Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that the U.S. had to take a different approach to world affairs than it had in the past as he defended the administration’s approach to Iraq.
Speaking at the Washington Ideas Forum, Kerry said that while Obama would have preferred an Iraqi government that wasn’t quite so sectarian, it wasn’t America’s business to go in and demand change. “The United States couldn’t just crash in and say, ‘Hey, you’re out. Here are the guys that are in.’ That’s not our – it would be playing into all of the worst stereotypes that have brought us to the difficulties we’re living with today.”
While Kerry did not specifically bring up the Bush Administration, many critics have taken the comments as veiled criticism of the “old way” of doing things. For those keeping count, it’s now been six years since President Bush retired to his ranch in Texas. And for those keeping score, then-senator Kerry voted to authorize Bush to use military force in Iraq in 2002.
Kerry went on to say that the world was getting tired of a bullying America. “Well, wait a minute,” Kerry said, imagining the reaction of world leaders, “do we really want the behemoth United States, superpower of the world, telling us all the time what we have to do?”
Probably not, considering who’s doing the telling. Americans have grown wary of Obama even on domestic issues. God knows other countries shouldn’t have to be subjected to his liberal idiocy.
To the broader point, though, the U.S. has earned its place as an adviser to the world, has it not? I mean, who else does the world call when there are mouths to feed? Where else does the world turn when Ebola threatens to wipe out half of West Africa? What other countries took the initiative to stop the marching horror of the Islamic State?
By presenting it as an either/or proposition, Kerry is relying on a false dichotomy and producing a strawman that doesn’t exist. No one – conservative, liberal, or anywhere in between – wants us to become dictators of the world. At the same time, Iraq would still be under the thumb of Saddam Hussein if it wasn’t for us. Now, some might say that would be preferable to the current state of affairs, but hindsight is 20/20. Maybe if we had fought harder for a government that wasn’t built along ethnic lines, things would be different. Maybe things would have gone more smoothly if we hadn’t been in such a rush to pull everyone out. Who knows.
What I’m tired of is hearing our leaders apologize for previous administrations. That’s unnecessary. All jokes about “Premier Bush” aside, the man did his damnedest to protect this country in the wake of the worst terrorist attack in history. Though it’s increasingly difficult to remember it now, most of the country was all for removing Hussein from power. It wasn’t just Bush and Cheney on a campaign for oil money, as the left would have us now believe.
If the rest of the world wants the U.S. out of their hair so badly, then maybe they can take care of their own problems next time. Until that happens, let’s shelve the apologies.