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Clinton, Obama and the New Era of American Empire
Clinton did not hesitate to defend what she referred to as the “ugly” aspects of the Cold War—but did not name the nations in which the US had intervened, frequently to uphold or install brutal regimes which were reliably anti-Communist. She ignored equally covert interference in democratic nations. In the end, she proclaimed, the Cold War was won, legitimating what was done to win it. She sounded as hard as Kissinger but gave no evidence of having his historical intelligence.
to read Norman Birnbaum's article published August 19, 2014, click on
That the end of the Cold War did not initiate a universal reign of peace and prosperity was attributed by Clinton to the irredeemable nature of nations and peoples unfortunate enough not to share in the destiny of the US. Clinton singled out Putin and Russia as especially flawed, pronounced Israel morally and politically exemplary, and was patronizing of Europe, skeptical of the possibility of agreement with Iran and remarkably silent on Asia—-except for praise for Prime Minister Abe for efforts to increase the share of women in the Japanese work force. One might have thought Abe’s deference to Japanese nationalism of some interest to her. After all, she is not the first graduate of Wellesley College in the vicinity of Boston to be interested in world politics. She was preceded by someone from the Sen family, later Madame Chiang Kai-Shek.
President Obama, in recent statements like the interview with Thomas Friedman in the New York Times, has taken a very different approach. He explicitly rejects the view that the US , however large its potential for influence, can impose its views on the world. He insists that there are many problems which do not respond to military solutions. Nations and peoples bear responsibility for overcoming their own divisions. The US has quite enough to do within its own borders, and indeed in failing to solve its own problems would become its own greatest adversary. His words are devoid of the triumphalism of Clinton’s unoriginal version of American exceptionalism. No President since Kennedy (in the 1963 speech calling for an end to the Cold War) has so emphatically defied the conventional thought of the American foreign policy elite—which accounts for their relentless denigration of our remarkably intelligent President. He has indeed made his own some of the worst traditions of the foreign policy apparatus and the domestic security state —especially in surveillance of the citizenry in violation of our constitutional rights, and covert operations abroad forbidden by our own laws and international law. Perhaps he has been influenced by Kennedy’s fate. A journey of ten thousand miles does begin with a single step, and he has at least taken more than one of these.
Clinton’s views are a return to the dogmatism that made her as schoolgirl an enthusiast for the angry provincialism of the prophet of contemporary Republican imperialism, Senator Goldwater.