Standing before a massive mosaic of red Soviet flags and flanked by engraved quotations from Marx and Lenin, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gazed out at more than a thousand Russian university students and implored them to look to the future.
Starts off innocently enough. That's the end of it though.
The article waxes romantic about how Russia is a land in search of its soul; in the nether region between the fall of Communism and an uncertain future, Russia is "stomping and stammering its way between hubris and disaster, dictatorship and democracy, and more than anything, between its past and its future."
That's all well and good. But I can say with some certainty that the 'hope' angle for a beautiful future is failing there almost as badly as it's failing here.
But of course, who better to explain the virtues of American Exceptionalism, Capitalism and Liberty to the students at Moscow State than the woman who wrote her thesis on the greatness of Saul Alinsky:
Freshman Pavel Yankovsky was among the first to take the microphone: Nervously, he inquired about the financial crisis and why it started in the U.S. Like all the students who spoke, his English was good and his question seemed well rehearsed.
Clinton walked the audience through an abbreviated history of bad mortgages, derivatives and the false notion that free markets are infallible.
"It all seemed like a great idea at the time," she said, launching into an explanation of how the need for more checks and balances in the economy reminds one of the balance of power in the American government.
Rather than instruct the student on why the economy actually tanked, Clinton spews off about "bad mortgages [and] derivatives", two subjects that are wholly the fault of the Federal Government and about which I doubt Clinton has the slightest clue. Call me nostalgic, but I long for the days, almost exclusively before I was born, when the Secretary of State knew what made America great and was prepared to articulate the reasons.
Then, of course, it's the "false notion that free markets are infallible." I have never, in the thousands of pages I've read on Economics, ever heard a single person say that the market is infallible. Quite the contrary, it is simply objective fact that the unfettered market system is the best method we've come up with as a species to organize ourselves and provide for a better standard of living.
Then there's the finale. Hillary Clinton couldn't explain her way out of a paper bag, much less checks and balances in the American economy. But this is what happens when you send an economic ignoramus out into the wild to fend off the metaphorical hungry wolf.
The market has all the "checks and balances" it needs free and clear of any government intervention. At the very least, dumb people like Hillary Clinton shouldn't be the ones to determine what is an appropriate "check" or "balance".
There's a history lesson as well here that any thinking person can understand. The facts are not relative when discussing the Cold War. It was Us vs. Them for every reason. We were Right and they were wrong. Now, I would have no problem explaining this in as thoughtful a way possible, but to pay lip service, even indirectly, to there being not all that much difference between our two nations is detrimental and potentially fatal to any honest reconciliation in the future.
I don't have to remind everyone of Russia's moves just in the past two weeks that would have been completely unacceptable just 25 years ago. Why anyone with even a cursory understanding of 20th century history would think things are somehow now just peachy keen in the face of such slightly veiled provocation is well beyond me.
We didn't lay the hammer down hard enough when the Soviet Union fell. That's just my opinion. But, be that as it may, the new foreign policy of toothless diplomacy and hands-off complacency will only result in another Cold War, whether we like it or not.
I leave you with an illuminating graph from McClatchy based on a Gallup poll from April-June:
Capitalism and foreign policy realism won the Cold War. But rather than convey that to the students at Moscow State, even if delivered purely as our interpretation of history, Hillary Clinton decided to make up stories, rewrite the facts and attempt to "reset" history at the expense of the future.
Then again, that approach is the guiding principle of this Administration. In that respect, Clinton was doing exactly what her bosses in Washington wanted her to do.