Hilary Clinton and the Cold War Analogy

May 16, 2011

The Atlantic has the transcript of an interview with Hilary Clinton.  This part of the source material for an article on the US policy response to the Arab Spring.

In the transcript she returns to the point that she made in Congress a few weeks ago that the US is losing the war of ideas ‘because we are not in the arena the way we were in the Cold War.’

Give the recent  emphasis of the State Department on 21st Century Statecraft  what is striking is the way that the whole interview is shot through with references to the Cold War.   There’s a partly explicit dig at Henry Kissinger’s approach of trying to organize everything into a coherent system,  his methods of secret diplomacy and a reflection on the relationship between idealism and realism in foreign policy.

The persistence  (and power) of the Cold War experience in American thinking about international relations is obvious.  The PD studies community criticised the Cold War Model during the first G.W. Bush Administration – in the current situation in the Middle East is it any more appropriate?


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