Wednesday, April 30, 2003

And coming to the defense of Howard Dean is...William F. Buckley???

Well, it's not a resounding defense, but he right out says that Dean had a good point in his contention that our foreign policy cannot be based on the assumption that America will always be #1. Senator John Kerry was spoiling for a fight with Governor Howard Dean. Both men want to be president of the United States and they have to quarrel about something, since they are contenders for the same Democratic nomination. Howard Dean, who is campaigning every day and has already lost his speaking voice, though he has 15 months to go before the Democratic National Convention, said something rather trivial about how U.S. military preeminence can't be counted on to solve all problems, which is on the order of saying that man cannot live by bread alone. But it was enough to get Senator Kerry to scream and yell that Governor Dean wants to sell short the military and that such an attitude toward the military is inappropriate in a man who seeks to serve as commander-in-chief, etc., etc. Buckley goes on to say that the emphasis is not so much on whether the U.S. should or should not have military superiority (this is a given) but instead on how to use it effectively. So there has got to be a political fight in the season ahead on the matter of the exercise of that solemn power we have accumulated. The pas de deux featuring Dean and Kerry is a preview of it. The challenge: how to motivate Democratic voters to reject the leadership of George W. Bush without appearing unappreciative, let alone disdainful of, the final American triumph in the dazzling historical enterprise for military superiority. That has ended. What we are left with is an analogue to what has been dubbed "the skyjacker's leverage." You have a modern airliner carrying 400 passengers and serving, at a speed of 500 miles per hour, everything from pâté de foie gras to the latest movie on the screen, and the whole thing is suddenly at the mercy of one passenger who has explosives in the heel of his shoe. Just because we have all this great military technology does not mean that we can assume that it will give us the decided advantage in all future foreign policy conflicts. I think my main objection with Kerry's stand is that he wants to be able to criticize Bush for how he uses the military power that he himself authorized Bush to use as Bush sees fit. It's a position that I consider untenable and will most likely come back to bite Kerry in the long run. (I also think it comes close to an abandonment of his own responsibilities as a member of the Senate, but that's another discussion). I'm curious where Buckley falls on the pale-con/neo-con axis. I wouldn't be surprised if he was a strong paleo-conservative. What do others think?

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