Send Bill Clinton to Tehran?


khamenei clinton twn.jpg
Well, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei doesn’t seem to be buying Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope or Dreams from my Father, but he does seem to be buying himself a copy of Bill Clinton’s My Life.
If Obama does wrap up the Democratic nomination and win the White House, perhaps he should make Bill Clinton his emissary to help set up things for the meeting with Iran’s leadership that Obama says he wants to do after some “prep work.”
And while on that line, perhaps Obama should express regret for getting in Jimmy Carter’s way on Hamas. It’s time to put many of our former leaders back into the business of creating new opportunities and relieving pent up stress in the international system.
Hat tip to The Eyeranians,
— Steve Clemons


8 comments on “Send Bill Clinton to Tehran?

  1. Steambomb says:

    Lets just not and say we did.


  2. Zathras says:

    Unfortunately, next year at this time Bill Clinton will be fully occupied pursuing the major strategic breakthrough of getting the Mexicans and Canadians to renegotiate NAFTA.
    Seriously, folks, I have to wonder why someone who takes foreign policy as seriously as Steve Clemons does retains such a weakness for the idea of celebrity diplomacy. He knows enough history to understand how seldom this has accomplished anything that lasted, and has surely worked for enough serious organizations to know all the reasons such organizations rarely assign important tasks to agents they cannot control.
    The last thing a President Obama — or for that matter a President McCain — should be encouraged to do is look for shortcuts in foreign policy. What is needed now is urgent rebuilding of the foreign policy process in the executive branch, repairing the damage that Clinton’s administration did to the State Department and dissolving the Bush administration’s preoccupation with the Arab Middle East.
    Just as important is the task of restoring the principle that foreign governments should not be left to guess who speaks for the United States. Bill Clinton neglected this principle; Bush has ignored it completely. No President can rely exclusively on orderly process to produce sound foreign policy, but after our recent history the next President — especially if he is Sen. Obama, a foreign policy novice — needs to reestablish the idea that American policy proceeds on predictable lines, and that statements by the President, the responsible officials reporting to him, and the officials reporting in turn to them, can be relied upon.
    That means no role in foreign policy for the next Vice President, whoever that might be. It means no end runs around the State Department by the Secretaries of Defense or Treasury, or the White House staff. And it absolutely means humanitarian and goodwill missions only for former Presidents. If that bruises Jimmy Carter’s pride or confronts Bill Clinton with the prospect that his star power will diminish with time, well, good. They had their time in government, for good or ill, and they can bloody well keep out of the way now.


  3. nita says:

    …. perhaps he could write a piece for Graydon carter on the visit –
    help defray some costs ??


  4. David says:

    If Bill Clinton can help negotiate peace or help alleviate suffering anywhere in the world, he will. I should think that would be obvious by now. And he will do it for any president who asks. And only a fool would refuse to ask when the stakes are high and the need essential.
    And thank you, Steve, for that appropriate reprimand for Obama (or anyone else) getting in the way of the former president who actually brokered a major peace agreement in the Middle East.
    Jimmy Carter is the greatest ex-president in American history, and Bill Clinton has referred to Jimmy Carter as a role model for ex-presidents.
    Dwight Eisenhower offered some of the sagest advice of any outgoing president, advice the nation scrupulously ignored, to our great loss.


  5. WigWag says:

    Steve, thank you very much for replying to my post. You say “if Obama needs Bill or Hillary Clinton, or both, to get a major strategic breakthrough on some issue that is good for the US and the world, I’m inclined to think that the Clintons will be there.” That’s assuming it’s Obama and not McCain which is a very big “if.” But your larger point is probably right. If it’s President McCain, the Clintons would probably step up to the plate for their country as well.


  6. JohnH says:

    Good, safe role for Bill. All business and no philandering…


  7. Steve Clemons says:

    WigWag — You may be right, but at the end of the day — if Obama needs Bill or Hillary Clinton, or both, to get a major strategic breakthrough on some issue that is good for the US and the world, I’m inclined to think that the Clintons will be there.
    best, Steve Clemons


  8. WigWag says:

    And exactly why would President Clinton want to do anything for the candidate who swift boated his wife? Get real!


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