IN REACTION to Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement this week of plans to curtail democratic institutions in Russia and assert increased political control over the country from Moscow, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry criticized President Bush for having "taken his eye off the ball--ignoring America's interest in seeing democracy advance in Russia," and promised that, under his administration, "The fate of freedom and democracy in Russia will once again be priorities of American foreign policy."
Fair enough--but for the fact that Kerry told the Washington Post in May that, as president, he "would play down the promotion of democracy in dealing with . . . Russia." Instead, the Senator pledged to focus "on other objectives . . . more central to the United States' security." He also rejected the idea--put forward last January by then-rival, now-running mate John Edwards--that Russia's membership in the G-8 should be linked to democratic reforms.
It seems that whatever the issue--be it Iraq, the war on terror, or now Russia--Senator Kerry has a hard time knowing his own mind.
Vance Serchuk a research associate, in defense and security policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.