The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts on May 20, 2007 · 51
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The Boston Globe from Boston, Massachusetts · 51

Boston, Massachusetts
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 20, 2007
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MAY 20, 2007 D9 Jeff Jacoby One party's fringe is the other's mainstream Boston Sunday Globe IF NOTHING else, Texas Congressman Ron Paul's presidential candidacy makes it clear that the Republican Party is not a monolith. It has its ideological outliers, and they march to the beat of a very different drummer than George Bush and most GOP candidates do. With his isolationist opposition to the war in Iraq, Paul is the odd man out in his party. To Republican ears, his claim during last week's South Carolina debate that the United States was attacked on Sept. 1 1 "because . . . we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years" and that Americans ought to "listen to the people who attacked us" was blasphemous. If Rudy Giuliani hadn't pounced on it, one of the other candidates would have. Most Republicans regard Paul's idea of America's proper role in the world stay at home, avoid alliances, and expend no energy making the world safer or protecting human rights as eccentric. Invoking Osama bin Laden as the legitimate voice of the Muslim Middle East is the hallmark of a crank, not a conservative. No wonder Giuliani's smackdown was applauded so forcefully. i There was a time, 60 or 70 years ago, when isolationism was respectable in GOP circles. Paul insists that "the party has lost its way" since then and pines for the leadership of Senator Robert A. Taft, who "didn't even want to be in NATO." But Taft didn't parrot the propaganda of America's enemies. He didn't advise Americans to "listen to the people who attacked us" and do as they demanded. He didn't accuse the United States of provoking Pearl Harbor, or chide President Truman for lacking the "courage" to withdraw US troops in the middle of the Korean War. Ron Paul may fancy himself a latter-day Taft Republican, but by today's standards his foreign-policy views place him among the Dennis Kucinich-Cindy Sheehan Democrats. Paul helps illustrate what may be the most significant difference between the two major parties today: Republicans who don't take the threat of radical Islam seriously are marginalized. Democrats who don't do so constitute their party's mainstream. At the Democratic debate on April 26, moderator Brian Williams asked the eight candidates: "Show-of-hands question; Do you believe there is such a thing as a global war on terror?" Only four Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Christopher Dodd, and a noticeably hesitant Barack Obama raised their hands. Kucinich, John Edwards, Joe Biden, and Mike Gravel did not. Unlike Ron Paul, who holds no important position in the GOP, Biden is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Edwards was his party's vice presidential nominee in 2004. The man who headed the ticket that year, Senator John Kerry, insisted that Islamist terror is merely "a nuisance" that "we're never going to end," like gambling and prostitution. What explains the Democrats' unwillingness to acknowledge the gravity of the global jihad? In part, it may stem from the sense that Islamists and the left share common foes. George Galloway, the radical antiwar British parliamentarian, declared in 2005 that "the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies. . . the Muslims and the progressives are on the same side." But to a large extent, the Democrats' lack of seriousness about the war we are in can only be explained by Bush Derangement Syndrome. The term was coined by commentator Charles Krauthammer, a former psychiatrist, who defines it as "the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency nay, the very existence of George W. Bush." What if not derangement can explain such fever-swamp nutti-ness as the findings of a new Ras-mussen poll, which asked whether Bush knew about the 9 1 1 attacks in advance? Among Democrats, 35 percent believe he did know and another 26 percent weren't sure. Only 39 percent said he didn't. In other words, nearly two out of three Democrats are unwilling to say that Bush wasn't tipped off to 911 in advance. In another poll recently, respondents were asked whether they personally wanted Bush's new security strategy in Iraq to succeed not whether they expected it to, but whether they wanted it to. Among Democrats, a stunning 49 percent either hoped that the US plan would fail or couldn't make up their minds. As long as the 43d president remains in office, a significant number of Americans will be so consumed with Bush-hatred that they will be unable to acknowledge let alone defeat the real evil that confronts us all. Will they come to their senses after Jan. 20, 2009? And even if they do, will it be too late? Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is Graham Allison Disarming North Korea THE FAILURE of North Korea to meet the deadline for closing its Yongbyon nuclear reactor and providing a list of all nuclear materials provides a preview of what is to come on the long road between Pyongyang's pledge to denuclearize and the actual elimination of all nuclear weapons and materials from North Korea. North Korea has a plausible excuse for missing the first deadline. As part of the Feb. 13 agreement, the Bush administration agreed to release $25 million of North Korean funds frozen in a Macau bank. According to the US government, a legal snafu delayed release of the funds. North Korea refused to act until it sees the money. The parties will get over this road bump, the $25 million will be transferred. North Korea will then close its Yongbyon reactor, invite the inspectors back to verify this, and hand over a list of some, not all, nuclear materials and activity. At that point, the hard bargaining will begin. From Kim Jong D's perspective, with an arsenal of 1 0 bombs of plutonium and a nuclear weapons test, North Korea is a self-declared if yet-unrecognized nuclear weapons state. His goal is to keep these weapons, sell the aging Yongbyon reactor and reprocessing facility for the highest price, and do this in a way that shows sufficient deference to Beijing to restore its de facto protection. Kim Jong D's experience with the other parties, especially President Bush, gives him grounds for believing that he can have his cake and eat it: sell his nuclear weapons production capability to the other states while keeping a minimum nuclear deterrent. South Korea will be the first member of the coalition to defect. Declaration of a willingness to denuclearize was sufficient to lead President Roh Moo Hyun of South Korea to declare victory and resume major South Korean bilateral economic, food, and oil assistance to its Northern brothers. After the closing of Yongbyon, watch for President Roh to propose a bilateral summit with Kim Jong H. For that meeting Kim Jong D. will demand tribute at least equal to that paid by Roh's predecessor, who delivered $500 million. Splitting the United States and China will be more difficult, but not impossible. China's leadership was offended by North Korea's blatant disregard of their warnings against testing a nuclear bomb. Whether this reflects a strategic judgment by President Hu Jintao that a nuclear-armed North Korea is unacceptable to China's national interests, or simply embarrassment at being stiffed by a small dependent neighbor, remains unclear. To this point, China has been more concerned about the prospect of American actions aimed at toppling Kim Jong Il's regime than : V - j r'"--"-.v " " J3&: ' X ' : '1 ' L Sja.-'.'.-.r.. 1 about North Korea's buildup of plutonium for nuclear bombs. For Beijing, the Bush administration's primary objective of regime change is its own worst nightmare. Collapse could send millions of refugees into China. More importantly, it would lead to absorption of North Korea by South Korea, thus eliminating the buffer between a military ally of the United States and China. In Beijing's narrative, preventing this outcome was the reason China entered the Korean War and pushed US forces back to the current divide between North and South Korea. Kim Jong Il's objective must therefore be to persuade President Hu that the Bush administration has not changed its stripes: that its real objective continues to be the destabilization, not the denuclearization, of North Korea. Considerable uncertainty remains about how the Bush administration will play its hand. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her chief negotiator, Chris Hill, have for now overcome the previous paralysis caused by the divisions between the Cheney-. Rumsfeld-Bolton axis that demanded regime change Tom Keane DEAN ROHRER ILLUSTRATION and the State Department. Ambassador Hill proved effective in orchestrating North Korea's Feb. 13 agreement. The 60-day delay in the release of the $25 million, however, is not encouraging for an administration that has only 614 as of May 1 7 days left. After the closing and disabling of Yongbyon, expect lengthy slogging through incomplete records, all in Korean script, missed deadlines, disputes about who can visit where, and all the other antics that have left International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors unable to close the nuclear file in Iran after 20 years of efforts. My bet, therefore, is that Kim Jong II will succeed: selling his future nuclear weapons production capability at Yongbyon for a good price and China's graces, while keeping a minimum nuclear deterrent. . Graham Allison is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and author of "Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe." That was the fortnight that was IN A SURPRISE attack, Plimoth Plantation reen-actors opened fire on Jamestown reenactors in the latest escalation of a dispute over which settlement was the starting point for freedom and democracy in America. Historians said the conflict was inevitable after Queen Elizabeth Il's recent visit to Jamestown appeared to side with the Virginians' claim. As nighttime fell, the terrain was littered with bodies of reenactors from both settlements covered in ersatz blood. "We're not giving up," said one "dead" Jamestown reenactor. "We'll go back to our hotels, wash up, and tomorrow we'll be back in costume, muskets in hand and ready to counterattack." FEMA announced that it had scheduled a meeting for next week to begin planning how best to help Greensburg, the Kansas town leveled by a massive tornado on May 4. "After that, we'll immediately proceed to interoffice memos, then a task force, and perhaps even to an interagency working group to help coordinate any steps we might take," said a FEMA official. "Why, it wouldn't surprise me if we had field offices set up by August." In campaign news, Mitt Romney admitted in an interview that his church's past practice of polygamy was "troubling," but also added it had an upside. "There are a lot more Mormons around to vote for me than there might otherwise have been." Meanwhile, Democratic candidate John Edwards appeared at recent campaign events looking disheveled, sporting an uneven and shaggy head of hair. Edwards, criticized for paying $400 to have his hair professionally styled, said he now goes to a local barbershop. The candidate said the switch had given him even greater empathy for the common man and woman. "For a long time I've talked about poverty in America," he said. "Now I know what it really means to be poor or at least look that way." Pro-American Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain said he would resign shortly, to be replaced by anti-American Gordon Brown. Meanwhile, French voters chose pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy to succeed anti-American Jacques Chirac. President Bush said he was happy with the results. "Tony and I had many wonderful adventures together," he said, citing Iraq and Afghanistan. "I'm looking forward to Nicolas joining me on some new adventures as well." In a related development, Bush announced that french fries were once again his favorite food but that he no longer was particularly fond of fish-and-chips. In local news, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley unveiled a new crime-fighting strategy called "repentance instead of sentence" that would allow criminals to avoid incarceration if they expressed remorse for their actions. In the first example of the new policy, criminal charges were dropped against Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens after they agreed to apologize for bomb scares caused by their Aqua Teen guerrilla marketing campaign. Coakley said that the level of contrition demanded of future lawbreakers would be commensurate with the seriousness of the offense. "One 'I'm sorry would probably suffice for breaking and entering," she said, "while murder might require an entire day of tearful regrets." Furious Boston motorists ran red lights, cut off other vehicles, and beeped incessantly at slow-moving traffic upon learning that Boston had ranked only third in a nationwide survey of the worst cities for road rage. Most drivers said that, while disappointed, they would not give up. "Today, we begin our campaign for number one!" exclaimed one driver as he gave the finger to a pedestrian in a crosswalk while speeding through a school zone. City workers joined Mayor Thomas Menino at a press conference urging the state Legislature to give Boston the authority to increase the meals tax. "Boston desperately needs new revenues to improve salaries . . . uh, I mean, schools," said one worker. "This new money is critical to boosting pensions . . . uh, I mean, public safety," added another. Finally, in sad news, the Rev. Jerry Falwell died at age 73. Although doctors attributed his death to cardiac arrest, God disagreed, saying that He had killed the fundamentalist preacher. "For years, Jerry has been blaming me for everything from AIDS to the 911 terrorists attacks, saying it was some sort of divine retribution," the Deity said. "Quite frankly, I'd had enough." Tom Keane's column appears regularly in the Globe. His e-mailaddress is Martha F. Davis Human rights at home MASSACHUSETTS has long recognized the leadership role that states can play in promoting human rights. In the 1990s, Massachusetts was the first state to take the human rights violations in Burma seriously enough to impose financial sanctions. Indeed, it was this state's bold action that prodded the Clinton administration to take steps to isolate the lawless Burmese government. Now, with the backing of Governor Deval Patrick, the Legislature is considering whether to withdraw the state's pension funds from investments in Sudan in an effort to step up pressure to end human rights abuses in Darfur. If the plan goes forward, Massachusetts would be one of a growing minority of states that have taken this step. . But while Massachusetts has been a leader in using its influence to promote human rights abroad, it's important to remember that human rights begin at home. Of course, the issues here are different. Thankfully, we're not confronting genocide in our state. But human rights standards are also relevant to the day-to-day policy issues facing the Commonwealth, from healthcare to prisons to school discipline. Many states and localities have already recognized the role that human rights concepts can play in guiding local policy. For example, San Francisco adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as its municipal law in 1998. Using the convention's human rights standards, the city successfully took affirmative steps to address discrimination and disparate treatment facing women in their interactions with city government. In Minnesota, the state's Department of Human Rights has launched a human rights education project aptly titled "This is My Home" piloting a state-focused human rights curricula in the Minnesota schools. In Los Angeles, the Board of Education has expressed an interest in incorporating human rights principles into school discipline protocols, securing "human dignity" for students in the public schools. New York State has adopted human rights standards from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as part of its own law on the treatment of prisoners. Montana's state constitution follows the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in expressly providing for the protection of the "human dignity" of its citizens. By incorporating human rights standards, these states and localities have adopted an approach to good governance that goes beyond feel-good platitudes. Sure, Massachusetts is no Burma, but really living up to human rights standards is not easy. Rather, as the UN High Commission for Human Rights has noted, human rights-based policies demand transparency in government decision making, accountability, and inclusion all of which are good for government and good for constituents, but all of which require hard work. There are many areas of legislation where Massachusetts could incorporate such standards. Bills that would benefit from incorporation of human rights standards include legislation addressing state aid for K-12 education, the treatment of prisoners in state-run prisons, and strategies to further strengthen last year's healthcare reform package. But rather than proceed piece by piece, a better approach might be to create a Massachusetts Human Rights Commission that would work on a more global level to promote systematic state government attention to these issues at home. In fact, it is only by bringing human rights home that we can be effective in efforts to enforce human rights in Burma, in Darfur, and elsewhere. In an era when the federal government is redefining torture and rewriting the rules of due process, there is an especially important role for states to play in giving real, everyday meaning to human rights here within the United States, and in shoring up our nation's human rights reputation. Eleanor Roosevelt, a pivotal figure in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said it best: "In small places, close to home . . . Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." Martha Davis is a professor of law at Northeastern University's School of Law and co-director of the school's Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy.

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