the personal. And, sure, Krauthammer is more cogent. Still, Kerrey can be and has been heroic; he remains a Nebraskan and remains more right (and more honest) than most Democrats:
Great American leaders of our past have ignored popular sentiment and pressed on during the darkest hours, even when setbacks give rhetorical ammunition to the skeptics. . .
. . . our leaders must remain focused on the fact that success in Afghanistan bolsters our national security and yes, our moral reputation. This war is not Vietnam. The Taliban are not popular and have very little support other than what they secure through terror.
Afghanistan is also not Iraq. No serious leader in Kabul is asking us to leave. Instead we are being asked to withdraw by American leaders who begin their analysis with the presumption that victory is not possible. They seem to want to ensure defeat by leaving at the very moment when our military leader on the ground has laid out a coherent and compelling strategy for victory.
When it comes to foreign policy, almost nothing matters more then your friends and your enemies knowing you will keep your word and follow through on your commitments.
I will not discuss Krauthammer – others will and will do so better. The K’s agree about what needs to be done, but not about the nature of the man who has the choices to make.
Kerrey is a Democrat; he isn’t a cynic: he wants Obama to be the man he imagined he campaigned for. He hopes Obama will stand tall, believing within that opaque aura that surrounds our president is a person he would understand, respect. Krauthammer sees the president’s actions – his apologies, his “exercise in contraction” – and believes the actions are coherent expressions of policy, beliefs, the self within that suit. He doesn’t believe we are at a crossroads but moving downhill, fairly fast. He, like Kerrey, still believes in possibility, but he argues that that possibility could only come with change: “Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.”
I would like to think that Krauthammer has misread the slope and we are still on the great flat plains. I suspect, however, it is Kerrey, with some personal investment, who is willing an interpretation that accounts for fewer examples than does Krauthammer.
Krauthammer suggests solutions, but he doesn’t give us much confidence Obama is likely to support that “reverse.” And, if the system has a certain strength as he points out, we may be left with the feeling that our grandkids won’t be screwed even if our kids will be. Kerrey’s argument is that they aren’t screwed yet. Neither makes me go to bed happy.