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Hillary's Putin Problem

1:35 PM, Mar 20, 2014 • By JONATHAN V. LAST
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But cloud-cuckoo-land is exactly where many westerners live, in a resolutely post-historical world where foreign policy is about development, human rights, non-proliferation and trade. If Putin tells us he lives there too, we are hungry to believe him. We don't want to live in a difficult world. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers were having a fabulous time in cloud-cuckoo-land back in the 1930s and many of them clung to their illusions until the last possible moment. We want to live in a stable and secure world order but we don't want to make the sacrifices world order requires—and so we will gaze deeply into the eyes of anybody who is willing to tell us what we most want to hear.

Mead was crafting an indictment of Western elites in general, not Hillary Clinton in particular. But the argument works just fine—after all, no one is more elite than the former first lady/senator/secretary of state. And I suspect that any words Clinton speaks now to distance herself won't be much help. Come 2016, whatever happened in the foreign policy world from 2009 to 2015 will accrue to her account. If she runs, beholden to another president's foreign policy problems this time, too.

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