Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review of a Hilary Clinton book

We came, we saw, he died in London Review of Books by Jackson Lears. Excerpts:
"The intellectual bankruptcy of the Democratic Party is nowhere more evident than in the looming presidential candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton.....These conventional formulas stress Clinton’s exceptionalist faith in America’s unique responsibility for ‘global leadership’. There was a time when this meant leading by example, but since the Second World War, the phrase ‘global leadership’ has served as a euphemism for military intervention – multilateral if possible, unilateral if necessary. Indeed, exceptionalism has proved a durable justification for unilateralism. Presidential candidates from both parties have long felt obliged to pay homage to the exceptionalist creed, but Clinton’s attachment to it is obsessive. She says she wroteHard Choices ‘for anyone anywhere who wonders whether the US still has what it takes to lead’. She recalls Madeleine Albright’s threadbare interventionist slogan: the US, Clinton insists, remains ‘the indispensable nation’. As secretary of state, she acted on her faith by sponsoring the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya and advocating US intervention in Syria, not to mention engineering the Asia Pivot towards increased US involvement in the Far East."
"Clinton’s exceptionalism promotes an implicit double standard that separates the US from the rest of the world. Consider the Asia Pivot: according to Clinton, ‘we needed to send a message to Asia and the world that America was back’ in its ‘traditional leadership role in Asia’ – managing competition, fostering co-operation, maintaining stability. This was ‘forward-deployed diplomacy … borrowing a term from our military colleagues’. The Chinese perception, naturally enough, was that the US was determined to block its rise. Why China shouldn’t claim a ‘leadership role’ in its own part of the world, and the US should, is one of the mysteries of the exceptionalist faith."
" ‘For the West, the demonisation of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one,’ he wrote last year. ‘Putin is a serious strategist – on the premises of Russian history. Understanding US values and psychology are not his strong suits. Nor has understanding Russian history and psychology been a strong point among US policymakers.’ Clinton seems likely to continue that tradition."