Bloggers everywhere are posting their endorsements for tomorrow’s Presidential election, so without further ado, here are my two cents on the topic: Like many others, I’m reluctantly endorsing John Kerry for President. But my reluctance seems inverted from so many others too. Jeff (in the last link) says he prefers Bush’s militancy, and former (Democratic) New York City mayor Ed Koch has come out in support of Bush too, saying he disagrees with Bush on almost every domestic issue, but that he feels Bush will do a better job to keep the country safe.
In stark contrast, my endorsement rings in exactly the opposite direction. Kerry is the first Democrat I’ve ever endorsed (though I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000 either), and this year, foreign policy comes down to almost a single issue by itself. I’ve already acknowledged that most of Kerry’s plans sound entirely unrealistic, but the reality is that Congress has to approve most of those hare-brained schemes before they happen. On the other hand, George W. Bush has reminded us through example that the President has almost unlimited unilateral power in the realm of foreign policy. And this President has utterly mangled US foreign policy. He’s betrayed the Party of Reagan to where even long-time Republicans are fleeing. And he’s destabilized the world in a way that will create more terrorists to contend with in the coming decades. I am incredulous when I hear friends, people I respect even, suggest that Bush’s war on terror is a good idea; with all due respect, this makes as much sense as the general population voting on scientific protocols for AIDS research. Those without specific foreign policy expertise need only read John Robb’s site (or his Global Guerrillas site) or read Imperial Hubris to quickly get a glimpse of how badly Bush is mangling foreign policy right now. There is nothing else as irritating (or as dangerous) as those pushing simple solutions to complex problems beyond their grasp, and that’s exactly what the Bush Doctrine is. There’s no guarantee that Kerry will do the right thing either, but I believe he will more intelligently weigh the nuanced decisions of foreign policy and might recognize the threat of non-state actors— the real threat facing the US in the coming decade.
Some have called for civility in this election season, noting that there are good reasons to vote for each candidate. I agree, and won’t presume to decide for others who would best represent their views and interests. There is no obvious answer, which is precisely why the country is so evenly divided. But civility doesn’t mean overlooking accuracy either, and when it comes to the issue of non-state actors vs. rogue states, there is a correct answer, even if the current President refuses to see it. I support John Kerry hoping he understands this even slightly better than Bush does. There is no magic bullet to “solve” decades of foreign policy side effects overnight, but only by understanding the situation accurately can we begin to make progress in the right direction.