April 26, 2004


WASHINGTON — If elected president, John F. Kerry would move to increase the US military by 40,000 troops. He would send more soldiers to Iraq if commanders said they were needed. He would stay in Iraq as long as it took to get the job done.

Those are the policies that Kerry’s inner circle of foreign policy advisers must work with every Monday at lunchtime when they meet to discuss ways to take the Democratic candidate’s ideas to the American public.

Their main goal: ”To show that we can protect America better than George Bush,” said Rand Beers, Kerry’s chief national security adviser. . . .

Kerry’s success may hinge on whether voters are convinced that his ability to forge ties with allies can make America safer than President Bush’s more unilateral approach. Lately, the differences between the candidates have sometimes been hard to detect.

Sounds good to me. Though Kerry’s fixity of purpose is, as always, open to question. And, say, could these be Kerry’s mysteriously supportive “foreign leaders?”

Kerry has conferred frequently with foreign leaders over the years. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, for instance, he conducted a ”listening tour” of the Middle East, meeting with Sharon, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, even Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at his compound in the West Bank.


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