Sec. Hilldawg and Indispensable FP

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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19 Responses

  1. Michael Drew says:

    The ‘Indispensable Nation’ kitsch is such standard boilerplate from that part of the Democratic establishment that at this point I think it can be safely dismissed as almost meaningless in terms of characterizing overall policy in favor of a bottom-up analysis of rhetoric and actions on specific problems. (which is to say Hillary Clinton will be Hillary Clinton; we all know why she was appointed; Obama can’t very well script her every public appearance; there’s no evidence that except on sensitive questions where her latitude is tightly prescribed we can assume her thinking closely reflects his).

    Obama has made enough major speeches and encountered enough in the foreign arena already I think that we can use his direct words and actions to begin to characterize the approach rather than decade-old vestigal malapropisms spilling from a Top Diplomat struggling to gain relevancy. (Sorry, I’m feeling spicy this morning.)

    That’s not to say that her appearance wasn’t appaling, nor that asimilar conclusion to the one you draw couldn’t be reached by looking at the president’s record thus far if you’re looking from the right angle. Honduras certainly would go in your column, but I think Iran is a data point you’d have to do some accounting for. It was said in many places Obama was rolled by Putin, and in other place that he was rolled by Netanyahu; I think the jury’s obviously still out on both those, though the sounds on Russia haven’t been encouraging.

    There is certainly a fair case that with Secretary Hillary “Stuck in the Nineties” Clinton and Joe “Veep on the Loose” Biden both hurling provocations to the East and West, the message as well as the record are at best mixed at this point as to whether we are seeing something closer to Clinton, Bush I, or something new altogether.Report

    • Chris Dierkes in reply to Michael Drew says:

      I think on Iran it’s very much this kind of view. Iran is told they can’t have nuclear weapons at the same time that the US inks a deal to recognize India’s (though they broke the same int’l law), we obviously deal with Israel and Pakistan (again both flagrant violators of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty).

      So we say Iran can have nuclear energy but now even the rods. Sure Obama has offered talks in a way Bush didn’t, but basically it’s the same policy. And all the talk of creating a nuclear shield in the Middle East if Iran goes weaponized nuclear is revived Carter Doctrine-ism.Report

  2. mike farmer says:

    The people in Washington DC, statists, nationalists and regular old Hoorah Amuricuns, don’t understand that it’s principles over nations, that there is nothing inherently superior to being an American and living in the U.S. — any country which developes the classical liberal principles of free markets, non-intervention, individual rights, equality of pursuit, de-centralization — and moves away from central planning — can create a society, an economy and a people far superior to where we’re headed with our present statist direction.Report

    • Chris Dierkes in reply to mike farmer says:

      obviously there’s a lot to like in that formulation. but what happens when other nations go rogue or become threatening/overly powerful over their neighbors. Liberal Internationalism’s central insight–and here I’m with them on this one–is that you have to engage on the world stage to make the world “safe for liberalism”. And generally the best way to do so is via multi-lateral institutions. Otherwise when other nations go rogue (as they eventually will), the liberal nations will likely move towards softer authoritarian forms of government in reaction to the climate of fear.

      The best policy I think the US could be doing now is helping to create regional security frameworks. Like an Asian version of NATO for example. That would be a proactive rather than a reactive policy which is what we know have. Sure Obama & Crew are more in favor of ad hoc diplomatic exercises to deal with (most of) the hotspots, though they will go it alone if they want (see Pakistan), but it’s all reactive to events.Report

      • North in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

        Does creating yet another trans-national committee that bad faith actors can then hijack or veto into impotence really strike you as the best option? I don’t think there’s a dearth of such organizations already or were you going more along the lines of Mcain’s league of democracies?Report

        • Chris Dierkes in reply to North says:

          I’m not talking about another UN. I’m talking regional security arrangements so groups can deal with their own stuff. Again like NATO. A strengthened African Union. An ASEAN-like military security agreement. Basically all that stands in the way of that actually is North Korea.

          No, heaven’s no, not another UN.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    P.J. O’Rourke famously reviewed _It Takes a Village to Raise a Child_ thusly: “You are the child. Washington D.C. is the village.”

    Now the rest of the world is the child. The US is the village.Report

  4. Bob Cheeks says:

    Every time I see that thick legged beauty, I think of Vince Foster!Report

  5. North says:

    I’ve never disliked Hillary. Hell I voted for her in the primary (Though the O-man excessively green and insufficiently treacherous). So I suppose I count as biased when I say that I think she’s done a perfectly fine job at State. She’s certainly toed the administration line and advanced the presidents positions.Report

  6. Kyle says:

    I rather liked Hill’s performance on MTP, it was a far more enlightening hour than Sens. Dorgan and DeMint bickering about healthcare on This Week.

    Anywhoo, I don’t really take issue with her formulation if you see her as talking about global issues and not issues that happen in the world. I mean, if she’s referring to the DPRK, which has made us a focal point of their diplomatic intransigence, or climate change, the financial crisis, piracy, human trafficking, etc…. All of these initiatives are in no small part reliant on US efforts, staffed by US personnel, funded by the US, or involve US corporations.

    At another level, when you’re dealing with the stark power and capability differentials between the US and other powers, even American inaction is involvement. Or at least a factor. So, in that regard, I quite agree with Secretary Clinton.

    On the moral leader comments, I think it’s variable. We pat ourselves on the back with regards to Iran/DPRK/Syria. However, you don’t really hear how morally in the right we are when we’re talking about bilateral relations with Japan (whose criminal justice system is shockingly barbaric), or Israel (even when we disagree with them on settlements).

    Color me cynical but I think our view of national morality seems to fit how convenient a frame it provides for the issue of the day rather than either a coherent set of principles or even self-image. Which is why we laud the moral equivalence of convenient allies and backwards barbarism of enemies. Whether or not that reflects reality at all.

    finally, it strikes me as almost a prerequisite that the foreign policy principles would always see the US as in the right. After all, right for them isn’t a matter of global outcomes, but pursuing American interests, however defined.Report