Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Friday, July 16, 2004

Kerry finds a voice on Iraq
Kerry has finally found a voice on Iraq, but it is certainly not a standpoint that will convince many voters of his status as a presidential alternate.

Kerry stated in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that the conditions under which he would remove troops are: "if he is assured Iraq is stable, that it looks likely to remain so and that its military is strong enough to enforce order."

It is a largely centrist and unambitious position though, and again shows how similar these candidates are in many of their positions. In fact, I'm pretty sure that Bush will make a very similar offering during the election campaign. Kerry's assertions on his conditions for troop withdrawals are all commendable, but there is little indication of the strategy to achieve these goals, and when challenged, he hid behind semantics.

"I'm not going to negotiate my plan in the newspapers. But I will get there in ways that this president can't because he has burned the bridges of credibility and burned the alliances. They need to be re-established with a new president." Besides giving an inclination of a less unilateral approach, not much there...

Kerry also made a small strategic move, 'warning' the public that Bush may cut troops in Iraq just before the elections and inferring that it would constitute an insincere move to endeavour to sway swing voters in the lead-up to November's vote.

One could argue that it is too early to be publicly debating strategy, but any indication Kerry can give allied voters and swing voters as to his strategies, should he be elected, would only help to drive him further in this formative stage. One could argue that this 2004 election campaign is unlike most of its precedents due to the highly politically polarised public that currently makes up the US voting base, and that it simply cannot be too soon to be campaigning.