Monday, January 21, 2008

Bill Clinton

During his campaign for a third term, we should keep in mind that his foreign policy was an abject failure by all objective measures:

-He embarrassed the US and the Western world in Somalia, a nation which remains one of the world's poorest failed states today.

-His failure to intervene in Rwanda is the greatest humiliation of humanity since WW2.

-His response to the genocide of Muslims in Yugoslavia was limited and weak, according to relatives who lived through it.

-He made no ground on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict

-He allowed the Taliban to take power in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda built up during his watch. The warning signs were there - even a UN report in 1998 detailed the Taliban's anti-American activities.

-He made no positive progress in Iraq, except periodic air strikes conveniently timed to take the heat off of himself during the Lewinsky scandal.

Many people might wonder what Hillary Clinton's foreign policy would look like. I have two words for them: Status Quo. The same old shit, the same old textbook responses. Don't stick your neck out, make the politically safe play. Arguably, it is a better strategy than Bush took. Bill didn't make anything *worse*, after all. However, he certainly didn't make anything better.

America, and the world, deserves more than that. Barack Obama is a drastic departure from any sort of status quo. His understanding of world issues dwarfs that of Hillary. His charisma is light years beyond what hers could ever be. Obama's race, being of African descent, would make it possible for him to reach out to African nations and make progress there like never before. Even his middle name, Hussein, would send a message to Muslims everywhere that America doesn't hate them, their culture, or their religion. It just hates their extremists. I'll finish this post with one of Andrew Sullivan's best advocacies for Obama that I've read:

"Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can."

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