Friday, February 20, 2009

Church of Hillary, Psychologist

Here's Hillary! And this time she's talking about foreign policy, and how she and Obama are going to breathe new life into what was a darkly oppressive foreign relations era under Bush: "We are committed to a foreign policy that is neither compulsive nor ideological." Well, all I can say is, what a relief! No more stuffy old, obstructive "ideas" or "ideals". But "compulsive"? What was so "compulsive" about the Bush foreign policy? Maybe she means "obsessive", which would be much more accurate. Bush & Co. were certainly obsessed -- or talked like they were -- with "terrorism" as well as with things like "spreading democracy". And Bush was arguably compulsive about "staying the course" -- whatever the hell that meant -- even though, strictly speaking, that is not a classic example of compulsiveness. It's really another variety of obsession -- like Ahab and Moby Dick, or Javert and Jean Valjean.

I guess what Hillary really means is that everything is negotiable, and there are no absolutes -- well, except that nutty outfits like the Branch Davidians have to be exterminated. But otherwise, no absolutes. And actually, that is a fair, and realistic, point of view if one is saddled with America's "diplomatic mission", which has been dedicated, for lo these many decades, to keeping the wretched of the earth in check while we pursued our commercial and empire-building goals. What we call "speading democracy" is just our way of saying that we like to pave the way for our own expansion of power, and imposing our particular brand of democracy on other countries has proven to be the most reliable means of doing this. Well again, fair enough. Who sits at the judgment seat and pronounces yea or nay on the ethical behavior of entire nations? Maybe a few gnomes in The Hague try to, but they can be safely ignored, as Bush, Cheney, and Co. proved. And as to "terrorism" -- that is simply the preferred mode of making war for people who don't have millions of taxpayers available to fund their operations. The only real difference between an "army" and a "band of terrorists" is the army has a flag. So yeah, maybe a little bit of relativism -- a bit of creative destruction of American absolutism and dogmatism -- would be a good thing. Let's just hope she doesn't get too... "compulsive" about it.

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