Monday, November 19, 2007

$20 and International Game Theory

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No matter how you slice it, Senator Clinton should have left no doubt on leaving a $20.00 tip for a working single mother; The fact that is was disputed, shows how weak she is in personal affairs.

Let me highlight something else, Democrats (and Hillary Clinton in particular) are weak in foreign affairs too. I will not go into another explanation of A) Wilsonianism, B) Nixonianism and C) isolationism. When you are President, you can only choose one of those theories to base your foreign policy. Today's Democrats have chosen chose C. But then again, so has Ron Paul. It is the company you keep.

Senator Clinton tries to pass herself off as a "Strong" woman candidate; But she is not standing up like Benezhir Bhutto against a dictatorship; she does not argue her point in a Prime Ministers Questions (Best half hour on C-Span) like Thatcher or fight against an unrelenting force on one of the holiest of days like Golda Meir. Instead she has CNN tap partisans in a rigged debate; Senator Clinton never has to answer a hard question or deal with the public. So much for being tough.

Now if Senator Clinton (or any Democrat can get into the fray) can answer these questions, maybe I can have an understanding of her (or any Democrat's) foreign policy. Ready?

+ If you dispute President Musharraef's State of Emergency (rising Nixonianism), than you have to support Bush's purpose in Iraq (Wilsonianism).

+ If you dispute Pakistan, you cannot support Venezuela's President-for-Life Chevez trying to change the Constitution. If you accept Venezuela and not Pakistan, than you are a hypocrite. If you dislike Venezuela and Pakistan, than you have to accept the goals in Iraq.

In these questions, saying, "Don't hit me, I'm a girl," does not work. President Chavez and President Ahmadinijad can squeeze oil profits, what will you do? You can only thread the needle so much, before it breaks.

So, my Democratic readers, where do you stand on International Game Theory? Wouldn't it have been easier for Senator Clinton to come up with $20 than answer these questions?


  1. I tend to believe a fourth way exists that melds the Wilsonian Idealism, Rooseveltian Liberalism and Nixonian Realism while limiting the extremist influence of pure isolationists and pure internationalists.

  2. Chess, you're right on the money. The world is far too complex for people to stick with one kind of thinking for every situation. For instance, one could be uncomfortable with dictators in other countries but not enough to justify telling lies to go to war with those countries without having any kind of exit strategy and then running down an ever-changing rationale to justify it. And while staying completely isolated is a bit zany an idea to say the least, there are definite benefits to being more self-sufficient and to protect our jobs. And so on and so forth. If any one thing can be the cornerstone of the many failures of this administration, it is their singlemindedness.

    And JSF, you know I am no fan of Hillary whatsoever, but I'm pretty sure that her campaign tipped the entire staff at that diner, unbeknownst to that waitress. Doesn't a non-scandal like this manage to happen to at least one candidate every 4 years? The question planting is absolutely vile, yet completely unsurprising coming from that campaign. What can we expect next from her, push polling?

  3. Anonymous10:10 PM PST

    JSF, I realize my opinion on Pakistan is not the status quo, but here goes. As much as I would like to say light-handedness as we have in the U.S. and Australia is desirable in every country, I think that with the Taliban and other factions within Pakistan a constant threat, I believe that Bhutto and Imran Khan are irresponsible to be stirring up trouble now. While Musharraf is really heavy-handed for our westernized tastes, I'm not sure a westernized style government would be able to handle the factions. They've already made an attempt at Bhutto's life. How on earth is she going to control that rabble? Without some semblance of law and order, I could easily see anarchy breaking out there. Of course, there's the question of loose nukes as well. So although Musharraf is by no means ideal, I'm not sure if the alternatives will work either. It's a really tough situation.
    As far as Chavez goes, I see this as a completely different situation. You have a fairly ordinary democracy being turned into a dictatorship right under our noses. And there is absolutely no reason for Chavez's power play other than to cement his own position. This is abominable in my books. The goal of every country after establishing a somewhat stable environment should be towards moving away from government over-intervention. Chavez's Venezuela is devolving rather than evolving.

    By the way, Jason, thank God some of you lefties are sane enough to see the Hildebeeste for what she is. Anyone but Hillary, even one of your guys.

  4. Aurora, I always feel a little bit dirty when we agree on things, though it's a little easier when you're not being all bombastic. To me, Hillary represents the worst of a broken system. And you'd be hard pressed to find any fans of hers on the left (I mean the REAL left, not the democratic party - though many of them are losing their love for her too). Let me feel even dirtier by saying how unhappy I am with the situation in Venezuela. The idea that a true leftist regime was elected and survived a CIA sponsored coup to be elected again made me incredibly happy, but seeing what could have been a shining example of radical leftist government in action fall into the same pit of authoritarian shit that the others have is disheartening to say the least. And the worst part is that I have to say that you right wingers were right about Chavez. I hate that.

    I'm not sure what I think about Pakistan, but couldn't what you said about Musharref also have been said about Saddam Hussein? Definitely heavy handed by western standards (which we didn't have a problem with for years) but he kept a tight lid on Muslim extremism and battling factions. I'm not saying he was a great guy, but I for one would prefer a secular repressive but stable regime in Iraq to the civil war and hotbed for terrorism we've got now. While I don't expect you to agree, I do wonder how you can reconcile the difference.

  5. Jason, Aurora, Chess,

    For once I stand opposed to all three of you. A President should have some sense of how he is going to tackle the world.

    After the Cold war, I can't see, in a Uni-power world, how we could support dictators who abuse their own people? Isn't that why we faced down Hirohito and Hitler during WWII? And Stalin, Breznev, et. al. during the Cold War?

    Dictatorships breed trouble. Revolutionaries go elsewhere if they can't destroy the status quo of their own country. I don't think we should be reponsible for that.

    But, again I owe all the three of you a drink for standing together.

  6. JSF, is it our job to stop ALL dictatorships in the world? How do we pick which ones to stop? How much does what that certain country could offer our imperialist needs come into play when deciding which ones to stop?

    Lastly, if we just go into any country we feel like and change their government, dictating to them how they should run their country, doesn't that kind of make us dictators?

  7. JSF, I merely argue that rigid adherence to a single theory of international relations based upon the wishes of the political base does a disservice to the governance of the nation

    I am reminded of Abba Eban's maxim:

    A statesman who keeps his ear permanently glued to the ground will have neither elegance of posture nor flexibility of movement.

  8. Jason,

    There are only two ways to work with Dictatorships: Bargain with the dictator, or try to support Democracy in their countries. Can you name me one country where people under dictatorships are in better shape than in a Western Democracy?

    Eventually, it becomes a problem. Can you say Sudan is doing well under Dictators? Remember how the people were treated in Eastern Europe under Communism? Should we turn a blind eye?


    I understand your point. But without a theoretical underpinning of foreign policy, we have the problems of a Carter Administration (i.e. Iran, gas Lines, etc.).


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