Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Mrs. Clinton's interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic felt like a bombshell, unlike Obama's "pinpricks" in northern Iraq.  She walked a fine line between "respect" and "correct." The impact of the latter sounds louder than the imprint of the former. Her rejection of the President's "Don't do stupid stuff" mantra in favor of "Great nations need organizing principles" is no longer a trench skirmish but an assault.  About Jihadism, Syria, Gaza, Mrs. Clinton often sounds more like a "neo-con reborn" than a middle-of-the-road Democrat.

This is obviously a difficult time for a president who is viscerally opposed to getting America into a war narrative. His body language betrays his psychological mindset, wary of any unilateral intervention not shared by like-minded countries.  He prefers "balances" to "checks" but meanwhile the Middle East and Ukraine have no time left for such "niceties."

Mrs. Clinton's rather abrupt presentation of her views is in stark contrast with Obama's proverbial caution. However she should not receive a free pass after a tenure as secretary of state wherein the ambiguities were many and the real achievements few.  She often avoids qualification and prefers to hide behind quantifying.  Views evolve and her new walk on the "wild side," while not devoid of contradictions, is still more appealing than the lame abstractions of the former law professor.  He dwells on procedure instead of acting. This can at times be appropriate but legal and metaphysical spirals do not halt a growing immediate danger such as ISIL, which is a de facto growing failed state. The President is making the same mistake he did with Russia, flippantly and erroneously "reduced" by him to just being a "regional" power.  It can be expected that if not hit hard and now, the off-shoots might lead to rude awakenings in Europe and the United States.

Little is said about the humanitarian aid.  Mount Sinjar has become less a potential killing-field. Erbil is no longer in immediate danger.  ISIL might as well change tactics and prioritize Baghdad (in political free-fall for the time being ) over the rush into the Kurdish region (bolstered by the U.S.).  Obama's righteous call for an inclusive Iraqi government falls on dead ears for now.  The EU is harder to locate in this quagmire than a needle in a haystack.  Other countries, with the exception of the UK, which dispose of aid apparatus are seemingly on holiday (Where is Belgium's B-Fast "First aid and support team" by the way?)

Mrs. Clinton likes tightropes and thin ice.  She needs the limelight (so does her husband). The political acrobatics of this first couple (in waiting) might well "boomerang."  One can be right as long as one does not overcharge. The Clintons like to mark out their future moves with early warning signs. They might overdo doing so, expediting saturation, which every politician rather prefers to avoid. The President has the tactical advantage of not having to run and he may come back from Martha's Vineyard refreshed and "rebooted."  Since his own future is no longer a bargaining chip he might as well get more involved, by choice rather than by necessity.

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