Daily Archives: August 12, 2008

I don’t think so. Read this piece by Josh Green and the accompanying haul of documents from inside the Clinton campaign. This is the candidate who ran on management expertise–on “actions speak louder than words”, on the ability to get things done. Hillary, it appears, is a pitiful manager.

Clinton ran on the basis of managerial competence—on her capacity, as she liked to put it, to “do the job from Day One.” In fact, she never behaved like a chief executive, and her own staff proved to be her Achilles’ heel. What is clear from the internal documents is that Clinton’s loss derived not from any specific decision she made but rather from the preponderance of the many she did not make. Her hesitancy and habit of avoiding hard choices exacted a price that eventually sank her chances at the presidency.

Joe Klein accuses Robert Kagan of warmongering.

When a column starts off like this:

“The details of who did what to precipitate Russia’s war against Georgia are not very important. Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia? Of course not, because that morally ambiguous dispute is rightly remembered as a minor part of a much bigger drama.

“The events of the past week will be remembered that way, too.”

..the author has got to be a neoconservative pushing for the next war. In this case, it’s Robert Kagan, girding for a new twilight struggle with the Sovi…uh, sorry: that was a couple of twilight struggles ago…Russia.

I don’t follow. Kagan’s main point is simply that Russia remains a dangerous and assertive rival to the West.

Historians will come to view Aug. 8, 2008, as a turning point no less significant than Nov. 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell. Russia’s attack on sovereign Georgian territory marked the official return of history, indeed to an almost 19th-century style of great-power competition, complete with virulent nationalisms, battles for resources, struggles over spheres of influence and territory, and even — though it shocks our 21st-century sensibilities — the use of military power to obtain geopolitical objectives. Yes, we will continue to have globalization, economic interdependence, the European Union and other efforts to build a more perfect international order. But these will compete with and at times be overwhelmed by the harsh realities of international life that have endured since time immemorial. The next president had better be ready.

If I wanted to criticise that view I think I’d say it was too much a statement of the obvious, rather than attacking it as insanely militant. As Klein himself acknowledges,

To be sure, Russia’s assault on Georgia is an outrage.

And yet, he continues

But it is important, yet again, to call out the endless neoconservative search for new enemies.

I cannot see that underlining the significance of an outrageous (in Klein’s own view) Russian assault on a US ally (Georgian soldiers serve in Iraq) constitutes a desperate search for new enemies. What a strange reaction to these events.

Clive Crook’s blog

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

I have been the FT's Washington columnist since April 2007. I moved from Britain to the US in 2005 to write for the Atlantic Monthly and the National Journal after 20 years working at the Economist, most recently as deputy editor. I write mainly about the intersection of politics and economics.

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