24 April 2008

Hillary goes nuclear

Not being an American I will be spared the responsibility of voting for the next president of the United States; however, if I was I would have been delighted earlier in the game to vote for Hillary Clinton. Not any more. Her pandering has become almost embarrassing. As John Doyle of the Globe observed, in the recent Pennsylvania primary he half expected her to be wearing a pinafore and going around saying "aw, shucks." All politicians pander of course. One of the rules of public speaking is to tailor your speech to your audience, and politicians excel at it. Clinton just seems to consistently overdo it.

Asked what she would do if the Iranians attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, she replied she would "obliterate them." For a politician who flaunts her experience, this is the reply of an amateur. An experienced politician would know the mature answer is that in the first place, Iran doesn't have nuclear weapons, and in the second place the best American intelligence says they aren't acquiring them, so the question is no more than hypothetical mischief.

Her Strangelovian response may be recognition of the need to pander to the powerful Israel lobby, but that doesn't justify proposing Armageddon.

Maybe she feels that as a woman she has to strut her credentials as a tough guy. Show she's got the cojones, so to speak. After all, she supported both the war in Iraq and George Bush's misinformed belligerence toward Iran. She has also advertised herself as "the only candidate who isn't just talking about cracking down on China ... I have a specific plan ...." One hopes she's only referring to trade; nonetheless, her swagger caused China expert Richard Baum, her adviser on east Asia, to resign over the "grossly misguided accusations."

All this may be election hype which she would quickly bury if she became president, yet one has to wonder. If she feels she has to prove how tough she is to the electorate, will she not feel the same need when she's dealing with foreign powers, to say nothing of her own military? Let's hope that after the November election the world doesn't end up with George W. Bush lite.

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