The all-seeing mind of Bill Clinton is facile, rubbery, and stuffed with the leavings of endless Sunday supplement meme-kriegs. Now that he's about to jointly save Haiti, I thought we could use an update on where his great grey thing is at these days; so here's a recent -- and very gaga -- fan-mag sampler, published in Global Meddlers Review. I think it nicely captures the bells, the smells, and the treacly tart flavors of our great ex-potus, and his nonstop mama's-boy 24/7 360-degree unsolicited opining. Behold, citizens: still in fightin' shape, ever at ease, the wunder-yokel yakatron:
- On the sovereign state of mini-me:
"Which... places in the world could still surprise us by doing something really smart and good? I still think there is some chance the Israelis and the Hamas government and the Palestinian government could make a deal. Because I think that the long-term trend lines are bad for both sides that have the capacity to make a deal. Right now, Hamas is kind of discredited after the Gaza operation, and yet [the Palestinian Authority] is clearly increasing [its] capacity. They are in good shape right now, but if they are not able to deliver sustained economic and political advances, that's not good for them. The long-term trends for the Israelis are even more stark, because they will soon enough not be a majority. Then they will have to decide at that point whether they will continue to be a democracy and no longer be a Jewish state, or continue to be a Jewish state and no longer be a democracy. That's the great spur... I spent a lot of time when I was president trying to make a distinction between the headlines and the trend lines. If there was ever a place where studying the trend lines would lead you to conclude that sooner is better than later for deal-making, it would be there."
- Meme titans I digest with nutritious effect:
"Paul Krugman -- I don't always agree with him, but he is unfailingly good. David Brooks has been very good. Tom Friedman is our most gifted journalist at actually looking at what is happening in the world and figuring out its relevance to tomorrow and figuring out a clever way to say it that sticks in your mind-like "real men raise the gas tax." You know what I mean?... They are thinking about how the world works and how it might be at the same time. At this moment in history, we need people who have a unique understanding of both how the world works and how it might be better, might be more harmonious."
- On the GWOT's shelf-life:
"How long it lasts depends on whether the places out of which really big, effective terrorist groups are operating remain essentially stateless... we are de facto, no matter what the laws say, becoming nations of mega-city-states full of really poor, angry, uneducated, and highly vulnerable people, all over the world,... terror -- meaning killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority and go beyond national borders -- could be around for a very long time... on the other hand terrorism needs both anxiety and opportunity to flourish. So one of the things that the United States and others ought to be doing is trying to help the nation-state adjust to the realities of the 21st century and then succeed."
- Is there a third world leader with a good gig goin'?
"Paul Kagame... in Rwanda. It is the only country in the world that has more women than men in Parliament (obviously part of the demographic is from the genocide). It may not be perfect, but Rwanda has the greatest capacity of any developing country I have seen to accept outside help and make use of it. It's hard to accept help. They've done that. And how in God's name does he get every adult in the country to spend one Saturday every month cleaning the streets? And what has the psychological impact of that been? The identity impact? The president says it's not embarrassing, it's not menial work, it's a way of expressing your loyalty to and your pride in your country. How do you change your attitudes about something that you think you know what it means? How did he pull that off?"
- Bill in fugue state:
"... it's worth looking at Colombia. How has Medellín been given back to the people of Colombia? We all know President Uribe has faced criticism in the U.S., but how did Medellín go from being the drug capital of the world, one of the most dangerous places on Earth, to the host city of the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank? I would look at that.
"I would look at another guy, José Ramos-Horta, the president of the first country in the 21st century, East Timor. Is it too small to be a nation? Can you get too small? Can your courageous fight for independence and freedom lead you to an economic unit that is not going to have a population or a geographic base big enough to take care of your folks? How are the Kosovars going to avoid that?"
- Wishing on a star:
"I want to go to Mongolia and ride a horse across the steppes and pretend I am in Genghis Khan's horde -- but I'm not hurting anybody! I want to go to Antarctica.... "
"I would like to take Hillary to climb Kilimanjaro, while there is still snow up there. "Dream headline:
Slips from Bill's Embrace
Tumbles, Slides, Rolls Down