Monday, October 25, 2004

Kerry's "Coalition of the Bribed" gets bribed by Kerry 

Remember when John Kerry described the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq as not a "genuine coalition" but "some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted"?

If you do, you might be surprised to learn that Kerry's policy to attract back more allies and get them to share the burden in Iraq is to bribe and buy them even more.

This is what Kerry has said in an exclusive interview with the Polish-American "Nowy Dziennik" (The New Daily) newspaper, and Poland's "Gazeta Wyborcza" daily (both links in Polish, my translation):
"America must give its allies a stake in stabilizing Iraq. The best way to achieve that is through binding their interests with the peaceful future of that country. On the economic front this will mean granting true and tried friends - like Poland - a share in the multi-billion dollar reconstruction contracts, in a share proportional to Poland's contribution to the Coalition. I assure you that just as Poland was treated as an equal with other members of the Coalition, so she will be an equal partner in the task of rebuilding Iraq."
Apparently mindful of the fact that some of the greatest resentment in Poland is generated by the fact that Poles, unlike, say, the French and Germans, have to obtain visa to travel to the US, Kerry dangled this carrot: "Visa requirements for Poles in their current form are out of date. They don't reflect either the strategic relationship between Poland and the US, nor the traditional close ties between our two countries. If we'll continue cooperating with each other, we'll achieve that common goal [of changing visa requirements]."

Let me get this straight: John Kerry has consistently described the Coalition of the Willing as a joke and a sham, in part because its members were supposedly "bribed" by the United States into participating in the Iraqi adventure. In reality, countries like Poland got preciously little tangible benefits for their involvement, be it by way of commercial contracts, military assistance, or abolishing visa restrictions for Polish visitors. In fact, in hindsight it seems that Poland did it "for love alone," in the process copping nothing but grief from her politically and economically influential Old European neighbors. In Kerryverse, then, Poland's contribution made out of sense of shared values and friendship and respect between the two countries is fake - but Poland's continuing contribution in exchange for reconstruction contracts, that's a genuine alliance. The words fail me.

You might also recall Kerry's third debate rhetorical obsession with "real alliances", and his famous remark at a rally in Pennsylvania that "[w]hen they [the Republicans] talk about a coalition--that's the phoniest thing I ever heard... You've got 500 troops here, 500 troops there..."

Well, you can forget all that, too, because when John Kerry's other face is doing the talking it's all a giant suck-up job:
"Poland is playing a significant role in the Coalition and I fully appreciate the contribution of Polish units in Iraq... I am grateful that in these difficult times Poland is striving to play a role of a bridge between America and Europe; I'm also grateful that the Poles still believe in the community of our values... I am grateful for Poland's commitments to Euro-American partnership over the last few years and her courageous decision to participate in the Coalition in Iraq. Polish special forces from the elite unit GROM took part in the assault on Iraq installation in the first phase of the war. Those commandos, who previously trained together with their colleagues from the American special forces, have served with distinction, just as have other Polish units which arrived in Iraq later on. Poland showed courage when she joined American and allied forces in Iraq. My countrymen are grateful for that and I myself will also never forget that."
Sorry, would love to blog more but I'm feeling nauseous.

Update: The media catches on (hat tip: Tanker Schreiber).

Update II: I'm not nauseated by Kerry extending the hand of friendship to allies such as Poland - I actually agree with the gist of what he is saying, namely that America should do more to show its allies that it cares - and I've been blogging about it
for ever now. No, I'm nauseous because of Kerry's hypocrisy, first at denigrating the Coalition as fake because its members have been "bribed," but now accusing Bush of not doing good enough a job at "bribing" them; and secondly at denigrating contribution to the Coalition made by countries such as Poland, only to now express his gratitude at that contribution and praise their courage at joining the Coalition he opposed.

Memo to Bush: Mr President, if you get re-elected, as I hope you will, please please please make sure that America's staunch allies - particularly those from the "New Europe" who took considerably more risk in sticking up their necks out for you than established allies like Great Britain or Italy - know they're being appreciated. Don't let the starry-eyed teens from abusive families on the wrong side of town think that when the most popular guy in high school paid them some attention it was only to get them in bed.


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