Well, once again I failed to watch the big debate, but I did happen to hear about it at the grocery store afterwards from the zoned-out dummy running the register. She said she caught it in the breakroom because she thought it was going to be exciting, but that nothing really happened and nobody really did anything. She clearly thought it was a tie and didn't see what all the fuss was.
I'm not exactly sure what she expected to see, but whatever it was, she didn't see it. I suspect a lot of people had the exact same reaction. I should add that it was a pretty big deal here in Austin, so it's possible that's the only reason she was interested and probably never saw a debate before this.
Hillary Flunks the Diplomacy Test
Oh, and the one part I was interested in was the part about Cuba. I think economic sanctions are dumb in these kinds of cases and I was interested to hear what they thought. And Hillary didn't disappoint, as she gave the approved neo-con answer regarding diplomacy; ie, that diplomacy is something we use as a reward for good behavior, rather than as a technique for obtaining good behavior. And it was no surprise that Obama got the answer right and said we should use diplomacy as an opprotunity to discuss improving conditions there. He's really good about that kind of thing.
So she said she won't talk to Cuba until they do what they won't do, and he said he would talk to Cuba to try to get them to do what they won't do. And while they're likely to get the same results in the end, it's still better for us to talk to our enemies rather than pretend we have some great strategy we don't have and lose any ability to persuade them about anything.
And this is yet another example of Hillary playing a game she truly doesn't understand. She's reciting the neo-con line because she's been raised in a culture which now believes this is the "tough" thing to do, and she wants to appear to be tough. But the truth is that neo-cons really don't believe in diplomacy at all, which is why they hold it off as if it was some sort of reward. But that was never the case. The neo-cons have always insisted that diplomacy is for suckers becuase they don't understand it, and this is their way to stop diplomacy. They attacked prior presidents including Reagan for engaging in diplomacy with the Soviets, and it was only under Bush Jr that they finally got a president dumb enough to follow their advice; to disasterous results.
The Cuban Trap
And once again, we see Hillary falling right into their trap. They set the stage and she plays the game well with what she's got. But she continues to miss the big picture and see how the stage she's playing on is a trap which limits all of her moves to a very small set of actions which she is convinced demonstrates her savviness, but makes her act like a neo-con. So even if she wins, she loses. She'll follow their rules and do the "right" thing, denying them the ability to attack her; but all the same, we won't have diplomatic relations with a country that could really be ripe for the picking if we played our cards right.
Particuarly as Raul Castro has apparently decided he wants a China-style market system, which I guarantee you will eventually lead to a free-market system, whether they want that or not. But of course, part of Hillary's desire is to woo the Cuban exiles in Florida, who remain under the delusion they're getting all their land back once Castro dies. They don't want capitalism to bubble up from below. They need a revolution to get their land back. Otherwise, it just won't be there for them when they arrive. But by now, it's quite unlikely they'll get it back anyway. But that won't stop Hillary from pulling this play from the neo-con playbook to show how "tough" she is on foreign policy.
Bill did the same thing, which is one of the things that led to our invasion of Iraq. They put so much pressure for him to do something about Saddam, that he continued to escalate tensions against a country that was no threat to us at all. And afterwards, whenever we tried to call this Bush's War, they'd trot out Bill's own words as proof of what a severe threat Saddam was to our security. Bill played the cards properly, but never could change the game we were playing. So even when we won, we lost.
That's why we need Obama, who continues to show his ability to think outside these traps and set his own stage. The world has gotten totally screwed up by the people who created the rules to the game Hillary's playing. We need someone who truly understands the rules enough so that we can get back to the old way of doing things; where diplomacy came first and you didn't invade countries unless you needed to. That's at least the starting point for fixing things.
The world wasn't a perfect place before the neo-cons took over, but the first step is getting us back to the point we were at before those fools made everything worse. Barack seems to be on the right path for doing that.