Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

2G2K Is Back! :: On Hillary, Again, And Foreign Policy

Ferentz was inspired to write–wickedly, I must add–about Obama’s impending Hillary appointment. Loved these lines on the quickening such news stirs in the hearts of the Blitzerites and Hardballers:

Like his predecessor Bill Clinton from whose staff Obama has poached many of his top advisers, and John F. Kennedy, the young American prince to whom he’s often compared, Barack Obama has developed an uncanny knack for moving the needle.

Hilary Clinton, she of 18 million votes is no slouch herself when it comes to getting people to tune in, which means that her appointment guarantees us at least four years of soundbites from Freud impersonators dissecting her relationship with Obama.

Unfortunately I have to disagree with my brother’s main point.

Ferentz would have loved to see Hillary appointed Secretary of Education, if only as a way to bring high-profile recognition to the office and the work. It’s true that recent Education secretaries have been stunningly low-pro, even in the face of NCLB. Ferentz believes that’s an indication of how low-priority the work is, and is worried about that.

Agreed, deeply.

But he also asserts this:

In my estimation, the whole restoring America’s image abroad narrative has been blown slightly out of proportion. George W. Bush was an awful President who made a number of horrendous decisions, but outside of Iraq and Afghanistan most Americans have been largely unaffected by the Bush’s regimes decisions abroad, and it will therefore be difficult for us to really assess how much the world’s image of America has changed.

Well. No. How about the results of: Allowing turbulence in Africa and Asia to become ethnic cleansing? Botching the peace process in Palestine and Israel? Pretending climate change doesn’t exist?

Sadly there’s lots more where that came from. All corners of the globe have been scorched in this fire.

Bush’s free-market unilateralism has indeed been disastrous. It even undergirds the global economic crisis that has finally come home like the chickens, as Malcolm might have said. It’s not merely an aesthetic thing of whether they like us or not. We’ve really fucked it up.

I think Ferentz hints at the larger ideological question now being played out beneath the surface. The nation has serious war fatigue–and, coupled with the economic crisis, it is leading to a strong vibe of “let’s handle our own right now”.

There was a moment, I thought, a few years back when progressives were trying to make the case that the wars abroad were creating the chaos at home. I think we made the case very well–and Obama reflected this in his own campaign, morphing easily from the anti-war candidate to the steady-hand-on-the-economy candidate. McCain had no desire to link the two issues, and so the progressive line carried the day overwhelmingly.

Now though isn’t the time to forget how interconnected domestic and global issues are. It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and, and that’s the difficulty of the moment that we’re facing.

posted by @ 7:58 am | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “2G2K Is Back! :: On Hillary, Again, And Foreign Policy”

  1. Casey says:

    Nothing to do with your post here, but I read your book and enjoy your blog, me want more posts!

  2. Zentronix says:

    Ha! Fair enough, I shouldna left ya… OK, new post coming explaining all.

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