Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has been talking for some time now about how, if she is elected president, she will ask both Democratic and Republican statesmen to hit the road on her behalf to declare that “bipartisan foreign policy is back” in post-George W. Bush America.
While Mrs. Clinton has pointed to her husband as an emissary, it has been unclear for some time which Republicans she had in mind. But in South Carolina today, speaking to a group of black ministers, Mrs. Clinton dropped a name publicly that she has hinted at privately before.
“I won’t even wait until I’m inaugurated, but as soon as I’m elected I’m going to be asking distinguished Americans of both parties — people like Colin Powell, for example, and others — who can represent our country well, including someone I know very well,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to a Fox News Web report. “Because I want to send a message heard across the world. The era of cowboy diplomacy is over...”
Of course, when she says things like that you seriously have to wonder whether she ever had one in the first place.
...Sigh. I know we're all supposed to like Powell because, without ever saying so, he hinted, that maybe, just maybe, when he was helping to sell the world on the Iraq War and fool Hillary Clinton about those weapons that didn't exist, he had some qualms about what he was doing, and much later, concluded that he'd played a critical role in engineering one of the greatest foreign policy disasters of all time. He's never said so, but occasionally he blinks twice when you bring this up, and so you can sort of tell that he's regretful, unless he just had something in his eye and was trying to get it out.
But you know what? Bringing back key members of the Bush foreign policy team probably won't restore our standing in the world. It's the sort of thing the Washington Post editorial board likes, but little more. And it is, definitionally, the old politics. Powell is an old politician, and all of his fine theories and international triumphs date to the Cold War era. This isn't the sort of thinking that will push us forward, not in the least.
That's probably the idea.