The View From 1776

“Sensitivity” in Foreign Policy

Senator Kerry vows that, as President, his foreign policy will feature sensitivity.  What could this mean in practice?

Sensitivity is one of those liberal code words like diversity and affirmative action that are part of Big Brother’s NewSpeak, that is, the use of words in ways that have no relationship with their dictionary meanings.

By applying this unlikely word to foreign policy, what does Senator Kerry really have in mind?  We can, of course, only speculate about what his innermost thoughts may be.  Judging from his frequent flip-flops on issues, perhaps even the Senator doesn’t know what he means.

Perhaps sensitivity in foreign policy is exemplified by the Senator’s answer, “You bet’cha, maybe,” when asked whether he would have gone to war in Iraq. 

In any case, let’s speculate about what sensitivity might mean in the conduct of foreign policy.  As with most code words, sensitivity has different meanings for different blocs of the left-leaning public.

First, we know that liberal Senators, including Senator Kerry, will block the appointment of high-level administrative officers if the nominees are professing Christians who oppose abortion.  Does sensitivity mean that Defense Department appointees, for example, must be atheistic socialists and pro-abortionists who will be sensitive to the so-called mainstream views of the New York Times editorial board?

Second, does sensitivity mean that warlike males can no longer be considered for major military commands?  Does it mean appointing former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder as Secretary of Defense, because men “just don’t get it” and can’t be trusted not to revive the macho esprit of Tail Hook and the Marine Corps? 

While in Congress, Schroeder was responsible for terminating the careers of several of the navy’s top admirals and combat pilots, because they had displayed insensitivity toward women attending the annual Tail Hook meeting.  After blocking the appointment of the incoming Navy Chief of Operations, one of the Navy’s most highly regarded combat officers, Schroeder and her colleagues in Congress secured the appointment for Admiral Borda, a personnel officer with no combat command experience, but great sensitivity to feminist concerns.

Third, if Senator Kerry is to carry out his pledge to commit American troops overseas only under the mandate of the UN, he must win the concurrence of France if we are to be permitted to defend ourselves against Islamic terrorists.  And we know that France is an officially secular and atheistic socialist nation. 

Must the Secretary of State be a socialist in order to be sensitive to French viewpoints?  Does sensitivity mean that, in order not to offend the French, only atheistic socialists will be appointed to the National Security Council and other principal advisory appendages of the White House? 

Fourth, we know that, in the academic world, sensitivity means not raising questions about the liberal-socialist views of professors or students.  Sensitivity also means attacking, and if possible expelling, anyone so insensitive as to offend homosexuals, women, blacks, Hispanics, or any other group on the favored-social-class list.  Will Senator Kerry, if elected, seek foreign policy advice from a sensitivity council composed of people like Noam Chomsky, the notorious anti-American MIT professor?

Fifth, immediately after 9/11, and with renewed vitriol after the fall of Bagdad, the liberal intelligentsia damned American military action to defend against terrorism.  They are certain that Al Queda exists only to protest the unequal distribution of wealth between the rich West and the poor elsewhere in the world.  Does sensitivity in foreign policy mean raising our taxes enough to fund an international Great Society with lifetime benefits entitlements for our enemies?

In any case, no matter what specific manifestations we may see in a Kerry presidency, sensitivity inevitably will mean some shade of appeasement, of postponing or foreswearing altogether the use of military force to defend the United States.  Sensitive gentlemen in the UN Security Council - representatives of Arab terrorist nations, France, Germany, and Russia - will have the final word on whether the United States survives.