I realize that, according to Clinton apologists, you can't disagree with the ex-president without being guilty of Clinton bashing and engaging in the politics of personal destruction. Oh, well.
At a speech to the 2002 World Congress on the Peaceful Reunification of China and World Peace in Sydney, Australia, Clinton intoned that America's "pre-eminent military, economic and political power would not last." I'm sure he meant that it wouldn't last (as long as one of his State of the Union Addresses) because of that dastardly 22nd Amendment that prevented him from becoming king.
"This is just a period," he said, "a few decades this will last, and I think that all of us who are Americans should think about this and ask ourselves how do we wish this moment to be judged 50 years from now. And how would we like to be treated when we no longer have this pre-eminent position and we have to work in a cooperative fashion with others to a far greater extent than we have to do today."
Now I remember when Clinton implied in a speech at Georgetown University that America was getting paid back for some of its own past acts of terror, including slavery and the Crusades of its European ancestors. Many jumped to his defense, saying he'd been taken out of context. All he meant was that America was still experiencing difficulties for its past transgressions -- not that it somehow deserved its 9-11 fate.
Perhaps, but I have strained unsuccessfully to find an otherwise logical connection for these "asides" in a speech about terrorism. Now we have the Sydney speech. When reading the above-quoted excerpt in context, out of context, or upside down, are you not compelled to conclude that Clinton was insinuating that America acts unilaterally and cavalierly on the international scene? No? Then why else did he urge that we employ the international golden rule so that some nations don't trounce us in retribution 50 years from now?
Aside from the obvious objections to this bizarre foreign policy formulation, can you believe this guy is still going around apologizing for the United States? During this time of war wouldn't you expect that he would tout the justness of America's cause when speaking to the international community?
Well, Mr. Clinton, I don't think we ought to worry about how we're going to fare in the polls 50 years from now, foreign or domestic. Rather, we should do what is right and consistent with the best interests of the United States. And, from my perspective, the Bush administration is doing both, and we needn't look over our shoulders or fret about how we'll be judged five decades down the road.
And if Clinton wasn't talking about how we're approaching the war on terrorism, what was he talking about? Was he reiterating his obsessive criticism of America for refusing to forfeit her sovereignty by signing the suicidal International Test Ban Treaty or the capitalism-zapping Kyoto Protocol? If so, his remarks are equally objectionable.
Finally, apparently responding to Bush's designation of North Korea as evil, Clinton said he had no illusions about North Korea. "But the fact is, they ended their nuclear program in '94, in '98 they ended testing of long-range missiles, and in 2000 we had the elements of an agreement with them to end their entire missile program." Sounds sort of like, "We were very close to getting bin Laden."
Again, what point could Clinton have been trying to make here? That if Bush would exercise Clintonian diplomacy instead of saber rattling, we could tame this Communist dictatorship into a benevolent little nation? That we could bore them into submission by making them read transcripts of his State of the Union addresses?
Clinton can talk all he wants to about his diplomatic triumphs with Korea, but some see it quite differently. In a recent
Heritage Foundation paper, researchers John Tkacik and Balbina Hwang expressed a less sanguine view of North Korea and its missile program. They explained that North Korea sponsors "terrorism by proliferating weapons, technology and materials." Recently, it has "sold 50 Nodong-1 missiles (with a range of 1,000 kilometers to Libya," and is negotiating missile sales with Syria."
So, try as you might, I don't see how you Clinton defenders -- as incredibly innovative as you are -- can cast a favorable light on his Sydney speech. But I have considerable faith in your abilities. In the meantime, I believe I deserve some credit for not getting into that part of his speech where, for the three billionth time, he urged that we all celebrate our common humanity. That took immeasurable forbearance.