The Decline of the West, From Henry to Hillary

Henry Adams remarked that the progression of presidents from George Washington to Ulysses S. Grant singlehandedly disproved the theory of evolution. That was grossly unfair to Grant, but it should be adapted to our current and previous secretaries of state (Kerry and Clinton) compared to Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, let alone—oh I don’t know, why am I tempted to say John Quincy Adams?

If you want to see the epitome of jejunosity at work (as Woody Allen put it in Love and Death) look no further than Hillary Clinton’s Washington Post review of Henry Kissinger’s new book, World Order. I almost wonder whether the Post published this as a deliberate act of cruelty to Hillary, who is obviously not ready for prime time.

The review begins with this profound gem: “When Americans look around the world today, we see one crisis after another.” When you see a lede like this, you can be sure you are in the presence of no ordinary mind. And sure enough, the rarified judgments just come tumbling one after another in a display of virtuoso brilliance not seen since Thomas Jefferson dined alone:

When I walked into the State Department in January 2009, everyone knew that it was a time of dizzying changes, but no one could agree on what they all meant. . .

Wait, this is supposed to be a review of a Kissinger book, right? Yes, but what book review by a Clinton wouldn’t turn into a vehicle for Clinton self-promotion and self-satisfaction? (And no jokes, please, about waiting for Bill Clinton’s self-satisfying review of Fifty Shades of Gray.) Anyway:

In his new book, “World Order,” Henry Kissinger explains the historic scope of this challenge. His analysis, despite some differences over specific policies, largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century. . . I was proud to help the president begin reimagining and reinforcing the global order to meet the demands of an increasingly interdependent age. In the president’s first term, we laid the foundation, from repaired alliances to updated international institutions to decisive action on challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program and the threat from Osama bin Laden. . .

This woman has more platitudes than WalMart has bargain prices. Such as:

America, at its best, is a problem-solving nation. And our continued commitment to renovating and defending the global order will determine whether we build a future of peace, progress and prosperity in which people everywhere have the opportunity to live up to their God-given potential. . . Fortunately, the United States is uniquely positioned to lead in the 21st century.

Just as Henry himself might have put it. If you deducted 75 IQ points. But let’s keep going:

In my book “Hard Choices,” I describe the strategy President Obama and I developed for. . .

Never mind. You may nod off now.

But if you’re a glutton, one more:

Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels. Though we have often seen the world and some of our challenges quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past, what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.

Yeah, everyone believes this. Extra credit for any Power Line reader who wants to turn this Hillary piece into a drinking game.


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