The Real Kerry?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Jun 19, 2004.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/19/opinion/19BROO.html?th

    This is a David Brooks column, discussing a peaceful protest method in Cuba, whereby those opposed to Castro's regime are trying to push for civil rights along the lines of our system.

    Kerry calls it "counterproductive".

    I'll add more in an edit.

    'Rat

    Partial text:

    Earlier this month, Andres Oppenheimer of The Miami Herald asked John Kerry what he thought of something called the Varela Project. Kerry said it was "counterproductive." It's necessary to try other approaches, he added.

    The Varela Project happens to be one of the most inspiring democracy movements in the world today. It is being led by a Cuban dissident named Oswaldo Payá, who has spent his life trying to topple Castro's regime. Payá realized early on that the dictatorship would never be overthrown by a direct Bay of Pigs-style military assault, but it could be undermined by a peaceful grass-roots movement of Christian democrats, modeling themselves on Martin Luther King Jr.

    Then in the mid-1990's, he and other dissidents exploited a loophole in the Cuban Constitution that allows ordinary citizens to propose legislation if they can gather 10,000 signatures on a petition. They began a petition drive to call for a national plebiscite on five basic human rights: free speech, free elections, freedom to worship, freedom to start businesses, and the freeing of political prisoners.

    This drive, the Varela Project, quickly amassed the 10,000 signatures, and more. Jimmy Carter lauded the project on Cuban television. The European Union gave Payá its Sakharov Prize for human rights.

    Then came Castro's crackdown. Though it didn't dare touch Payá, the regime arrested 75 other dissidents and sentenced each of them to up to 28 years in jail. This week Payá issued a desperate call for international attention and solidarity because the hunt for dissidents continues.

    John Kerry's view? As he told Oppenheimer, the Varela Project "has gotten a lot of people in trouble . . . and it brought down the hammer in a way that I think wound up being counterproductive."

    Imagine if you are a Cuban political prisoner rotting in a jail, and you learn that the leader of the oldest democratic party in the world thinks you're being counterproductive. Kerry's comment is a harpoon directed at the morale of Cuba's dissidents.

    Imagine sitting in Castro's secret police headquarters and reading that statement. The lesson you draw is that crackdowns work. Throw some dissidents in jail, and the man who might be president of the United States will blame the democrats for being provocative.

    Imagine if in the 1980's Ronald Reagan had called Andrei Sakharov or Natan Sharansky or Lech Walesa or Vaclav Havel "counterproductive" because, after all, what they did spawned crackdowns, too.

    If there's anything we've learned over the past 20 years it is the power of moral suasion to buck up dissidents and undermine tyrannical regimes. And yet Kerry seems to have decided that other priorities come first.

    Over the past several months, Kerry and his advisers have signaled that they would like to take American foreign policy in a more "realist" direction. That means, as Kerry told the editors of The Washington Post, playing down the idea of promoting democracy and focusing narrowly instead on national security. That means, as Kerry advisers told Joshua Micah Marshall in The Atlantic, pursuing a foreign policy that looks more like the one Brent Scowcroft designed for the first Bush administration.

    You can see why Kerry thinks that's a clever shift, after the arduous efforts to promote democracy in Iraq. With realism, you avoid humanitarian interventions.

    But if we are going to turn realist, let's be clear about what that means in practice. It means worrying less about the nature of regimes and dealing with whoever happens to be in power. It means alienating people who dream of living in freedom while we luxuriate in ours. It means doing little to confront crimes against humanity; realism gives a president a thousand excuses for inaction. It means betraying people like Oswaldo Payá — again and again and again.

    There's a reason Carter, Reagan and George W. Bush all turned, in different ways, against this approach. They understood that democracy advances security, kowtowing to dictators does not.

    'Rat comment: Since I remember very well the results of Lech Walesa's efforts and the aftermath of the strike at Gdansk, I gotta believe that this world view of Kerry's is just dead wrong...
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    I have to agree.
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #3
    Oh goodie. Now we have a choice between two candidates whose world views are dead wrong. Super. :rolleyes:
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #4
    This is news? :rolleyes:
     
  5. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #5
    If I believed David Brooks' sweeping assessment based on one out of context statement then I might be worried as well.
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #6
    I must admit to almost complete ignorance of Kerry's position on anything. Is it just me, or has he actually committed himself to anything?
     
  7. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #7
    It not your fault, skunk. We tend to cover only the "horse race" and personalities in our political reporting. If you want a starting point in learning about Kerry's stands on various issues start here: John Kerry for President.

    There are many issues that I can find fault with Kerry and some on which I whole heartedly agree. I do think you will find important differences with Bush.
     
  8. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I seems like at all levels, one is more likely to vote AGAINST a candidate rather than FOR his opponent. I try not to be a one-issue constitutent, but there are times when I feel like a many-issue anti-constituent of both candidates in a race.

    'Rat

    "The lesser of two weevils still messes up the cornmeal."
     
  9. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #9
    Looks promising. We'll have to see how it translates. After all, Shrub didn't exactly promise to be a warmongering lunatic...
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    yet many predicted it. one of his major indicators was the zeal i perceived w/ which he signed executions in texas.

    applying the same reading between the lines w/ kerry, i see someone who is willing to change his convictions. and i like that.
     
  11. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #11
    Me too zimv20. If some had their way we still would have slaves, women would not have the right to vote, and only property owners would have the right to vote.

    I would have much more respect for Bush if he admitted the mistakes in Iraq by his administration. Fire a few scapegoats, and the public would soon forget. And he might just win the second term handily. Well, on second thought is probably better he sticks with his lies.
     
  12. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #12

    Pretty much my sentiments. The more he lies the deeper he digs his own grave. I literally was sick to my stomach when I found out he, ummm, won... I knew in some sixth-sense-womanly-way that it was going to be a rough 4 years. I can't wait for it to be over.
     
  13. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #13
    I wasn't happy with the outcome of the 2000 elections either. But I was brought up to at least give the winner a fighting chance. Sure not everything will be my liking, but let the guy at least prove himself. Well for me Bush has proven himself that I don't want for another 4 years.
     
  14. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #14

    If things had stayed the same I wouldn't complain so much about him. But he just royally screwed everything up. I don't care if the person in office is a Republican or a Democrat. I just care about what they *do.* I had a bad feeling about this one.
     
  15. Voltron macrumors newbie

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    #15
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Neserk macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    So? Bush's church attendance certainly hasn't help him keep most of the 10 commandments. I don't see what difference it makes.
     
  17. Voltron macrumors newbie

    Voltron

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    #17
    the key for me isn't the guys religion but "sociolist"
    We have room for everybody on this planet, room for communist countries as well as sociolist countries. Doesn't mean I want our country to be turned into one. I think it is good to have variety throughout the world but don't get rid of Capitalism there is room for that too. Personally I think it would be better if people could pick the country that closest matched their theology and then move there. It would be better than changing every country to a single standard so that the world is under one entirely ****ed up government.
     
  18. Neserk macrumors 6502a

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    #18

    Wow... that isn't very Conservative of you ;)
     
  19. Voltron macrumors newbie

    Voltron

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    #19
    I'm not a conservative.[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  20. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #20
    "If you don't love it, leave it"? Now THAT's an original line. :rolleyes:

    Where does Locke say that?
     
  21. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Aw, Voltron, that moving away, that'd take half the fun out of life. Who'd want to spend all day Sunday just preaching to the choir?

    However, skunk, if some folks followed the "If you don't like it, leave it." school of thought and did indeed leave, the average IQ of both donor and recipient countries might improve. :D

    'Rat
     
  22. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #22
    It's classic, old-fashioned American jingoism, last heard regularly during the Vietnam War, as "My County, Love it or Leave it!" Bottom line, it's about suppressing free speech and attacking political pluralism. As you say, not an original thought, but its reappearance now is telling.
     
  23. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #23
    That WAS my reference, by Jingo! :rolleyes:

    It's a curious interpretation of democracy to say that everyone who doesn't agree should leave: why would you need elections?
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    I see, but you did paraphrase... I quoted verbatim from the slogan pasted onto bumpers all across America during the last '60s.

    No need for elections -- that would be the point, wouldn't it?
     
  25. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #25
    I guess so. But who would youy blame when things went wrong? :rolleyes:
     

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