Sunday, February 21, 2016

Death Before Dishonor, A Survivor's Problem

I found myself having an argument online about the Kissinger thing--that is: is Hillary history's greatest monster on her own, or is the fact that she socializes with Oscar de la Renta and the Kissingers proof that she is history's greatest monster because Kissinger's sins became hers the moment they shared a canape and a glass of bubbly on the beach? Let me hasten to add that I'm as shocked and horrified by the idea of socializing on a beach front estate in wherever caribbean place with other 90 year olds as I am with the fact that Kissinger is an unindicted war criminal. I've thought about this quite a bit, actually. I'm old enough to hate Kissinger, and Nixon's ghost, with a white hot fury.  Not only for what Kissinger did in Cambodia and Vietnam but also for East Pakistan and a number of other places. But does that mean that, if I were ever to be First Lady, or President, or Secretary of State that I wouldn't consult with him if I thought it would benefit the country? Or that I would refuse to break bread with him--well, I probably would, actually--but I wouldn't expect other people to take such a hard line.  I don't expect Obama to piss on Nixon's grave. Or refuse to permit George Bush to pose in a picture with him.  Or behave rudely to Mrs. Bush on the grounds that Bush is responsible for millions of displaced and murdered Iraqis.  You can't run a country on grudges and recriminations. You can't run a country--and HRC and Bill Clinton have been in the top slot already--and not be willing to compromise, a lot, to get things done.  I said this over at Balloon Juice and I think it bears repeating here.   "No one runs a country like the US without blood on their hands. Sins of omission or sins of comission. That has been true since the founding. Ask the native americans. Ask our African American citizens. If Sanders is pure now, right this moment, he won’t be five minutes after he takes the oath of office. He will end up being responsible for avoidable deaths somewhere, somehow, inevitably. And he will break bread with, and confide in, and socialize with people who have done so. That’s the job."

27 comments:

Erik C. said...

I know abou Kissinger, but what's the deal with de la Renta?

Unknown said...

Let's agree to forget Iraq. After all, the American people have. And besides, Hillary's vote was more out of cowardice than hawkishness.

But she was arguably the loudest voice calling for our war crime against Libya. And even from your American Exceptionalist point of view, it was a colossal fuck-up in terms of our "security interests". And she's out there bragging about it.

So please don't insult our intelligence with this "Bernie will have blood on his hands too" nonsense when Hillary is already coated and dripping up to her elbows. Just stick with "he's unelectable" or scream "Bernie Bro!" and leave it at that.

Tom Hilton said...

Yeah, exactly. I've heard people actually say being friends with Kissinger disqualifies her from the Presidency, and it drives me nuts.

Last night Jody & I were speculating on how Sanders would deal with meeting foreign leaders with horrible human rights records--which any President has to do all the time. Probably he would do the necessary, as you say, but that's best-case scenario; he may be just inflexible enough to stand on principle, foreign policy goals be damned.

CH said...

I had this little argument with a friend the other day. It's not the fact that HRC chooses Henry the K's company on social occasions that bothers me; I happen to find it trashy, like attending Trump's wedding, but she might find some of my pals equally distasteful, & that's all neither here nor there. What's bothersome is her citation of Kissinger as a source of foreign policy advice. I find that to be a most legitimate cause of concern, given his track record.

Tom said...

I think Bernie should be asked exactly who will be giving him advice on foreign policy. He has no expertise or experience himself. Hillary asked the question and he knocked it away with "Not Kissinger, that's for sure."

Fine but who? The world of foreign policy experts is not a particularly large one. There aren't more than a few thousand people who Bernie could credibly present as expert. Hillary knows most of them. I doubt if you could find more than a handful more than two steps away from Kissinger. They worked for him or they were trained by him or they worked for somebody who worked for him or were trained by him. They all will socialize with him at every opportunity.

I don't think Bernie can produce a foreign policy expert he's consulting. They all figure Henry Kissinger in his 90's can do more for them than Bernie can.

Yastreblyansky said...

Unk, I haven't forgotten Iraq but maybe you have if you think there was anything in common between that and the thing in Libya.

The central thing about the Libya fuckup is that it wasn't in point of fact an American Exceptionalist thing at all. It was basically planned in France and UK from 21 February to 14 March, less than a week before the action began, when Sarkozy and Juppé formally asked Clinton to ask Obama for US assistance. Consonant with Obama's continually exerted effort to get the other developed countries to step up and stop expecting the US to be the world's policeman, and it was managed by French and UK officials throughout. Backed by the unanimous Security Council resolution 1970 (26 February) and the US Senate resolution 85 (for which Sanders voted, 1 March), huge march of women in the streets of Benghazi begging NATO to set up a no-fly zone and formal request from the Arab League (12 March), etc. There is a single allegation of a war crime by NATO during the operations (when airstrikes in Sirte in late September may have killed 47 civilians). Everything else was, as Ban Ki-moon was at pains to stress, legal.
And it seemed to have been a success until well after Clinton had left the State Department, when civil war broke out again in 2014. In September 2011,
While Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron were given heroes’ welcomes during victory laps through Libya last month, Clinton was confronted during her recent Tripoli visit with questions about why the United States had not done more.

“Many people feel that the United States has taken a back seat,” one student told her.

Yastreblyansky said...

CH, when did she cite Kissinger as a source of advice on foreign policy? I find only that she accepted his flattery when he said she managed the State Department well. In the debate, prodded by Sanders, she said she might consider advice from Kissinger on a subject where she respected his views, citing China, but never said she had solicited it or would solicit it.

Lit3Bolt said...

The biggest mistake our FP analysts made about the Arab Spring (and Iraq) was assuming that there was anything to replace dictatorships that had been in place for almost 2 generations. There was no model of governance, no freedom fighters, no one who remembered the old British or French or Turk regimes. Maybe they assumed the armies would stick together...but even national armies disintegrate if it looks like no one's getting paid and supply chains have dried up.

HRC and Obama have gotten flak for intervening in Libya. They've gotten flak for NOT intervening in Syria. They've gotten flak for shooting missiles at suspected terrorists and American citizens who were obviously radicalized.

My point is almost every so called Middle East expert was completely wrong about the path of the Arab Spring. Foreign policy is hard and is not a exercise in hand waving about your healthcare plan and wishing 5% economic growth in the US until the end of time and declaring everyone gets a pony.

I'm not a blind HRC fan, and I don't really admire her husband a lot. I don't think she's the best politician or has the moral high ground.

I still think she's currently the best current candidate for President, though. You can agree with Bernie all you want...but you're basically falling in love with lie in liberal clothing, like John Edwards. I've not heard an ounce of pragmatism or realism from that camp. Until I do, I think every Sanders supporter is full of shit and are a bunch of political naifs who will have their lunch money stolen by Republicans, who still make up a significant plurality of this country.

aimai said...

I don't understand--well, I do--the total hysteria over anodyne phrases like "take advice" or "talk to X." Sure Hillary talked to Kissinger and probably says she "takes his advice." Any evidence that she does so? Any evidence that its not another "listening tour" like the one she famously took through NY State? John Adams read every single thing he could on Democracies, Tyrannies, Dictatorships and Monarchies in order to know enough to begin to write laws and have opinions about our Democracy. Gathering information, asking questions, is what educated god damned people do when they have a difficult task ahead of them.

The number of people, perhaps they are a special breed of online idiot saints, who believe that its possible to simply know the right thing to do in a difficult political situation, led by an infallible moral dowsing rod, is just beyond me. Its childish. Its absurd. The world is complicated. You can have a highly moral viewpoint--and I'd argue that having watched her at work for twenty some years Hillary has a very highly developed and moral viewpoint--and still need lots of information about a given situation before you decide what to do.

Maybe I should save this for another post, a long form post. But god damn the one thing you can say about HRC is that she is a fucking hard worker, at thankless tasks, that are basically humanitarian and progressive in their goals. She retired as first lady--up until HRC no first lady has ever gone on to have a job like Senator. She worked fucking hard as a Senator and then ran for President, worked hard at that and then graciously took SoS and worked damned hard at that. She didn't have to do any of that. She could just have been a lazy, rich woman and sunned herself on a beach for the rest of her life. Read Maureen Dowd about travelling with Hillary in India some time. The woman relaxes by thinking about political economy and human rights. She doesn't have to do that, she didn't have to do that. Now she's fighting hard to get back into the White House so she can continue working hard for other people's benefit. And by this time she must really, really, know that all she will get for that is continued accusations that she is a mass murderer, a corporatist worse than the koch brothers, etc..etc..etc...

Blackstone said...

Actually another First Lady went on to be ambassador to the United Nations - ER.

Blackstone said...

Got to correct that. ER was the US representative to th UN commission on human rights. But to the best of my knowledge no 1st lady, between ER and HRC took on any position. Certainly HRC has broken more new ground and deserves credit for doing so

Victor said...

Oy, will no one ever free me from the "Liberal Purity Police?"

Yes, Kissinger is an old war criminal, but he's not Dick Cheney!
Kissinger actually knows... for lack of a better term... shit from Shinola, and isn't pulling stuff out of his ass.

Maybe you listen to him, if only to find out what you SHOULDN'T DO.

aimai said...

Good point about ER--a personal hero of HRC's and of mine. I forgot about her. And I don't think that the work that other women do and did--I believe Hoover's wife had a career as a scientist but I could be mistaken--doesn't matter. It does. But nevertheless my point about HRC stands. She has worked hard, in and out of the White House, at jobs that were entirely focused on the public weal.

Blackstone said...

I admire both ER and HRC (and I am a guy) I agree with your point. If I had gone through what she has in public life, I probably would have said f it along time ago. Yet she continues on. Agree or disagree with her there is much to be admired.

Dark Avenger said...

According to the Wiki, she was one smart cookie, from his entry.

Hoover and his wife learned Mandarin Chinese while he worked in China and used it during his tenure at the White House when they wanted to foil eavesdroppers.

Lou Henry was born in Waterloo, Iowa, to banker Charles Delano Henry and Florence Ida Weed.[1][2] Lou grew up something of a tomboy in Waterloo, as well as Whittier, California, and Monterey, California.[1] Charles Henry took his daughter on camping trips in the hills—her greatest pleasures in her early teens.[1] Lou became a fine horsewoman; she hunted, and preserved specimens with the skill of a taxidermist; she developed an enthusiasm for rocks, minerals, and mining.[1]

She attended San Jose Normal School, now San Jose State University. In 1894 she enrolled—as the school's only female geology major—at Stanford University, where she met Herbert Hoover, who was then a senior.



https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Henry_Hoover

Rand Careaga said...

“So please don't insult our intelligence with this ‘Bernie will have blood on his hands too’ nonsense”

Ah, the Purity Trolls are heard from.

Listen, chum: You, and I, and Steve M, and aimai and anyone with the education and leisure time to contribute to a discussion thread like this are all of us unavoidably complicit in the doings of the American imperium. First, though, when President Sanders takes the oath of office, he’s in the position of Michael Corleone becoming head of that famous crime family. Mikey may decide that going forward the Corleones are going to get out of racketeering, prostitution, numbers, narcotics and solid waste management, and instead devote all their resources to helping out animal rescue societies, but such a decision will generate pushback not merely from his immediate circle, but all the way down to street level among his own organization. If he persists, one of his caporegimes’ll pop a cap in him, either literally (see “gunman, lone crazed”) or figuratively (see “Carter, James Earl”). Bernie’s choice will be real blood on his hands or his own political blood all over the back seat of the limo.

As to our own complicity, we live in a country that, with about five percent of the world’s population, consumes, depending on the metrics employed, around a third of the planet’s resources, and while this is certainly a more desirable ratio from the standpoint of our personal circumstances than it would be with the numbers reversed, it’s not a condition that obtains because we are smarter, or more virtuous or more beloved of Cthulhu than the other peoples of the globe. No, it’s because we are the citizens of a predatory empire that has secured its privileged position in part by slaughtering more people outside its own borders than has any other country since 1945. We cannot disclaim that complicity merely by deploring the nation’s depredations or by loudly crying out that we voted for Nader in 2000 (that one rather ramps up than diminishes the culpability in my book) or announcing that we’ll sit out 2016 if Saint Bernard is not the Democratic nominee. We don’t get to vault out of the present moral mineshaft in a single bound, and it might even be too much to hope for that we’ll stop digging, but if it’s, say, Clinton vs. Cruz in November, I’m going for the candidate under whose administration the tunneling will proceed less briskly.

Because I am of a sunny, pollyanna-ish disposition, I’ll close by observing that while our standards of living derive to a large extent from the empire’s subjugation of hundreds of millions of the world’s peoples, it is heartening to observe the concerted effort by our oligarchs to take upon themselves as much of this karmic burden as they can possibly shoulder, to this extent sparing the rest of us that wear and tear on our consciences. By the evidence, their own shoulders are impressively broad, and their consciences, if these exist, inhumanly robust.

Tom Hilton said...

What's bothersome is her citation of Kissinger as a source of foreign policy advice.

Oh for fuck's sake...

Before he took office, President-elect Obama met with then-President Bush. President Bush gave him advice. What the fuck kind of advice do you think he gave? Do you think he told Obama to gin up a bogus war in the Middle East, or blow off hurricane damage, or gut the Civil Rights Division? Or, more likely, maybe he gave him advice about how to cope with the office. Advice that, whatever one thinks of Bush, nobody else would be qualified to give him.

And Clinton would be getting comparable advice from Kissinger. Shocking, isn't it?

Jim Sweeney said...

Forgive the triviality of my comment. I'd just like to say I think the guest posters are doing an admirable job and provoking some equally fine comments, and that I once had to confront my most loathsome foe in a social setting (the Orchestre Revolutionnaire et Romantique performing Beethoven's 3rd & 4th) and had to agree that it was a wonderful evening.

Chai T. Ch'uan said...

A clear-eyed case can be made that Sanders' foreign policy positions are in fact more faithful to a realist Weltanschauung than the naive status quo promoted by the Clinton establishment. Richard English cites Morgenthau and Kennan to draw this distinction.
When will Hillary name who she takes advice from on foreign policy (besides Kissinger)?

flipyrwhig said...

@Chai: Bernie Sanders has foreign policy positions?

Feud Turgidson said...

Alrighty, then, CTC: You must also consider that Rubio takes his FP advice from precisely the same PNAC-head neocons as did Bush the younger and who had access as well to Bush the elder and the folks who made up the index for Reagan that lent the last the illusion of presidential control.

The you must consider from whom each of Trump and Cruz take their FP advice. The list that Cruz ADMITS to STARTS with Eliot Abrams, John Bolton, Victoria Coates and James Woolsey, IOW the same pool of entrails-munching nitwits as Rubio except the Cruz bunch eat paste with their blood meals and even more firmly in the thrall of the still technically living Cheney. The list that Trump admitted to for some weeks totaled two: former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and former pizza dude and franchise fast food outlet lobbyist Herman Cain, each now listed on his own campaign materials as FORMER, and otherwise there is no one listed, since Trump has not released any such list or named any such person but only loosely sort of committed to releasing a list sometime after around kind of like maybe starting one day this week or so possibly.

So EXCUSE MOI for not falling prostrate and issuing lamentations over the one current candidate in either party with actual FP credentials of any nature whatsoever having spoken one more than one occasion with the simultaneously most famous and infamous presidential FP advisor since WWII.

Feud Turgidson said...

Responding to a suggestion that my comment on Trump was incomplete and therefore possibly unfair or at least misleading, I note that in the same media exchange on Feb. 9 when Trump promised kinda sorta maybe to release his FP list possibly who knows in about 2 weeks, he Trump raised that he Trump knew more about FP than any other candidate, without clarifying if he meant just the GOP - in which case, arguable at least - or both major parties - in which case, typical outrageously DADA bombastic horseshit.

I should add noting just in recent hours that the once and forever Mayor of September 11th two thousand and one has leaked, in the sense of openly bragging to reporters, that he has been advising Trump on FP matters - which, given the once and former etc acted as his own FP advisor during the darkest days of his time as Mayor of NY City, seems somehow noun verb nine eleven right.

Ten Bears said...

Maybe Steve ought to leave the keys on the table more often.

A Bernie Sis said...

Here's Hillary stating that she takes advice from Mr. Kissenger:

"Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state."

Source:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clinton-reviews-henry-kissingers-world-order/2014/09/04/b280c654-31ea-11e4-8f02-03c644b2d7d0_story.html

With regard to unelectability I suspect that the candidate with ongoing FBI and State Department investigations is going to have to face a lot of embarrassing questions from the GOP which may well cost the Democrats this election.

aimai said...

OK, the post from "A Bernie Sis" is why we can't have nice things. I'm supporting "the nominee" and as far as I can see from talking to other current HRC supporters whatever reason we have for choosing HRC now, over Sanders, does not include smearing him with right wing attack lines. I happen to think that Sanders and his followers very much underestimate how incredibly ugly the right wing attacks are going to get on Sanders or how much it will affect the general election. But I would never repeat or amplify those attacks or give them credence. I don't pay attention to them now and I don't choose HRC over Sanders because of them.

The accusation that HRC has "ongoing FBI and State Department investigations" and "is going to have to face a lot of embarrassing questions for the GOP" is just jaw droppingly stupid and ahistorical. HRC has *already* faced down an 11 hour Benghazi hearing and the Republicans were so freaked out by the way she handled it,and crushed them politically over it, that they have refused to ever again try to depose her in public. Of course they are going to insult and attack her--they have since the moment Bill Clinton ran for President the first time and they certainly didn't pull their punches with Obama. I want a candidate who knows what she is getting into. Knows what to expect. And knows that no one is going to protect her from lies, slander, and attacks. Because that is what is coming. If any "Bernie Sis" thinks that the Republican party isn't going to dig up dirt on Bernie, or manufacture it, and try to destroy him and his family they need to have their head's examined. If Bernie isn't prepared for it things are going to get ugly, and fast. And Bernie's vulnerability "may well cost the Democrats the election."

At any rate: please stop retailing Right wing smears of our potential nominee. It can never be helpful to destroy one candidate to try to get the other candidate over the hump of public opinion. You can't always walk that shit back when your preferred candidate doesn't get the nod. And that kind of shitty behavior may well cost the Democrats the election.

A Bernie Sis said...

“This is not some kind of personality fight, we’re not Republicans, after all.” - Bernie Sanders 2/23/16

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