I think HRC comes off rather well in this interview with Jeffrey Goldberg: Hillary Clinton: Chinese System Is Doomed, Leaders on a ‘Fool’s Errand’. Makes me proud I voted for her in the 2008 California primary, though in those dark, illuded days, it was more a protest vote against the frightening BHO, who is, of course, the real Ms. America to me now… (Times and minds do change…)
Anyway, as a sucker for historical references, I especially liked her pivot from a first point to a connected second point about the dispersal of power in our era. Her maneuver also involves a simultaneously (dialectically, almost) realistic and idealistic refusal to commit either to realism or to idealism in foreign policy:
HRC: I’m just saying that it’s not either/or. So that today, that, to me, would be impossible, so the realist position today is you have to deal with. Realism evolves. I mean, we aren’t living in Bismarckian Germany right now. And can you imagine any secretary of state like Henry Kissinger being able to go anywhere secretly today? I don’t think so.
JG: You mean allegedly being sick in Pakistan for a week and dashing off to China? You would kind of like that, though.
HRC: Well, of course I would. But it’s not possible. The second issue is the dispersal of power through information that was unimagined a decade ago, let alone 50 years ago. So even if you thought you could just deal with one guy in one country and you could check it off your list of concerns, that’s impossible now. The way technology has exploded means that we are all living in a totally different environment. It has changed everything. And to pretend otherwise, that there’s some kind of great doctrine out there that can be taken from the heavens and imposed upon the global national body, is just not realistic anymore.
The “global national body” is an interesting phrase… and rather neo-Hegelian – the idea that the universal state is still bound up in and constituted by the policies of the individual nations, yet somehow is becoming a single “global body” in turn constituted by disparate individuals operating in a non- or extra-national capacity.
To watch M. de Goldberg and Secretary Clinton performing and detect Hegel is no run-of-the-mill neofeat. On the other hand, an ability to provoke “¿¡Now who’d ’a’ thunka’ THAT!?” in complete e-strangers is not, perhaps, the best conceivable return on one.s parents’ investment in tertiary educationalism.
The present keyboard would prefer to confine itself to praising Her Excellency.s quasifrankness about wishing she could do cabinet diplomacy the way Prince Bismarck and the Freelord of Kissinger used to be able to: “Well, of course I would. But it’s not possible.”
Well, she *would* say that, _¿no es verdad?_
It is “wink, wink, nod, nod” time at the Foggy Bottom Corral, for “of course” His Wunnerfulness of H*rv*rd might easily have fobbed off a factious scribbler with the same nostalgia-laden tale thirty minutes before somehow windin’ up in Beijing on his way to Mass. General. [*]
[*] Prince Bismarck, I believe, would not have been obliged to so much as recognize the existence of the Banî Goldberg. Did the great man ever actually speak to any of his own press reptiles, let alone anybody else.s?
So times *have* changed a little, ¡no doubt about it!
Nevertheless, expecting “open covenants, openly arrived at” to become pandemic between now and next Monday afternoon is the sort of good attitude that makes one wish one owned a spare Brooklyn Bridge or two.