Have you heard about the Global Test yet?

As expected, misconstruing "Global Test" is the main BushBot talking point. Here's what Kerry said last night:

Kerry: No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

Here we have our own secretary of state who has had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the United Nations...

Bush: ...I'm not exactly sure what you mean, passes the global test, you take preemptive action if you pass a global test.

My attitude is you take preemptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure...

So, Kerry is saying that if we preemptively strike, we need to first make sure that we can justify our strike to the world.

Does that mean that Kerry would not preemptively strike if France were opposed to the strike? No, he says specifically that he would not.

He's saying that we shouldn't preemptively strike if we can't prove that it was the right thing to do, and gives Colin Powell having to apologize for his speech as a counterexample.

Is that really so hard for Bush to understand? Shouldn't we care about world opinion and our own credibility? Or, does Bush not care if America's credibility around the world is reduced? Should America be known as the country that fibs?

UPDATE: Bush misrepresents Kerry's point in today's speech in Allentown, PA:

"One other point I want to make about the debate last night. Senator Kerry last night said that America has to pass some sort of global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. He wants our national security decisions subject to the approval of a foreign government. [not supported by Kerry's statement --LW] Listen, I'll continue to work with our allies and the international community, but I will never submit America's national security to an international test. The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France. [falsely implies that's what Kerry said --LW] The president's job is not to take an international poll. The president's job is to defend America."

The president has many jobs, two of which are defending America and making sure that we look good around the world.

No lie like a Big Lie.

UPDATE 2: From March 19, 2004, here's something that caring about America's credibility could have prevented:

WARSAW President Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland said Thursday that he had been "deceived" by information on weapons of mass destruction before the Iraq war and that Poland might pull some troops out of Iraq earlier than planned...

UPDATE 3: "looking good around the world" doesn't necessarily mean that we're trying to get people to like us or that many or most will like us. It means we get respect not just because a country knows we could flatten them tomorrow, but because we're "tough but just."

See also the more recent post "How you fail the global test".

UPDATE 4: Prof. Juan Cole - who has neither trackback nor comments - offers his own explanation here. He makes a good point about the tenses Kerry used: "proving to the world" is in the past tense and we might be able to assume that Kerry meant that that came after having done the preemptive strike. However, he also thinks - like one of the commentors here - that Kerry used "global" in the "comprehensive" or "thoroughgoing" sense. I don't think so, I'm pretty sure he meant it in the "worldwide" sense. Here's what came right after Kerry said "global test":

How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way? So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world.

And, recall that "global test" came just minutes after Kerry said things like this:

...But you've also got to show that you are prepared to bring the rest of the world in and share the stakes...

...If the president had shown the patience to go through another round of resolution, to sit down with those leaders, say, What do you need, what do you need now, how much more will it take to get you to join us?...

UPDATE 5: This post says the "global test" is similar to the Powell Doctrine.

UPDATE 6: In my attempt to spread sanity throughout blogdom, I've left more comments here and here.

In the article "Kerry dismisses criticism of 'global test' remark as 'pathetic'", Kerry discusses what else he said in that same response and how his opponents have twisted and misrepresented it. Unlike the last link and the next link attempt to say, he wasn't flailing about the remark and neither was he backpeddling.

I note also that Blogs for Bush has a recent entry on the global test, but as there are already 44 comments I'm just sending a trackback on its mission.


The U.N. is a useless entity with power given to communists and other terror appeasers. And THESE are the people you and others want us to bow down to and ask permission from when our country is in harm's way? No thanks.

Let's just dump the U.N. into California and then sink them both into the Pacific.

To Lonewacko blog.....

YOU NEED to read the book: "Inside The Asylum--Why The United Nations and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think"!! Maybe then you will get your head on straight.

To: The Lonewacko Blog

Could you please explain to me, in the simplest terms possible, why is it so important to be liked? To be well-thought of abroad?

I do not understand why this is important.

It is completely subjective.

W did exactly what he said he was going to do. If you are not with us, you are against us.

If you honestly think that this does not breed respect in other countries, and it is most assuredly a grudging respect, but respect none the less, then you and I do not speak the same language.

Do you sincerely think that the vast majority of the planet is going to stop doing business with us, attempt to isolate us, the richest nation on earth, because they don't like us? Because they don't get a warm-fuzzy when thoughts of us float through their mind(s)?

How fascile a position that appears to be to me. What a colossal misunderstanding of real-politik you seem to have.

Maybe it's me. Please teach me. I want to know. What is it that I am missing that you seem to have such a solid grap on?

And please note, I have lived for years at a time on other continents, both as a civilian and as a Marine. I speak 3 languages and a smattering of 4 others.

Thanks for your time,

Semper Fi,
Capt Smythe

"So, it's already in the Constitution that we should "submit to these nations" before launching a war."

No, it's not. This article merely provides for the terms of ratified treaties to be honored by the States and courts. It doesn't say ratified treaties are to be considered "in the Constitution." That would contradict the Constitution's own provisions for amendment.

Besides, you've missed my point entirely. Listen very carefully:

The United Nations is CORRUPT. Apparently from top to bottom---literally.

Unless of course you're arguing that there is no moral or legal difference between corrupt and legitimate political institutions.


take a look at the third definition, why is this not being mentioned?


"Do not forget that the Bush Administration states categorically that they did justify the war to the rest of the world"

So why didn

So, Kerry is saying that if we preemptively strike, we need to first make sure that we can justify our strike to the world.

The question you're glossing over is who decides whether 'justification' has been sufficient. Do not forget that the Bush Administration states categorically that they did justify the war to the rest of the world. Folks like you apparently feel they did not.

But that's the bottom line, isn't it? Who decides whether the justification is good enough? If you think the American people should decide themselves whether a justification is good enough, then you agree with Mr. Bush and with how he made the decisions about Iraq. If, on the other hand, you think the rest of the world should decide whether a justification is good enough, then you want to give them a veto, and you agree with Mr. Bush's characterization of Mr. Kerry's position.

Mr. Kerry wants to have it both ways. He is, in essence, saying: I'll only defy the rest of the world when it's reasonable. But what's 'reasonable' mean, Mr. Kerry? Why, what the rest of the world thinks it means, obviously!

Bzzzzt! Logic error!


Since you're so concerned with what the Constitution says you must be aware that Article VI clause II states that international treaties ratified by Congress (such as the UN Charter or the Nuremberg Principles) are to be upheld as "the supreme law of the land." So, it's already in the Constitution that we should "submit to these nations" before launching a war. Bush was in favor of getting legal authorization for the Iraq invasion before he was against it.

Oh, *now* we understand. You said,"The president has many jobs, two of which are defending America and making sure that we look good around the world."

And when we have to choose between the two, which wins. Kerry says "global consensus", Bush says "US security".

Got it.

Where's the part in the Constitution that says the President's job is to make us look good around the world? I can't seem to find it.

Bush is too much of a gentleman and a diplomat to point out the obvious, that after 18 months of diplomacy in the UN we were finally stymied by three security council nations that later turned out to be the three largest recipients of Saddam's graft from the corrupt UN Oil for Food program.

For Kerry to even suggest that we were mistaken for failing to submit to these nations in any way, shape, or form speaks volumes concerning Kerry's superior "judgement."


This is like two one-worlders disputing what justification to the world, or the third world, would mean. The national interest is the relevant consideration; we don't live by diplomacy, as the treacherous French try to do, bargaining with moslems for their lives. The world is not a repository of moral worth, on the level of government, much less the UN. It is not a 'candid world' today, to which might be addressed any justification which is in any way supplemental to that given to the citizenry, or their representatives.