KERRY MAY NOT MAKE A BREAKTHROUGH, YET... Dr. M. Manzoor Alam (August 17, 2004)

KERRY MAY NOT Make A Foreign Policy


At best we can expect certain changes in the nuances of US foreign policy under John Kerry, but even those nuances can be vital for America's, and the world's, wellbeing , writes Dr. Manzoor Alam

The US presidential election of 1961 was a historic event in many ways. Democrat John F. Kennedy won the election trouncing his rival Republican Richard M. Nixon. Kennedy did not seem to be the public choice in the early phases. His chronic illness, his elitist background and, above all, his being a Roman Catholic were great problems holding him back. In a Protestant America his opposition made it a point that he would be taking orders from Vatican instead of keeping his own counsel. (A Roman Catholic US president was virtually  unthinkable then.)

However, as the polls drew closer, Kennedy turned his "liabilities into assets", as one of his associates later noted. An important factor turned out to be TV, on which Nixon and Kennedy debated their visions of America. The American public developed a soft corner for the more telegenic Kennedy, and the slack jawed Nixon looked disadvantaged. The Democrats did their best by making entire cemeteries vote for Kennedy, a glaring act of vote-rigging that made many people wonder whether Kennedy had actually won the vote (a feeling akin to suspicions generated four decades later at the time of Bush-Gore tie-up in 2000).

When America was to go to poll, a reporter asked the erstwhile USSR premier Nikita Khrushchev as to how he looked at the US presidential contest: "Whom do you root for, Sir? Kennedy or Nixon?" Khrushchev paused for a while before asking a counter-question. "Which one do you like better? The shoe on you left foot or right foot?" Khrushchev queried the reporter. The rudeness of the remark notwithstanding , Khrushchev had made a vital point :  there was no choice for an outsider, because to the world beyond America, the US presidents did not look distinct from each other.

Khrushchev was known for his impoliteness (once he banged the table at the United Nations with his shoe to make his point), but he was an extremely intelligent person. That brings us to the coming contest between John Kerry (incidentally, a Catholic and Democrat like Kennedy) and Republican Protestant George W. Bush.


As the US presidential election draws close, we see expectations of imminent change in US foreign policy growing. The assumption is that if John Kerry wins he is going to introduce drastic changes in US stance vis-à-vis the rest of the world. The number of such people in the Muslim world seems to have grown over the last few weeks.

We can understand the Muslim desire for peace and amity, but that is not enough to stop the American juggernaut of an ambitious war that is planned to last more than 10 years and could take on as many as 60 countries as it rolls on (US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz calls it a “rolling war’’) and gathers momentum over the years. Not coincidentally, the number of probable target countries is similar to that of Muslim countries. Muslim worries about the war are quite natural.

This unilateral American war is inappropriately called “war against terror”, ostensibly launched in response to September 11incidents. The fact remains that it was planned years before the September 11 attacks, which came as an excuse. Even if these attacks had not come along, America was slated to invade Afghanistan and move on to other countries sooner than later. That the Muslim stance is irrelevant for war and peace is evident from the unilateral nature of the US-led campaign.

To grasp what I suggest, just think of the Iraq war. America and Britain started the war saying President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and he had to be disarmed. The UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix found no such weapon after long, arduous searches. The war mongers in Bush administration tried to bully him and fudged his report in their presentations before credulous folk. British Prime Minister Tony Blair had been assuring the world all through the war in Afghanistan that Britain was not part of the US plans of invading Iraq. However, once the Taliban were thrown out of Kabul Britain jumped into the war against Iraq, ostensibly because Iraq had WMDs. For that he was rightly labeled as a liar by his own people. This honour was in addition to his earlier title of “America’s poodle”.

That Iraq had no WMDs did not matter to American-British war plans. That proves my point that the Muslim world will not have to deserve  a war to have one. Iraq was attacked because it was suspected  of having WMDs, while all along it was clear that it had none. Still the war came. If WMDs were the cause for war the neighbouring Israel should have been invaded. The point here is that Britain and America have to reshape the Muslim world through a long, unjust war, which has nothing whatsoever to do with how badly the Muslim world desires peace.

Once the Anglo-Saxon war horses driven by international Jewry failed to find WMDs in Iraq, they began to harp on a new tune: that Saddam had links with al-Qaeda. With their best efforts neither the CIA nor Mossad could find any such links. That did not stop people right from Mr. Bush down to Cheney, Powell and Condoleeza Rice from claiming that someday such links would be found out. The official commission on Iraq too has failed to substantiate these claims. All that goes on to show that the US-UK war (orchestrated by the world Jewry) would go on whether Muslims deserve it or not.

Now let us see how realistic are the hopes from Kerry. An increasing number of people in the Muslim world tend to think that John Kerry’s Democratic administration would have a more fair policy on West Asia (especially Palestine) and the larger Muslim world. To begin with, Kerry would win only in the case American forces face consistent pressure in Iraq and their casualties rise to a point where American people begin to see it as unacceptable. That is largely a question of perception––that is, how many bodybags flown in from Iraq are too many.

One reason for growing Muslim hopes is John Kerry’s insistent criticism of the war at his election rallies. More anti-war noise was made at the Democratic convention in Boston late last month. The well-publicised speeches by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, critical of the aggressive US foreign policy, haVE deepened the impression that Kerry would be more fair. That may not be the case. The divide between the Democratic and Republican parties seems wider to outsiders than it actually is. Besides, there is a long tradition of “bipartisan politics” in the US, which means that the two parties become one where America’s “vital interests” are concerned. It is because of this, more than anything else, that a breakthrough in foreign policy is unthinkable.

Our desire for peace makes us read into the Kerry-Carter-Clinton speeches more than what they intend to say. We have to remember that whether it is Clinton’s recently published memoirs or his Boston speech, nowhere does he suggest that he is against the war in principle. All that he says is that America should have waited a little longer to allow the UN investigators enough time to finish their work. That would have enabled America to take the UN along and ensured the participation of virtually the entire world in the war like they did in the Desert Storm, the first Gulf War under President Bush Sr. That does not sound like a very pro-Iraq stance. Or, does it?

To look at it another way, remember the time when President Clinton was almost impeached for his liaison with Monica Lewinsky. To turn the heat away from himself he ordered missile attacks on Iraq without much rhyme or reason. Again, if any country had to be invaded for the Monica leaks, it should have been Israel because an Israeli company had been tapping the sweet talk between Clinton and Lewinsky and passing on to their enemies, including Israeli intelligence. Clinton knew all this.

Contrary to general Muslim perception there are powerful people in the West-Asian ruling elite who have closer ties with the Republican establishment than the Democrats. Besides, the only Muslims who will have some impact on the election are American Muslims. Incidentally, President Bush has been fair to them. Compared to the disgraceful conduct of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, President Bush acted responsibly (and sternly) to protect Muslims in America in the wake of September 11 attacks.

American Muslims voted preponderantly in favour of George Bush in 2000 because they found him extremely warm, while his opponent Al Gore avoided Muslims and feared to be seen in their company lest the Jews felt annoyed. Bush had not been as vociferous in support of Israel as Al Gore was, which gave American Muslims the impression that Al Gore in White House would further harm the Palestinian cause. Al Gore’s running mate Joe Libberman was especially targeted by the Christian Right as a Jew who would take orders from Tel Aviv. This made Muslims sure that the Al Gore-Libberman team would be a disaster for US relations with the Muslim world. Hence Bush was the obvious choice.

Bush also made a gesture of friendliness by hosting Eid party at White House, releasing an Eid stamp and opening an Islamic Centre in the Republican campaign headquarters for his Muslim supporters to pray at. The Eid stamp was fought tooth and nail by Jewish groups and the Eid party was portrayed as “hobnobbing with terrorists” at the White House. The pressures of US politics are such that President Bush turned out to be a mere rubber stamp for the world Jewry, to the extent that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon boasts, “We rule the US, and the Americans know it”.


All said and done, we have to take into account the tremendous pressure generated by America's virtual isolation from the world community because of the war in Iraq and possible aggression against Syria and Iran, followed probably by Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Egypt. Periodic leaks in US press show there is a contingency plan for attack on Pakistan also in case "fundamentalists" come to power. American and Israeli commandos are reported to be training together to "snatch away" Pakistan's nuclear weapon in such an eventuality. All that shows virtually the whole Muslim world is on target in a war planned by about 25 neocon warmongers, most of whom are Jews with Zionist inclinations. One of their major goals is to weaken Muslim countries (especially Arabs) and strengthen Israel. Of course, at the cost of American money and American lives.

 Many people have begun to see through the game now, including most Americans. At the Boston Convention Jimmy Carter clearly talked about America's isolation because of its lawlessness and disregard for international legitimacy. Following legal procedure like involving UN is not a luxury as the Bush administration and its neocon advisers think , but an obligation as was suggested by Kerry and Clinton. More than in anybody's interests, it is in the interest of America itself to change course. This is the point that US career diplomats who have resigned in recent weeks have made. These diplomats have noted that the present administration's policies have alienated the entire world and destroyed half a century's diplomatic endeavours.

Kerry seems to be sensitive to these views. He also talked about fighting the Iraq war with sensitivity, drawing ridicule from Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bushies. That only shows Cheney and Co. have no qualms about lives lost and excesses like Abu Gharib's and other similar, but less publicised atrocities. Had they been sensitive enough they would have known that they are irreversibly ruining America's ties with the Muslim world by attacking Najaf, which like Jerusalem, is next only to Makkah and Medina. So, do we expect that America is going to attack Makkah and Medina as well? After all, they have allowed the destruction of Jerusalem's Muslim heritage by Israel and are themselves destroying Najaf.

That Kerry is sensitive to all this gives him a definite edge. He could very well salvage America's honour and restore its dignity by pursuing a less disastrous course. Kerry may not be radically different from Bush, but that small difference will take him a long way.g


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