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.

Previous Campaign Memos:

Wrong Choices , A look at John Kerry's record. September 15, 2004

Another New Kerry Position on Iraq . . . and the same one on Vietnam. September 15, 2004

Kerry and the "Direct Link," The Kerry campaign is distorting Dick Cheney's words. September 13, 2004

Kerry's North Korea Non-policy , John Kerry calls the New York Times with complaints, but no plan. September 13, 2004

If John Kerry Were President , . . . Saddam would still be in power. September 8, 2004

Kerry vs. Kerry , What does "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time" mean? September 7, 2004

The Kerry Record , What John Kerry about foreign policy and defense in 1984 and 1985. September 3, 2004

It Was This Big . . . , Does John Kerry still believe that the terror threat is an "exaggeration"? September 1, 2004

John Edwards: Disrespecting Our Allies , America isn't acting alone. September 1, 2004

No Bargain , The "grand bargain" John Kerry and John Edwards are prepared to offer Iran deserves serious scrutiny. September 1, 2004
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