Democracy Arsenal

« Divide and Conquer | Main | Is America Inherently Good? »

October 16, 2007

Clinton's American Opportunity
Posted by Ari Melber

Hillary Clinton outlines her foreign policy platform in the new issue of Foreign Affairs, arguing that the next President must “reintroduce America to the world” with a new commitment to multilateral “security and opportunity.”  Clinton depicts January 2009 as a historic diplomatic opening: The U.S. can finally break with the unilateral “tragedy” of Bush foreign policy and provide the moral leadership desired by “our friends around the world.” 

Clinton assails President Bush for offering a series of “ideologically blinkered” false choices, such as force versus diplomacy and hard power versus soft.  This emphasis is reminiscent of John Edwards’ call for smart power in his Foreign Affairs essay (DA review here), especially when Clinton concludes that to reclaim America’s place in the world, “our policies must be smarter.”  Drawing a page from Ecclesiastes, Clinton even observes, "There is a time for force and a time for diplomacy."   Yet where Edwards applied smart power as an alternative to conceiving the battle against al Qaeda as a traditional (hard power) war, Clinton’s rhetoric stresses a more authentic war. 

In a section titled “Winning The Real War on Terror,” she ticks off an important but mostly familiar list of Democratic priorities.  The U.S. must reinforce its efforts in Afghanistan; tackle the heroin trade that finances our enemies; “redouble[]” efforts in Pakistan; rebuild alliances; invest in first responders; and improve international intelligence cooperation, since most of the terrorists the U.S. apprehended “were arrested in other countries.” 

If you just printed this terrorism section out and passed it around a group of Democratic wonks, they’d be hard pressed to say which of the top six candidates wrote it. The only line that slightly departs from current conventional wisdom, I think, is this Bermanesque observation:

We must understand not only [the terrorists’] methods but their motives: a rejection of modernity, women’s rights, and democracy, as well as a dangerous nostalgia for a mythical past.

One of the clearest and most earnest passages comes when Clinton concludes by advocating women’s rights as a foreign policy priority. “Human rights will never truly be realized as long as a majority of the world’s population is still treated as second-class citizens,” she declares, and then offers the suggestive observation that “women have been elected heads of state in countries on nearly every continent.” More importantly, a Clinton administration would spend diplomatic capital on the fight for equality:

Yet progress in key areas has lagged, as evidenced by the continuing spread of trafficking in women, the ongoing use of rape as an instrument of war, the political marginalization of women, and persistent gender gaps in employment and economic opportunity. U.S. leadership, including a commitment to incorporate the promotion of women's rights in our bilateral relationships and international aid programs, is essential not just to improving the lives of women but to strengthening the families, communities, and societies in which they live.

Unfortunately, very little time is spent on other human rights priorities.  Instead, Clinton lapses into the meta-political tick of talking about what we should be talking about.  To rebuild international trust, for example, “we will have to talk about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.”  Neither are specifically mentioned again in the essay. (She does make two general references to torture and one to indefinite detention.) 

Finally, I should note that of course, the essay discusses Iraq and Iran, but it doesn’t break new ground, and those positions have been thoroughly covered elsewhere.  (The campaign’s national security director, Lee Feinstein, discussed the Iran portion in a Monday press briefing, for example, which drew most mainstream press coverage.)  That's probably the best part of the current campaign sparring over Middle East policy: You don't even need Foreign Affairs to hear the candidates' positions on the most important issues of the day.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Clinton's American Opportunity:


We must understand not only [the terrorists’] methods but their motives: a rejection of modernity, women’s rights, and democracy, as well as a dangerous nostalgia for a mythical past.

In other words, "they hate our freedom" ... Is that it?

Dan Kervick nailed it. This has a lot less to do with abstractions than it does the actual conduct of the U.S. on the world stage. It's nice to think they're chasing some sort of mythical past and to take their rhetoric literally, but it's not useful.

Last month, Clinton voted for a Senate resolution branding Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a terror group.

Clinton's national security director, Lee Feinstein...[said] Clinton voted for the resolution to strengthen diplomatic pressure on Iran's political leaders.

Excuse me, but isn't this the justification she gave for voting for the 2002 authorization to use military force against Iraq?

shellblowing niceish sethite observational overfacility pseudoparasitism denehole respue
Lowell House Opera

E-mail transmissions cannot be guaranteed to be secure or error-free as information could be intercepted, corrupted, lost, destroyed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender therefore does not accept liability for any errors or roulette onlineomissions in the contents of this message which arise as a result of e-mail transmission.
blackjackyou are hereby notified that you must not disseminate, copy or take any action in reliance on it. If you poker videohave received this message in error please notify the sender immediately.

I do not think any one person or party has all of the answers we need to solve so many of our foreign relation policies. I wish I knew the answers. I do believe that we have to use a variety of tactics to get good results and war every time we turn around can not be the only solution because sooner or later it is going to go horribly wrong.

FF11 is very famous now. My friends like to play it and buy FFXI Gil. If you have money to buy FFXI gold, you will find it is very useful. Earning Final Fantasy XI gold is not so hard. Try your best and then you can get it. I buy FFXI Gil, just because I like it.

play online gamesThis tutorial should be put in a place of honor. The best!!! online game

my brother says rose zulie is his favorite games gold he likes,

we don't think it is reasonable to spend hundreds thousands dollars to buy a decorating watch. you can use those money to invest in other industry which will return you good profit.
here you just need to spend 100-200 dollars to buy a replica rolex watches.
Rolex Yachtmaster replica watches are made by the rating 1:1 according to the original watches, and you can't distinguish the original and the fake watches when you look at the surface of the watches.

I hope i can get GuildWars Gold in low price.
i buy Guild Wars Gold for you.

Once I played Rom Gold, I did not know how to get strong, someone told me that you must have Rom Gold. He gave me some Runes of Magic Gold.

or you buy maplestory mesos. If you get maple story mesos, you can continue this game.

The summer is coming,tiffany jewelry is your best choice.So you can choose a popular style tiffany jewelry for yourself.You will be more beautiful.

You may like 646-204 and 642-845,also you want to pass them.We can help you.

UGG Boots is your best ugg boots sale online Outlet where you can buy the cheapest
Ugg Boots.

Authentic Products provides all kinds of UGG Boots in high quality but lowest prices possible from UK. We frequently update the styles of uggsline Boots so please check back to choose your favourite Boots.
UGG boots sale

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use