"Americans are inclined to see the world and foreign affairs in black and white." [According to Kerry:] They [Americans] celebrate their own form of government and denigrate all others, making them guilty of what he calls "ethnocentric accommodation -- everyone ought to be like us."
As a result, America has committed the "fatal error" of "propagating democracy" and fallen prey to "the siren's song of promoting human rights," falsely assuming that our values and institutions are a good fit in the Third World. And, just as Americans exaggerate their own goodness, they exaggerate their enemies' badness.
- Frank Foer, "FATHER KNOWS BEST" The New Republic 3/2/04
The Kerry who wrote those words and expressed those sentiments - (in a book titled "The Star-Spangled Mirror" 1990) - was NOT John Forbes Kerry, but his father: Richard Kerry, a career diplomat and "devoted Europeanist" who worked in the US State Department - for a long time in the UN liaison area in Europe.
But those words could have been written by his son, John.
In my opinion, this view is essentially a culturally relativist worldview and it's inextricably bound to moral relativism and inevitably leads to international policies of appeasement and accommodation, and to overvaluing multilateralism as an end in-and-of itself, (rather than as merely a preferred means to other ends).
This relativist worldview - of Richard and John Kerry - stands in stark contrast to the worldview of Bush, who believes - like FDR and his wife Eleanor believed - that all humans everywhere are entitled to their innate human rights because these rights are endowed to them by the Creator, and not by any government or any local culture.
I think this is a true CORE difference between Bush and Kerry, a difference which highlights the divergence of their core beliefs and how these beliefs impact public policy.
And I think Bush - and FDR and Eleanor - have it right. Promoting Human Rights is NOT a siren's song. And the USA - as the oldest and richest and most powerul democracy in the world - has a solemn duty to promote and expand and defend Human Rights EVERYWHERE.
Use the link; RTWT.