[Marxism] Staying the course
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 29 17:18:45 MDT 2004
The London Telegraph July 29, 2004
Kerry 'will not change foreign policy'
By David Rennie in Boston
America's allies expecting a shift in United States foreign policy from
a President John Kerry should think again, his top advisers said yesterday.
Instead, members of Mr Kerry's inner circle could promise only "stark
contrasts" of personality and style between President George W Bush and
their candidate, who they vowed would be a "hands-on, engaged,
Rand Beers, the national security adviser to the Kerry campaign, opened
a high-level briefing with a warning: "In many ways, the goals of the
two administrations are in fact not all that different."
Mr Kerry has come under growing criticism from foreign policy
commentators for failing to offer more than the blandest proposals that
he would restore frayed alliances and behave more respectfully of allies
and international bodies.
But yesterday another top adviser, Richard Holbrooke, offered no details
on policy questions ranging from Iraq to the Middle East or America's
withdrawal from the Kyoto Treaty and the International Criminal Court.
His silence was unsurprising. Although 95 per cent of rank and file
delegates to this week's convention opposed the Iraq war, Mr Kerry voted
for it, and has hinted that he might keep US troops there for several
years. He has promised that he would win extra help from allies by
burnishing America's image so that it is "respected, not simply feared".
Instead, Mr Holbrooke, a former United Nations ambassador who is spoken
of as a possible secretary of state in a Kerry administration, offered
what he clearly hoped was a reassuring psychological sketch of Mr Kerry
as a cosmopolitan internationalist.
Mr Holbrooke told a packed gathering of foreign political leaders and
ambassadors to look past the Democrats' manifesto and focus on Mr
Kerry's life story. "John Kerry is a fundamental internationalist," he
said. "It is relevant that his father served as a foreign service
officer. It is relevant that his father served in Berlin at the height
of the Cold War."
Mr Kerry was partly educated in Europe, spoke foreign languages and was
married to the multi-lingual Teresa Heinz Kerry, of Portuguese heritage,
"He likes to travel, he understands the issues. He's so interested in
foreign cultures; one of the biggest things that he has been interested
in recently has been the Tour de France," Mr Holbrooke told an audience
that included the British ambassador, Sir David Manning, several Labour
MPs including the former foreign secretary, Robin Cook, and the Liberal
Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy.
Mr Kennedy appeared underwhelmed by the assurances about building
alliances. During his visit to the Democratic convention, he said he was
encountering "quite a lot of ambiguity about how foreign policy will be
pursued, and how fundamentally different it would be, from our point of
Mr Kennedy said there was a "simplistic" assumption in Britain that "if
Kerry is elected, all our problems will be over".
With Kerry in the White House, allies in Europe might find themselves
under heavy pressure to match multilateral rhetoric with money and
troops, he said.
"Kerry people have indicated that if they become more multi-lateral, the
quid pro quo would be that we can't sit on the sidelines and criticise.
They're talking about military overstretch, they're going to be looking
for contributions from us, and from France and Germany."
His views were echoed by Labour MPs attending the convention. Mike
Gapes, Labour MP for Ilford South, said: "I don't believe there will be
a massive change in foreign policy if there's a change in
administration." But he predicted that a second Bush administration
might prove a kindlier, gentler foreign partner than the current US
government - although such predictions are not universally shared in
On a visit to Washington earlier this month, Mr Gapes said he found the
deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, bullish that the State
Department's more cautious approach to foreign policy was in the
ascendant, with neo-conservative hawks at the Pentagon wounded by Iraq.
In a final proof of how far Labour has changed, Mr Gapes expressed
concern that a Kerry win might even trigger trade spats with the
Americans as US trade unions flexed their muscles.
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