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"Smart Power," or Dumb Policy? By: Michael Reagan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 15, 2009


Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton told fellow senators during her confirmation hearing that the United States needs to follow a foreign policy of what she called “Smart Power.”

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? And just what does it mean? It means whatever you want to think it means. It’s not a policy; it’s just a slogan that sounds good. And who would want to be labeled an opponent of “smart power” even if they hadn’t the vaguest idea of what it means?

What the honorable members of the Senate need to do is delve a little deeper into the kind of foreign policies Mrs. Clinton and Team Obama propose to implement or have followed. When you do that you’re apt to run smack into an awful lot of stupidity.

A big part of the “smart power” she talks about is the imposition of sanctions on nations that are acting against our interests or threatening world peace or otherwise getting in our face.

Sanctions, Mrs. Clinton must realize, only work when all the other countries in the world honor them. The “oil for food” program is one good example.

We put sanctions on Saddam Hussein, but the corrupt officials of the United Nations involved in the “oil for food” program made sure that despite the sanctions Saddam got everything he needed, and they made a bundle of money in the process.

The real “smart power” would have been to trust the United Nations while also verifying that they and the Iraqis were doing what they were supposed to do. As my dad said, “Trust but verify.” The Clinton administration simply trusted, period.

Leftists like Hillary Clinton think a policy of “smart power” would have been to fail to put those Pershing missiles in Western Europe aimed at the Soviet Union during the Cold War. To their minds it would have been a dangerous provocation instead of a shield that protected Western Europe against armed Soviet aggression.

Under their definition of “smart power,” calling the Soviet Union the “Evil Empire” would have been verboten because it might have offended the tender sensibilities of the murderous thugs in the Kremlin.

Under their notion of what kind of power is smart, invading Grenada to save American lives would never have been allowed. After all, Fidel Castro was well on the way to turning that island nation into a Cuban satellite and we wouldn’t have wanted to stand in his way.

If the United States had followed “smart power” policies, the Berlin wall would not only be standing, but someone would probably be selling space on our side of the wall for advertising posters. If you accept the idea of the legitimacy of the wall why not take advantage of it and make a few bucks?

Americans should be very wary of slogans that sound good instead of forthright declarations concerning foreign policy. As implementer of President Obama’s foreign policy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is faced with the task of arranging for dialogues with national leaders who don’t like us -- or have even stated their determination to bring us to our knees -- without making any preconditions.

For starters, under that “smart power” policy Barack Obama will sit across the negotiating table with Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, who is busy making plans to rain down a nuclear holocaust on Israel.

Based on the past performance of her husband’s administration, “smart power” meant allowing the terrorists to attack the U.S. destroyer Cole, kill American troops in Somalia, attack the World Trade Center, and allow Osama bin Laden to go unpunished when we had the opportunity to kill or capture him, without doing anything about those outrages.

That, Madame Secretary-designate, is not smart power. It’s abysmal stupidity.

Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is heard on more than 200 talk radio stations nationally as part of the Radio America Network.


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