THE PLANK OCTOBER 30, 2009
John Hannah, who served as Dick Cheney's national security advisor, takes to NRO to express his anger that Hillary Clinton was bashing the Bush legacy in Pakistan this week. First, what Hillary said:
As a way of repudiating past U.S. policies toward Pakistan, Clinton told the students "there is a huge difference" between the Obama administration's approach and that of former President George W. Bush. "I spent my entire eight years in the Senate opposing him," she said to a burst of applause from the audience of several hundred students. "So to me, it's like daylight and dark."
Does anyone advising President Obama and the secretary of state really believe that this kind of partisanship and trash-talking abroad about another American president is really going to buy us much long-term goodwill among either our friends or our adversaries? Do they imagine that this sort of thing really helps to advance U.S. national interests?
Personally, I really do think it might buy us longterm goodwill. It's a fact that people around the world loathed Bush (and Hannah's former boss), and the foreign policy associated with them. A change of faces in Washington certainly won't solve all our problems, but I think it can help along the margins. Hillary was, after all, applauded when she said this. If Hannah has a theory about why this harms American interests he might want to offer it, rather than pose rhetorical questions whose answers aren't as obvious as he seems to presume.