Kerry vs. Bush: Will Reason Prevail?

With over 1,000 US deaths in Iraq, and the huge pressures that the occupation of that benighted country has put on American troops around the world, it is clear that - for the first time in decades - foreign policy issues may determine the outcome of a US presidential election. Ordinary Americans are asking themselves the same questions that people around the world are asking: how should America's global supremacy be used? What price must be paid for that supremacy to be maintained? What limits on the use of US military power are acceptable or necessary?

These have long been dominant questions in America's strategic debate. But, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, they became confused with another debate, one far more important for a US electorate that feels threatened: how can alliances and multilateral institutions protect Americans? John Kerry's great virtue has been to resist confusing the demand for security and peace with the hegemonic impulses of America the hyper-power.

Nationalist and neo-conservative currents within the Bush administration believe that unilateral action best serves US interests because it handcuffs American power the least. On this view, the security of the US can be guaranteed through energetic military action, with or without allies. Hence the Bush administration's tendency to weaken the ties of America's permanent alliances, including those that NATO represents.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/659wECN;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.