Magazine article Insight on the News

Carter, Clinton Left Behind a Legacy of Terror for Americans. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Carter, Clinton Left Behind a Legacy of Terror for Americans. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

As the 2002 midterm elections get closer, Democrats are beginning to criticize both the president's leadership of the war on terrorism and his foreign policy. However, a brief look at the Democrats' foreign-policy track record makes it clear that they offer no real solutions. In fact, it is no coincidence that the foreign policy pursued by both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton culminated in unprecedented terrorist attacks on Americans.

Madeleine Albright, who helped shape the foreign policy of both administrations, unwittingly exposed the poverty of their policy in her criticism of George W. Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric.

Regarding the Persian Gulf War in 1991, Albright said, "I wish the job had been finished." Perhaps, but after Clinton's eight years of irresolution and vacillation, it simply won't do to complain that someone else didn't finish the job. The Clinton administration didn't even enforce many of the 1991 surrender terms.

Albright also said that Iraq is a "complicated country at this stage." Critics of action bemoaned the complexity of Adolf Hitler's military buildup, the Cold War, the gulf war and the war in Afghanistan. Complexity is a poor excuse for inaction.

Finally, on North Korea, Albright bemoaned, "We left the potential of a verifiable agreement ... on the table, and I think it was a mistake [for Bush] to walk away from that." Clinton touted the 1994 Nuclear Accords as a verifiable agreement to end North Korea's nuclear program. Yet North Korea continues to pursue nuclear weapons. Drafting more agreements will not solve this problem.

This is pretty sad stuff, and it's distressing that in much of the world it still passes for serious foreign policy. More distressing are the unfortunate consequences the United States has suffered because of this weak and ineffectual foreign policy.

Carter and Clinton both sought to transform the United States into a shining example of global "good will" and "cooperation." They eschewed policies defined in terms of enemies, regional interests and national security. Carter described this approach in 1977:

"We can no longer separate the traditional issues of war and peace from the new global questions of justice, equity and human rights. It is a new world that calls for a new American foreign policy--a policy based on constant decency."

It is customary to find such sentiments laudable. However, they have little value, since many of our enemies are evil and seek to destroy us.

Carter s vision of constant decency" effected astonishingly inhumane results. …

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