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Monday, October 4, 2004
Spinning “Global”

By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:21 pm

The The Cranky Professor notes that another Professor, Juan Cole, thinks that Kerry’s “global” test” didn’t mean “global” as in “worldwide” but “global” as in “universal” or “overall” (a spin I have heard others try to make).

Here’s the passage from Thursday night:

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.

Given that in the same sentence in whch Kerry used the phrase “pass the global test” he noted you need to be able to “prove to the world that you did it for legitmate reasons” it strikes me a rather difficult argument to make that Kerry didn’t mean “global” in the sense of “worldwide". Dr. Cole can consult the dictionary all he likes, but I think he is deluding himself.

Further, if Kerry simply meant “universal” or “comprehensive” he would have said so on Thursday in response to Bush saying “I don’t know what he means about a global test.” Indeed, Kerry could have impuned the President’s vocabularly at that point, scoring points with the faithful who like to think of Bush an illiterate chimp.

No, Kerry is dedicated to a mulilateral, internationalist approach to foreign policy-indeed, it has been an important part of his career, so the attacks on the “global test” statement are fair.

Update: In regards to Cole’s post, N.Z. Bear makes the following apt (and amusing) comment:

Not a good sign when one of your defenders has to spend an entire article explaining a single sentence.

A single word, actually..

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  1. Cole should have his degree revoked for such ridiculous analysis.

    Comment by Leopold Stotch — Monday, October 4, 2004 @ 2:09 pm

  2. Regardless of how you spin the “global test” remark was a gaffe by Kerry. If it means what it appears to mean, you’ve subordinated American foreign policy to the French. If it doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, it supports Bush’s observation on conveying mixed messages to allies or enemies

    Comment by Dave Schuler — Monday, October 4, 2004 @ 6:40 pm

  3. I’m sorry, but no one on this blog can compare their credentials and knowledge to Juan R.I. Cole at U. of Michigan.

    Comment by w4jfr — Tuesday, October 5, 2004 @ 2:44 am

  4. If John Kerry meant “universal” or “comprehensive” then he has a tin ear and doesn’t have the slightest clue about how the majority of Americans think about things. It was a foreign policy debate and he says “global.”

    Of course people are going to think he meant “all the countries of the globe.” I almost feel like doing a Beavis and Butthead “heh heh.” “Heh heh, he said global.”

    Comment by Teri — Tuesday, October 5, 2004 @ 7:07 am

  5. Quite true (in re: Cole’s credentials). However, the issue here actually has little to nothing to do with his academic postion. I think he is mightily stretching on the “global” issue.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Tuesday, October 5, 2004 @ 8:01 am

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