Dirty Hands and Clenched Fists

Sunday morning, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did a full hour with David Gregory on Meet the Press. She is, above all else, a committed Obama team member, echoing the president’s line on everything from engagement to restarts and artfully smoothing over Joe Biden’s head-scratchers. One of the most depressing moments of the hour came with this:

MR. GREGORY: But if the United States decides to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program, as has been the stated policy of the willingness to engage, are you not betraying this democratic movement trying to overthrow that regime?

SEC’Y CLINTON: I don’t think so, David, because you can go back in history — and not, you know, very long back — where we have negotiated with many governments who we did not believe represented the will of their people.

Right she is, and that’s what made us less legitimate when we sought to topple Saddam’s Ba’athist regime in the name of freedom. The dirty-hands argument was extremely popular among those who opposed the Iraq war. Given America’s historical inclination to seek convenient relationships with autocrats, so the line went, why should Bush be believed about all that liberty and democracy stuff? As it turned out, the U.S. did not prop up a puppet or suck up Iraq’s natural resources for itself.

0
Shares
Google+ Print

Dirty Hands and Clenched Fists

Must-Reads from Magazine

Republicans Need to Prepare for the Worst

Expect the impossible.

If the 2016 presidential election cycle demonstrated anything, it was that Republicans suffer from a crippling lack of imagination. That ordeal should have established that the unprecedented is not impossible. Even now, Republicans seem as though they are trying to convince themselves that their eyes are lying to them, but they are not. The tempo of the investigation into President Trump is accelerating, and a nightmare scenario is eminently imaginable. Only congressional Republicans can avert disaster, and only then by being clear about the actions they are prepared to take if Trump instigates a crisis of constitutional legitimacy.

40
Shares
Google+ Print

Can Turkey be Trusted with F-35s?

Are the warplane's secrets safe?

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the newest generation air platform for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marines. Lockheed-Martin, which builds the F-35, describes it as “a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.” For both diplomatic reasons and to encourage sales, Lockheed-Martin subcontracted the production of many F-35 components to factories abroad. Many program partners—Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, for example—are consistent U.S. allies.

29
Shares
Google+ Print

The Trump Right’s Martyrdom of Kim Guadagno

Too many martyrs make a movement.

If the GOP is to be converted into a vehicle for politicians who evince Donald Trump’s brand of pragmatic center-right populism, Trump will have to demonstrate his brand of politics can deliver victories for people other than himself. Presidential pen strokes help to achieve that, as do judicial appointments. Nothing is so permanent, though, as sweeping legislative change. On that score, the newly Trumpian Republican Party is coming up short. If the passive process of transformational legislative success fails to compel anti-Trump holdouts in the GOP to give up the ghost, there is always arm-twisting. It seems the Republican National Committee is happy to play enforcer.

13
Shares
Google+ Print

The Conservative Crack-Up, 2017 Edition

Podcast: Conservatism in shackles while O.J. goes free?

On the second of this week’s podcasts, I ask Abe Greenwald and Noah Rothman whether the health-care debacle this week is simply a reflection of the same pressures on the conservative coalition Donald Trump saw and conquered by running for president last year—and what it will mean for him and them that he has provided no rallying point for Republican politicians. And then we discuss OJ Simpson. Give a listen.

3
Shares
Google+ Print

Macron’s Terrorism Idiocy

Hyperbole yields cynicism, not the other way around.

Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron surprised almost everyone when he invited President Donald Trump to celebrate Bastille Day with him in Paris, especially after the two leaders’ awkward first meeting in Brussels in May. After all, between now and then, Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, and Macron has become perhaps the most vocal critic of Trump among European leaders.

15
Shares
Google+ Print