Our opinions and advice to the world. Updated whenever we get around to it.

A Return To The Way It Was

Lawrence F. Kaplan responds to John Kerry's claim that he will 'make American normal again':
After eight years of micro-initiatives, school uniforms, soccer moms, and books about the end of history and the obsolescence of war, Americans have been drowning in history since September 11. Unpleasant as all this may be, it also points to a rather glaring defect in the argument for a return to normalcy: No matter how much we might wish to take a holiday from history, history probably has other plans.


So here we are again, as if nothing has been remembered and nothing learned. Or maybe not. With an eye to the presidential election--and a Kerry victory--a debate has emerged among Washington foreign policy types. On one side, The Weekly Standard's Robert Kagan and a number of Kerry aides insist that, regardless of who wins the election, continuity will be the order of the day. In this telling, for all his complaints about the Bush team's "arrogant" response to the war on terror and America's bind in Iraq, Kerry won't have much room to maneuver when it comes to these and other issues. Bush, after all, entered office pledging a "humble" foreign policy but quickly discovered that humility doesn't provide an adequate response to the challenges that America faces abroad. On the other side, the Bush team and Kerry himself predict a fundamental break--an impression that Kerry's well-chronicled distaste for democracy promotion and his flat out declaration this week that "I am against the war" in Iraq has only encouraged. Which camp is right? To paraphrase a memorable Trotsky quotation, Americans may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is definitely interested in them. As much as we might wish for a return to normalcy, the other side gets the final say.
History is a bitch. Ain't that the truth?

No comments: