Tuesday, March 22, 2016

HATE TO SAY IT, BUT THIS WHY YOU GIVE A SPEECH LIKE HILLARY CLINTON'S AIPAC SPEECH

The news from Belgium is bad:
Many people have been killed or seriously injured in terrorist attacks at Brussels international airport and a city metro station, Belgium's PM says.

Two explosions hit Zaventem airport at about 07:00 GMT, and another struck Maelbeek metro station an hour later.

... Brussels transport officials say 15 died at Maelbeek and media say up to 13 died at the airport.
You might have been appalled by Hillary Clinton's hardline AIPAC speech, but, for better or worse, this is why she thinks hawkishness makes political sense for her. Yes, Barack Obama positioned himself as a peacemaker and won two elections anyway, but he won them during a period in which Americans distrusted hawkishness, and that period seems to be ending. Every terrorist attack pushes the bad memories of the Iraq War further into the past for a lot of Americans. When majorities favor sending ground troops to fight ISIS in some polls, it's hard to say that Americans are still wary of war.

I know -- obviously you can deal effectively with jihadist terrorism without being a down-the-line Likudnik. The two are unrelated. And Donald Trump is a bizarre moving target in the area of foreign policy, sounding like General Jack D. Ripper one day and like Ron Paul the next.

But his saber-rattling -- "bomb the shit out of them" and all that -- is much more memorable than his occasional paleoconservative skepticism about certain hawkish policies. Trump comes off as a tough guy. After a terrorist attack, Americans are primed to want a tough guy.

And Hillary Clinton has worked hard to seem tough. She's instinctually more hawkish than the average Democrat, but she's also fighting the stereotype of Democrats, especially Democrats of her generation. Even John McCain, who knows she's not a dove, portrayed her as a '60s hippie in an online ad during the 2008 campaign.



But people know that, on foreign policy, she's no sandal-wearing hippie. Whether we like it or not, that's probably smart political positioning in a world where a terrorist attack can happen at any time.

11 comments:

AllieG said...

Clinton's main criticism of Trump, that he's too unstable to lead, was very shrewd. But I must point out that the popularity of her stance would end immediately if it led to US involvement in yet another Mideast war, not that I think it would.

flipyrwhig said...

I don't remember Obama particularly "positioning himself as a peacemaker," except for that brouhaha over meeting with foreign leaders with or without preconditions. I do remember his saying that he would crush Al Qaeda and kill bin Laden.

Unknown said...

Well, if there's anything Hillary is exceptionally good at, it's pandering to American voters with hawkishness that gets Muslims killed. Go with your strengths, I suppose.

Ten Bears said...

That's right, Neocon to the core, a vote for Clinton is a vote for more War.

Israel is a Terrorist State. The Mother of all Terrorist States. An utterly foreign occupier perpetrating an American Taxpayer conceived, financed and morally sanctioned genocide upon the indigenous population of Palestine. It has no "right" to exist and this world will never know Peace until it does not.

Steve M. said...

I don't remember Obama particularly "positioning himself as a peacemaker," except for that brouhaha over meeting with foreign leaders with or without preconditions.

Well, that and not wanting to stay in Iraq for a thousand years, which was the policy of his 2008 opponent and of every member of that opponent's party whose surname wasn't Paul.

Paul Canning said...

It's my impression that Americans don;t really get the concern elsewhere about rising isolationism. Trump's statements on NATO have caused a real ruckus in Europe but are seen as a blip, as far as I can tell, in America.

Frank Wilhoit said...

Um, no. What you are saying is that someone said things, for reasons, to an audience that they weren't actually talking to. She wasn't talking to us. She was talking to Adelson; and, as you yourself pointed out just the other moment, Adelson is unreachable.

Quite generally, it never matters what a politician says. It only matters who they are talking to -- which is often not obvious. But in this case it was; you can't really talk over AIPAC's heads, their heads are too swollen for that.

Victor said...

And if we get a terrorist attack like Belgium, say hell to President Trump.

We've learned nothing from losing our shit after 9/11 - imo.

Steve M. said...

Um, no. What you are saying is that someone said things, for reasons, to an audience that they weren't actually talking to. She wasn't talking to us. She was talking to Adelson; and, as you yourself pointed out just the other moment, Adelson is unreachable.

No, I'm saying she was talking to Americans who sometimes respond well to hawkishness, even extreme hawkishness. That's the majority of Americans, whether we like it or not.

Feud Turgidson said...

Victor, the fact these attacks today happened in Brussels is actually a sign of desperation and isolation on the part of Euro-based ISIS youth terrorists. Paris was a sign of their reach: Brussels is a sign of their inability to reach beyond the failed domestic political state in which they live and organize. They've fouled their own nest: that's not a sign of increasing power and reach. That's a isgn of them feeling cornered and having to make a last stand. It's the group equivalent of that Mormon cowboy who provoked his own violent death in Oregon last month.

Victor said...

Feud,
You make a great point, and I basically agree.
But we'really a much, much larger country, with a more diverse population, so, imo, it takes a greater effort to try to nip terrorists in the bud. Obama is doing a much better job than W.

OTH, I still worry more about more radicalized and violent Bundy types as terrorists, than I am of any foreigners.