Clinton seeks endorsements from Kissinger, Rice, Vader, Shkreli, gingivitis

Ain't I a dickens?

Ain’t I a dickens?

According to an anonymous source close to her campaign, Hillary Clinton has sought endorsements from prominent Republicans Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, Condoleezza Rice and James Baker. All four have yet to endorse Trump, and at least half of them are famous for leading the United States into disastrous and unpopular foreign wars. That’s what Politico reports—the first part, anyway, although it also warns readers that none of what it just said may be true:

A person close to Clinton said her team has sent out feelers to the GOP elders, although it wasn’t clear if those efforts were preliminary or more formal requests for endorsement, or if they were undertaken through intermediaries. Clinton campaign aides did not respond when asked if they had solicited endorsements or tried to persuade the elders to speak out against Trump.

If Clinton is indeed seeking the Kissinger endorsement, it’s troubling. Although the architect of Richard Nixon’s Vietnam War policy is somehow in the pantheon of foreign policy experts and not the Hague, his name is still synonymous with evil among the Baby Boomers who form the core of her constituency. Meanwhile, Rice and, to a lesser extent, Schultz and Baker can only remind voters of her support for the invasion of Iraq. Seeking their endorsements suggests that Clinton is both tone deaf and tacking even further to the right.

I would object to her doing that on economic issues, but at least it might be politically sensible. Why hitch your wagon to Republicans on the issue of foreign wars? The last 15 years of unsuccessful military intervention in the Middle East is a stain on the Republican brand, and it makes no sense for Hillary to try to co-opt it. Ordinary voters are tired of war. Left-leaning voters, meanwhile, will be chagrined to learn that they have two choices: a center-right party and a far-right party. There appears to be no candidate for president who opposes further adventure in the Middle East. Now shut up and vote for the one who isn’t also openly racist.

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  1. Grumpypants over here neglecting the logical consequence of Clinton being a tone deaf political opportunist; there is a campaign objective served by these endorsements. Perhaps its not visible to those of us who lean left, but if we leaned back, perhaps we could appreciate that in a countrywide election, in particular swing states, or after the election in governance, there must be some benefit that outweighs the cost of chaffing her base.

    I don’t know anything about US foreign policy after 1972, and I know little before it, but I do know that Kissinger’s ambition enabled Nixon to forge diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. It’s not a small feat, and not unimportant. I say this because its an achievement that stands out to me more than the application of realpolitik to weak nations does.

    What should a foreign policy adviser do if not array benefits to the US? I think the answer to that question is a litmus test for people who want to object to the administrators of policy because human beings are easy to attack, especially ones as visible and honest about those policies as Kissinger, instead of answer the question and attack the status quo of international relations. International relations are strategic negotiations and humans suffer as they are arbitrated by wars, coups, and treaties. I’m not sure of the alternative, except for the wish, at the margin, to make those international relations more warm and friendly. Skimming Kissinger’s Wikipedia page, which I recognize is a low bar of evidence for my view, he seems to have taken that peaceful approach where possible.

    I think the consequence of hating on Kissinger is a waste of political capital and encouragement to do the same realpolitik but lie about it and dress it up as humanitarian. Perhaps this goes for the broader armchair quarterback critiques of American diplomatic history as well. Like if we just stop Middle East “adventures” it’ll all be cool.*

    *Evidence: the last thing we called a war didn’t go in a way that my news sources said went well.(nevermind I can’t name a war that any popular source says went well).

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