Sec. Hilldawg and Indispensable FP
This is Sec. Clinton on Meet the Press last week. The first 30 minutes or so is worth the watch as it is focused on foreign policy and her role as Sec. of State. The last bit is fluffero related to her thoughts on Obama’s opinon on Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s arrest, whether she will run for President again, and whether she likes Obama or not.
And the trademark Hillary laugh-cle (laugh/cackle for those keeping score at home) makes an appearance as does Hillary telling countries of the world they are very naughty children and Mama Hillary will put them in their right place (in this case about North Korea).
So be it. She’s clear, she is well versed in the subjects she is attending to, and clearly has a more substantial seat the Executive Table than any Secretary of State probably has since Albright or very possibly James Baker, the last Secretary of State who actually knew what he was doing.
But in the end this is (unsurprising given the individual) more evidence that Obama’s foreign policy is basically Clinton Foreign Policy redux. It’s America as Indispensable Nation. She in fact all but says the phrase in minute 29: “America cannot solve all the world’s problems alone, but the world cannot solve it’s problems without the United States.”
Actually Madam Secretary, depending on thet problem, it very well might be able to solve (some) of it’s problems minus the US.
Now it’s certainly better that the US takes seriously the role of other nations and isn’t replicating the first term of Bush II with its arrogance and wanton disregard for much of world opinion. And certainly to be fair to Obama & Clinton, they are still dealing with the aftermath of the awful failures of Bush’s administration. A process that itself began under George W. Bush circa 2006 with the firing of Rumsfeld, the hiring of Sec. Bob Gates, the more nuanced response (than a John McCain) to the Russian-Georgian war, and the signing of the Security Agreement with Iraq calling for the timetable for withdrawal (i.e. Obama’s campaign policy). I know it’s sorta chic to say Obama is Bush’s third term, but that cuts both ways. It would just as accurate, I think even more so, to say that really the second half of Bush’s second term was the beginning of Obama’s first term foreign policy-wise.
In terms of Af-Pak as now “Obama’s War”, you can’t say he didn’t make perfectly clear during his campaign that he was going to ramp in those areas.
In the end, though the Obama Team still sees the US as the lone superpower and all the rest of the countries in the world as responsible to what we declare. Now they are clearly bigger fans than the prior administration of creating diplomatic “coalitions of the willing” to put pressure on said countries, but fundamentally the view is the US is in the right, is the moral leader and lodestar geopolitically and everyone else must conform to that standard (and receive goodies) or face pressure (mostly in the form of sanctions with this administration).
We have gone from a (lone) hyperpower world, to a hyper-polar one.
Given that the kind of foreign policy from the US I would like to see is a ways off, if ever, this is about the best I can hope for (which isn’t saying all that much sadly) in the interim.