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We still deal with impact from Bill Clinton’s foreign policy strategy
Hey everybody, Peter Zeihan here coming to you from the Washington Monument. We’re going to continue our leadership series today. And with that in the background, I thought it’d be a great time to talk about Bill Clinton. Just seemed appropriate.
If you were to describe Clinton in one word, it would probably be manic. He was probably the most intelligent leader the United States had had since Jefferson. But he was relatively easily distracted. He would have ideas at like one in the morning, he would call in all the staff from wherever they were to…bounce ideas around. That led to a lot of intellectual dynamism. But it didn’t necessarily translate into policy.
Because his second big quality was that he was kind of like Angela Merkel, and he led from behind. Now with Merkel, when something controversial would pop up, she’d allow someone else to kind of take point even if they were a political rival. Especially if they were a political rival. And they’d have their moment in the sun. And then if something went sideways, it was their fault and she would just step back and the public furor would close in around them and they’d be removed from the scene.
She did this over and over and over in her decade-plus time, and it meant that German policy wasn’t particularly dynamic, but it became more and more cohesive as time went on. And for Merkel’s terms, they were basically living in a golden age, but they avoided dealing with the really big problems. And that’s led to the problems Germany has today.
With Bill Clinton, it was somewhat similar, but instead of letting rivals take lead, he basically followed the opinion polls. And since the United States was in an era in the 1990s where we didn’t really care about foreign policy, that means foreign policy was almost non-existent. He was smart, so he would kind of cram for the test whenever we had a summit, and he was great at working a room; great in small group settings. He could connect with anyone, even enemies.
But there wasn’t a lot of follow-up because the American people really weren’t interested. And so for eight years, our foreign policy was static to calm, and that eventually contributed to the world that we are in today. All right, that’s it on Bill. Next up? W.
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The opinions published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
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