We miss Bill | Arkansas Blog

We miss Bill

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Wash. Post's Dana Milbank covers a Clinton visit to Washington and his not-so-subtle digs at the quality of leadership currently in evidence at the White House.

Noting the plummeting image of the United States in the Muslim world -- except in Indonesia, where Clinton himself has been helping with tsunami relief -- he said that "it's a big argument for doing things in a cooperative way rather than in a unilateral way."

Mocking the Bush administration policy of "cooperate when there's no other alternative," he added: "We should still have a preference for peace over war, a preference for cooperation over unilateralism, a preference for investing more to build a world with more partners and fewer terrorists."

Clinton also invoked former Sen. J. William Fulbright:

Fulbright, Clinton said, "essentially thought that a country had to have a military but there were limits to what you could achieve militarily. And he believed that over the long run the gains we achieved through reasonable conversation . . . are those that are the most lasting."

The former president offered Indonesia as proof of this conviction, and, in true Clinton fashion, he cited opinion polls. "Approval of bin Laden had gone from 58 percent to 28 percent," he said. Why? "They saw the military dropping food instead of bombs."

Clinton said Fulbright would side with him (against Bush) in support of the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto accord and the use of "soft power." He derided criticism, frequently voiced by the current administration, that "if I didn't take military action this very day, people would look down their nose at America and think we were weak." To that, Clinton said, he always posed a question: "Can we kill him tomorrow? If we can kill him tomorrow, then we're not weak."


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