Leadership means talking with countries who aren't our friends. It means engaging directly when our vital national security interests are at stake -- even with countries that we strongly disagree with -- because treating dialogue as a means rather than an end can help us achieve our goals. As John Kennedy once said, "we must never negotiate out of fear but we must never fear to negotiate." If Richard Nixon could send Henry Kissinger to China, surely George Bush can send a real negotiating team to North Korea. If Ronald Reagan could talk to the evil empire, surely we can talk with Iran or Syria.
We must start treating our moral authority as a precious national asset that does not limit our power but magnifies our influence. Only this week did the Administration finally recognize that the protections of the Geneva Convention had to be applied to prisoners in order to comply with the law, restore our moral authority, and best protect American troops. Let me say it plainly: No American president should be for torture before he's against it1.
Anyone who understood the conflict we face could never shrug off the imperative of winning the hearts and minds of Muslim moderates.
We must start leading by example. We should never engage in or excuse violations of basic human rights. We must uphold the rule of law in our own conduct. And we should never accept official lying by our leaders. No White House should ever bully the Director of the CIA to make a case he knows isn't true -- and no White House should reward it with the Medal of Freedom.
To restore our credibility with moderates in the Muslim world and to safeguard Israel's place in the world, we must renew the search for a lasting peace in the Middle East. We know from the hard lessons of the past that it won't be easy. But we know from the disasters of the present that it is essential.
I've outlined five specific steps to make our nation safer which I believe stand in stark contrast to the Republicans' failed policies.
So let's have a real debate. Let's give all of us -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- a real "accountability moment" this November.
1: Flip. Flop. Ouch. Who says liberals ain't funny?
tag: John Kerry, flip flop, homeland secruity, terrorism, redeploy to win, stand and fail, debate, republican, democrat, failed, failure.