Naked Capitalism has the article Hillary Clinton: The Goldwater Girl Reveals Herself in an Atlantic Interview.
What was striking about Hillary Clinton’s remarks, which to its credit, the Atlantic reproduced in full, was how often she depicted the US policy of aggression as morally desirable as well as necessary to protect Christians in the US from jihadis. Funny how the officialdom airbrushes out of the picture the fact that Osama Bin Laden explained the reason for his campaign against the US, and his overarching reason was “Because you attack us and continue to attack us.” I’m no supporter of Arab extremists, but the US has long meddled this region, with perilous little finesse or concern for the long-term ramifications. But it’s simpler for politicians like Hillary Clinton to narrow the frame so as to make those who oppose the US look like cartoon bad guys. Consider this section from her interview:
One of the reasons why I worry about what’s happening in the Middle East right now is because of the breakout capacity of jihadist groups that can affect Europe, can affect the United States. Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. Their raison d’être is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank—and we all fit into one of these categories. How do we try to contain that? I’m thinking a lot about containment, deterrence, and defeat.
This is almost enough to convince me that it is very unlikely that I could ever vote for Hillary Clinton for President.
However, if you read The Atlantic article Hillary Clinton: ‘Failure’ to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS, she almost makes a convincing case. One thing I have to keep reminding myself is that she is presenting the case for her conclusions after filtering out all the facts that would put doubts into the thinking about those conclusions. She falls too much into the trap of thinking that being in the presence of people (and negotiating with them) gives you enough insight into understanding what motivates them. Maybe what helps you disabuse yourself of the idea is to have the experience that I have had in telling people what you think motivates them and then having them explain how far off your assumptions are by them telling you what really motivates them. (Of course, there is no guarantee that what they tell you about their motivations is in fact completely reliable.)
I can imagine one of perhaps the few possible approaches to avoid the trap is to consider all possible motivations. It may be best to devise a strategy that tests the more likely motivations until you find something that seems to work. So far we seem to have found only strategies that lead to disaster.
If our politicians and the voters don’t seem to be able to find a strategy that gets Democrats and Republicans to work together, what chance do we have with people we understand even less?