what is Clinton actually doing? Only overseeing what may be the most profound changes in U.S. foreign policy in two decades -- a transformation that may render the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush mere side notes in a long transition to a meaningful post-Cold War worldview.Really? What profound changes? He's pretty short on details. Most of the things he mentions are nothing special, and things any administration and secretary of state would be doing.
The secretary has quietly begun rethinking the very nature of diplomacy and translating that vision into a revitalized State DepartmentRethinking the very nature of diplomacy? Hmm, that's sounds like ridiculous hyperbole. Again, what does that mean? He even throws in a strange assertion about Obama.
More unusual has been the avidity with which the new president has seized the reins of foreign policyThat's funny. Many think Obama is far more interested in domestic affairs and generally clueless about foreign policy. Obama has done very little other than irritate some of our allies, and pander to our enemies. Some of his positives moves, such as outreach to developing powers like India, are continuations of things done by the Bush administration. We have two wars going on, and Obama's vision is apparently to close his eyes and try and make Iraq go away in 2011, and keep escalating in Afghanistan -- not exactly great innovations.
In searching for answers, Clinton is leaving behind old doctrines and labels.Yeah, pretty much like every new administration and secretary of state. When things change, new doctrines and labels are necessary. The whole article reads like a puff piece glorifying Obamariffic hope & change in foreign policy. It's hard to even take it seriously. I was actually laughing out loud at parts of it. Toward the end of the piece Rothkopf returns to reality by noting,
No kidding. It would have been nice if he'd remembered that before he wrote all the ridiculous fluff that precedes it. You love Hillary & Obama. Fine, just say so, without jumping to all sorts of wild conclusions about a revolution in the "very nature" of foreign policy.
It is still early, and a president's foreign policy legacy is often defined less by big principles than by how one reacts to the unexpected, whether missiles in Cuba or terrorism in New York. Promising ideas fail because of limited attention or reluctant bureaucracies, and some rhetoric eventually rings hollow, as the self-congratulatory "smart power" already does to me.