Monday, November 19, 2007

she's crafty

Matt Yglesias uses Dave Roberts' LBJ/Clinton analogy as an opening to explain why the prospect of a Clinton presidency makes him uneasy on foreign policy grounds.

The basic reality is that each and every time the candidates stake out a position on something, Clinton takes a less-liberal line. Then each and every time Obama starts getting traction with the argument that Clinton is too hawkish, she backtracks and makes the argument that there's no real difference here. And it's true that if you look at any one thing with a microscope, the "no difference" argument can be made to stick. But it's the pattern that matters -- the initial support for Iraq, the more hawkish caste to her advisory team, the "naive and irresponsible" line, the meager carrots she's prepared to offer Iran, her weird position on nuclear disarmament, her campaign's courting of CANF and AIPAC, her vote for Kyl-Lieberman -- all point in the same direction and it's a frightening one.
Quite so. Going back to the LBJ analogy, LBJ's foreign policy woes stemmed in part from his basic lack of understanding of foreign affairs, aside from his flawed conception of the U.S. role in the world. Clinton seems to know what is going on, but shares the same flawed Albrightian view that LBJ held of the U.S. as the indispensable leader. We need someone who can walk us back from that cliff. Yglesias suspects, as do I, that someone may be Obama.

Or even if Yglesias and Obama both still cling to Albright's vision, perhaps an Obama presidency could be an intermediate stage in the U.S.'s evolution away from empire, like Australopithecus or Clement Atlee.


HispanicPundit said...

You may be onto something...see here.

yave said...

Since the shameful Democratic acquiescence to the wars in the Middle East and since I started representing immigrants in their travails with the government, I'm finding I have more in common with libertarians than I once thought. What I'm wondering is how this may change after the elections next year. Part of it will depend on who wins and whether they listen to critiques that are filtering up through the blogosphere.