I’ve said, repeatedly, that to me the defining issue in the Democratic primary is that I think Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy would be worse than would the alternatives. Under the circumstances, I think I owe the world a clearer explanation of what I think the problem is. One correspondent boiled the issue down the other day to the idea that I think Hillary would be “too hawkish.” I don’t really like that way of framing the issue, which I think makes things far too crude. Maybe Clinton will be too hawkish, and maybe she won’t; maybe it’s hard to know what that means; maybe a situation will arise where a hawkish response is warranted. The problem is something else.
The problem is that I think she’s unlikely to try any of the bold strokes necessary to turn our situation around. I don’t see her trying for a grand bargain with Iran, don’t see her making the tough choices necessary to revitalize the NPT, don’t see her taking political risks on the Arab-Israeli confict, don’t see her acting boldly and decisively on Iraq, and don’t see her accomplishing anything particularly innovative and interesting in terms of UN Reform.
By contrast, I think an Obama administration (and probably an Edwards administration as well) will include some people at high-levels who are pressing for those things, and will be led by a man who has some inclinations in those directions. I think Clinton and her people are too narrowly political, too complacent about the depth of America’s problems in the world, and, yes, maybe too inclined to believe that if the shit really hits the fan all that’ll happen is that public support for the use of force will revive and that under new, more competent leadership, the armed forces will resolve the situation by waging a new war.
And, at the end of the day, I’m against Clinton mostly because I have a choice: I can live with President Clinton and Secretary of State Holbrooke but given that there’s a different, better set of people available, I hope they win. If they don’t, I’ll hope Clinton has the good sense to listen to the smarter members of her team
But mostly it’s just that we have a choice: I can live with President Clinton and Secretary of State Holbrooke but given that there’s another, better set of people available, I hope they win. If they don’t, I’ll hope HRC has the good sense to listen to the smarter members of her team: they’re not all bad.