President Mitchell Gephardt


Let's pretend this morning that our president goes by the name of Mitchell Gephardt, that he is a composite Democrat in charge of the foreign policy of the United States. Thus empowered, he would be marching in quite a few different directions, none of which are being pursued today by that non-composite Republican, George Bush.

President Mitchell Gephardt would undoubtedly make it clear in his first State of the Union address that he is a highly principled fellow, one who would follow American values to the end of the Earth. No more of this Realpolitik, geopolitical stuff.

So, to the business at hand:

* South of the Border, those Mexicans continue to pollute the environment, run a one-party political system, underpay and exploit their workers and send illegal aliens to do the dirty jobs that are beneath the dignity of Americans. President Mitchell Gephardt has a remedy. He will cancel negotiations on a new U.S.-Mexican trade agreement. A wave of exultation will sweep through Democratic ranks that has been unmatched since Woodrow Wilson sent troops into Veracruz.

* Having thus established his credentials as a protectionist, President Mitchell Gephardt declares that any new trade pacts he negotiates under GATT can be taken apart, piece by piece, by the special interests that populate Capital Hill. If that means the end of the liberal world trading system under GATT, so be it. European economic nationalists will be relieved. So will Japanese.

* Now on to China. Tiananmen Square must be avenged. President Mitchell Gephardt orders normal trading relations with China canceled. Of course, this will snuff out any momentum toward a free-market economy in the coastal provinces of China. It will hurt Taiwan and Hong Kong. But D.C. Democrats have again shown how true they are to Chinese democracy, and also to less competition with the Pacific Rim.

* What goes for China, does not necessarily apply to the Soviet Union in the Mitchell Gephardt administration. The new president's idealism is selective. Though Soviet troops still harass Lithuanians, he believes the the U.S. should bail out the Kremlin with billions of dollars.

* Ah, yes, there's still Saddam Hussein. President Mitchell Gephardt opposed the use of force to overthrow the Iraqi dictator. But after American troops won the war with dispatch, he was all for getting a lot tougher on Baghdad to save the Kurds. Now, as president, he promises a new foreign policy to bring peace to the Middle East. Details later.

The list goes one, all to be approached with unflinching belief in American ideals. Nasty critics will call President Mitchell Gephardt an isolationist, a protectionist, a victim of Vietnam Syndrome disease, incapable of fulfilling America's role as the world's only superpower. But as we eat our Wheaties this morning, we will have faith. Won't we?

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