in aN ASYMMETRIC Multi Lateral World
"You Can't Lump All Terrorists Together"
- Hillary Clinton Speaks Out
Michael Tomasky asks
Hillary Clinton about Iraq,
the legacy of the Cold War, Mukasey and ceding executive powers
Guardian Unlimited, October
[Comment by tamilnation.org Hillary
Clinton's remarks are welcome - and given the culture
encouraged by the present US administration, her remarks are
courageous and opportune.
Hillary Clinton is right to recognise that
terrorism is a tool 'that
has been utilized throughout history to achieve certain
objectives' and she is right to spell out the need to
consider separately the ends that may be sought to be
each case - and to respond accordingly.
also empathise with her when she says that the US "can have
an approach that tries to project power and authority in an
appropriate way that draws on all aspects of American power,
that inspires and attracts as much as coerces." Said that,
we believe that a principle centered approach which will
inspire and attract may also need to draw a
between violence and terrorism. The two words are not
synonymous and much confusion arises by conflating the two. All violence is not terrorism and an US approach
which liberates political language will also help liberate
peoples who have
taken up arms as
a last resort in their struggle for freedom from oppressive alien rule.
We believe that the long term strategic interests of the US,
whether in the Indian Ocean
region or elsewhere will benefit by a foreign policy
which 'inspires and attracts as much as coerces'. If
the US aspires to play a lead role in an emergent multi
lateral world, we believe that that
leadership will not come simply by the display of military
might and economic power. There is a need to defend the very
real values that a people stand for and speak from the heart to their
hearts. We need both mind and heart - neither a
desiccated calculating machine nor a mindless emotion. It is the marriage of power
principle that will secure leadership. A leader needs to
secure the trust and respect of those whom she
seeks to lead - trust in her integrity and respect for the skills that she is able to
bring to the task of achieving shared goals. The response that she will
then receive will be overwhelming. This is true of individuals. It is
true of business organisations. It is also true
The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation
- Drew Westen "...with the exceptions of FDR and Bill Clinton
the democrats have been consistently emotionally tone deaf
in their national campaigns, and that they will not be able
to win until this is addressed... Westin tells us that a good story will speak directly
to the emotional brains of the left wing and moderates
alike, but if it does not anger the 30% on the hard right it
has not been entirely successful. This is because a good
story must knock down the antagonist as it builds up the
protagonist. At the same time the democrats appeal only to
reason they are also much too timid in defending the very
real values that the party stands for. If Westin is
right the democrats need to nominate a truly charismatic
candidate and then speak directly to the American heart.
It's not enough that the republicans have made a colossal
mess. To win, the democrats must offer an emotionally
compelling alternative and not be afraid to shout it
from the rooftops.]
Q. I want to start with some questions about foreign
policy and terrorism. If you become president you'll enter the White
House with far more power than, say, your husband had. What is your
view of this? And what specific powers might you relinquish as
president, or renegotiate with Congress - for example the power to
declare a US citizen an enemy combatant?
I think it is clear that the power grab undertaken by the
Bush-Cheney administration has gone much further than any other
president and has been sustained for longer. Other presidents,
like Lincoln, have had to take on extraordinary powers but would
later go to the Congress for either ratification or rejection.
But when you take the view that they're not extraordinary
powers, but they're inherent powers that reside in the office
and therefore you have neither obligation to request permission
nor to ask for ratification, we're in a new territory here. And
I think that I'm gonna have to review everything they've done
because I've been on the receiving end of that. There were a lot
of actions which they took that were clearly beyond any power
the Congress would have granted or that in my view that was
inherent in the constitution. There were other actions they've
taken which could have obtained congressional authorization but
they deliberately chose not to pursue it as a matter of
Q. I guess I'm asking, can a president, once in the White
House, actually give up some of this power in the name of
Oh, absolutely, Michael. I mean that has to be part of the
review that I undertake when I get to the White House, and I
intend to do that.
Q. Interesting. Liberal intellectuals and foreign policy
thinkers have, since the start of the Iraq war, been engaged in
debate about Iraq and the legacy of Cold War liberalism. Do you
think the Iraq war was within the tradition we associate with Truman
You know, that's a very hard question to answer with any
certainty or even full intellectual understanding because we are
in a post-Cold War world, and I think that the argument has been
missing that basic premise. It's hard to take what was a
philosophy with respect to the use and containment of power
during the Cold War and try to shoehorn it into a post-Cold War
context. So I don't really think there is an easy or satisfying
answer to that. You know, obviously, if you read my article in
the current issue of Foreign Affairs, I think we can have an
approach that tries to project power and authority in an
appropriate way that draws on all aspects of American power,
that inspires and attracts as much as coerces, if we avoid false
choices driven by ideology and theory. One of the lessons that I
think we all should take out of the last six-and-a-half years is
that ideologically driven foreign policy that is not rooted in a
realistic assessment of the world as we find it today is not
likely to result in any positive outcome.
Q. Yeah. Do you think that the terrorists hate us for our
freedoms, or do you think they have specific geopolitical
Well, I believe that terrorism is a tool that has been
utilized throughout history to achieve certain objectives. Some
have been ideological, others territorial. There are
personality-driven terroristic objectives. The bottom line is,
you can't lump all terrorists together. And I think we've got to
do a much better job of clarifying what are the motivations, the
raisons d'Ítre of terrorists. I mean, what the
Tamil Tigers are fighting for in Sri
Lanka, or the
Basque separatists in Spain, or the insurgents in
province may only be connected by tactics. They may not
share all that much in terms of what is the philosophical or
ideological underpinning. And I think one of our mistakes has
been painting with such a broad brush, which has not been
particularly helpful in understanding what it is we were up
against when it comes to those who pursue terrorism for
whichever ends they're seeking.
Q. It sounds like you're saying it's not particularly
useful when Bush and others say terrorists hate us for our freedoms?
Well, some do. But is that a diagnosis? I don't think it's
proven to be an effective one.
Q. Just quickly on Iraq. You know 67% of the respondents
to a Washington Post poll said either cut off funding or attach it
to timetables. Why is hard for Congress to do something 67% of
American people say they want done?
Well, actually, I support that position, I have voted against
funding, I have voted a number of times for timelines. But the
bottom line is we don't have enough Republicans who are willing
to depart from the president's policy. And we have a very narrow
majority in the Senate, and until we can persuade enough
Republicans to defeat a threatened filibuster we can't cut off
funding, we can't attach timelines. I think the House could get
a vote to attach timelines. I don't know whether they could take
the step of cutting off funding, but they might be able to do it
as a result of a series of actions. But in the Senate, you know,
we have a 51-49 majority, and for most of the year, until Tim
Johnson returned, we had a 50-49 majority. And you're not going
to see the Republicans lining up until they're absolutely
convinced that they have no alternative, and that's what we're
trying to convince them of. We've got an election year coming
up. I think we'll continue to try to push the president, but the
political reality is we don't have the votes.
Q. I want to shift to a couple of domestic issues. In
light of some of
Mukasey's comments Thursday on torture and waterboarding, will
you vote to confirm him?
Well, I'm gonna look at the entire record of the hearing. His
questions in a number of areas raised issues for me, so I have
to look closely and see what I should do in terms of voting, and
I will be doing that.
Q. What were you most concerned about?
Well there were a number of issues. Obviously, I do not
believe in as expansive a definition of executive power, and
some of the questions on the second day about presidential
authority with respect to interrogation also concern me.
Q. Does his longtime friendship with
Giuliani trouble you at all?
Q. You know one criticism among some progressives is that
you're an overly cautious politician. Can you name one issue during
your Senate tenure on which you risked political capital, really
stuck your neck out in behalf of a progressive policy goal?
Well, I think, you know, voting against funding. What did we
get, 12, 13, 14 votes? A lot of people who consider themselves
very progressive who voted against authorizing the war in Iraq
were not with me on that vote.
Q. Previously? On domestic issues?
Well, you know I've made so many votes, Mike, and I've tried
to vote as I thought was the right thing to do, and if you look
at my voting record as it's evaluated by most of the progressive
organizations that look at voting records, I have a very, very
high percentage of having voted with them, so I don't quite know
what their concern is. You know, look what I'm doing in the
campaign. I'm obviously running on my plans to change the
country, I have very specific policies that I've rolled out day
after day, I'm zeroing in on what I think should be done to
restore America's leadership in the world and rebuild a strong
and prosperous middle class and reform the government. And I
think the results speak for themselves. We're getting an
enormous amount of support because people understand that change
is just a word if you don't have the strength and experience to
make it happen.
Q. Last question. Will health reform come first in your
administration before the 2010 midterms or will you start smaller?
A: It will be my highest priority as soon as I am