What Hillary Said. . .and Should Say

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Several good friends close to Senator Clinton were surprised by my post suggesting a “Nixon-Lite Strategy” as a guiding direction for some of her foreign policy thinking. To be fair, when I wrote a critique of Senator Obama’s first major foreign policy address, I got similar nudges from his team.
But I do want to be fair as I like much of what Hillary Clinton says and stands for. I view a major presidential candidacy like I do any presidential administration — as a lesson in schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. There are some dominant personalities and others that are subordinate — and they shift.
It is my view that some of Hillary’s foreign policy advisors see value in highlighting the world’s bad guys and using general disdain for them as a way to rally support. This was a tactic of PNAC. It’s part of the “high fear”, “we live in a dangerous world”, “watch out for terrorists” motif that organizations like “Family Security Matters” exploit on the political right.
But the fact is that these so-called bad guys and thugs are the same kind of thugs America has had to deal with for decades. In fact, until 9/11 and the Bush administration’s wrong-headed and counterproductive invasion of Iraq as the key feature of its “global war on terror,” America and the West had a pretty good “thug management system” in place.
The interesting, unspoken reality about Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Bashar al-Assad, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is that they are all rational actors. They are each unique in their own way and have different concerns but most of them have to do with power or security.
Mancur Olson, one of the leading proponents of rational choice theory, found dictatorships to provide useful metaphors to explain to lay audiences the dynamics of self-interested, rational, utility-maximization in a political system.
To deal with any of these people and their governments, rationality and predictability as well as carrots and credible sticks are needed.
To satisfy various supporters of Senator Clinton, let me reprint what exactly she said during the YouTube/CNN debate:

CLINTON: Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are.
I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration.
And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy.
And I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

There is a “cautious calculation” in Hillary Clinton’s response that any president should make a constant feature of his or her decision-making process. However, there is a need for a rational, clear-headed assessment of where America is in the world today and how we are going to use this time of upheaval and instability to leap into a new global framework that is both good for American interests and good for global interests and stability.
Hillary Clinton did talk about the importance of diplomacy, and that is great. But the zinger that everyone on both sides of this debate is focusing on is whether we should talk to the world’s problematic leaders or not. Even in her response yesterday to John King on CNN, she emphasized the names of the various leaders that give her pause. This is part of a “I’ll be tough on them” framing of this issue that some of Hillary Clinton’s advisers have been advocating.
As an example, I’ve been waiting to hear from Senator Clinton how her strategy on Cuba would differ from a long line of administrations who have failed to achieve any of their objectives in achieving regime change in Cuba. My sense is that we are long overdue for a major overhaul in US-Cuba relations that puts American interests overall ahead of any political cartels inside the US who have controlled that relationship for far too long and at great detriment to American interests. Regime change efforts that America has engaged in have backfired over and over and over again — but regime change remains the official position of the United States toward Cuba and remains the unofficial policy of the US towards Iran.
Opening up travel and some trade to Cuba — a nation that is now exporting doctors rather than guns and revolution — may have numerous positive affects. The mere fact that the Soviet bloc fell and stopped supporting Cuba has had an enormous impact on the minds and lives of Cubans — and as they see China’s global ascension and the manner in which China has increasingly absorbed market capitalism, they are reconsidering their own national growth strategies. Cuba’s economy grew by about 10% last year — and virtually none of that growth benefited the US.
Changing the dynamics with Cuba could have a very good impact on Latin America as a whole that frankly is not too thrilled with the bravado and bluster from Hugo Chavez. Take Cuba from him and his pretensions and Latin American nations will also find ways to resist Chavez’s revolutionary charms. But we should still meet with Chavez and negotiate with him.
Diplomacy — which Hillary Clinton says she supports — is knowing what battles to lose so that the major wars can be won. It is not a binary process.
Clinton is right to not necessarily sign on to unconditional meetings with all of these leaders — but she should have said that it would be a high priority for her to meet them, to communicate America’s views and positions, to see where opportunities might be exploited, and when a tougher edged policy was called for.
This whole debate would be different if she had said that meeting with the world’s thugs is important and should be made the kind of priority that it is not in this administration. Shunning and isolating our enemies is in character for the Jesse Helms/Richard Cheney wing of Republican national security circles. It should not be a dominant feature of Hillary Clinton’s profile.
More on Obama later. I’m glad that he is willing to meet those in the world who are working vigorously against American interests. But we still have yet to hear from him a “hard choices” speech on the multiple prongs of a strategy he’d deploy to get America’s national security portfolio back in shape.
Both Obama and Hillary Clinton support the growth of the size of the military by another 92,000 personnel — and in my mind, that just compounds the problems they are supposed to be fixing. We already have an over-militarized engagement with the world and we need something different. And when a nation spends as much money on defense and security as America does and still does not feel safe, the problem is not the number of troops — it is “bad management.”
That is something that Obama and Clinton, as well as the other candidates, might reflect on as well.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

30 comments on “What Hillary Said. . .and Should Say

  1. larry birnbaum says:

    “Gonzales and the Democrats’ Dance of Evasion
    Rotten Justice
    By RALPH NADER”
    Gee, thanks, Ralph.

    Reply

  2. JustnAmerican says:

    Hillary has problems we have not even discussed yet. She has accepted $10,000 from Jack Abramoff’s clients. She knows this and has not returned the money. The movie “Sicko” shows she has accepted over $850,ooo from the Healthcare and Big Pharm lobbyists. Her campaign rhetoric suggests she wants to take us back to the “Good Old Days”,when the majority of the electorate want change,change change. Hillary is not the
    change we are looking for.

    Reply

  3. JustnAmerican says:

    Hillary has problems we have not even discussed yet. She has accepted $10,000 from Jack Abramoff’s clients. She knows this and has not returned the money. The movie “Sicko” shows she has accepted over $850,ooo from the Healthcare and Big Pharm lobbyists. Her campaign rhetoric suggests she wants to take us back to the “Good Old Days”,when the majority of the electorate want change,change change. Hillary is not the
    change we are looking for.

    Reply

  4. MP says:

    Sandy writes: ” Another set of documents, 43 pages of emails, provided to Truthout by the PBS news program “NOW,” contains blueprints for a massive effort undertaken by RNC operatives in 2004, to challenge the eligibility of voters expected to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania….”
    Sandy, one of the things you can do, personally, in 2008 to prevent this from happening is to participate as a Voter Protection Poll Watcher. If you are deputized by a campaign, you may–depending on the rules in your area–have access to the voter rolls.

    Reply

  5. ... says:

    benjoya – good points, but no one is listening.. it is an american politician trait and the media aretheir compliant servants.
    >>If the President has a cabinet official who is clearly breaking the law and the President does not remove him, the President should be impeached. That is exactly what the founders intended. We need to get this idea into the national discourse.<<
    sound like gonzalas to anyone out their other then me??? you won’t here about it from the mainstream press or the compliant servants of the politicians either…

    Reply

  6. benjoya says:

    oh wait, chavez called bush bad names. thug! thug!

    Reply

  7. benjoya says:

    let’s see, chavez was twice elected, he’s a thug.
    king abdullah leads a medieval theocracy which imports terrorists to iraq, the US and other places, plus has weekly beheadings. he’s a friend of america
    glad to see you’ve got your moral compass working right.

    Reply

  8. Sandy says:

    July 28 / 29, 2007
    Gonzales and the Democrats’ Dance of Evasion
    Rotten Justice
    By RALPH NADER
    Most readers of /The Washington Post/ probably missed it. But probably not Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Fifty-six of his law school classmates (Harvard Law School, class of 1982) bought space for an open letter in mid-May that excoriated his “cavalier handling of our freedoms time and again.”
    It read like an indictment, to wit:
    “Witness your White House memos sweeping aside the Geneva Conventions to justify torture, endangering our own servicemen and women;
    “Witness your advice to the President effectively reading Habeas Corpus out of our constitutional protections;
    “Witness your support of presidential statements claiming inherent power to wiretap American citizens without warrants (and the Administration’s stepped-up wiretapping campaign, taking advantage of those statements, which continues on your watch to this day); and
    “Witness your dismissive explanation of the troubling firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys, and their replacement with other more ‘loyal’ to the President’s politics, as merely ‘an overblown personal matter.’
    “In these and other actions, we see a pattern. As a recent editorial put it, your approach has come to symbolize ‘disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.’”
    By now you’re expecting something like a conclusion by his classmates, such as a demand for resignation or a call for Gonzales’ impeachment. No such logic.
    Instead, these intrepid classmates punted, urging Gonzales and President Bush “to relent from this reckless path, and begin to restore respect for the rule of law we all learned to love many years ago.”
    Just this week, four Democratic Senators called for a special prosecutor to investigate their belief that Gonzales gave false testimony about the regime’s warrantless domestic surveillance program. They criticized the Attorney General for possessing an instinct “to dissemble and to deceive.”
    Four of Gonzales’ top aides have already resigned. The head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, just testified before Congress and contradicted Gonzales’ statements which were made under oath.
    It is not often that an Attorney General of the United States is treated with bi-partisan inferences of perjury before a major Senate Committee (the Senate Judiciary Committee). Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the soft-spoken Chairman, said to him: “I just don’t trust you.”
    His counterpart, Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the ranking minority member of the Committee, extended his fellow Senator’s remark, adding, “Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable.”
    Why don’t these and other Democratic and Republican Senators say plainly what they say privately day after day: that they believe that the Attorney General has lied under oath, and not just once.
    Again, they avoid the logical conclusion.
    But then the Democrats have been doing this dance of evasion with George W. Bush on a far larger scale for four years. After all, Gonzales’ impeachable offenses are his superiors’. Gonzales took the orders; Bush-Cheney gave the orders. The litany of Bush-Cheney impeachable abuses extends far beyond those associated with Gonzales, foremost among them of course Bush plunging the nation into a bloody, costly war-quagmire on a platform of fabrications, deceptions and cover-ups again and again, year after year. And Gonzales took the orders; Bush-Cheney gave the orders—a more serious basis for a Congressional demand for their resignation or the commencing of impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives.
    Compare the many impeachable offenses of Bush-Cheney with the certain impeachment of President Richard K. Nixon that was rendered moot by his resignation in 1974.
    Compare the actual impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 1998 for lying under oath about sex.
    Granted, Nixon became ensnared in the criminal laws and Clinton was caught in the tort laws. But Bush-Cheney’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” tower in scope and diversity over those earlier Presidents.
    Instead of a burglary and coverup, as with Nixon, it was the horrific ongoing war (longer than either the Civil War and World War II) with hundreds of thousands of lost lives and many more injuries and sicknesses.
    Instead of a sex scandal, as with Clinton, there is a serial constitutional scandal oozing ongoing repeated constitutional crimes. For which alas, there is only one constitutional remedy arranged by the framers — impeachment.
    And that remedy the Democrats took “off the table” after they won the Congress last November and before they even took office. Just what the White House recidivists needed to know to keep at it. What a lesson for future generations.
    Most Americans do not want their members of Congress to practice rushing to judgment. Nor do they want their members to rush away from judgment. The Democrats, with very few exceptions, are very good at escaping from their constitutional responsibilities.
    It is time to hold the Bush-Cheney-Administration responsible for their indefensible acts.

    Reply

  9. larry birnbaum says:

    Notwithstanding the besmirchment of the office by Bush/Cheney, a meeting with the President of the United States is still worth something in terms of international credibility, domestic authority, and (if nothing else) an emotional buzz on the part of these petty authoritarians. Failing to extract whatever we can for that value would be contrary to our interests.

    Reply

  10. Sickday says:

    I thought HRC was unbelievably patronizing in calling Obama naive for saying something that is common sense: we should be reevaluating and renegotiating our relationships with some of the ‘bad guys’ given the weak position we’re now in.
    Why are we in a weak position? Because HRC and Bush made a gamble that didn’t pay off.
    So we’ve got one side that refuses to admit the position we’re in now and won’t take steps that would tacitly acknowledge reality. And they’re calling Obama naive?

    Reply

  11. ... says:

    steve, i agree with you on richs fine post.. he shows what this attitude: -the usa does not talk to other countries ’cause they’re terrorists’ for what it is… too bad we can’t get you to talk with us about impeachment, as you are going to have to and may as well start now before it becomes completely mainstream… bush and gang are going to go thru the impeachment process as i see it even if the pundits in washington, yourself included, refuse to discuss it.

    Reply

  12. Sandy says:

    http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072607A.shtml
    Editor’s Note: A full examination of this issue will be the topic for this week’s program, “Voter Caging” on “NOW” airing Friday, July 27 on PBS (Check local listings at http://www.pbs.org/now/sched.html.). TO/vh
    Also see:     
    Truthout’s interview with former US attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias    •
    Exclusive | Emails Detail RNC Voter Suppression in Five States
        By Jason Leopold and Matt Renner
        t r u t h o u t | Report
        Thursday 26 July 2007
    Truthout has obtained previously undisclosed GOP campaign emails from the 2004 presidential race that reveal and detail strategies to disenfranchise voters in crucial swing states.
        Previously undisclosed documents detail how Republican operatives, with the knowledge of several White House officials, engaged in an illegal, racially-motivated effort to suppress tens of thousands of votes during the 2004 presidential campaign in a state where George W. Bush was trailing his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry.
        The documents also contain details describing how Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign officials, and at least one individual who worked for White House political adviser Karl Rove, planned to stop minorities residing in Cuyahoga County from voting on election day.
        The efforts to purge voters from registration rolls was spearheaded by Tim Griffin, a former Republican National Committee opposition researcher. Griffin recently resigned from his post as interim US attorney for Little Rock Arkansas. His predecessor, Bud Cummins, was forced out to make way for Griffin.
        Another set of documents, 43 pages of emails, provided to Truthout by the PBS news program “NOW,” contains blueprints for a massive effort undertaken by RNC operatives in 2004, to challenge the eligibility of voters expected to support Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in states such as Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Pennsylvania….” excerpt

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But the fact is that these so-called bad guys and thugs are the same kind of thugs America has had to deal with for decades. In fact, until 9/11 and the Bush administration’s wrong-headed and counterproductive invasion of Iraq as the key feature of its “global war on terror,” America and the West had a pretty good “thug management system” in place.”
    “The interesting, unspoken reality about Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, Bashar al-Assad, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is that they are all rational actors. They are each unique in their own way and have different concerns but most of them have to do with power or security.”
    Actually Steve, considering the rhetoric contained in those two paragraphs, you might wanna take a look at your own proclivities for spewing “Bush light” ideology. Tell me, do you get your “thugs” from AIPAC, Fox News, or from White House memos?
    Besides, I kinda like Chavez since that day he exhibited such a keen sense of smell.

    Reply

  14. Arun says:

    One may look at the Pakistan-India summit (Musharraf-Vajpayee) Agra 2001 as the kind of thing that makes relations worse when head of states meet without knowing beforehand what kind of agreement they will be making.

    Reply

  15. Strategery says:

    Florida = 27. Period.

    Reply

  16. Sandy says:

    MEANWHILE….while concentrating on what this or that candidate said or didn’t say….
    no one addresses ELECTION FRAUD ….EITHER!!!!
    Is it …or is it not…UNFATHOMABLE….that NEXT YEAR is another national election….and we STILL have not addressed the 2000 and 2004 voting problems and FRAUD perpetrated by the GOP???
    At least Richardson used the words “voter suppression” in the last debate — to signal that he’s aware of the “caging” problem KARL ROVE has masterminded for the GOP — but then, that’s right, we never talk here about the DOJ Scandal — the U.S. Attorneys firings….and WHY they were.
    HEADS UP: Tonight on Bill Moyers’ PBS show, GREG PALAST will discuss — since you seem so fascinated by the candidates and what they are saying….
    GREG PALAST WILL DISCUSS — on Bill Moyers tonight, NOW show…..
    how the 2008 ELECTION has already been FIXED….AGAIN.
    (Cart before horse ususally works best)

    Reply

  17. PissedOffSandy says:

    But who is listening to YOU, easy e….or Carroll….or POA….or…..??
    He-said/she-said NONSENSE!
    Noticed Bush-Cheney’s CONTEMPT for you? For us? For the Constitution?
    How can we be talking about this when the Attorney General of the United States of America spends HOURS before CONGRESS lying his ass off?? And everyone KNOWS it! And everyone COMMENTS on it.
    And no one does a G-D THING about it!
    Don’t YOU feel you are living in a science fiction novel? Only it is REAL????
    You are WITNESSING the destruction of much of what we have held dear in this country.
    And you want to talk Hillary and Obama NONSENSE???
    I truly don’t get it.

    Reply

  18. easy e says:

    hillary-shmillary, obama-shobama…………
    sadly, the voting public doesn’t realize they’re only getting choice between coke and pepsi with bought mainstream candidates—dem or repug.
    complicit corporate media successfully keeping american sheeple stupid. think rupert murdoch.
    the complex (military/industrial/corporate/special interest groups) ultimately gets their front people into office—raygun>>>daddybush>>>bubbaclinton>>>monkeyboy>>>tbd (hillaryshmillary or rudytrudy).
    what’s changed?
    the system is in deep s _ _ t! agree with carroll—time to burn washington to the ground and start over.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    More Orwell
    We won’t meet with people who are working against US interest?
    What if they are working for their own interest…I guess it’s not allowed for anyone to work for their own interest except the US?
    To Steve..your house is safe…we are only doing “targeted” burning…like Capitol Hill and K Street.

    Reply

  20. Pete Abel says:

    As I noted at Central Sanity this morning, I think this second post is far more constructive than the first one. Well done, Steve.

    Reply

  21. MP says:

    Steve: I find the spat between Clinton and Obama a bit hard to understand except as political gamesmanship.
    ALL leaders prepare before they meet with other leaders, especially when there’s been a difficult relationship between the two countries? Obama wasn’t saying anything different from this, and Hillary wasn’t saying anything more.
    You don’t need to know how the meeting will turn out, but certainly you want to have some reasonable expectation that some good will come of it–that you will get something of value to both sides.
    Certainly, there was HUGE preparation for Nixon’s trip to China (Shanghai Memo, fe). Dick didn’t just pick up the phone and suggest that he and Mao take a dip in the Yangtze–nor would Mao have accepted such an overture. Even though that wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

    Reply

  22. JohnH says:

    Steve is right. Hillary is at least Bush/Cheney lite. I think she is Nixon lite.
    Hillary often says that she WILL bring the troops home. This echoes Nixon’s declaration during the 1967 campaign that he had a plan to end the Vietnam War. Of course Nixon’s plan was secret, so he couldn’t tell voters what it was. And his plan was really to escalate into Cambodia, Laos, and carpet bomb North Vietnam.
    In contrast to Nixon, Hillary does provide some insight into her plan: she would leave troops to fight Al Qaeda. Of course, that is exactly what Bush claims as his current strategy. And it directly contradicts her statement that she WILL bring the troops home, at least anytime soon.
    So Hillary’s strategy seems to be to bring a token number of troops home for PR purposes but to continue to prosecute the war, only more effectively and even maybe even by escalting. And like Nixon maybe she WILL bring the troops home–eventually.
    Definitely Bush/Cheney lite, Nixonian and Machiavellian.

    Reply

  23. JoeCHI says:

    Clinton well-understood the premise and parameters of the You Tube question, even as they escaped Obama.
    Unfortunately for Obama, there were other details that escaped him as well.
    In his effort to promote himself as the new Reagan, Obama casts Reagan diplomacy in a factually inaccurate way.
    Reagan did not meet with Gorbachev within the first year of his Presidency, individually, and without precondition. It was not until his second term that he met with Gorbachev, prior to which was vigorous groundwork as well as predonditions. Ditto for Nixon and Mao.
    For Obama and Clemons to suggest othewise is historically inaccurate and contrary to the public record.
    Further, to promote these factually innacurate statements while simulaneously pronouncing yourself to be the most experienced and knowledgeable in foreign policy of the entire Democratic and Republican Presidential field is just absurd.
    Absurd bordering on nutty!

    Reply

  24. Kathleen says:

    I’m sorry folks, but Hillary’s newfound caution is too little too late for me. She signed on to the Iraq Resolution without bothering to read the NIE and sent many to their death.
    That was the time to be cautious, Senator Clinton. That was the time to ask “what are your intentions” of this adminstration.
    Like Dopey and Darth, overcompensating for looking the other way before 9/11, by spying on citizens now, it does not cut it to sound cautious now about a hypothetical situation, that of you being President.

    Reply

  25. RonK, Seattle says:

    “knowing what battles to lose so that the major wars can be won” … hmmm.
    If I were 100% committed to normalizing relations with Cuba, would I commit to that result in the primary? Or the general election campaign? Or my first year in office?
    Would my doing so make normal relations more likely, or less? And would it help win the bigger battles?

    Reply

  26. Steve Clemons says:

    Rich and the rest of you — I like all the posts up there — except I think that Carroll’s passionate anti-Washington stance will mean that my nice home in Dupont that I’ve been trying to renovate will go up in flames too. 😉
    but rich — very nice post. I think that everyone should consider your style of debate.
    best, steve

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    From NBC’s Andrew Merten
    McCain today became the second GOP presidential hopeful (after Romney) to side with Clinton in her spat with Obama — although he did not say so explicitly. During a town hall meeting in Derry, NH this afternoon, a member of the audience asked McCain what he thought about the dispute that began at Monday night’s debate. McCain used Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as an example, saying, “Are we going to come out of this meeting, and the president of Iran is going to say, ‘I’m stopping the IEDs, I’m going to stop developing nuclear weapons, I will agree that Israel is going to exist,’ then fine. Then lets set up the meeting.” But he warned of the danger posed to the prestige of the presidency and the country as a whole if such a dictator would use a high-level meeting for propaganda purposes, similar to Clinton’s warning on Monday.
    Said McCain in conclusion: “There’s a downside to just saying, I’ll sit down and have face-to-face meetings with one of these dictatorial rulers, who violate every principle of upon which this nation was founded.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Well, if you know how the meeting is going to end beofre you start what’s the pint in wasting a meeting?……”“Are we going to come out of this meeting, and the president of Iran is going to say, ‘I’m stopping the IEDs, I’m going to stop developing nuclear weapons, I will agree that Israel is going to exist,’ then fine.
    They are all fricking crazy. This statement doesn’t even make sense.
    “Who violate every principle which this nation was founded on?”
    Well first, they aren’t in “this” nation…they are in their own nation…and it’s the 9 out of ten US politicans who have violated “every principle” this nation was founded on.
    Burn Washington to the Ground and Start Over…we haven’t got one decent hope of sane leadership among any of the front runners in this election…just more establishment repub neo’s and lefty neo’s.
    This is what you get when have a country run by special interest, the media and the political establishment.

    Reply

  28. rich says:

    Thanks for these posts, Steve.
    I’m refraining from teasing you for offering a false ‘choice’ between Nixon and Bush! And am obligated to say that out loud–because often enough your points are well-taken, even if I want to play devil’s advocate and take issue with them.
    Nixon knew: refusing to speak to opponents is crazy. U.S. intransigence belies the supposed positioning of America as “Good”/ reasonable/ civilized. Hard-line policies means the U.S. becomes the unyielding international bad-actor we’re complaining about in N. Korea, etc.
    Iran has been repeatedly beseeching Rice and Bush for diplomatic relations. And Bush has refused. Without diplomacy, you’re left with the tools of war. SO, isn’t that obviously what Bush wants?
    Pretending that we “don’t negotiate with terrorists” is ridiculously unproductive. It precludes real solutions, and guarantees that opponents must resort to more violence to get the message through. After all, that U.S. stance closes off recourse to any other solution, including talks, exchanges/trade, or outright diplomacy.
    This bizarre talk of demanding the President sit through endless preparatory sessions and in-house re-education sessions prior to meeting with foreign leaders is patently ridiculous. Sure, you prepare for important meetings. It sounds like an attempt to control our own President.
    Frankly, it’d behoove the nation to have Prznts willing to phone up Fidel or Chavez for a little marlin fishing and a tour of Hemingway’s Cuban home. Without all that baroque ‘preparation.’
    Easier to solve problems and harder to demonize someone after sharing a little fishing and ping-pong. Delicate and difficult issues alike are easier to address having established a personal/REAL relationship. Makes you realize just how much a vested interest there is in ensuring our glorious leaders do NOT know and work productively with other leaders.

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  29. Carroll says:

    Well I will ask the question.
    WHAT PRE-CONDITIONS ???
    What pre conditions does Hillary require before she speaks to the “thugs” of the world?
    Aside from the fact that most of the world now regards the US as a “thug”..who the hell would meet with anyone to discuss their differences if they had to forfeit their position before they even talked?
    This is such crap…it’s smacks of the same neo pretensions.

    Reply

  30. Boris Burp says:

    Politicians and those that “desire” positions of leadership in America are afraid of diplomacy. Ergo, diplomacy is dead. Diplomacy would require an inate intellect and skill that transcends the meager faculties available to one like Hill ‘the shill’ Clinton. Clinton is nothing without her “handlers” telling her what to say and when to say it. Sadly, that is exactly the case with ALL the candidates primping and preening before the American people. Both sides of the ‘great divide’ that is now American politics. With any luck and the stars being “favorable”, some future leader will hit the old American scene and shake the foundations that hold our once great nation barely above the water line. Yes, with some hope!

    Reply

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