Thursday, January 22, 2009

Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm"

Sometimes even a short news story is rich and dense with provokers of thought:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in her first day on the job, pledged to revitalize America's foreign service and push diplomacy and economic development as central tools to securing the U.S.'s global interests.

Mrs. Clinton was greeted at the front entrance to the State Department by more than 1,000 employees, who raucously cheered her arrival and first words.

"I believe, with all my heart, that this is a new era for America," Mrs. Clinton said from a staircase that overlooked the State Department's front lobby. "Diplomacy and development are essential tools in achieving the long-term objectives of the United States."
The long-term objectives of the United States: what might those be, Madam Secretary? If Mrs. Clinton can say what they are, I'd be enchanted to know when, how, by whom, and by what authority they were established. If she can't (and I'm guessing that's the case), the question becomes: how can anyone possibly prescribe the "central tools" required for the achievement of undefined objectives?
Steve Kashkett, a leader of the State Department union, told Mrs. Clinton that the building was "thrilled to have you here."
Ex-squeeze me? The State Department has a union? On second thought, that might explain more than a few things, I suppose.
"I'm going to be asking a lot of you. I want you to think outside the proverbial box," Mrs. Clinton said to applause. "I want you to understand there's nothing I welcome more than a good debate."
I choose not to think that Mrs. Clinton is starting out her tour as Secretary of State with a whopping lie; instead, I choose to think that she's starting out laboring under the handicap of self-delusion. I'm willing to bet a lot of money that there are a great many things she welcomes more than a good debate ... unless we're dealing with an eccentric definition of "good debate," that is. Myself, I wouldn't mind seeing a "good" (meaning clear and logically-consistent) debate on what "long-term objectives" the Empire has, and what objectives it should have. I'm definitely not holding my breath, though. I'm pretty sure that would be way, way too far outside the box.

3 comments:

Mimi said...

Oh, Jim, you're such a cynic! You know very well that "long-term objectives" for the U.S. are peace throughout the world and a kindly reaching out to former enemies. Just look at Clinton's record as a senator. All that warmongering was just a cover for her--well, her long-term objectives.
Or something.

Jim Wetzel said...

You know, Mimi, what really gives me pause is to consider: the U.S. has spent more time, I'd guess, in its history either in actual, declared wars or some unreasonable approximation to such than it has out of those activities. And, as an American, I want to rail against our "leaders" for imposing this hideous state of affairs on we peaceloving and virtuous Americans. Trouble is, they haven't had to. I think Americans get bored and unhappy rather quickly if there's no one to kill. Why are we so bloodthirsty, while there are countries that seem to feature pretty much the same gene pool (Switzerland comes to mind here) manage to mind their own business and be pretty reasonable neighbors? Is it because we're largely descended from those who migrate and colonize?

Just more stuff to make you go "hmmmmm."

akaGaGa said...

I read her speech, as well, and I fear. I will hazard a wild guess that the long-term objective of the USA is world domination. Another leap is that my ex-senator's personal objective is personal power. The only political battle lies in the method:

Should we bomb them? Should we give them food? Should we give them food and then bomb them? How we get there no longer matters.

Thanks for the link. I put one up as well, and, as Ahnold would say, "I'll be back."