Kerry the hawk

Libertarians have known this for a long time: there is very little real difference between Democrats and Republicans. This is one of the answers given every election cycle when grumpy losing Republicans complain about how Libertarian Party voters "spoiled" their chances. Given that this assertion is so easily verifiable, it's surprising how long it's taken for it to reach the mainstream. Well mark your calendars, because today, at least one foreigner gets it.

John Laughland's article is not terribly even-handed, but the discerning reader will extract the following points from it:

1. To the antiwar crowd, Kerry is not an improvement over Bush;
2. Politicians will tell any lie any number of times, as long as they think it will help them get elected (Kerry's patrician background and political grooming don't help matters: he's been training all his life to be president);
3. The left still doesn't get it: Clinton was no dove.

Laughland claims that Kerry is more bellicose than Bush. That I'm not sure of, but as I've noted in previous posts, Kerry is not going to handle the Iraq situation substantially differently from how Bush handles it. Laughland is worried that Kerry will actually follow the neocon Five Year Plan more closely than Bush has. I doubt he will want to invade Iran, but the more basic and important point is that Kerry is not a dove, and that, among the truly elite in Washington at least, there is a concensus about how the War on Generic Terror should be carried out.

Even more than National Greatness or World Democracy, John Kerry believes in John Kerry. The article details clearly how he has both made a large part of his appeal on being the candidate for the antiwar voter, and consistently supported it, differing only on the fine points. Maybe The Nation should apologize to Ralph Nader instead of chastising him.

That last point was a small part of the article, and some discerning readers will not notice it. Laughland says "[t]he Kosovo war showed that a war for human rights and against oppression, fought by a slick Democrat, plays far better with world public opinion than all that red-neck bull about dangers to national security." Oh, so it's ok as long as it's for human rights and against oppression? Was Saddam a supporter of human rights and not an oppressor? Somehow, even as astute an oberver as the article's author must be fails to realize that the terms one uses to speak about an issue don't change its nature, and intervention is intervention is intervention, whatever you call it in polite company.

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I think Kerry's a slight

I think Kerry's a slight improvement. Even if not in policy (though I imagine he is in the details) defeating Bush means something to international community who despise and fear him. I absolutely agree that Clinton was no dove (and the actual left got that point the minute he was elected: see Chomsky's 1993 "the Clinton Vision: Old Wine, New Bottle") but it's actually important that he was percieved as one.

Anybody who supports Kerry as their favorite is Crazy, but in a a majorly powerful sysetm even Marginal Differences can have huge effects.

Also the problem with Nader (and the reason I'm not voting for him this time) is he didn't do shit as far as organizing goes for thelast 4 years. As a candidate who is trying to create a viable third voice in american politics, it doesn't do well to just go in your room and shut the door between elections.

The pro-war libertarians

The pro-war libertarians will never get it. That libertarians are anti-war is logical. Liberatarians are anti-war because libertarianism is anti-war. Rothbard said so. And that is all there is. So go play with the neocons you "libertarian" warmonger neocons!

You're confusing "the Left"

You're confusing "the Left" with liberals, but it's an entirely different thing. Liberals may be the "left" wing of the corporate center, but they're about half an inch left of center on the political spectrum as a whole. If you want to know what the real Left thought of Clinton's wars, read some old stuff by Alexander Cockburn. I've still got a 2000 issue of Alternative Press Review with Clinton's face on the cover; the words "war criminal" are prominently displayed on his forehead.