Hillary Clinton’s “Smart Power” Sounds . . . Stupid

December 8th, 2014

I spent last week on both coasts so I largely avoided (thankfully I’m told) much of the news.  I did catch, however, comments from a speech by Hillary Clinton at Georgetown University in which she expounded for the eager college audience on the concept of “smart power” and how it can be utilized in diplomacy.

Specifically, she said that smart power means “using every possible tool and partner to advance peace and security, leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect, even for one’s enemies, trying to understand and insofar as psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view, helping to define the problems, determine the solutions.”

A firestorm of criticism immediately ensued. Even Mrs. Clinton’s most ardent supporters couldn’t find a way of describing exactly how one empathizes with the position of people who behead other human beings or who take women and children hostage and rape and enslave them.  In fact, to their credit, her supporters didn’t even try.

Instead, they argued that Mrs. Clinton simply didn’t say exactly what she meant to say.  Clearly, she misspoke. Unfortunately for her presidential aspirations, this is beginning to look like a trend.

Remember when she lamented during her book tour that she and Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House?  Considering the lucrative book deals and speaking fees she received afterwards, those comments garnered her zero sympathy.

The current “misstatement” is a bit more serious given that Hillary wants to be president in a few years and that’s because she may not have misspoken at all.  Instead, she may actually believe what she said.

Before I begin, let me state outright that I know what I’m about to say is a gross generalization but it illustrates the point.

Democrats have a tendency to rely a lot on feelings when determining the course a particular policy should take.  For example, recently on MSNBC (in the interest of investigative journalism I tune in there from time to time), I watched a spirited debate over whether everyone in New York City should be stopped and frisked in exactly equal numbers based on race and ethnicity by the police.  The idea is that the purpose of the police in carrying out this practice should not be to uncover or thwart any crime per se but instead is to assure that all citizens feel they are being dealt with fairly and equally.  Above all, feelings must be respected.

I’ve heard this same logic used to describe TSA practices where grandmothers and infants are thoroughly patted down in security lines.  I’m guessing that a TSA officer who actually finds something truly nefarious in an encounter with Grandma Jones from Des Moines would instantly faint from shock.  Surely, they don’t really ever expect to uncover anything in these searches other than a four ounce bottle of contraband shampoo, but authorities continue to carry out these searches because it keeps any real terrorists from feeling that they’re being unfairly targeted.

I say this concept may be something of a gross generalization since it doesn’t seem to carry over to Christians at Christmas.  They really don’t care how you feel.  They just want you to remove the Christmas tree from the town square and begin referring to that school vacation your kids get about the third week in December as “Winter Break.”

Republicans, by contrast, tend to operate more on fact. This isn’t always a good thing either because it gives the left’s media minions lots of opportunities to portray Republicans as unfeeling which is one of the worst things you can be in today’s world.

Still, whether it’s today or two hundred or two thousand years ago, one thing remains pretty constant.

In a confrontation with a determined enemy, if he has a weapon and you have empathy it’s statistically certain who wins.

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